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About Zanclidae

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  1. Zanclidae

    February 10-12, 2019 Storm

    1st WSW tonight for us. Pushing 7" here, never changed to rain. A few pockets of sleet/snow mix around 1600 EST. Jarrettsville MD, Harford County. Plowed out the lane at 15:30 and now it's snow covered. Back roads are freezing up. School tomorrow is 2hr late. Probably announce closed tomorrow. That would be six days now. Our blue spruces and balsams are sagging and we've had a few power flickers this evening. Lots of 13.8kV and 7.2kV overheads in the woods this way so it doesn't take much to cause something to pop. Thank goodness for reclosers. (and standby generators!)
  2. Zanclidae

    Favorite winter event since January 2016?

    March 2nd wind event. Peak gust of 67mph which is the highest non thunderstorm gust since December 28, 1988. Wind events are fun, power did go out but we have several gennies and two big diesel tanks. And the work with cutting up the trees is good exercise. And too, the Jan 23 blizzard for us was a BIG event. We got under some bands that pushed totals way up! The candle is 48" tall!
  3. Zanclidae

    January Banter 2019

    Best squall I've experienced in my life was in Harford County MD near Jarrettsville. It was Friday, January 25, 1985. Story time! I just got finished up with dinner. Turned on the TV and was flipping through channels. WTTG (Channel 5 in DC) was always sensitive to sferics and I used that to know in the summer when TRW was nearby or so. Never expected to see white static and crashes through the speaker in Jan. WTF! So I watched and again, not even a minute later, another one! So, I take a look out my den window facing due west and sure enough, I can see lightning in the distance. While this would be no biggie in May, in Jan it is and this area rarely sees thundersnow. As I kept watching, I noticed what I thought was a dog that got loose from one of the neighbors. It waddled closer in and to my surprise it was a HUGE Canadian goose! Well that surely was strange. And then there was another flash that was bright enough that it took my attention off the goose. I noticed a few flurries coming down as well. There were two more flashes and I heard thunder. This was sounding just like a decent thunderstorm approaching in the spring or summer. But! It was snow. And boy did it snow. The streetlights up on the main road disappeared and I thought perhaps the power went out, then the houses across the street completely obscured from view! Not foggy-ish, just gone. Then I realized what was happening. It arrived. What would normally be a torrential downpour was an intense snow squall that was a total white out. Looking out the window was like looking out there with a white sheet over the glass. Simply amazing. There was a blinding flash followed by thunder less than a second later. It was exceeding blue-white brilliant like a huge high intensity discharge (HMI) lamp starting up. The wind was also roaring. I ran downstairs to my shack and checked and the wind speed on my Heathkit ID4000 was at 49 mph. It was a very high sustained wind during the event. The peak gust was 53mph. The anemometer was mounted at 10 meters on a free standing Rohn 25G tower so those numbers are legit. The funniest part of the story is when I pulled the curtain back to look outside, there was a blinding flash of light and right outside the window was that damn goose! I scared him and he spread his wings and jumped in the air and I nearly fell backwards away from the window. I actually recall screaming, it was that bad. If you've ever seen the movie Free Willy, near the beginning where the kids were at the aquarium painting the tank windows with graffiti and the lightning flashes and Jessie sees Willy for the first time with mouth open and screams, well there you go, that's it right there! Anyhow, after that was over, we had a good 6 or 7" of new snow in well under an hour, 40-45 minutes tops and most of that was in that heavy burst. I would not want to be caught driving in something like that for sure. Those are the kind of *instant whiteout* that cause big traffic pileups on the interstate. Because someone is going to stop and someone isn't. I've never seen this happen before. Have seen thundersnow several times, but that was truly legit and it was wonderful. Probably the most recent winter event that was exciting for me was January 26, 2011. That was a pretty good "flash freeze" event for us. And the second time I had to get help with clearing snow off the lane. The Cyprus trees took a terrible beating with that one.
  4. Zanclidae

    Acu-Rite Atlas PWS

    I'm new here, been reading the site for years before finally joining. My biggest issue with these wireless stations is the lack of refresh rate. Understandably, due to the limits of battery capacity, this is necessary. I wish there was a wired version which being powered (POE or Power Over Ethernet) is a good idea and allows up to 100 meters of cable between nodes, etc. Of course this pushes into the realm of a professional product costing many times more than the home or hobbyist station. I'm OK with that. In the early 1980s, I had a shack with a wall of Heathkit instruments. I loved that system! A close strike on a tower took out the wind sensors (vane and cups) but this was in 1985 and Heath was still in business and I was able to get replacement parts and was back and running in a few days. The bearings on those sensors were of extremely low friction (the sensor boom used on the ID-1890, ID-4000, and ID-5000 family) and was great for reading even the lightest breeze. Of course today there's ultrasonic (but again) the cost is prohibitive for most. Speaking of cost, my ID-4000 cost $399 back in 1982 (Kit) and the 5000 came out was $599. Bargain compared to today if you can locate one in perfect shape! I do miss seeing the display which was essentially like watching a speedometer while driving showing gusts in real time. My wife got me an Accurite for Christmas and I did manage to get it set up a few weeks ago. It seems to work (the rain gauge I'd say is the most convenient part) and the wind speeds just don't seem to reflect real winds and/or gusts. I've been watching weather for nearly five decades and as a mariner in the past I'm pretty good with Beaufort estimating. Of course we have trees and the location isn't optimal. For gusts I just don't believe the recordings are accurate due to the very slow update rate. It does not appear the device samples internally faster with a memory and reports the gust on the transmission to the base. The lightning sensor is hilarious. I was mounting it under the canopy of a large spruce tree and it started beeping because it was detecting the EMI from the DeWalt cordless screw gun I used to lash it to the trunk! Not sure how it will work when we do get activity in the spring as a few weeks ago there were strikes <12 miles away and it was silent. I did pull the trigger on an autonomous unit that is solar powered with a GPRS radio. That one's going on a free standing tower at 10m in the pasture here. The ultrasonic anemometer polls at 30Hz so I don't think instantaneous gust capture will be a problem.