Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ruminations on a foggy morning

Mist, fog, rain, humidity are the watchwords around the cabin right now. Plants that don’t need sun are thriving. Some of the more sun-loving foliage is starting to look a little starved.

For me, ambition to work outside the cabin when the weather is like this is flagging. Even when it’s not raining, I return inside soaked just from walking around the perimeter of the cabin. Holding back the edges of the greenery that creeps ever-closer turns into a major chore. Easier to just wait for the eventual reappearance of the sun and a day of drying than to attempt something today. Or so I tell myself as the forecast for more of the same stretches further into the days ahead.

This is the kind of weather where my observational techniques for weather forecasting do little good. I can’t see any sky, as it is hidden by dense fog. Studying the sky for clues about weather to determine when a storm is coming or what the day ahead may hold works fine, but I have to see the sky to do that. Often, I can tell what the weather is going to be a full day, sometimes even longer, ahead of it actually arriving.

When I’m in the middle of fog or even rain or snow, I’ve found it impossible to tell when it’s going to end by looking overhead. By the time I can see the sky again, I know the weather is going to clear. But when I’m in the middle of the event, I can’t see the end of it. That’s where modern radar has a real advantage over the old ways.

Today, even the modern forecast doesn’t help much. Clearing weather is still at least two days away, and even that seems to be a moving target. Still, it’s something. I take for granted having that radar and those satellite photos, but both are quite modern advances. I try to imagine a farmer’s worries in the days before them. Or how it must have felt in winter a thousand years ago during a blizzard. Will it end in an hour or three or will this storm rage for days? That must have been a whole other level of anxiety that I don’t have. Thankfully.

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