Now It’s Tropical Storm Arthur

After grazing the North Carolina coast Arthur will be picked up by a midlatitude front and ushered to sea. Friday’s New England rain will be enhanced (intensified) by Arthur’s moisture. That’s especially true in Eastern Connecticut and more so in Rhode Island and the Cape.

Atlantic TROPICAL STORM ARTHUR - Google Maps

Invest 91 became Tropical Depression 1, which is now Tropical Storm Arthur. I can’t not look!

Early season storms are usually wimps. Not always. Remember Andrew!

Intensity guidance, among the poorest prediction guesses we make, says Arthur will briefly become a hurricane on Friday. I expect no hurricane force winds onshore.

The spaghetti strands continue to be tightly clustered. A good sign, especially since the impact to Connecticut (where many of my friends still live) should be minimal, but still significant.

After grazing the North Carolina coast Arthur will be picked up by a midlatitude front and ushered to sea. Friday’s New England rain will be enhanced (intensified) by Arthur’s moisture. That’s especially true in Eastern Connecticut and more so in Rhode Island and the Cape.

By Saturday Arthur’s east of Cape Cod and steaming away. The weekend is saved in New England and elsewhere!

Remember: Though I do follow tropical systems and post when I can, you should depend on a meteorologist who works fulltime watching your weather. I am flattered people still value my opinion, but I shouldn’t be your ‘final answer.’ – Geoff

The Weirdest Letter

I was just thinking back to a weird letter I got years ago.

It had to be years ago. I don’t get traditional mail at work anymore. Email? Plenty.

The letter was from an organization that promoted tourism on Cape Cod. It probably wasn’t the Chamber of Commerce, but something similar.

They noticed a full rain free week in New England is a rarity. They thought that was bad for business. You know, someone sees rain in the forecast and stays home.

It’s tough for resorts that first grew mainly because they were close to cities. Nowadays with flying, close isn’t as important.

The Cape folks wanted me (and I assume the other stations) to drop the extended forecast! Get rid of that pesky rain! It’s always easier to shoot the messenger.

Maps Are Fun

I always liked maps as a kid. That’s got to be part of the reason what I do is so appealing. We are crazy with maps!


I always liked maps as a kid. That’s got to be part of the reason what I do is so appealing. We are crazy with maps!

This one is a forecast for wave heights (in meters) and wind speed (in knots) at the forecast location for Hurricane Bill on Sunday morning. Some of the waves will be 45 feet or higher!

It will be interesting to see what effect Bill will have as it (hopefully) passes far east of Cape Cod.

Sunday will be no fun in the Canadian Maritimes. Right now it looks like they’ll get creamed!

My Grandfather

My grandfather, Sol Drelich at work in his Brooklyn lunchenonette

My folks are doing some minor redecorating down in Florida. They had a closet rebuilt with shelves.

Of course rebuilding a closet also means cleaning a closet. Everything came out and my folks started to sift through things they hadn’t seen in years. That’s what takes the most time, because you really want to savor every bit of history you find.

As is so often the case, my mom kept a lot of memorabilia¹. I’m glad she did. The picture attached to this entry is part of the haul. It’s my grandfather, Sol Drelich, taken in the restaurant he owned, probably sometime in the pre-war 1940s.

The prices jump out first. Imagine paying that today!

What’s not so obvious is my grandfather. He came here from Poland. He chose to leave Poland rather than serve in the army.

When he came to the United States he had nothing. He spoke no English, only Polish and Yiddish. In New York City, that was OK. There were thriving communities where Polish or Yiddish were all you needed.

He worked hard as a waiter, learned English, met my grandmother, Rose, and started a family – my mother, Betty, and her sister, Norma.

As time went on, Grandpa bought his own restaurants. With his partner Nat (always referred to simply as “Spiegel” – his last name), he owned a series of luncheonettes. By the time I was old enough to know what was going on, they owned a little place right at the foot of the stairs of the Rutland Road Station of the IRT.

I loved that little restaurant. When I’d go, taking the subway all the way from Queens, Grandpa would show me off like a trophy. I didn’t realize that at the time – though I do now.

He also let me work behind the counter, where I’d pour coffee, get Cokes and generally slow things down. From time-to-time I also worked the register.

I remember being at the cash register, at the front of the store, when a policeman came to pay his bill. There were always policemen there. Grandpa ran to move me out of the way.

It was only later I found out, police officers ate for half price. Captains, lieutenants and other supervisors ate free. Coffee was always free for anyone in uniform, police or fire.

Was that illegal? I’m sure it was.

I know why Grandpa did that. Having cops in his restaurant in this very tough neighborhood was good for business. If it were my business, I might do the same thing.

There’s a lot of me that comes from Grandpa. My quick temper – unfortunately – is one part.

He always talked to me as if he knew I would be a success, even though he didn’t know at what. There was never any doubt that I’d go to college and make something of myself. He wanted me to be more successful than he was.

As a little kid Grandpa took me aside more than once to tell me about the Nazis and their concentration camps. That’s where his entire family was killed. He knew his stories scared me, but that was the point.

I can close my eyes right now and see him, in front of his little Cape Cod in Laurelton, Queens, telling me. We stood face-to-face as he went through it piece-by-piece; how the Nazis would herd the Jews and send them to “take a shower.”

Grandpa has been gone a long time now. He never got to see me on TV. I wish he had. I know he would have been very proud, even though he would have preferred me becoming a doctor.

I wish you could have met my grandfather. You would have liked him.

¹ – As long as I’m mentioning my parents memories, I should give a plug to the little video I produced about how my parents met.

