Good morning and greetings, thunderstorm fans. As I mentioned before here on the Weather Channel, I’m always amazed by the diverse meteorological events that occur throughout our great nation. This does not include weather conditions in Hawaii, which are always sunny with no chance of it not being paradise.
So last week, aided by a high pressure system that dropped in for the best first round ever of the NBA playoffs, we experienced near record high temperatures here on the central coast, as Wednesday the thermometer hit a sizzling 93 degrees.
Pinch me, am I dreaming? Temperature in the mid 90′s? What’s next, ocean temps in the 70′s?
And just in case you’re thinking about taking a dip into Monterey Bay today without a wetsuit, the thermometer will read a chilly 54 degrees, which to me, is still dangerous shrinkage territory.
We rarely see this kind of heat in Santa Cruz, except when it comes to the homeless problem, as the average high for the month of April is 67.5 degrees. That’s what you get when you order a Mediterranean climate.
So last Wednesday was the hottest day of the year, a good, old-fashioned scorcher. How hot was it? I saw a sign on a store downtown, “No Shirt, No Pants, No Problem.”
Now contrast these warm, breezy conditions with a slow moving storm system that produced a four day barrage of violent, wet weather that wreaked havoc, with record breaking rainfall and 159 tornadoes over fifteen states. Hardest hit by the twisters were Arkansas and Mississippi, as tornadoes destroyed neighborhoods while snapping trees in half and sending trailer trucks airborne like toys.
The White House declared Arkansas a major disaster, and that had nothing to do with the Bill Clinton’s past relationships with Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones. The death toll kept rising, as winds up to 200 mph tore through helpless communities. Families were destroyed and their homes completely leveled, leaving them dazed and confused as to what just happened.
And all in just a matter of seconds.
Now I usually like to keep my subjects light and fluffy like a cheese souffle, but it’s tough to talk about tornadoes in those terms. Nature has a vast arsenal of weapons, but even with early warning systems, folks are no match for these twisters, the most violent of all earth’s storms.
Each year, about a thousand tornadoes touch down in the United States, and with them come winds that are the fastest on Earth. A tornado in Oklahoma once destroyed a whole motel. People later found the motel’s sign in Arkansas. Or as comedian Jay London once pondered, “At Motel 6 in Amish Country, I wonder if they leave the light on for you?”
Their favorite place to play and spawn is Tornado Alley, which stretches from western Texas to North Dakota. This is where the dry polar air from Canada meets the warm moist tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico, forming thunderstorms and setting the stage for disastrous results, like any new drama series on Fox TV.
These cyclones start out very lightly colored or transparent, but the more debris they pick up, the darker they become. Sometimes you can see these violent twisters coming, but like friends and relatives, many show up with little or no warning. Or in the words of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, “You might be a redneck if you’ve been on TV more than five times describing the sound of a tornado.”
Getting back to the weather map, this same storm system produced a month’s worth of rain that fell in a 24 hour period last week. This led to dangerous flash flooding from Florida to New York, with city streets swamped and roads collapsing. These torrential downpours led to historic rain totals and umbrella sales going through the roof.
So what can you say about Mother Nature? She acts like summer but walks like the rain.
So for today’s photo lineup, we are heading straight to my front yard, where as you can see, everything has been coming up roses. The action has been non-stop all spring, as the variety of colors have been nothing short of semi-spectacular. And when you add the bonus of a fragrance into the mix, life is just a little bit better.
So if you have a moment, take some time to smell the roses.
Since while we’re on the subject, a blonde and a brunette walk past a flower shop and see the brunette’s boyfriend buying flowers. She sighs and says, “Oh crap, my boyfriend is buying me flowers again. Now, I’ll be expected to spend the weekend on my back with my legs in the air.”
The blonde says, “Don’t you have a vase?”
On to some late night humor. “In the middle of his second term, President Obama’s approval rating once again has dropped. Obama’s approval rating is so low that today Hillary Clinton said, ‘I’ll take it from here.’” –David Letterman “President Obama is calling Donald Sterling’s racist remarks ‘incredibly offensive.’ And you know it’s bad when even Vladimir Putin says, ‘I hate to say it, but I am with Obama on this one.’” –Jimmy Fallon
“Donald Sterling’s girlfriend said she’s “going to be president of the United States” one day. Yeah, like we’re going to elect someone who secretly records people’s private phone calls and conversations. L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded on tape making racist comments. He now has been banned from the league for life. Great, just where Sterling wanted to end up — the blacklist.” – Jimmy Fallon
“Right now every NBA fan here in Los Angeles knows there’s a dark, ugly cloud of shame hanging over the Staples Center. But enough about the Lakers. There’s also the Sterling thing.” –Craig Ferguson “The Royal Court of Saudi Arabia has launched a website that will accept complaints against the government and send them directly to the king. You can even submit a second complaint if you want — using your remaining hand.” – Seth Meyers
So we’re on to the second round of the NBA playoffs. We’ll catch you taking your team to the brink but just falling short in the first round of the playoffs. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mark Jackson fans.