They’re Stoned In Halifax

Halifax, your city says, “We know the weather can stink. We’re here to stay. We build in stone.”

I’m still looking through my Canadian cruise photos. Today, Halifax. We were there last Thursday. It was gloomy and cool with sprinkles.

Halifax gets pretty days but this is more the norm. It’s OK because the city is designed that way. It’s a nasty weather city. Halifax doesn’t run from its environment. It laughs squarely in its face!

Halifax, your city says, “We know the weather can stink. We’re here to stay. We build in stone.”

Halifax is full of stone buildings. They are substantial. They are muscular. They are impervious.

Here’s a small sample. They seemed so appropriate.

They’re Washing The Deck

As I opened the door all I could see was the wet deck and water running down the sides of the lifeboats hanging above it.

There are funny stories that husbands and wives share. Such is the tale of our first cruise around 25 years ago.

I was trying to be romantic (in the small way I’m capable of being romantic) so I asked Helaine to take a late night stroll around the ship. As I opened the door all I could see was the wet deck and water running down the sides of the lifeboats hanging above it.

“They’re washing down the deck,” I said.

No. Actually it was pouring! That piece of romance was put on hold. We laugh about it today.

The story comes to mind today because we were docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I woke up, walked to the curtains, pulled them aside and opened the door to our balcony.

“They’re washing the deck,” I shouted back at Helaine. She knew what I meant.

It was rainy and chilly in Halifax today. That didn’t keep us in. At one point we’d toyed with booking a tour to the iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove. That would have been money down the drain today!

We waited for a rainfree moment to head for land, but that was short lived. I asked Helaine if she wanted her raincoat? Back I went.

I’m not mentioning the raincoat to sound chivalrous. The story’s here to let me talk about walking the stairs on a ship.

Except for our first moments on the Glory when we had three bags to move we’ve taken the elevator once. Every other time we’ve moved from deck-to-deck we’ve used the stairs.

Getting the raincoats today meant eight decks up and eight down plus whatever elevation the gangway from the second deck to the dock added… and this was my second trip in that hour!

Stairs are our shipboad tradition. There are plenty of elevators and they seem to be the favored mode of transportation by everyone else. We just use the stairs. It’s now an obsession.

Oh Canada, you are neat and polite and we’re glad to be visiting you–even in the rain.

Halifax is a lovely little city with new construction that shows a great appreciation for the waterfront. As we walked the boardwalk there were boats and the harbor on one side with office buildings and condos on the other.

You’ll havev to wait for my pictures to be posted but many of the buildings in Halifax, especially the older ones, are built of stone. This isn’t a screwin’ around fifteen minute city. These folks are hearty and here to stay. Stone construction is a statement.

Even with intermittent sprinkles our walk was nice. Shades of Disney, on the way back you have to walk through a craft market to get to the gangway. We did some damage with t-shirts and maple syrup.

It’s past dinner now. We are headed south toward New York City. We’ll be there Saturday morning.

Outside the rain has turned to fog–pea soup thick! This part of the Atlantic is known for that.

Every minute the ship’s fog horn lets loose for five seconds. It will probably be that way through the night. Oh, and the captain’s driving with his low beams.

We expected a different cruise than what you’d find heading into the Caribbean and we’ve gotten it. We’re having a great time.

Note: Because of the poor Internet onboard I’ve hardly answered any email or looked at Facebook. I’ll catch up over the weekend.

Poor and expensive Internet is also the reason so many typos have snuck into the blog the past few days. My error checking is usally done online which isn’t possible right now.

The Storm’s Over — The Numbers Are In

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground.

snow-shovel-on-the-steps.jpgThe snow has come and gone. There’s never a bullseye, but the forecast was reasonably close. If success is judged by number of complaints, or lack thereof, I’m doing fine. Here are the final DOT numbers. I have also added the Boston and New York NWS snow totals, which include Connecticut, for the Dec 20-21, 2009 storm at the end of this entry.

Not everyone was as lucky. A friend who forecasts in Springfield sent a text message saying he’d received nothing! “Bust of the decade,” he said. Ouch. Been there. I know exactly what he’s going through.

I was right about Southeastern Connecticut getting the most snow followed by the shoreline in general. The snow was fluffy and windblown as predicted. Accumulations were generally in line with my numbers. My call for the Northwest Hills and most of the area directly adjacent to the Massachusetts line was a few inches higher than the actual totals.

I wrote about this last night, but it bears repeating the most unusual and interesting part of this storm was the exceptionally dry air. During the summer we sometimes see 30 grams of water content per square meter. Last night it was around 1 gram per cubic meter!

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground. Once the atmospheric column over any location became saturated light snow turned to heavy snow. I’d never seen a situation quite like this before. It cut inches off all the accumulations.

It’s a shame this storm will impact Christmas shopping. Otherwise we’re lucky it came on a Saturday night when travel is usually light.

And now the dig out begins.

(NWS totals after the jump)

Continue reading “The Storm’s Over — The Numbers Are In”

Cayman Island Earthquake

I was surprised, to say the least, to read about a strong earthquake tonight close to the Cayman Islands (20 miles southeast of Georgetown, the capital). Actually, there are a number of surprises for me here and I might as well run them down.

Though I knew there are plates upon which all of the Earth’s surface floats, I didn’t realize there was a boundary between two plates in the Caribbean. They grind against each other slowly, but constantly. The relative motion is only 6/10″ per year.

Of course one year is nothing to the Earth. Over 20 years that’s around a foot of motion. Over decades and centuries… well, you get the idea.

At some point something’s gotta give… and it did tonight. The quake was magnitude 6.7&#185. That’s enough to be very scary and even more destructive. I have not yet heard any damage reports from the Caymans. Magnitude alone is not enough to predict destruction.

My second surprise was seeing actual ‘shock reports‘ from the Cayman Islands. This is actually an interesting idea from the United States Geological Service. They ask people to check in and rate the quake! It’s like Dick Clark on American Bandstand circa 1965.

As I type this there are 189 reports from the Caymans and one from Haiti. Each locale is averaged to show how the quake was felt.

I think the USGS does an amazing job keeping up with earthquakes. Their website is fast and thorough. I’m a math and science guy, so it appeals to me more than most. Still, if you’re curious, it’s worth looking at.

And, to get my own little plug in, there’s a link to the most recent large earthquake in the column on the right: Latest Large Earthquakes Worldwide.

&#185 – Remember Richter? The Richter scale is no longer in use by geologists.

Continue reading “Cayman Island Earthquake”