Monday, October 29, 2012

24 Hours Later

The hurricane has taken the sudden left hook, just as predicted.  Normally, once past Cape Hatteras, it would head northeast into the Atlantic.  But this is where the combination of storms is making it the 'Frankenstorm', because the low pressure of the system still over southern Ontario is pulling the hurricane inland and northwest.

You can watch it on the satellite as it headed inland over Delaware and New Jersey, crossing over Baltimore and Washington, and now headed into Pennsylvania.

But we get mesmerized by the centre of the storm on the image.  One forecast explained how strong winds will actually happen on the outer edge of the storm, where the pressure and temperature differences between the warm tropical air and the cold arctic air are greatest - and that's right over southern Ontario.  And the winds will be out of the north because of the counter-clockwise circulation of the air mass around the eye of the storm.  That means that the south end of Lake Huron and the south shore of Georgian Bay are at risk.

On the satellite image the storm is moving much faster than I expected.  In the next few hours it is predicted to turn suddenly northward and slightly east.  We'll see in the morning whether that has happened.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Watch the Frankenstorm Unfold!

Well, we've all heard about the Frankenstorm by now, whatever it will amount to.  But it's absolutely fascinating to watch it unfold on the satellite images as the low pressure system and following arctuc cold front here in Canada meet up with the hurricane system arriving from the south.

Go to Environment Canada's weather page for Ontario, and choose Radar and Satellite, then Satellite. A number of satellite images are listed.  I find the best is the 'small' version of GOES-East, for Eastern Canada, the IR image.  Click on this and when the image comes up, go to the bottom of the photo and 'Display the last ...', select 'all images.  Then hit 'play'.

The sequence of images that will unfold in front of you is amazing.  The 100 or so images cover about the past 48 hours. As it starts you can see the curving lines of clouds over Ontario that represent Friday's low pressure system and rain, moving northeast.  You can also see Hurricane Sandy, just appearing on the picture, still centred out in the Atlantic.

Quite quickly as the hours click off, the two huge air masses meet over Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Just after Saturday at midnight the first long curved cloudline associated with the hurricane reaches southern Ontario, while our earlier storm has been pushed northeast.  By late Sunday afternoon the first  orange colour shows up, indicating cold upper layer temperatures, reflecting the cold front still sitting over southern Ontario.  The outer edge of the hurricane system's clouds have reached Lake Superior, though the eye of the storm still sits in the Atlantic off South Carolina.

This is going to be really interesting to watch unfold over the next few days, regardless of what happens on the ground.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

End of the Fall Colours

Most of the leaves are gone now, and the world outdoors is so different, but until a few days ago lots of trees still had their colours.  This maple was bright yellow, top to bottom, but the basswoods in the background are now bare.

And finally the oak leaves have turned, a deep brownish red, a rich colour in the sunlight.

Meanwhile, the silver maples with their deeply cut leaves are a pale yellow.

Tree leaves aren't the only ones that change colour; hostas turn yellow in the fall too, and then rapidly disintegrate in the frost.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Fall Colours are Better than Vermont's!

Went off on a short trip to Vermont, expecting to see hillsides of brightly coloured leaves - but there was nothing to compare with right here at home!  Lots of yellow and orange, and certainly lots of bigger hills than we have, but no bright red maple leaves anywhere - unlike the many right in our own neighbourhood.

Monday, October 8, 2012

First Frost

First frost last night knocked out a number of sensitive flowers around the garden, but the fall colour continues - more spectacular reds this year than I can ever remember..

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The fall colours continue to amaze, though the leaves were blowing off the ash trees and drifting down around me today while I worked outside.  Some maples are especially red this year, apparently because we've had a dry September with cool but not freezing nights.  That sort of weather promotes the formation of anthocyanins which make the red colours.

The virginia creeper has been looking bright red for 2-3 weeks, tangled over the trees and shrubs where it's grown.  Looks a lot like poison ivy, but with 5 leaves.

Other maples just look yellow or orange, but the combination of all these colours is making the valley a thanksgiving wonderland.  There'll be hundreds of people out walking to see the fall colours this weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Colours

There are subtle ongoing changes in the world around us throughout the seasons, but the biggest flourish is undoubtedly the fall colours. The valley is almost fluorescent with brilliant reds and oranges at the moment. It won't last long, but it's amazing while it's here.

The maple leaves seem to be the ones that turn most brilliant red, and when lit up by the afternoon sun they are bright indeed.

All around us for a few days are young maples, ash, cherries and oaks, turning yellow and orange. I never tire of it, and just take picture after picture.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Flowers still in the Garden

The colour in the trees is just spectacular just now, but there's still lots of colour in the garden too, a surprising number of different flowers in bloom. Some of them were eaten down by the deer in the spring, and have recovered enough to bloom late, or even a second time. For others it's the normal bloom time. Here are a few in the garden at the moment.

Rudbeckia 'herbstone'.

Fall Anenome

Tithonia or Mexican Sunflower

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brilliant Rainbow and Colours in the Evening Sun

It rained steadily for quite awhile the other day, but then in early evening the clouds in the west parted to let the sun through, while the rain moved on to the east.

The result was a brilliant rainbow. This was just one end of it; the other end was brilliant as well, but somewhat hidden, and there was a faint hint of a double rainbow.

Meantime, the sun was shining brilliantly on the trees to the east, showing them off in bright orange and red against the gray sky. A briefly passing moment of beauty.