Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jerome Prophet Speaks - In Living Color


JeromeProphet Goes Hollywood

I've decided to take the next step. I'm not particularly photogenic, but I'm not going to let that stop me. So here goes, my very first YouTube rant.

This particular Video Blog post really doesn't have much of a point, but I felt I had to take the first step in making, and posting a video.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Springfield On The Rocks


Springfield, Illinois Under Ice - Leaves Under Ice

The ice storm which hit Springfield, Illinois and the Midwest in middle December 2007 hit many communities far worse than Springfield. Ice coated power lines, automobiles, homes, trees, sidewalks, roads, and lawns, all which makes for dangerous travel.


December Ice Storm Coats Springfield

Many communities out west lost power. Even Central Illinois communities, like Jacksonville, Illinois lost electricity which can be dangerous during the winter.


Natural Beauty of Springfield, Illinois - Tall Grass Under Ice

Despite the dangers and inconveniences of the ice the transparent layer of frozen water makes everything strangely beautiful - almost alien in appearance. Is this what life on an ice planet looks like?


Springfield, Illinois In The Winter - The Hilton

Downtown Springfield, Illinois can be a beautiful place. The nature photographs taken of all the ice covered trees and lawn were taken in downtown Springfield on December 10th, 2007


Springfield, Illinois - December 10th, 2007 - Ice, Twigs & Berries Flashed

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is the building in the background. The brilliant colors reveal the high levels of anti oxidants present in the branches which is probably how trees and bushes survive the winter.


Downtown Springfield, Illinois In The Winter Time - Horace Mann Plaza

Ice seems to bring out the beauty in the mundane, but it also amplifies the beauty of what is already beautiful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Springfield, Illinois Ice Storm Update 1:30 A.M.


WeatherUnderground.Com

After rummaging around for old flashlights, and batteries my wife and I went to the door to look outside. It is raining, but very lightly. One would think that's good, but the truth is I don't believe it's a good thing. If it was pouring down the ice would have to melt off the trees, and power lines, but with the slower precipitation it just freezes on the already ice coated surfaces.

We no sooner opened the door than we heard the crashing, and thud, of a tree limb hitting the ground, which is never a good sign.

C.W.L.P., the main provider of electricity in the Springfield, Illinois area doesn't take its responsibilities seriously enough. Recently a power turbine simply blew up, setting a power generating facility on fire. In Springfield, Illinois most people seem to believe that this is normal, and that no one is to blame when buildings blow up.

I mention this because I don't believe that C.W.L.P. takes the time to make certain that overhanging tree limbs are cut back away from their power lines. We have a neighbor who has a large tree, and a main power line for the whole block north of us runs under some of the upper branches of this massive tree. Why weren't these tree limbs cut back? Poor management most likely.

So hearing the sound of tree limbs crashing to the ground isn't a good sign at all. Meanwhile I heard on an A.M. radio station that many cities in Oklahoma are without power, and will be for over a week. This in the heart of winter.

Now the same storm system moves east, and everyone is just keeping their fingers crossed. So far most of the system has moved north east, more northward than east, following the jet stream's faster track up north. This has kept most of the nasty ice weather north of Springfield, Illinois.

I feel sorry for those folk living in a huge tract between Sangamon County's northern border all the way north past Chicago. Speaking of Chicago if the storm keep moving in the same direction poor Chicago appears right in its path.

Having said that the overall eastward movement of the entire system, if the system doesn't break up, or if temperatures don't change, could result in Sangamon County getting hit with freezing rain sometime soon - tomorrow perhaps?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Too Stupid & Poor To Be Prepared

An Actual Conversation

Husband: I see you have a flashlight there next to the bed, where's that rubber coated flashlight? Where's my favorite flashlight?

Wife: I haven't seen it in a long time.

Husband: No, that's my favorite flashlight, it has to be around here somewhere.

Wife: I'm not really sure.

Husband: But I've seen you use it, where did you put it the last time you used it?

Wife: I think it's in the utility room, but it doesn't work anymore.

Husband: Doesn't work? What do you mean? I have a spare light bulb, and some batteries.

Wife: Here it is, but it doesn't work. It's broken.

Husband: Broken?

Wife: Yes, there's something wrong with the switch at the bottom.

Husband: How did this happen? It's a really rugged flashlight with a heavy rubber coating?

Wife: There must be other flashlights around the house. Why don't you go and look?

Husband: But I've had this one for years. It's totally rugged. It's my favorite.

Wife: Do you want to know the truth?

Husband: What are you talking about?

Wife: I'll tell you the truth.

Husband: What did you do?

Wife: I couldn't find a hammer, and I was trying to fix one of the oscillating fans..,

Husband: You what! You used my flashlight as a hammer?

Wife: What about that really big flashlight? The one that's really bright?

Husband: That's a spot light, not a flashlight. It would last for about a half hour!

Wife: Well then why'd your brother give it to you in the first place?

Husband: Don't think it's going to be that easy. You owe me a flashlight for Christmas.

Wife: O.K. fine. We'll put it on the list.

Husband: But we need a flashlight right now with this bad weather coming.

Wife: Sorry, you don't get paid until later this week.

Husband storms out of bedroom muttering swear words under his breath.

NOTE: Husband didn't even ask why his spouse would be using a "hammer" to fix and oscillating fan, but that's a conversation for another day I guess.

