Saturday, April 21, 2018

Weather It Is (Chilly, Some Light Rain, Then More Rain?)

Good Evening:

It's been a roller coaster week.  The weather was hot, and now it's cold and windy.

A storm will drop down from the north tonight and bring us some rain on Sunday.  There isn't much moisture associated with this storm, so the rain should be on the light side.

What's interesting is that the global forecast model is showing a very strong storm moving across the southern Mediterranean as the mid week approaches.  One might call this a "Sharav," and indeed temperatures should bump up on Wednesday ahead of the storm.  Moreover, the storm is forecast to stall as it moves north by to our west and up the coast.   As it receives an infusion of colder air from the north, it should redevelop and linger over our area for at least a few days.

The 500 mb maps show that this storm should bring plenty of moisture at mid- and upper-levels, as well as bring strong upward motion associated with what meteorologists call a "vorticity max."  The storm should be proceeded by tropical moisture and then moisture should wrap back around the system as it stall over our region. The result could be a heavy rain to end the month as we move into May (which itself may bring more rain as the first week in May begins).

I was thinking that our recent forecasts have been excellent.  For example, last week we spoke about hot weather for Wednesday and Thursday, and that's what happened. We said that Friday would turn windy and cooler and that happened, too.  It seems like our 5 or 6 day forecasts are getting to be quite good. What's still difficult is predicting the timing of the arrival of precipitation and surface temperatures the next day -- which means that it's still hard to predict snow, even if we storm coming several days in advance.

What's not hard to predict is the reaction of world powers to anything that Israel does to defend itself.  Considering that only the United States voted (actually vetoed) against a resolution to investigate what is happening along the Gaza border fence, one might think it a miracle that we're not condemned by everyone who has anything to say about it.  Thank God for the United States!

What's even more amazing is that people seem to miss the obvious: why are these people protesting at the border fence and not against the Hamas government that has brought Gaza to the brink of collapse.  In continuing to criticize Israel, it becomes apparent that in the end it is really all about politics.  It's obvious that Israel is morally correct in protecting its citizens from infiltration -- we can't have our country inundated with 2 million Gazans who would like to flee Hamas.

The hypocrisy of the world is even more obvious when considering what is happening in Syria.  Recently, the Syrian government gassed its own people  -- again.  The world, led by the US, responded by targeting a few locations in Syria, and then congratulating itself on taking a moral stand (see for exanple, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/world/europe/theresa-mays-statement-on-the-syria-strike.html).  Somehow, the death of 500,000 plus Syrians by rifle, mortar, bombs, and starvation is not a problem really worth of response.

Basically, nations act in their best interests, and morality plays only a small part.  One might note, for example, Israel's response to the Russian nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian agent on English soil. While England and other nations issued a strong condemnation, Israel only offered mild criticism (we need to be on Russia's good side, or we won't be able to attack Iran in Syria as it tries to build based from which to attack us). Ms. May responded by pointing out that friends support friends.

What is she talking about?  During the Arab riots from the end of World War I until the Israel war of Independence, the British would arrive at the scene three days after the fact, leaving the local Arab populations to murder as they wished.  They also embargoed arms to the Jewish population, and during world War II they closed the gates of Palestine (later Israel) to Jewish immigration (politics again).  While the British didn't kill the Jewish people directly, their actions made it a lot harder for those fleeing Europe to escape.  Moreover, after the war, they refused to allow the vast majority of Jewish people fleeing Europe to migrate to Palestine, interning them instead in camps in Cyprus.

Well, here's what I have to say.  When friends come to visit, friends open the door -- but the British slammed the door in our faces!  This is hard for me to forget, no matter how much they profess friendship while voting against us at the UN.

Enjoy the week!

Barry Lynn

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Weather It Is (Getting Hotter)

Good Afternoon:

After a few cooler and even rainier days, this coming week will become quite hot.

There's an old "adage" that I've adopted over the years: it's hot before Yom Ha'Hatzmahut (Independence Day) and then it gets cold on the day itself.  In fact, it's usually warm on Yom Ha'Zikoron (Remembrance Day), but the winds start to blow and temperatures fall as the ceremony switches from one day's remembrance to one day's celebration. This year should be no exception.

Westerly winds will give way to southerly winds and lower pressure, which will bring temperatures into the 30s on Wednesday, leaving them around 30 Celcius on Thursday.  However, Thursday will see a change over back to more spring-like temperatures and next week might even bring a more "winter-like" rain!

So, where's the exception? You might say that Independence Day is Thursday,  but Independence Day really occurs on Friday, which shows forecast temperatures in the low 20s in Jerusalem.  However, the celebration was moved up so as not to impinge on Shabbat preparations. So, in Israel, the  Hebrew calendar date seems to determine the weather rather than the calendar date.  As to why it cools off at this time: I think that there is an intermediate period when the Indian Monsoon (that brings our summer's dryness) is not quite established, opening the door for cooler weather from the north via Europe.

