Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday Musette...

(Image from Earth Science)


George commented:

I was wondering if you got sucked up into a funnel cloud.....tornadoes must get old after awhile.

We get them in PA, just not as much as you guys do.”

Oklahoma has some of the best weather radars on the planet as well as a very effective warning system. The National Weather Service here uses advanced doppler radar that shows both precipitation and wind direction. The radar image is developed from multiple sweeps with the antenna tilted at different angles so the radar gets a 'cross section' of a storm. It used to take about 5 minutes to process all the information, so a 'live' radar image was actually 5 minutes behind, but I understand the processing times are shorter now.

Radar pulses travel in a straight line, so the farther they are from the antenna, the higher they are in the atmosphere due to the curvature of the Earth. In order to know what's going on under a storm cloud, spotters are necessary. I was trained as a spotter many years ago.

I lived in Mercer County in western Pennsylvania before moving to Oklahoma in 1987. I was there when multiple tornadoes crossed over from Ohio one spring day in '85 or '86. Youngstown television stations reported the storms and tornadoes just as we lost power. Mary and I went down to the volunteer fire department to listen to the county-wide VHF fire net as the Greenville squad followed a tornado northeast across the county. The fire department was the only place in town with a generator.

By comparison, the warning system here in Oklahoma was light-years ahead. It's not perfect, of course, but I'm unlikely to be caught unaware by a storm. And when you consider the risk, we're probably more at risk when driving a car. I think annual tornado-related deaths are roughly equivalent to those that result from lightning strikes.



I've been working a lot of overtime. Here's my typical weekday:

5AM Alarm goes off. Get out of bed and get ready for work. Load email into laptop. Make a cup of coffee. Sometimes I get to drink all of it.

6AM Leave for work. Pedal, pedal, pedal!

5:30 PM Start homeward commute. Pedal, pedal, pedal!

6:15 PM Arrive at home. Change into yard work clothes. Do chores and errands like: cut grass, run trimmer/edger, act as family chauffeur, etc. May take an hour to an hour-and-a-half.

7:30 Take a very necessary shower.

8 PM Dinner.

8:30 to 10PM Write CycleDog. Answer email. Read various blogs. The Weather Channel is on the television with the sound muted.

10PM Watch the news, or at least the important part of it. Turn it off before the sports starts.

10:15 Sleep.

5AM Alarm goes off. Get out of bed and get ready for work. Load email into laptop. Make a cup of coffee.


Saturday will be much the same but I'll only work 8 hours rather than 10.

I'm becoming a victim of routine. This is getting old, but the overtime pay is nice. Mary has plans for it, mostly involving home improvements. Fortunately, this will run only through this month and end at the beginning of June.

Shall we dunce?

One of my co-workers complained about cyclists. “They're riding right on the road! I have to slow down, and then floor it to go around them! It wastes my gas!”

He's not alone. Lots of drivers have to assert their presumed superiority by using maximum acceleration to pass us sleek, swift bicyclists. I feel their pain at watching that gas gage dive into the red zone. Or maybe not.

And then there's the guy who leaves about 10 minutes early and walks out to the far parking lot to get into his truck. Then he drives back over to the building and parks near the door. It's almost impossible to get one of these spots unless you start work before 5AM. He walks back into the building and clocks out for the day. I asked why he did that, and he replied, “I don't want to have to walk that far to my truck.”

I could only stand there, speechless at the sheer genius of it all. Or maybe not.



Blogger The donut guy said...

Dude, you're Superman as far as I'm concerned.

I work 6 nights a week but only 8 hours a night and I *drive* back and forth to work...the rural roads I travel to get to work have lots of blind crests and no shoulder so bike riding is out per my wife.

If I did 12 hours of work and riding....the other 12 would be spent sleeping.

5:54 AM  
Blogger A Midnight Rider said...

I spend many years working loads of overtime. It put two kids through college and kept us in a nice house with nice stuff.

It's all paid for now and there is plenty of time for bike riding and vacations. But alas, the Euro is keeping us home for the time being.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

The guy who moves his truck -- that's just weird.

I have a salary job, so no overtime for me!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I was nervous when riding my bike to work at night on those rural roads in PA. I had to go west on a county road to US19 and then north to work, all in all about 12 miles. Some motorists did 70 or more on those back roads because it was extremely unlikely that they'd meet a state trooper. They managed to bunt deer and trees with depressing regularity.

I chose the bumpiest road because it helped to keep their speed down.

6:55 PM  

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