A Beautiful Dawn in the New Year

My mother called very early yesterday morning. I expected it on January 9th because it was Mayhem’s birthday and Mom always calls first thing in the morning to wish her grandchildren a Happy Birthday.  I was not expecting an early call a few days later; so when I saw the caller ID I admit to panicking a bit.  Last year was not a good year health- wise for either my Mom or my step-Dad… sooo yeah.  Fortunately, she was just calling to alert me to the dawn.  She also calls for “rainbow alerts”, and gorgeous sunsets, and unusual bird sightings – outside of our usual conversations.  I will miss that when she passes, which won’t be for awhile yet if I have anything to say about it (which I don’t, but still…).

I threw on a jacket, grabbed my camera, and headed outside in my slippers to the back yard. Our property abuts the dike along the Westfield River, facing southwest(ish) if you’re looking directly out my kitchen door – so the sun actually rises in the winter just outside of left frame in the first three pictures, and well outside of left frame in the fourth. Behind the dike is a cornfield, then the treeline along the river. The next 4 pictures you see are a sort of  “pan” from left to right.  The sky was just beautiful yesterday morning.  By the time I got to work it had clouded over completely and later there was a freezing rain to drive home in. But the lovely start more than made up for it.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

January Dawn watermarkedJanuary Dawn 2 watermarked and croppedJanuary Dawn 4 watermarkedJanuary Dawn 3 watermarked

Ridin’ the Storm Out

As my friend Kelly would say:  Here’s the song reference:

REO Speedwagon – Ridin’ The Storm Out – Live
I decided to keep a weather blog of sorts and keep a record of my musings during this historic event.  In Western MA we aren’t supposed to get hit with the worst of it, but we are expecting power outages due to high winds, and I’m thinking some flooding in this area as the Westfield River serves as drainage for the southern east face of the Berkshires. And of course Westfield holds the United States record for the most rainfall in a 24 hour period, 13 inches,  & most rainfall in a storm Hurricane Diane 19.75 inches  – and please,  note below that Westfield is on this list no less than 3 times…..  GAH!

Wettest tropical cyclones and their remnants in Massachusetts
Highest known recorded totals
Precipitation Storm Location Ref
Rank mm Inches
1 501.7 19.75 Diane 1955 Westfield [4]
2 324.4 12.77 New England Hurricane of 1938 Gardner [2]
3 317.5 12.50 Carrie 1972 Tashmoo [19]
4 312.4 12.3 1933 Outer Banks hurricane Provincetown [4]
5 251.0 9.88 Eloise 1975 Westfield [19]
6 236.7 9.32 Connie 1955 Plainfield [19]
7 231.1 9.10 Irene 2011 Savoy [20]
8 213.36 8.40 Lee 2011 Worthington [55]
9 179.3 7.06 Bob 1991 Westfield [19]
10 175.5 6.91 Donna 1960 Great Barrington [19]

Anyway, woke up this morning to misty drizzle and a brisk northeast breeze, gusting up to maybe 20 mph.  Work for me and classes for both the girls were cancelled last night, so I had planned on a bit of a sleep in. The Viking had other plans for me though  – calling about 9am to see if I could run up to  Blandford and pick up Sophie’s seizure medication. She won’t run out till the weekend -but who knows if we will be able to get up there by then. So Jill and I were off on a quick adventure, stopping at Dunkin for “coffee and” and also topping off the gas tank on the Saturn before the prices skyrocket again. Great to see that the utility companies and the Emergency Response personnel were (and are) already out in force.

As I left the house, I noticed that UPS had made a delivery.  It was from my dear friend Barney http://mountainperspective.wordpress.com in California- who sent me one of his handcrafted cutting  boards made of black walnut maple and cherry wood. It literally made my day – and I called him to thank him and chat after Jill and I got back from our errands. An expatriated New Englander, Barney is extremely concerned about how things are going, so I told him I would keep him posted.  Then, I thought I would do this weather blog  thing too.  This will help me I’m sure when my future grandchildren ask me what I was doing during Frankenstorm -the “Nor’easter-cane” of 2012.

The Viking came home for lunch at noontime, the wind is really picking up and my Dad’s windchimes are making music in very accelerated time. Jill and I decided to put together clothes and necessary equipment and get the animals stuff ready in case we do eventually need to leave.  I’m not overly concerned with that part of it right now per se; but better to be prepared to get gone than not.  Last year’s fiasco served as a lesson to everyone.

Mother Nature certainly seems to have it in for the Northeast lately. The tornado last year (which began in Westfield btw…) Hurricane Irene, the October “Snowpocalypse” at this exact time last year (that’s the weirdest thing, isn’t it?),  the minor earthquakes of last summer and again just last week up in Maine. I think she needs to get back on her HRT – and soon. Anyway, at the moment the wind is steady and the trees are swirling moderately; no real rain to speak of -just scattered here and there.   Going to sign off for now.  Will update with part 2 later (by phone if the power goes out) . Batten Down the Hatches! Full Speed Ahead, and Get the Whiners Below Deck!

For those of you not directly affected by this storm, but are interested in following whats going on here,  I recommend checking out  WWLP.com  They’re our local station and fairly accurate when it comes to weather stuff.