Saturday, October 27, 2018

Strangest of rituals must be practised tonight

The 'clock ritual' is the most widely-practised ceremonial procedure in many countries and also an integral if uncanny part of the Halloween season. Here's how it's done properly:
Well, the recommended procedure is to put all your clocks and watches UPSIDE DOWN in the very early hours of this Sunday morning - so don't forget to set your alarm clock to ring at 2 am, by when it will spookily be 1 am again, to do this. To avoid any complications and repercussions make sure you don't leave any clock unturned before you go back to bed after hours of searching and upturning in the dark. Most importantly, don't even think about getting up at all during Sunday, and don't check the time, to avoid disorientation and confusion. Then, after Sunday's bedrest, from Monday on keep asking people ''What time is it now'' as if nothing had happened, and keep doing that for about a week just to help get the discussions going amid the general confusion. Strangely many people will not know the correct time as most will have manipulated some clocks and watches around the same time as you did. But as not all know how to perform the ritual properly, some will have put their clocks and watches forward, some back, some sideways, but not all upside down. Some timepieces were forgotten in the chaos and still show the unadjusted time, some self-set a new time automatically, delicate ones will have been broken, and sun dials will have become unreliable. To make matters worse the sun itself rose only a couple of seconds later, largely ignoring the time change. After a further ten days of time-related discourse and debate chaos, a general consensus should have been arrived at and the correct new time agreed upon. Your internal clock will have adjusted a bit to things like disrupted sleep patterns, confused meal times, etc., while your digestive system is still struggling. However, surveys show that being an hour late for work repeatedly hasn't done employees any harm over the years and 'the clock' is widely accepted as an excuse by bosses.
After about 2-3 weeks the time has come to turn your clocks and watches back the right way up and set the new time - if they're still running that is. Should they have stopped you can just leave them upside down until the end of March next year. If turned back the right way at the right time then, the stopped clocks will miraculously show the correct time for about a minute TWICE every day until this time next year (or just once per day if it's a 24 hour system - still not bad, though). 
All the above constitutes a truly WEIRD ritual, but it is supposed to save the sun a lot of energy and a further benefit is that more time accumulates in your daylight savings account.  STOP THE CLOCK !!!
Seriously though, the EU has finally come to the conclusion to abolish the twice annual mandatory time change from summer to winter time and back again - probably in just a few years' time once all the bureaucratic procedures have been completed, of course. In a recent EU-wide survey an overwhelming majority of respondents in all member states wanted the time changes abolished. Russia has already done so, ahead of European time.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

50.000 attended Fiestas Lustrales

The highlight of the Fiestas Lustrales is the arrival of the Virgen de Guadalupe by boat procession
The recent Fiestas Lustrales, held in San Sebastian de La Gomera and around the island every five years to celebrate the 'bajada' of La Gomera's patron saint 'Virgen de Guadalupe', attracted more than 50.000 revellers to the many events held from late September to mid October. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that La Gomera's total population is only 20.000. The highlight of the Fiestas Lustrales is the arrival of the saint by boat procession from her remote coastal chapel north of the capital and the following procession through the town. According to the mayor of the town Adasat Reyes the many visitors are supposed to have spent more than five million Euros in San Sebastian de La Gomera during the long fiesta period.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Some rain from this weekend (updated)

Rain shower in upper Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera (Archive image)
Some welcome rain is forecast for the Canary Islands from this weekend and especially in the early days of the coming week. The rain will be in the form of light to moderate showers and will mostly affect northern and mountain regions in La Gomera, while the south will be less at risk and there should be good sunny spells, too. Winds will be mostly light to moderate with maximum temperatures in the mid twenties ÂșC. 
For Monday, Oct.22nd 2018, more widespread showers are predicted, some may be heavy and accompanied by isolated thunderstorms.
For the days after that more showers are expected, again with the risk of isolated thunderstorms, but there'll be good sunny periods, especially in the south, too.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hurricane Leslie: will it affect Canary Islands ? Updated

