My best wishes to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, as we begin our peak time of the year for "tropical" weather activity!! May you avoid the eye wall of any and every tropical cyclone in these next 60 or so days of potential weather cataclysms! All the best luck to every palm grower and lover out there on this wonderful but sometimes turbulent blue solar system celestial "marble"! Andy.
PS: Below is our yard after Hurricane Wilma's 2005 random, but "messy pruning!" It was pretty well sheared flat but 15 years later I cannot find any evidence of it ever having been here!! It was pricey to get it beautiful, again, though! (That went without saying, I suppose!)
It looks as though nature (or Divine Providence) is sparing the Miami-Lauderdale, FL area "Is-Aye-Ee-Ahs" That is a nice way to begin August! I guess that this is a temporary "reprieve" though as the next 60-70 days are a virtual shooting gallery in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico!
I wish all our palm-loving, palm nurturing & growing members the very best of wishes (and freedom from bad storms) during this stressful season ahead.
It kind of makes up a portion of my mind that asks itself: "what do I most fear as a threat to keeping my palmy landscape intact?" Is in tropical cyclone season, or is it winter with it's potentially fatal, or at least damaging freeze/frost events? I tend to lean towards fearing winter's cold more, because it seems more likely to get a bad cold spell than a hurricane. What do you all think? Which type of weather peril brings more shivers down your spine: cold waves or really bad storms?
By Cindy Adair
As you all know, Hurricane Irma in early September left damage and no power or water at my farm for 5 days, but I still had internet and phone service and it was far less than predicted. We in mainland PR breathed a sigh of relief and felt so much sympathy (we still do) for our smaller islands of Culebra and Vieques and so many other Caribbean islands. As Florida got nailed I saw the photos here on PT and elsewhere and grieved for all of you who met up with Irma.
I unpacked all my potted plants and relaxed. For a couple of days.
Then Maria headed for a visit and this time no last minute reprieves. Hurricane supplies in PR had been depleted already by Irma preparations so all D batteries and generators and such were long gone.
I did manage to get a full tank of gas and a bit of extra water but I started out less well stocked than I had been prior to Irma. The idea of moving all my plants (that I had just moved back out) back in held no appeal but I knew it must be done.
On to the photos, starting with some "before hurricane season" shots.
Yesterday when Irma rotated its howling winds to the east, we were able to open the garage side door on the west end of the house without being instantly flattened. The roar was deafening and rain flew in sideways torrents. Already we could see that our Garden Lot was already damaged almost beyond belief and we could see only a few dozen feet at best. Of course, I had to take photos. Enjoy from the comfort of your easy chair.
As mentioned in passing by other local members, the forth coming week ahead looks brutal here in the desert.. Really, this time of year in the Sonoran Desert, and entire Southwest is both something we do and perhaps don't look forward to.
June here is typically the hottest and driest month, on average. While daily highs in the lower 100s, and very low humidity/ dew point readings are typical, the exceptional heat building atm is not. As suggested, Phoenix may indeed reach.. if not surpass 120f by Tuesday and/ or Wednesday. The hottest recorded temp via the official weather station at Sky Harbor is 122f recorded on June 20th, 1990. These days, with all the neighborhood weather stations, ..and as seen last year, some areas can surpass that temperature, even if Sky Harbor doesn't. This might be one of those years a weather station somewhere in the valley reaches into the 130f range.. perhaps a run at 140f?
WX models have wavered back and forth ..with acouple suggesting 500mb heights reaching 600dm.. which is not only exceptional, but might ..should that happen, almost guarantee a run at breaking 1990's all time high, we'll see what happens.. I can't imagine hitting 125f.
For anyone who may be in town next week, take the heat very seriously.. this isn't your typical " Phoenix Heatwave"
For all of us with plants, especially stuff in containers, extreme heat can easily cause significant damage. While the heat helps get things growing earlier on, everything slows down. Or stops growing entirely this time of year. Shade, of any kind, helps tremendously. Still, the heat+ very low ( or non existant) humidity levels are a curse since everything can dry out extremely quickly. Even with frequent watering.
Still, there is a silver lining to the blast furnace ahead. Without our heat, there wouldn't be a monsoon season here.
While everyone here is dreading the week ahead, this kind of heat will help get the monsoon engine cranking just south of the border, and over Baja.
An explination: It is the temperature contrast between the land and sea that starts the " Gulf Surge" process that helps funnel moisture north into Arizona and New Mexico. Another aspect in play is how the heat helps set up a thermal low over far S.E. California and higher pressure over the S.W. tip of the Baja Peninsula. The is set up further aids in funneling moisture north. The mountains in Sonora, Mexico have already started the " Green up" process and should also start sending moisture north. I've also noticed a more favorable set up for easterly wave activity ( surges of moist air that move east to west across the Gulf of Mexico/ western Caribbean into S. Texas/ eastern Mexico, than turn north/ northwest over Sinaloa and Sonora) over the past few weeks. Hopefully this is a sign of a good rainy season for the southwest ahead. Models ( gfs, gfs-para, couple others) are currently showing some sort of activity toward the end of the month. We'll need it after next week.
No matter how it plays out, ( unless we get nothing. Very bad) monsoon season is the reward, the blessing, for what summer brings us here in the Desert. Growth resumes, heat gets tempered/ higher humidity makes for some nice, Florida-esque summer, evenings, .and the "scent of the Desert" after a good downpour, and lightning storms are worth it. We could live without the dust storms and the concerns they bring each year but they're partially a result of human error/ ignorance , ie: stripping away the desert's natural vegetation, leaving non planted fields bare( cover crop-less) and subject to blowing. Even so, it's kind of cool to walk outside for a moment as a dust storm is rolling in, hearing thunder, but not being able to see where it is coming from since the storm itself is obscured in a dusty brown sky.. it's a storm chasing thing, trust me.
Before relief , we'll see just how hot it can get..
Anyway, be safe out there, and welcome to summer.