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Showing posts from December, 2011

Skywatch Friday:  Between Storms

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8:17 AM, Temp 49.2° F, Dew Point 48.4° F, Barometer 29.77 in Steady, Wind Calm, Humidity 97%


Between storms, there is a moment of peaceful moodiness in early morning over Skagit Bay.  Until Christmas, December weather was unusually dry here on South Fidalgo Island.  We received less than a half inch (12 mm) of rain for the month.  The dry spell ended on Christmas Day.  Now we are getting a succession of storms delivering wet and windy conditions, with calm spells in between.  Fortunately, all predictions indicate the New Year's weekend will be fairly nice.



Skywatch Friday:  Gone in a Flash

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It was early morning and still quite dark outside.  I was watching the news over a second cup of coffee when suddenly, the room  went pink.  I grabbed the camera and caught this Skagit Bay sunrise just in the nick of time.  A moment later, it was gone.



Fidalgo Summit Views

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At 1,273 feet (388 m) Mount Erie is the highest point on Fidalgo Island.  Technically, it is a diorite pluton.  This is a mass of magma, heated by tectonic plate subduction, that rose up into the earth's crust and solidified.  It became igneous stone similar to granite.  Later it was exposed by uplift, glaciation and erosion.  It is part of a complex formation called Fidalgo ophiolite, a mixture of ocean crust and volcanic rocks that make up Fidalgo and the San Juan Islands.  Note that if the molten magma reaches the surface, a volcano is the result instead.  (As an editorial point, while I am comfortable with technical writings in medicine, chemistry and biology, I find those in geology to be uniquely impervious to understanding.  Please excuse my feeble attempt to clarify the basic concepts here.)

Mount Erie is an Anacortes City Park and a part of the Community Forest Lands.  It is a popular spot for hikers, rock climbers and hang gliders.  It is also possible to drive a steep,…

Wild Fidalgo:  Eagles of Ala Spit

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Meet the Bald Eagles of Ala Spit at Wild Fidalgo.  I have discovered that this Whidbey Island county park is a great spot for viewing wildlife.


Weather Wonderland

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Photographing the weather can be a challenge.  Weather is not an object that can be portrayed in an image.  It is a condition of the atmosphere at a particular place and time.  It is possible to make images of the weather's effects.  For example, the wind cannot be photographed, but bending trees or crashing waves caused by the wind can be pictured.


For the past week, western Washington has been under the influence of both a lingering high pressure off the coast and a temperature inversion.  The high has given us clear, calm sunny days.  The inversion layer has trapped cold air near the ground under warmer air aloft.  The calm conditions prevent the mixing of air layers.  This is a recipe for chilly surface temperatures and morning fog in spots.


At home, the sun had come up under clear skies.  With nice weather and a day off, I headed over to the dike at Wiley Slough in the Skagit River delta to try and catch some wildlife photos.  The dike serves as a trail and makes it possible…

Skywatch Friday:  Rain Shadow

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The Olympic Rain Shadow is a local weather phenomenon produced by the Olympic Mountain Range in northwest Washington State.  It is the reason the annual rainfall in my location can be nearly half of what Seattle experiences.  If I look over Whidbey Island, I can sometimes see it.  Such was the case early this morning.  As weather systems move in off the Pacific Ocean, the mountains will literally part the clouds.  The region under its influence gets less rainfall and more sunny days than other parts of western Washington.  The clouds empty most of their rain on the windward side of the mountains producing the famous Olympic Rain Forest.


UPDATE:  This morning we saw the sunrise through the oculus of the Olympic Rain Shadow.  This evening, the sunset is also worth a look.  I cannot see the sunset from my location (it's off to the right), but I can see its reflection when I look southeast.





Weather Statistics for November, 2011

TemperatureHigh 56.6° FLow 28.2° FMean 42.7° FRainfall2.40…