Keeping all these wind directions straight is not very easy.  This leads me to note that I finally figured out why men don't ask for directions.  During the holiday we did a bit of traveling here and about.  We needed to make a turn, swing around, and head into a parking lot.  Of course, we didn't know it was that simple when we started. So, I say to my wife: "which way?"  She starts to speak when suddenly the Waze-Woman (W-W) starts to argue with her.  They couldn't decide between left or right, and we missed our turn.  Then, W-W tells me to turn left into a street that's backed-up.  I was forced to do a u-turn in a place where I'm not sure that it's legal (but the police didn't mind) and we gave it another try -- which also didn't work out.  My wife threatened to turn off W-W and W-W told me this would be a mistake and that I should listen to her instead.  Fortunately, my daughter who is not a wife (yet) managed to extradite us from this situation and we arrived safely.

So, it's not that men don't ask directions ever, it's that they do not want to ask the occupant in the right front seat.  Of course, I should have known this because I used to sit in the back seat of our family car, offering my advice as well when things didn't seem to be working out between the two front seats -- and that was before W-W made things even more complicated (or worse, if you prefer).

Fortunately, when the wife says to take out the garbage, I know how to get there without directions.

For those who must observe Yom Ha'Zikoron in sorrow, I wish only future happiness.

Happy Yom Ha'Hatmahut!

Barry Lynn

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Weather It Is (Inclement Weather)

Good Evening:

So the Hamas border protesters chose the wrong day to burn tires.

Another warm day brought light northeasterly winds, and a fairly stable boundary layer.  This combined (I believe) to push the smoke back over Gaza.

However, winds will be switching the the west as a series of weak storm pass through our area through mid-week.  Each could bring some showers, and even some measurable rain.  However, the mid-week storm is now forecast to be weaker than originally thought -- so these are more "nuisance" rains, rather than rain that could bring a real soaking.

Still, the showers could reduce crowds at the border fence.

It is interesting to note that the West Bank Palestinians insist that Israel withdraw to the old 1948 border, which was the border up until the 1967 War, which Israel won -- conquering more area to build new towns and adding a layer of protection in the Jordan Valley and Golan.  However, everyone knows that they say "old-borders" when they really mean no borders.  That's why they insist that the descendants of people who left during the first war return to homes they lost in the war of 1947-48.

Until now, you might have thought that the International community meant -- in contrast - that Israel's borders were those that the Palestinians don't really accept.  They say that everything outside the 1948 border is occupied territory, implying that everything within is not.

But, then low and behold we see that's not even true.  When Israel defends itself from border incursions during the demonstrations along the Gaza fence, it's being told to act "proportionally, " which really means not at all. In other words, one might wonder if the international community (like the EU and Britain) really recognize Israel within any borders.  Are we really suppose to just let the Gazan Palestinians break down the fence and move in mass over the border?

Apparently, the answer is yes.  I hope that we've learned an important lesson. When push comes to shove, politics trumps all -- even so-called international law, and it would be better politics for them if we simply disappeared.

Have a good week,

Barry Lynn

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Weather It Is (Nice Weather For Now)

Good Evening:

Today was a spectacular weather day.  The sky was a deep blue and the fields were bright with an early spring green.

I don't think that anyone will complain about the weather during the holiday.  Temperatures will continue to moderate upwards into the 20s in many locations, as winds blow lightly from the west and south.

However, some tropical moisture may bring some tropical showers at the end of the week.  By tropical moisture, I mean that moisture will arrive at middle and upper levels, passing not over the sea, but Africa from the Atlantic ocean.

Looking further ahead into the week after Pesach, there is some divergence in the model forecasts.  There is about a 70% chance the dry and pleasant weather will continue, but there is a 30% chance of a chilly rain.

I was surprised that the rainy weather of Friday didn't damp down the protests along the Gazan fence. You have to really hand it to the Hamas leadership.  They're brilliant.  They take materials sent for building hospitals, sewage treatment plants, and new housing, and they use it to build tunnels (and missiles).  Then, they use the electricity we supply to power their machines that do the building, and provide light under ground.  Then, they tell the world that their people are suffering from a lack basic infrastructure, clean water etc.  We feel badly for them, so we (and to some extent other countries) send them more supplies to relief the "suffering" of the Gazan people.

But, here's where they're really smart.  Having driven the Gazan economy to ruin, and with only "enough" weapons to support an army of 25,000, they've driven their people to such desperation that they're willing to die at the border between Gaza and Israel. They've sold them on the "right of return," without mentioning that most of the people who live in Gaza never lived anywhere else in what was called "Palestine" (now Israel) before the local Arab populations took that name for themselves.

It sounds like a sob story, but the Gazan people are simply being used by Hamas as another weapon in their war to destroy the State of Israel.  They should be reminded that we've been around a lot longer than they have (actually, this week we tell the story of our Exodus from Egypt several thousand years ago!), that in every generation there arises someone who wishes to destroy us, and that we're still here.  Thank God for that!

Have a nice holiday,

Barry Lynn

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Weather It Is (Rainy and Windy)

Good Evening:

A strong early spring storm will impact our area from Thursday into Friday evening. The storm will bring strong winds and periods of rain, especially Thursday afternoon into Friday morning.  The minimum pressure of this storm will be the lowest of the winter/spring season, reaching close to 1000 mb or even below.

