Wednesday, 26 March 2014

08:04 – Synchronicity. Until I used the word “graupel” yesterday, I don’t believe I’d ever seen it used in an English-language setting. Growing up in Pennsylvania, we called it “soft sleet” or “slush”.

So when Barbara checked her mail and regular web sites after dinner last night, she shouted “graupel?” to me. I told her what it was. A short while later, she told me that a National Weather Service Local Weather Alert on the Weather Channel website was forecasting graupel. Indeed.

Issued by The National Weather Service
Raleigh/Durham, NC
Tue, Mar 25, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

… SCATTERED RAIN SHOWERS… POSSIBLY MIXED WITH SOME GRAUPEL AND/OR WET SNOW… WILL MOVE ACROSS CENTRAL NC OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS…

SCATTERED RAIN SHOWERS WILL MOVE ACROSS CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA THROUGH THE EVENING HOURS. WET SNOW AND/OR GRAUPEL WILL BRIEFLY MIX IN WITHIN THE HEAVIER SHOWERS. THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL REPORTS OF MIXED PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE TRIAD AND NORTHERN PIEDMONT DURING THE LAST HOUR AND THIS WILL TRANSLATE EAST OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS. HOWEVER… WITH TEMPERATURES ABOVE FREEZING AND MAINLY MIXED PRECIPITATION… LITTLE ACCUMULATION IS EXPECTED. ANY WET SNOW ACCUMULATIONS WOULD BE CONFINED TO GRASSY AND ELEVATED SURFACES WITH NO ACCUMULATION ON ROADS OR BRIDGES.

Work continues on building more forensic science kits. We need to get another dozen or two built this week, and then get to work on building more biology kits. We’re in good shape on chemistry kits for now.


23 thoughts on “Wednesday, 26 March 2014”

  1. Graupel is a German word, of course, which is why we in the Midwest (especially you in PA) are probably familiar with it. But I am not sure we really mean the same thing with the word as the Germans. Where I was in Berlin, Graupel referred to that stinging, usually wind-driven stuff that is somewhere between sleet and hail. Around here, I have always understood it to mean “slush”, as you refer to it — very similar to the stuff in a slush drink, if you could bottle it. Somehow those do not seem exactly equivalent to me.

    Nass (wet) and trocken (dry) were used much more than “rain” or “clear” as we use it. Schneeregen and Graupel were commonly used in winter. I have always maintained that English has many more descriptive terms than other languages, as Schneeregen is understood to mean sleet, while the literal words snow and rain can mix, and that is not exactly sleet.

  2. Graupel, to me, is soft hail. It looks like hail that has been melting for a while. You can easily squish it with your fingers. Slush is snow that has started to melt and has a high water content, and doesn’t fall from the sky. That’s referred to as sleet.

    We use a term in the Okanagan called “flauvage” to mean lake effect snow. I’ve never heard the term anywhere else, and the Google is useless in finding it online, except to reference an Okanagan weatherman.

  3. In Nebraska they typically call it “a wintry mix.” 🙂 Outside of that, there’s snow, sleet, hail, freezing rain, freezing drizzle…

  4. Another term that’s familiar to pilots that you don’t hear much used by the weather drones on TV is “virga”. It’s rain that evaporates before hitting the ground. Pilots try to avoid the area due to possible downbursts.

  5. 65 F outside here in the Land of Sugar and suppose to be 75 F tomorrow. 85 F forecast for Friday.

    Gentlepersons, start your air conditioners!

    We’ve got enough heat generation here inside the office that both A/C units are running intermittently. South side set at 74 F and North side set at 73 F. Just got a new two year electricity contract here in the main office for 11 cents/kwh including demand charge (about 1 cent/kwh). The two year old contract was 10 cents/kwh. The office uses 3,500 kwh in non-peak months and 5,000 kwh in peak months. There is another meter on the warehouse but that tenant pays that.

  6. If this isn’t an overly hot summer, but a more normal one, I will not need air-conditioning until the end of May at earliest. All the same, I should replace the filters and try to figure out what has gone wrong with the electrostatic filter system. Looks like the power supply died. Happened in the middle of the cooling season last summer, but I did not want to stop the air-conditioning to fix it. The air channel has to be open to reach the power supply. Not really a good design.

  7. When I lived in Woostuh, MA, a city of at least seven hills, and the site of very strange weather patterns over the centuries, including the killer tornado of 1953 and several smaller ones that I remember from when I lived and worked there, there is a mix of rain tending to sleet, usually just light enough to get you wet after a while but not stinging, that the college kids (Woostuh has ten colleges/universities and is the second-largest city in New England) called “Worcestering.” As in, “Hey, it’s Worcestering again!”

