Tag Archives: weather

How to Understand Weather Forecasts

weather forecast

Are you sometimes confused by weather forecasts? I am.

Are you sometimes confused by weather forecasts? Click To Tweet

“Sunny” and “cloudy” I comprehend, but “partly sunny,” “mostly sunny,” “partly cloudy,” and “mostly cloudy” leave me a bit unsure.

My hope was to clarify this, but the only conclusion I can reach is “No one knows for sure.”

The Reader’s Digest said “partly sunny” is the same as “mostly cloudy,” while “mostly sunny” equates to “partly cloudy,” as in:

sunny (or clear)
mostly sunny or partly cloudy
partly sunny or mostly cloudy

But I couldn’t corroborate this. Another source says the middle ground is shared by “partly sunny,” which is the same as “partly cloudy,” with “mostly cloudy” residing on one side and “mostly sunny” on the other side. This results in:

sunny (or clear)
mostly sunny
partly sunny or partly cloudy
mostly cloudy

And I found other explanations as well.

Of course, any forecast with “sunny” in it would only apply to daylight hours, while indications of cloudiness level is equally applicable for day or night.

Perhaps the real explanation is if weather forecasters can keep us confused, there’s less chance of us accusing them of being wrong.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

So Long Summer

summer to fall

Summer is officially over (for those north of the equator), lasting from June 21 to September 22 this year. For me, summer effectively covers a slightly different span, starting on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day, regardless, we must move from summer to fall.

Each summer, I have a mental list of things that I want to accomplish, some fun, some relating to home improvement, and some regarding work. Each year, summer ends before the list is completed. Even so, this year I did better than most—regardless of when I mark the end of the season. So long summer. Hello fall. Click To Tweet

The weather, of course, is another transition that occurs on the migration from summer to fall. We usually start fall with highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties, even forties. (Of course, we end fall with snow and below-freezing temperatures.)

So with summer over, I need to review my to-do list. Some items will be moved to my non-summer list, while others will be put on hold until next year, and the remaining items will be discarded on the junk heap of good ideas and mercifully forgotten.

So long summer. Hello, fall.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Spring Has Sprung

spring has sprung

Whenever I see a robin, I become gleefully excited—really, I do! No, I am not particularly a bird lover, but I am quite affectionate for a new season, when spring has sprung.

The connection is that returning robins (which are a migratory fowl) mark that spring is right around the corner and warmer weather will soon be upon us. The males return first to stake out a territory and the females follow later when the temperatures climb a bit higher.Spring is an almost spiritual time for me, signaling reinvigorated life and a fresh start. Click To Tweet

Spring is my favorite season. Yes, summer is grand and fall is enjoyable (while I view winter as something to be survived).  However, spring is the most splendid time of the year. Springtime is when the cold dreariness of the winter fades, the dirty snow melts, and plants that were seemingly dead push forth green and are revived. Spring is an almost spiritual time for me, signaling reinvigorated life and a fresh start, a new birth of sorts.

Already I am starting to see which plants have survived the harshness of the winter months: the tulips and daffodils are just poking through.  Soon the grass will green and with it a slew of yard work will follow.  But that’s okay, because it’s spring and I want to get outside and do something other than shiver.

I can firmly cheer that “spring has sprung!”

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

The Other Side of Global Warming

The Other Side of Global WarmingWith temperatures in the unseasonably low seventies, it seems like an opportune time to talk about global warming, which frankly, I don’t buy. I know, it’s not PC (politically correct) to assert that global warming is a scam, but I dare to. Some people who have carefully studied the facts have concluded that global warming is not the threat that others, such as Al Gore, claim it to be, however, am not one of those people. Instead, I base my assessment on two simple anecdotal conclusions:Yes, the global temperature does change. Sometimes it trends down; sometimes it trends up. Click To Tweet

1) When I was in elementary school, the big threat was the “coming ice age.” It was predicted that Michigan, were I live, would be covered with several hundred feet of frozen snow and ice as the glaciers pushed south. They warned that we would need to take action to avoid freezing to death. Now forty years later, that is a ludicrous alarm.

Yet seemingly it was the same logic of analyzing temperature fluctuations that projected an ice age then as is pointing to global warming now. I don’t think a forthcoming ice age is any more realistic than the ocean rising 100 feet and obliterating landmasses.

2) The scientific community relies on grant money—especially so when their research has no foreseeable economic upside. The people who receive the most grant attention are those who study alarming things (such as the effects of global warming) and not so much those whose work won’t be newsworthy (such as cooling the warming hype ).  Given the competition for grants, the more dire warnings will tend to be awarded more money. It’s basic human nature at work. And for all those who think scientists are purely logical and their work is strictly scientific, remember that they are just people trying to earn a living like that rest of us.