It will be quite chilly on Friday and Pesech Eve, and even the first day of Pesach.  It will warm up slowly through the first part of the week.  It will also turn dry.  However, the end of the holiday might see some showers.

Hag Samaech,

Barry Lynn

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weather It Is (Changes)

Good Afternoon:

It's been a month since our last rain (the end of February), and it's been warm as well.

In contrast, the eastern United States has seen four Nor'easters -- lots of snow and chilly temperatures, while western Europe and even as far south as Italy have seen unusual cold and snow as well.  There are winters where only one such Nor'easter occurs.

Some might blame this on the weather pattern -- and they would be correct.

The North Atlantic Oscillation has been strongly negative since early March (see
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/teledoc/nao.shtml).  The result has been that the eastern US as well as parts of northern/western Europe have been unusually cold.  Both have been strongly impacted by what we call "troughs" or lower  heights associated with wave-like lines of constant pressure.  The colder the air, the more dense it is, and the lower the heights.  In contrast, we've been under the influence of a ridge (higher heights) and warmer temperatures more similar to Africa than Europe.

Well, the good news is that the NAO is moving into a positive phase, at least for the next week or so. The result was already felt today.  Yesterday, the temperatures reached 30 C here in Efrat (Jerusalem), while today the high was 13 Celcius.

Boy did I hear it from the crowd.  Almost everyone who descended the stairs to our living room said that I said it would be hot again today.  I never said any such thing.  This begs the question: if my own family doesn't know the weather, then I really wonder if anyone (at all) is listening to me.

I pondered this rather discouraging situation while walking our dog in a very light rain -- who actually prefers chilly weather over hot weather.  Then, someone who I know uses (or at least used to use) our weather site said: "Was this rain forecast?"  I answered: "well, if it wasn't, it should have been."

I realized that I had just learned the key to success in life: don't admit mistakes and be positive about the future.

Here's some positive news: Our chilly weather of Shabbat and early this week will be followed again by above normal temperatures.  This will be accompanied by periods of dust, especially over the south. However, Wednesday should see another trough approach.  This one should have plenty of cold air and moisture to trigger heavy showers on Wednesday (tropical showers to start), but then as the cold air entrenches itself there should be periods of rain lasting (possibly) in Erev Pesach (Friday evening).  The time for the heaviest rain is most likely on Thursday.  Considering how nice it is to see our green fields and hillsides, we could use the rain! Also, our lack of rain in March means that we're  at about 60% of normal for the year in the Jerusalem area.  So, we have some catching up to do.

Yet, as the days of Pesach progress, the weather should become warmer and drier -- perfect for being outdoors.

While I am not sure what other life lessons I've learned from being a meteorologist, I have learned a few things about our country.

Israel is a place where you bump into people you never see.
This makes you realize how small it is and you wonder why the powers to be want us to give half our country away.

Israel's a place where someone who asks if your car is for sale, and you say no, he then wishes you years of enjoyment and care free use.  Israel is full of people with a good attitude about life.

Patience comes to those that wait.  In Israel, you wait for the winter to come. You wait for the flowers and trees to bloom, and for the dust to lift.  You wait at the beach for that wave that will really bring a thrill.

Finally, a wise person knows now what he knew then.  I think that we've all become wise to the intentions of the Palestinian leadership -- they don't want to share our land -- they want it all. With that knowledge going forward, we can be sure to take care to guard what we have, and remember that we came to this land to live in it, not to give it away!

Barry Lynn

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Weather It Is (Too, Too Hot)

Good Evening:

I remember a time in the not so distant past.  At that time, it was a land far, far away (from me) -- Israel. I heard through the grapevine that my relatives in Israel were sweltering during the Passover Holiday.  I didn't pay much attention, as I was enjoying a typical winter somewhere on the east coast of the United States.

True, our warmth will become a chill Tuesday and Wednesday, but Thursday and Friday the temperatures will soar, and on Friday my guess is that the windows will be closed and the air conditioners will be working overtime.

The heat should arrive on very strong southerly wind ahead of strong low pressure arriving from the west by northwest.  This means summertime temperatures on Friday, and extremely high dust concentrations.   It won't be pleasant, but it should turn windy and temperatures should plummet into Shabbat, where they'll remain until Sunday.

Hopefully, the bees will have time to pollinate the Cherry tree before the windy and chillier weather arrives.  They need to get-up early has our warm winter has led to an earlier than usual blooming.

Unfortunately, this will be a moisture "starved" storm, so there may not be any rain to wash away the dust.

Of course, this means that the large holes in the ground in Gaza will be also be covered in dust and sand. These are actually the remains of tunnels that were recently destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces.  In response, the leadership of Hamas said: "Na-Na," that was an old tunnel anyway.  One has the feeling that we're dealing with children -- children that rule Gaza like the animal rulers of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." The amazing thing is that we feed the animals.  We send food, building materials, and electricity to make sure that the animals are well fed while they build more tunnels.

I still can't figure out. We supply them with the wherewithal to build tunnels to attack us. We also treat their injured and sick in our hospitals.

Perhaps we live on the farm?

Barry Lynn