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Thu, 21 Oct 2021
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Extreme Temperatures

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Climate control - lather, rinse, repeat

Climate Control Shampoo
© Tresemme.com
We always talk about and are lectured to about how "weather is not climate". Of course that's a flexible meme, because now when the weather turns hot or bad, climate is to blame.

I had to go to Walmart today to pick up something, and as I walked down the aisles looking for things, this jumped out at me. Unfortunately, it was so ridiculous, it made me laugh out loud, and I got stares. So, I'm sharing this humor with you.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before some enterprising company did this.

Gotta love that "defend your hair against bad weather" line. Now even when CO2 or weather modification driven hordes of tornadoes descend upon us in retaliation for our climate sins, we can avoid bad hair days.

Of course, shampoo only goes so far. They need "climate control body spray" to really be effective.

Snow Globe

Wacky weather producing one of Alaska Interior's craziest spring migrations on record

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© Jim DeWitt/Frosty Feathers Images
Crazy migration

Part of a huge flock of sandhill cranes take to the air after being scared by a bald eagle in Delta Junction on Saturday night off Barley Way. Photographer Jim DeWitt estimated there were 3,000 cranes in the flock.
Fairbanks - Birds of all kinds are arriving in dizzying numbers and many long-time birders say they have never seen such a concentrated wave of migrating birds in the Tanana Valley.

Bud Johnson in Tok estimates there were 100,000 sparrows descending on that area Tuesday. He reported seeing continuous flocks along the sides of the highway, and came home to hundreds of songbirds in his yard. White-crowned, golden-crowned, fox and tree sparrows mixed with juncos, rusty blackbirds and Lapland longspurs. Other viewers saw Lincoln's and Savannah sparrows and gray-crowned rosy-finches.

"I have never seen anything like this ever," Johnson said. "The ground is just in constant movement and the singing (mostly from the white-crowned sparrows) is insane."

Among bird-watchers, there is a phenomenon called "fallout," which is when a large number of migrating birds make landfall because they run into storm systems. Usually this happens along the coast, where exhausted birds touch down on the first solid ground they find. It's possible a combination of the late spring breakup and a current weather front has caused this unusual spring gathering.

"This is turning out to be the most spectacular spring migration I think the Tanana Valley has seen in recent memory," Fairbanks birder Nancy DeWitt wrote in an email. "First, there were the unprecedented numbers of swans and white-fronted geese in the Delta barley fields (many of which are still there) accompanied by the biggest flocks of Canada geese and pintails I've ever seen, now followed by what Steve Dubois says is the largest concentration of sandhill cranes he's seen in his 28 years there.

"Add in the numerous bluebird sightings (I've lost count), cloud after cloud of Lapland longspurs moving through the valley, thick groups of varied thrush at Fort Greely on Saturday night, and now the sparrow fall-out in Tok Bud describes, and I am just beside myself with glee," she said. "I assume most of this is weather related, but what happened and where along the migration route that balled up all these birds? I suppose the fact that a lot of the valley is snow-covered and many ponds and lakes are still frozen is also concentrating birds, but would sure love to know if anyone tracked migration radar data over Canada in the past month.

Snow Globe

May storm dumps heavy snow in interior Alaska, Denali National Park

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© Tina Graham
Carol and Haze Elliott, from South Carolina, brave the snow near the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. At first, they were excited about the snow, feeling like they were really having an Alaskan experience. “It can stop now,” they joked.
Christmas music played Friday in the lobby of the McKinley Chalet Resort, just outside Denali National Park and Preserve.

It was fitting, considering the weather outside.

A heavy spring snowstorm dumped enough snow in the area to cancel some local events, keep people from driving and surprise a few tourists.

A winter storm watch remained in effect until this morning.

"The guests are actually enjoying the experience," said Craig Pester, district manager of Aramark's Denali resorts. "We had to change a couple tours around so they didn't get the full experience, but all the guests are very happy. They're kind of making it part of their adventure."

Indeed, the Elliotts who are visiting from South Carolina thought the snow was pretty exciting, as they huddled behind an umbrella. What an Alaska experience, they said.

A visitor from Germany came north for better weather and ended up camping in the snow at Riley Creek Campground. He took it all in stride.

Snow Globe

Late snow delaying annual bird migration across Alaska

Cold air across so much of Alaska, so late in the year, has delayed summer for the winter weary and left thousands of international travelers in holding patterns. An unexpected bonanza of migrating birds are reportedly hunkered down northwest of Denali National Park and Preserve. In the Delta-Tok region, thousands more cranes, swans, geese, and swallows than usual are waiting out conditions unusual even for Alaska.

Birds often "ball-up" in foul weather, congregating along coastlines and then fly over vast Interior Alaska in waves. Not this year. One local birder told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he'd never seen so many stopped over, all at once, in more than 20 years.

Arctic air pushing southward and smaller low-pressure systems have kept cold weather lingering. Up to 6 inches of snow was forecast over the weekend in Anchorage, with accumulation likely in Fairbanks as well, the National Weather Service predicted, though ground temperatures would melt most of it.

Normally, late May sees warmer air from the Gulf of Alaska pulled north across the state, but for now, at least, much of Alaska remains near freezing or colder.

