Saturday, January 14, 2017

Causeway Safety Overkill...

As we are in the heart of fog season, the Causeway becomes almost a daily travel concern along with the Spillway and the “long bridge” to Slidell.  The latter 2 do not have restrictions placed on them while the Causeway does.  I left to visit friends up in Covington reaching the Causeway heading north at 11:30 AM.  Skies were sunny over land in Metairie, but a layer of shallow dense fog covered the Lake.  Smartly, the Causeway was restricted to one lane with a 45 mph speed limit.  I felt safe going over and the restrictions were well warranted.  However, on my return trip to the South Shore at 3 PM, the cones were still out with the single lane restriction still in place.  Why?  Visibilities were so good that I could see the tall downtown buildings one mile out over the Lake.   Here’s the problem.  When there is no obvious need for restrictions, drivers become impatient.  Speeds fluctuated from 45 to 60 to 25 mph as a long line of cars backed up behind a slow driver.  I was totally on edge for no reason.  Thank goodness I don’t  have to drive the bridge but once or twice a month.   All I could think of was…”are the Causeway workers too lazy to go take the cones down, or, are the workers waiting for management to make the decision to take down the cones or, is no one accountable for the operation of the bridge on an hourly basis?”   Safety was not an issue.  The fog was long gone.   To inconvenience PAYING customers for no reason is not acceptable.   And they are going to raise the tolls.  Go figure.


Well, fog is already back tonight so the cones will be back out for Sunday morning.  Fog is likely to be a daily issue until we can get colder,  drier air to return.   That is not likely for at least another 7-10 days.  As I have mentioned before, when we are very warm, expect the atmosphere to reverse itself & go very cold to balance itself out.   I will not be surprised to see us get very chilly for the last week of January into & thru much of February, including the lead up to Mardi Gras.  That is not a forecast, just a gut feeling based on past experience.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Look...Spring Feel

Even though I’ve lived here almost 40 years, I have never visited Morgan City…until today.  Now that I’m retired, I can do road trips any time to any where.  My Doctor friend Don & I went back to his hometown (Berwick) to show me where he grew up.  Lunch was at the Acadian in Morgan City where the food was good & the customers very friendly.  It was a bright sunny day but watching all the brown vegetation clearly indicated the effects of our recent freezes.   Our current warm spell is expected to last for another 7-10 days and that will allow some plants to start sprouting new growth.   Since we have a lot more Winter to come, I’m worried we are getting too warm too soon.   I expect several more Arctic Blasts with freezing temps during the next 4-6 weeks and that will likely harm any new growth.   Sure you can start planting your tomato seeds, but realize we are a good 8-10 weeks before we’re beyond our last frost threat.    I did some hack & whacking on my dead plants, but my experts at Perinos tell me you should wait until new growth begins to appear.   I just can’t stand the sight of dead stuff so I may over whack  and cut back more than I should.   Since our growing season is so long, that usually is not a problem. 


With our weather not likely to change much during the next week, the main weather news is the rain & snow out West.   I’m finally hearing some experts say these multiple wet events will put a huge dent in their long term drought & may actually end it before their rainy season is over.   For us, fog will present some early morning driving issues for the rest of this week.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

After the Cold Comes the Thaw...

Awoke again to ice in my bird bath & more of my plants suffering from “cold-i-tist”.   Hard to believe we have struggled to get into the 40s for 3 straight days.  More importantly, water temperatures at Shell Beach have fallen from 62 degrees last Thursday to 47 today.  Why does that matter?  Because models are forecasting a huge warm up beginning Monday and lasting all week.  Dew points in the 20s & 30s will soar back above 60 resulting in widespread daily fog, especially near water bodies.  I remember growing up outside Chicago to almost always having a warm up after a long cold spell before & after Christmas.  It was called the “January Thaw” and meant daytime temperatures would get above freezing melting some of the ice and snow.   Our “thaw” will be way more impressive as highs return to 70+ by Tuesday lasting the rest of the week.  I’ll  get my potted plants back outside tomorrow , none the worse for being indoors for 3 days.


Been reading about the California rain & snowfalls that have them on a path for possibly their wettest rainy season ever!  In fact, most of the western states have been getting above normal rain & snows which should bold well for the 2017 summer fire season.  We are nearing the halfway point of “meteorological” winter with plenty of time for more Arctic blasts.  This week though will turn Spring-like allowing folks to get back outdoors.  Enjoy, but watch out for the fog developing by midweek.  Stay tuned!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pipes OK on South Shore

As the coldest air of this Winter season arrives, many start to wonder “do I need to run the water?”   1st, the PIPE RULE states you run your water when temps drop below 28 degrees and stay there for 4 hours or longer.  That won’t happen tonight on the South Shore.  Why?  Several reasons will prevent the temps from falling that low.  1)  Cloud cover will not allow for radiational cooling.  All the cold will come from advection, but that means the winds will be brisk.  With winds flowing over the warmer waters of Lake P (currently 58 degrees), I don’t see temps falling into the 20s.  However, on Sunday morning with clear skies & lighter winds, a light freeze will be possible.  I finalized getting my yard ready today by draining my hoses and putting all my tender plants inside my back shed.  Inside I have a 100 watt light bulb that will keep temps well above freezing.  Tomorrow I’ll pick all my lemons and many of my grapefruit remaining on my trees.  If I lose any plants, it’ll only be the outer leaves and I’ll just whack them back and let them spout again in the Spring.  I agree with many of you regarding the colder weather.  It gives us an opportunity to wear our heavy coats & sweaters for a few weeks of the year and/or sit beside the fireplace and feel the warmth & the glow.   Don’t get me wrong, I HATE the cold.  However, I’ve learned how to deal with it and know it usually doesn’t last very long.   


Those of you living on the North Shore, it appears the next 2-3 nights will be FULL PRECAUTION nights.  That means you’ll need to let a trickle of water run from one or 2 of your inside faucets starting just before you go to bed.  I normally would let the drip be half & half hot & cold water.  This is not a super Arctic blast but one that will grab our attention for the next few days.  Stay tuned!