Welcome to Summer

Technically summer doesn’t start for another month (June 21). Summer then lasts for three months (until September 21). Though the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox formally mark the beginning and ending of the summer season, the weather and our response to it shows we don’t care too much about the official dates.

From a practical standpoint

Read the rest of this post at its new location.

How to Understand Weather Forecasts

Are you sometimes confused by weather forecasts? I am.

“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
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
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.

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 astounded 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?

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.

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.

So Long Summer

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.

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.

The weather, of course, is another transition that occurs on the migration from summer to fall.  For the first half of September, we had fall-like conditions, with highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties, even forties.  Even, so we have not yet had to turn on our heat in our house.

However, those fall-like conditions made an abrupt change on Tuesday of this week, with temperatures soaring and briefly topping 90; eighty degree highs continued through Thursday, but today we reached our high of 76 by mid-morning.  A cold front is moving in and bringing rain along with it.  This short reprieve from fall may be what we meteorologically call an Indian Summer.  (Though technically it doesn’t occur until later in the year, after the first frost.)

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.

In the Cool of the Morning

I got up early this morning, and in the pre-dawn began pulling in cool 60-degree air into our warm abode.  In short order the temperature dropped 7 degrees to an agreeable 70, where it stayed most of the morning.  Attired only in T-shirt and shorts, I was quite comfortable.

What is perplexing is that six months ago, in the midst of winter’s fury, with the thermostat set at 72, I would layer on the clothes and still be cold.

This is a strange personal phenomenon that occurs with predicted regularity each year as we cycle from summer to winter and back again.

I’ve never known why.  One possibility is that since I like summer and dislike winter, it is a psychological response to my frame of mind — meaning that it is all in my head.  I don’t care for that theory.

Alternately, claiming a physiological explanation is more palatable, but on what might I blame it?

The answer, I do not know.  What I do know is that I like summer and am quite comfortable — and happy!

I wish the same for you.

Humidity Be Gone

During the warmer part of the year, I run a dehumidifier in my basement to remove dampness and maintain it as a comfortable environment.

Being that it is now that time of the year, I went to turn it on last week — and couldn’t find it!  After scouring all the possible storage areas and double-checking that it wasn’t sitting in plain sight — twice — I remembered that I disposed of it last fall as it ceased to properly dehumidify.  The plan was that I would have all winter to secure a replacement.  That was a good plan, but alas it had been forgotten.

The replacement unit was on sale for $170 and is now happily purring away as it dutifully lowers the humidity in my subterranean level.

I hope this one lasts awhile.  The prior unit cost $150 and lasted a mere two seasons, for an effective pro-rated annual cost of $75.  It was noisy, too, sounding like a jet engine taking off — well almost that loud.

Ironically, that unit was bought to replace an aging workhorse that despite dehumidifying well, had a squealing motor bearing of which I had been unsuccessful in quieting — despite repeated attempts.  That unit cost $89 and lasted 18 years, before its well-deserved retirement, for an effective annual prorated cost of less than $5.

Although I don’t expect to achieve that degree of longevity with my new unit, I certainly hope it makes it for more than two years.  It seems that nothing lasts like it used to.