The Ice Man Cometh - Damn Him!

From my perspective there's little that I can do. I guess I could fill up the gas tank and start driving south. A few hours drive, and I'd be safely below the freeze line, and would be inconvenienced only by the cold winter rain.

But here I make my stand in the village of Jerome, Illinois a suburb of Springfield, Illinois. I've spent the last hour carefully studying a variety of colorful animated weather maps available at wunderground.com.

I first looked at the local radar map, and felt rather lucky. I didn't see anything to be alarmed about. I then zoomed out to the regional map, and felt my heart sink, but still I felt it wouldn't be that bad. I looked at the animation over, and over again looking for some hint of which direction the ice was really headed, and I timed how long it was taking for the evil ice clouds to pass an area the size of Sangamon County - the County I live in.

Looks like it will hit in two hours, but we'll only get maybe an hour's worth of ice, or so I initially estimated.

But then I had to zoom out further, and look at the national maps. I realized then that the coming ice storm was much larger than what I had guessed.

It looks like the majority of the nasty stuff is heading north of Sangamon County, but our County falls within the soon to be affected area. In fact I've seen enough ice storms dump their worst blows on their southern fringes to know that things could actually be worse for Springfield than for say Bloomington. Only time will tell.

It does look bad. The Santa Anna winds, or whatever they are called this time of year, seem to be bringing up streams of humidity from the Pacific by way of Mexico. All that vapor is moving with the jet stream directly for Central, and Northern Illinois, and other Midwestern states.

This storm has already wreaked havoc on states west of here, and now it is our time.

If this were summertime we'd be happy for the rain, but when it's freezing cold out, but not quite cold enough to produce snow, it makes for a dangerous ice storm.

Everyone would rather have snow than ice because ice is so darned dangerous. From the ever growing number of fools driving their SUVs at speeds way too fast directly into power poles, to tree limbs crashing down upon transformers and taking out power to whole subdivisions, we are looking at dangerous roads, and sidewalks, and hours in the cold and darkness.

Things I recall from the week I spent without power in March of 2006 in the aftermath of two F2 tornadoes which struck the Village of Jerome, and Springfield, Illinois:

  • The freezing cold seeping into our home.
  • The disconnection from the rest of the world - no land line phones, nor cable television, nor Internet.
  • The joy of canned food.
  • The mad scramble to find batteries, candles, extra blankets, battery powered alarm clocks, old battery powered AM radios with run down nine volt batteries.
  • The mist from a warm shower rapidly forming droplets in the cold air illuminated by a single beam of a flashlight pointed upward toward the ceiling.
  • The freezing cold air which greets you when you step outside the shower warmed bathroom into the cold dark house.
  • Kids asking repeatedly if school has been canceled.
  • Wanting to go to work to find a safe warm well lit place.
  • Listening to hours and hours of AM radio news covering the weather disaster.
  • The flickering of candles.
  • The slowly fading light from flashlights with dying batteries.
  • The thrill of buying a hot pizza, but having to find a way to pick it up.
  • A sudden overwhelming appreciation for linemen, and journeymen.
  • A feeling of joy when you find out the electricity it back on.
  • Elation over the return of cable television, and most important of all broadband Internet.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

NWS Springfield, Illinois Ice Storm Shuffle

Dave of The11thhour writes a regular feature pitting the National Weather Service's predictions against The Weather Channel's. I'm not really certain why there are differences, but there are.

This morning as rain continues to pour down upon the city of Springfield, Illinois, and Central Illinois in general I am very concerned about the potential for massive power outages, and treacherous road conditions during this freezing cold weather.

I too am a bit confused by some of the predictions coming from our weather experts. Here's an example from the State Journal-Register:

"Steadier freezing rain will begin around dawn (today), causing significant problems during the morning hours," said Dan Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. He said the heaviest precipitation is expected from 5 to 7 a.m. in Springfield and the surrounding areas.

"It will turn into light rain by (this) afternoon as temperatures slowly hedge around the freezing mark, right around or just over."Counties including Sangamon, Cass, Christian, Logan, Menard, Morgan and Scott were placed under an ice storm warning Saturday that will continue until noon today. The warning indicates ice-covered roads are treacherous and power lines and tree branches may snap.

...

Smith said periods of freezing rain were to continue the rest of Saturday night, with temperatures expected to hold steady early today between 25 to 29 degrees.

Warmer air is expected to change the freezing rain to rain later in the afternoon. However, the National Weather Service warns the rain may result in more ice accumulation before causing it to melt.

"On the backside of the system, we might see some freezing drizzle but nothing significant," Smith said.

If people must travel this morning, the National Weather Services advises motorists to keep an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicle in case of an emergency.

So, things are bad, and getting worse, but will get better? Wow! This is what we're paying for? That's quite a prediction from the NWS.

We have rain coming down over an area that's freezing cold. I'd say that's pretty significant. To suggest that rain may cause the ice to melt, but build up more ice before it does so - sounds very predictive, but doesn't say much really. In the past I'd say the NWS has had no idea of whether more or less ice will form at a particular point in an ice storm, but this prediction isn't really that tough to make because eventually the ice will melt - it's only a matter of time.

In the meantime, everyone be careful out there.

email jp

  • jeromeprophet@gmail.com

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