"It is a real fluke. We just haven't gotten into our summer pattern yet," meteorologist Dan Peterson said. Next week, forecasts called for highs in the 50s and 60s from Anchorage, in Southcentral Alaska, north to Fairbanks.

Butterfly

UK's rare spring butterflies make a late show

The UK's spring butterflies are being welcomed by enthusiasts, but weeks later than they usually arrive.
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Threatened pearl-bordered fritillaries finally emerged at the end of April

The second-coldest March on record contributed to the delayed emergence of many rare species, according to the charity Butterfly Conservation.

"First sightings" recorded by the public showed the insects typically appeared a fortnight later than normal.

One rare species - the grizzled skipper - emerged a month later than last year.

The pearl-bordered fritillary was another rare butterfly to make a late show. Last year the insects were first spotted on 1 April but were not recorded until 27 April this year.

Threatened wood whites could be seen by 10 April last year, but this year were delayed until early May.

And the Duke of Burgundy butterfly made an appearance in late April this spring, around three weeks later than last year.

Last spring saw butterflies emerging earlier than normal following an unusually mild February and March. But the extreme wet weather that followed resulted in a terrible year for most species.

Butterfly Conservation's findings, which focus on the UK's rare and threatened species, show a large contrast with last years' spring sightings.

Cloud Precipitation

Video: Strange weather phenomena for the first days of May 2013


Snow Globe

Increasing numbers of dead seabirds found on North Carolina coast

Three wildlife conservationists have noticed increases in the amount of dead and sick birds found on local beaches.

While scouting the beach for sea turtle nests, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project coordinator Nancy Fahey noticed several dead birds along the beach strand.

These reports appear to be part of a larger trend of an increase of dead and sick birds along the North Carolina coast.
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Dovekies (Little Auks)
On May 1, Fahey reported 13 dead dovekies, three dead common loons and one dead green heron found along the Wrightsville Beach strand to the Wildlife Health Event Reporter website, www.whmn.org/wher

"I have found more dead birds during these two weeks of monitoring than I've ever noticed on Wrightsville Beach," Fahey said. "And I think primarily those little dovekies added to that number or that observation, because it is a rare event for them to be down here."

Typically dovekies are found in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fahey also found three live common loons from May 3 to May 9.

"I've never found three live loons in a two-week timeframe before, ever," said Fahey, who has been a WBSTP volunteer since 1995 and coordinator since 2004.

Cloud Grey

Ice Age Cometh! Parts of UK hit by several inches of snow and 'one month' of rain during mid-May storm

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - so it's rather odd that we find ourselves in mid-May. Snow fell across parts of Britain last night while another area had a month's rain in just 24 hours as winds of up to 65mph battered the country's coastlines in unusual weather for the month. Up to 3in of snow fell in Princetown in Dartmoor, Devon, Rhayader in Powys, and Newcastle-on-Clun in Shropshire - while Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, had 3in of rain in the 24 hours until 7am today.

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© North News
Local woman Sheila Coates told BBC Radio Devon: 'It's crazy. Last night I couldn't see out of my front window for the snow. I've lived here all my life, and I've never known weather like it at this time of year.' Up to 3in of snow also fell on high ground in the rural county of Shropshire last night - sparking fears of flooding in the rest of the region, as two local rivers were given flood warnings. Mike Steedman, owner of the Anchor Inn in the hills above Newcastle-on-Clun, near the Welsh border, said. 'It started at about 11pm and it came in wet and heavy.

Blackbox

Megacryometeor? Giant ice meteor slams to Earth near kids playing in Tennessee

A Tri-Cities man has video of what appears to be a large chunk of ice that he says fell from the sky on Wednesday (May 8) and landed in a yard in Gray, TN. Andy Miller says his children were playing outside along Keeview Drive off Hales Chapel Road around 4 p.m. when they heard what sounded like a rocket. "They ran into the house shaking," Miller said. He used his phone to record video of the children inspecting the pile of pure white ice sitting in a gouged out hole in the ground near where they were playing. Miller did a quick web search and found information that lead him to believe it's a megacryometeor. For what it's worth, here's a quick definition we found on line: "A megacryometeor is a very large chunk of ice which, despite sharing many textural, hydro-chemical and isotopic features detected in large hailstones, is formed under unusual atmospheric conditions which clearly differ from those of the cumulonimbus cloud scenario (i.e. clear-sky conditions). They are sometimes called huge hailstones, but do not need to form in thunderstorms." -WBTW


Snow Globe

Many bluebirds couldn't survive this cold spring in Loveland, Colorado

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Eastern Bluebird

The phone rang. Again.

I didn't want to answer it. The two previous calls were from people who had found dying bluebirds in their yards. They wanted to help, but they needed someone to help them help the birds.

Yesterday, the call was from someone who had found a dead bluebird. Three emails about bluebirds also came. One person had found a dozen dead or dying bluebirds in her yard. Another person recognized me at the coffee shop and wanted to relate yet another woeful bluebird tale.

The loss of a bluebird counts as nothing more than just one of those life and death things that happen in nature. But so much loss at once is stunning.

People everywhere love bluebirds, but Coloradans have special reason to esteem them.

The bluebirds are members of the thrush family. Considering we also have some blue warblers, blue buntings and blue jays the reality becomes obvious: all blue birds are not bluebirds. Just three species can claim the name "bluebird" and they are relatives of the robins, solitaires and thrushes.