    I also recall a day in early October when we got eleven inches of snow and then the next day it was 80 degrees and it was gone. Plus winter days of chill factors 50 and 60 below sometimes. Summers with days over 100 occasionally.

    We have that lake-effect snow here pretty regularly; we can see it coming from the south as a complete white-out.

    Third night in a row here with temps at zero and tonight a “Real Feel” of 22 below. Mrs. OFD sez this is “ridiculous” at this point in March. I just laugh; keeps the riff-raff away.

  8. It’s already hit the mid-eighties here in Vegas.

    Harry Reid is whining that ObuttwadCare is behind because a lot of people don’t know how to use the internet. Yes, he said that.

  9. Harry Reid is whining that ObuttwadCare is behind because a lot of people don’t know how to use the internet. Yes, he said that.

    He recently blamed the Russian takeover of the Crimea on Republican obstructionism of an aid bill to the Ukrainian government. Really.

  10. Reid, along with all but a handful of members of Congress, needs to be in a re-education camp at hard labor for the rest of his days on the planet. Many of them should actually be tried and then executed for treason; ditto in the State and Justice Departments, DOD. and the WH. While I’m on a death kick here, let’s not forget the SCOTUS justices who just told us all that if we don’t like ObummerCare, then we should just pay the (punitive) tax.

    And all the while our soldiers are doing cop work overseas and our cops are doing soldier work here, while the top dawgs in the corporate world make out like bandits and just keep on widening that gap until we are indeed, de facto, a banana republic; them behind their gated estates guarded by armed thugs, and the rest of us scrabbling about in the gutters for what scraps they deign to throw us.

    No, I am not a communist. But the pressure in the cooker is building; I figure six or seven more years before the government finally defaults and the house of cards financial mess implodes worldwide. Things will begin to get very interesting about then.

  11. “We have that lake-effect snow here pretty regularly; we can see it coming from the south as a complete white-out. ”

    To be clear, what we get as lake effect snow in the Okanagan is considerably different from what punishes the east. We get a particular kind of powder snow, similar to graupel only much smaller and not icy and measured in fractions of an inch, while the Great Lakes region gets a white out blizzard measured in feet.

  12. Harry Reid has agreed to pay back $16,000 in “holiday gifts” per the FEC during his last campaign. Paid to one Ryan Elisabeth as listed on the form. Oops, he left off her last name. Ryan Elisabeth Reid, his granddaughter. He said it would be nice to give donors a personal gift. No nepotism here. No graft here. No foul with the FEC here. Politicians are above the law.

    Move along you dum non-innertube savvy lusers.

  13. Nepotism and graft are the least of the charges that my Tribunal will be assessing after the Revolution and Counter-Revolution. Those convicted of same will most likely be sentenced to corrective labor battalions in undesirable climates.

  14. Harry Reid will be celebrated and given a high place in the new regime when the current regime defaults and brings the economy to its knees. He might could even be Hillary’s VP.

    After all, everyone is equal but some people are more equal than others.

  15. The default may not happen in the next President’s term, maybe the one after, if we still have a president by then. But it’s coming, as anyone who can handle simple arithmetic would know by now.

    It may well make the Great Depression of the Thirties look like a day at the beach; and already we’re seeing speculators and banksters offing themselves. What did they know?

  16. Wait — they are telling us that the last 5 years were already numerically worse than the Great Depression. How much worse can it get? Surely I won’t have to do without my Chai Tea Latte.

  17. In Austria at least, Graupel is used for very small hail pellets (2 or 3 mm size), frozen but not big enough to pose a danger to cars or people, mainly an annoyance.

  18. I have three responses when people ask me what the weather outside is like:

    Q: “How’s the weather?”
    A1: “Good.”
    A2: “Not too bad.”
    A3: “Shitty.”

    A3 covers everything from high wind to tornado warnings to hail, sleet, and snow.

  19. People around me who are my age are agreed that we have never seen the kind of wind we have had during the last several years. Winters just have no pleasant days anymore. While we are in Tornado Alley, we seldom get hit. But when we do, a big deal is made of it for decades. A Palm Sunday tornado in 1965 was brought up every single year until around the turn of the century — even though we have never had anything remotely like it again since then.

  20. I’m afraid our oral history about things like weather sucks. Our memories just aren’t long enough to recall weather from 100, 200 or 500 years ago. What we think is normal may in fact be abnormal.

  21. Very true. The Summer of Love here was remarkable. Got the factory air on my Olds Cutlass fixed (had to do that every spring), but never used it for the entire summer. If only every summer were like that. Not too cold, and not too hot. Perfect for baby bear, Goldilocks, and me.

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