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Tag: weather

Storm coming

Friday, 22 September, 2017 0 Comments

Surf's up

“They sicken of the calm who know the storm.” — Dorothy Parker


The snow did not show

Sunday, 10 January, 2016 0 Comments

The snow that’s been missing all winter might arrive on Thursday. Then again, it might not. So far, it has not showed, the snow, and that’s upset lots of people and plans.

Red Bull


Life without air-con

Thursday, 25 July, 2013 0 Comments

On Sunday, in Munich, the temperature is predicted to reach 38C, and it might even touch 40C. Because Germans regard air-conditioning as “American” and, therefore, depraved, unnecessary suffering will be widespread; especially hard hit will be helpless patients in many of the city’s clinics and hospitals.

There was a time, however, on the other side of the Atlantic when air-conditioning was unknown and Arthur Miller captured the hardship of summer in Manhattan beautifully in “Before air-conditioning,” which was first published in the New Yorker in June 1998. Snippet:

“People on West 110th Street, where I lived, were a little too bourgeois to sit out on their fire escapes, but around the corner on 111th and farther uptown mattresses were put out as night fell, and whole families lay on those iron balconies in their underwear.

Even through the nights, the pall of heat never broke. With a couple of other kids, I would go across 110th to the Park and walk among the hundreds of people, singles and families, who slept on the grass, next to their big alarm clocks, which set up a mild cacophony of the seconds passing, one clock’s ticks syncopating with another’s.”

On the other hand, the Bavarians might be justified in their rejection of air conditioning because as Garrison Keillor once noted: “It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn’t hear the barbarians coming.”

Munich weather


Sometimes the sign seems superfluous

Sunday, 2 June, 2013 0 Comments

“Bathing forbidden” it says. Western Europe has been having a strangely cold, wet and sunless spring. There’s snow on higher ground and rain in the valleys has swelled rivers and brought floods. The water table is saturated; the ground won’t hold any more. An expert at Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute, Corentin Fourneau, gave euronews this […]

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Spring lamb delayed

Sunday, 26 May, 2013 0 Comments

The great English poet Philip Larkin enjoys a reputation for lyricism and despondency. Some of his most profound works are filled with fatalism: “Being brave / Lets no one off the grave / Death is no different whined at than withstood,” he wrote in Aubade. Here, however, he’s in upbeat mood. The weather may be […]

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Deep Thunder from IBM in Rio

Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 0 Comments

Rio de Janeiro, the iconic Brazilian city, is famed for its natural beauty but the price is a plague of flash floods and landslides down the steep mountains that frame Copacabana Beach. Two years ago this month, a severe storm caused 212 deaths and left 15,000 people homeless.

IBM Enter IBM. It’s providing Rio with computing power for an urban operations centre to help meteorologists, police and more than 30 city departments to predict the danger of, and respond rapidly to emergencies. The high-end weather system, called Deep Thunder, combines tracking of incoming storms with a “deep computing” capacity that’s able to predict the likely intensity of an oncoming storm.

The data can then be correlated with sensor systems on hillsides that determine soil stability and landslide danger. Alerts should make it possible to warn residents in advance of storms, to close down streets, mobilize ambulances and turn off electric power to prevent electrocutions. The system is connected to the mayor’s home so that even in the middle of the night he can be in the emergency communications and command centre when danger looms.

IBM: “With the World Cup coming to Rio in 2014, the forecast for the business-of-weather approach pioneered by Deep Thunder looks bright.”


‘Tis very warm weather when one’s in bed

Monday, 25 March, 2013 0 Comments

So said the Anglo-Irish writer and satirist Jonathan Swift (1667 — 1745). Coming right up to date, “Extreme cold weather hits Europe” is the headline on a Big Picture photo feature about the deadly climate change that’s been killing people from Vladivostok to Glasgow. In Poland, the interior ministry said 20 people had died in the past 24 hours because of the freezing weather, bringing the toll there so far this year to at least 100. In Serbia, which declared a state of emergency last week, 19 people have died of cold. And for the first time in decades, parts of the Black Sea has frozen near its shores, while the Kerch Strait that links the Azov Sea and the Black Sea has been closed to navigation. According to NASA, the weather pattern is called a “Russian Winter” because the intense cold is triggered by a strong Siberian anticyclone hovering over northern Russia.

A man pushes a bicycle on a snow-covered road near the village of Cotorca, 70km northeast of Bucharest

A man pushes a bicycle on a snow-covered road near the village of Cotorca, 70km northeast of Bucharest


Seldom is Friday all the weeke like

Friday, 20 January, 2012

Friday is not like any other day, said Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales. In “The Knight’s Tale” section, which deals with the ups and downs of a threesome involving Palamon, Arcite and Emily, the narrator compares the lovesick moodiness of the protagonists to the changeability of the weather on a Friday, a day famous for its meteorological tantrums:

“Now up, now down, as bucket in a well
Right as the Friday, soothly for to tell
Now shineth it, and now it raineth fast
Right so can geary Venus overcast
The heartes of her folk, right as her day
Is gearful, right so changeth she array
Seldom is Friday all the weeke like.”

And it’s true. Outside the window, it raineth fast.