Yes, the global temperature does change. Sometimes it trends down; sometimes it trends up. But catastrophe is not around the corner. It wasn’t 40 years ago and its not now.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it—at least until I’m covered with water—or ice.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.

What Happened to Spring?

Yesterday was the first day of spring—and the temperature hit a record-breaking 86 F. The average high for this time of year is 48. That’s an astounding in 38-degree difference. And today, the high temps pushed 90.

Interestingly, the average high temperature for us in three months, the first day of summer, is only 84 degrees. That implies that our seasonal temperatures are about three months ahead of schedule.

Now if this difference continues and the high for the first day of summer is also 38 degrees above the average, that would put it at a sweltering 122 degrees. While I don’t think that will actually happen, I do suspect we are in for a hot summer this year.

What is the weather like where you live? Click To Tweet

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Could Spring be Right Around the Corner?

Technically, the first day of spring will not be for a couple more weeks (this year on March 20—unless you live south of the Equator, then you have a much longer wait).

However, the seasons seldom line up with the calendar.

For me, the best sign of spring is when I see a robin for the first time. That happened today.

Another typical sign of spring’s arrival is bulbs whose new growth begins to emerge from the ground. Unfortunately, for me, that indicator is flawed this year, as my tulips got confused with a warm fall and actually began showing their greenery last October.

Bravely these early arrivals, with their one-inch stalks, stood guard all winter long, despite repeatedly being covered with snow. Though they are no longer a vibrant green, they did nonetheless maintain their general color all winter long.

And now, with warmer temps, they seem to be growing again. It will be interesting to see if they have enough energy left to produce flowers later on, but nevertheless, they do assure me that spring is on its way.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Construction Season In Michigan

Summer is road construction season in Michigan.  Locally, we have been enduring a construction project relating to our bridge over the nearby Interstate highway.  Actually, it is not the bridge that is being worked on, but instead each end of it.

For years drivers have complained about the difficulty of exiting the highway at our small town and traffic tie-ups over the bridge as vehicles wait to make left-hand turns to get on the highway.

Requests for a four lane bridge was rejected, while a scaled down plea for a bridge with a center turning lane was also dismissed.  The eventual offer was to install a roundabout (a traffic circle) on each end of the bridge.  At a cost of 2.8 million, the design will theoretically increase the flow of traffic and decrease accidents.  While few were happy with this as a solution, the response from the powers that be was to take it or leave it.

The project began in earnest when the school year ended and was promised to be completed before school resumed in the fall.  But the project was behind schedule almost from the start and despite repeated assurances to the contrary, it was not completed by the time the kiddies returned to school.  At present we have one and a half turning circles completed and three of four highway ramps working.  The new completion date is late September — contingent on weather and other delays.

So, we will need to endure delays and detours a bit longer.  At least the students now have an excuse for being late to school.

My Summertime Schedule

For myself and many others, summer effectively begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.

This year the weather seems to concur that summer is over. Last Friday, temperatures in southern Michigan were in the upper nineties, with a heat index of 105 to 115. Today, the highs failed to hit 70, with a predicted low tonight of 45.

For the first time in months, I am wearing jeans and have donned a sweatshirt. It certainly feels like fall.

With fall comes a pledge to blog more frequently. If you’re keeping track, it’s pushing two months since my last post. It’s not that I have nothing to share — I’ve composed many a blog in my mind — it’s that I’ve not had a chance to write things out. So, I hope to begin catching up and write retroactively.

Another change is that the comments and trackbacks features are again reactivated. I had turned them off due to a high degree of spam, but with a software upgrade, things are again manageable.

Also, check out my other blogs, which I post to more frequently:

It’s That Time of Year

It was inevitable; it was going to happen eventually.

With periodic threats being advanced by meteorologists over the past five or six weeks, one such prediction finally proved to be true.  Last night, with the odds at 60%, we received our first snowfall of the season.  It was but a dusting.  However, as is the norm, more followed it throughout the day, with a couple of inches accumulating.

As is the case with the first snowfall of the year, there were reports of numerous accidents during the morning commute.  It takes folks a while to adjust their driving habits to snowy conditions.

First, you need to allow more time to get anywhere; that is key.  Slower speeds are critical, with more time needed to accelerate and much more time required to stop.

With the first snow of the year, I always warn anyone who will listen to drive carefully — and keep a wary eye out for those who aren’t.

My preference is that the first snow would arrive on Christmas Eve and the melt on January second, after which spring would begin.  But so far that’s never happened.  With snow in the forecast for the rest of the week, it looks like we will be getting more.

It may be inevitable — but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.