Hurricane Leslie yesterday evening with the Canary Islands and the Moroccan coastline on the right
The tropical storm system named 'Leslie'  has been meandering in the Atlantic for 19 (!) days now without having made up its mind where to finally dissipate. Most of that time it was, and still is, a powerful large hurricane with a current central pressure of 969 hPa and maximum winds exceeding 150 km/h. It is now situated about 730 kms SSW of the Azores and rapidly moving with increasing forward speed towards the island of Madeira, where the first ever tropical storm warning has been issued. Some models suggest that it may finally dissipate near or over the Canary Islands as a remnant low from Sunday, Oct. 14th 2018. There may be some stronger winds up to gale force and the heavy swell generated by Leslie may affect the Canary Islands as well as some showers and the odd thunderstorm, but it seems unlikely that it will be a weather system of great significance, if any, in these islands. According to several models it should turn more to the north towards the Iberian peninsula and not affect the Canaries at all, but other models are in disagreement. Here's an extract from a bulletin of the National Hurricane Centre in Miami explaining the situation and the various track forecasts:
''...The initial motion is now 065/24.  The guidance is in good agreement that this general motion should continue for 24 h or so. After that, there is a major model divergence.  The GFS, ECMWF, and the various consensus models now show a continued east-northeast motion until landfall in Portugal or Spain.  On the other hand, the UKMET, UK ensemble mean, and Canadian models show a turn toward the south and then back to the west (- which would bring it to the Canaries - Ed.) Since the previous forecast showed a southward and westward turn, the new forecast track will also follow this scenario.  However, it is shifted well to the east of the previous track due to the forecasts of the other models. Needless to say, the latter portion of the track forecast is low confidence.
Leslie should gradually weaken as it approaches Madeira Island during the next 24-36 h. After that, the intensity forecast is dependent on what track the cyclone takes.  If it follows the GFS/ECMWF scenario, the system would likely make landfall on the Iberian peninsula and quickly dissipate.  If it follows the UKMET scenario, a combination of shear, cool water, and dry air entrainment should cause weakening.  Since the track forecast is closer to the UKMET scenario, the intensity forecast follows the previous forecast in having Leslie decay to a post-tropical low by 72 h.  However, this is also a low confidence forecast due to the uncertainties in the track forecast. ...''
In 2005 when hurricane Delta powered up again after having almost disintegrated west  of the Canaries and gradually regained tropical characteristics, it was briefly a subtropical storm on November 22, then moved erratically for a few days before moving towards the Canary Islands. It became a powerful extratropical storm just before it passed to the north of the archipelago bringing severe disruption, widespread damage, and claiming seven lives there. However, please note that this was a different and very unusual scenario and most unlikely to be repeated by Leslie, and current indications are that it will not bring any disruptions.
The Spanish and the Canarian authorities have not issued any alerts or warnings for Leslie, but are monitoring the situation under a pre-alert for the western Canaries. However, a warning for strong winds and heavy seas has been issued for the high seas area called 'Madeira' which includes the high seas just north of the Canaries. Some cruise ships which were scheduled to cross the Atlantic westward are now sheltering in the Canaries until the system has dissipated.
UPDATE edited 10:30 pm, Oct.12th 2018:
The latest model runs all predict that Leslie will pass the Canary Islands much further to the north (see latest graphics below to compare with the earlier one above) and instead of having an impact here will instead affect the Iberian peninsula. Below a quote from the latest bulletin of the NHC in Florida:
''...Leslie is moving quickly east-northeastward on the southern side of a powerful longwave
trough centered over the north Atlantic. The track forecast reasoning has changed since the last advisory, with the GFS, ECMWF, and now the 06Z run of the UKMET all showing a more eastward motion of Leslie toward the Iberian Peninsula as the cyclone is picked u by the aforementioned trough. The new NHC track forecast has been adjusted significantly to the north and east, especially beyond 24 hours...
...Key Messages:
1. Leslie is expected to bring near hurricane-force winds on Saturday to portions of Portugal as a powerful post-tropical cyclone. Tropical-storm-force winds are also likely to affect portions of western Spain.
2. Leslie is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 25 to 75 mm (1 to 3 inches) with isolated amounts as high as 100 mm (4 inches) across portions of Portugal and Spain, which could cause flash flooding. ...''