Old Photo From Junior High

While I was cleaning this past weekend, I came across a bunch of things I hadn’t seen in a while. That includes the attached photo.

I am not the shortest boy, but pretty close. I am one boy left of center in the front row.

As far as I can remember, I was in the 7th grade a Campbell Junior High School (JHS 218) on Main Street in Flushing, at the time. A teacher at the school, Frank Skala&#185, organized student trips. These were organized by Mr. Skala (back row, farthest left) and weren’t ‘official’ school trips.

This trip was to Cape Cod. It was the first and only time I’ve been to Cape Cod! As you can see by our clothes, it was off-season.

Here’s what I remember from the trip – nothing.

Actually, I take that back. I remember going to McDonalds. That was significant, because it was my first McDonalds and my first ‘fast food restaurant.’

A few things to note:

Look at the hair! What were they thinking.

Whe was the last time you saw that many 7th, 8th or 9th graders dressed in jackets and ties?

Look how few adults there were for this many teens. I was too young, stupid, innocent, to be a problem. I assume I was an exception in that regard.

I wish I could remember anyone shown. I don’t.

I think the guy to the right of Mr. Skala is the bus driver. Another teacher from the school (who wasn’t on the trip) has identified two other teachers pictured. Even after reading their names, I don’t remember them.

I was only in this school two years, still shouldn’t I remember somebody… anybody?

&#185 – If I knew how to get in touch with Frank Skala, I’d send him this photo file. He was very active in the teacher’s union. He’s probably retired now. I know he is a community activist in Bayside, NY. I’m usually good at this, but I can’t find an email address for him or a website for his organization.

Another Nice Mention in the Day

I spoke to Rick Koster at the New London Day yesterday. He was writing a story about weathermen and comments their viewers make, and asked me to participate. I’m always scared I might say something I’ll later regret. This one came out very nicely.

I’ve attached the story to the link below

Snow Rage?

Just Blame It On The Weathermen, They’re Used To It

�There will be no school tomorrow. At least I’ll be a hero to kids.� – Geoff Fox, WTNH Channel 8 weatherman

Day Staff Columnist, Arts & Entertainment
Published on 3/1/2005

Something irritating this way comes.

It was Monday afternoon and the clouds were the opaque gray of a killer’s eyes. The Nor’easter was roaring up the Atlantic Coast and forecasters were describing a weather system that would utilize the Connecticut shore as a sort of tightrope between heavy rain and snow, or both.

Among area meteorologists, the mood was a cross between the excitement wrought of any storm and the anxiety that comes with predicting tough and complex systems. After all, at this point in the season, the citizenry can be a bit testy � and need someone to blame the weather on.

�It’s the nature of the game,� said Matt Scott, a meteorologist at WTNH in New Haven who called the impending Nor’easter �a complicated one.�

�This is a troublesome storm,� he said. �This is the first storm of the winter where I think we could see some power outages.�

That would certainly increase the potential for public dissatisfaction.

�Well, we’ve had a lot of snow � more than average � and when we’re a little off the mark some folks get agitated,� Scott said.

Geoff Fox, one of Scott’s meteorological colleagues at WTNH, who has worked in the area for 20 years, is more than familiar with irate weather-followers blaming the messenger. He remembered several years ago when a tourist board in Cape Cod was upset with him because members thought Fox’s long-range forecasts, which in this part of the country usually included a day of rain, were affecting business. They theorized Connecticut residents would not make the trip to the Cape if Fox suggested inclement weather.

Another time: �I was collared by a guy who owned a car wash where I used to take my car,� Fox remembered. �He didn’t like weather forecasts that could hurt his business. I tried to kid around, but he had no sense of humor and I came to believe, in his case, that he had some connections and could actually hurt me. So I get my car washed somewhere else now.�

Fox will presumably not worry about the aesthetics of his car over the next few days. He said Monday afternoon that the Nor’easter was pushing farther and farther to the east. Since snow systems have a relative warm and cold side � the cold is to the west � each turn to the east increases the likelihood that southeastern Connecticut will get more snow.

�There will be no school tomorrow,� Fox said. �At least I’ll be a hero to kids.�

Today’s technology makes it easier for viewers to convey their irritation with meteorologists.

�E-mails are easy to fire off; there are no faces or identities attached,� said Bruce DePrest, chief meteorologist at WFSB in Hartford. �The sender might even be mad at a forecast from another station, but any weatherman will do. Anything can trigger it, too � the timing of a storm, calling for snow and getting rain. … A lot of things make people mad, and sometimes they just want to be annoying because it’s easy to do.�

Michael Thomas, a meteorologist for the Connecticut Weather Center in Danbury, can perhaps understand the concept of what might be called �snow rage� even if he’d never heard the phrase. He said, �I think southeastern Connecticut is looking at five to eight inches of snow with this storm. I was already tired of (snow) last month. Now I hate it.�

Meteorologists say they take their forecasts seriously.

�People should understand that a storm like the one headed our way is my Super Bowl or my Oscars,� Fox said. �It’s really important to us to get it right. There is no upside to making an inaccurate forecast. This is where we make friends or enemies.�

Perhaps it’s possible to do both.

Last week, after several more inches of snow, Fox and his boss received �incredibly irate� e-mails from a viewer in Gales Ferry. The guy was mad because, after the station’s forecast called for snow, his caf� lost business and his son’s wrestling practice was canceled.

�I wrote back and said I didn’t cause the snow,� Fox said. �In the meantime, my boss, who never throws an e-mail away, remembered the guy’s name from an earlier communication and sent a return e-mail: �I’m really surprised to hear from you since you wrote in 2002 and said you’d never watch us again. So it’s good to have you back.’ �