Monday, October 31, 2005

NexSat Weather Satellite Movies of the Great Storm



I was browsing through my news feeds tonight and found a hint at macosxhints.com about making weather movies. One of the comments led me to the Naval Research Lab site (NRL Monterey Weather Satellite Products, Images, & Movies) that has the images and can create movies (animated gifs actually) from the archive that you select.

So I selected NexSat, then "snow cover" and avhrr_composite (not because I know what avhrr_composite means but because it looked good).

Then I clicked region/sector, and selected East, then Overview. I then scrolled down and clicked animate.

Then this blue window opened up with button selections. Click the gif option so that you can option-click (right-click for PC) your final movie. Click large. My large gif of 8 days of images is a 1 meg file!

Then select the images from the archives that you want (I used option-click on my Mac to make multiple selections). Then SUBMIT and wait a bit (even on broadband it is a bit of a wait). Then watch your custom made movie!

Once you are done being amazed at what you have made, option-click (right-click on PC) on the movie, select download to disk, and you have your own movie! My movie is what you see up above! :-)

The dates of the image archive are Monday, Oct 24 to Monday, Oct. 31.
Yellow is cloud cover, white is snow cover and brown is the earth.

The gif doesn't animate here on blogger.com! Go to http://homepage.mac.com/areno/nexsat.html to see it in motion.This page has been successfully tested on Safari, Foxfire, and Explorer.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Barton Mountain Alliance

go to http://bartonmountainalliance.org/

I was afraid I had missed all the hearings but there is one more (date unknown, cancelled due to weather). And now the fake tree tower is a fake fire tower.......something to make the mountain behind me very ugly.

In Sheffield they want to put thirty-five towers, and each will be 398 feet (and the Statue of Liberty is only 151 ft. tall!)?? Time to start writing letters.

See also Ridge Protectors! This is the site for Sheffield folks and it is new and under construction.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Nor'easter Posts & Wrap-Up

My entries on the storm end with five media accounts about it (six if you count this one!).
Here is a listing, in order, of the entries:

(all these links open in a new window, which you can
close when finished and return to here)

  1. NexSat Satellite animated images of the storm; Oct. 24-31
  2. Monday, Oct. 24: Winter Storm Watch
  3. Tuesday morning, Oct. 25: Vermont
  4. Tuesday evening, Oct. 25: The storm is here
  5. Wednesday, Oct. 26: The storm is still here
  6. Thursday, Oct. 27: It won't end
  7. Friday, Oct. 28: The storm is over

A listing of the media content:
  1. Caledonian Record 1
  2. Caledonian Record 2
  3. MSNBC
  4. Burlington Free Press
  5. Barton Chronicle


Here are two climatology maps from NOAA (both are from Wednesday, 10/27/05 data)

Click on images to see them full size.

Snowfall to water equivalent conversion:


Snow depth:



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Snow Topples Trees, Power Lines - News - MSNBC.com

Snow Topples Trees, Power Lines - News - MSNBC.com: "Snow Topples Trees, Power Lines

MONTPELIER Vt. - Heavy, wet snow fell across the state last night toppling trees and power lines. CVPS Crews working through the night Tuesday restored service to about 7,000 customers, but nearly 20,000 were without service at 6 a.m., and new outages were still occurring.

The damage was wrought by the first Nor'easter of the year, fueled by moisture from Hurricane Wilma. The snow broke limbs and trees, and left others draped on top of power lines that are still standing.

CVPS crews are being assisted by 22 contract tree crews this morning, but the damage is extensive.

"Mother Nature seems content to keep pushing us back a couple of steps each time we take one forward," Central Vermont Public Service spokesman Steve Costello said. "Crews are seeing trees fall around them as they're repairing existing damage."

The damage is spread from one end of the state to the other, the common trait so far being altitude.

"The higher the elevation, the more snow we're seeing, and it's wet, dense snow," Costello said. "With a lot of leaves still on the trees, that's a recipe for trouble. Slippery roads are also adding to the challenge as the crews move from one problem to the next."

Snowfalls ranged widely from a trace in valleys to more than 1 foot in higher elevations.

The National Weather Service in Burlington reported 16 inches of snow in Barton, 14 inches in East Brownington and in Underhill, 20 inches on Jay Peak, and only a trace in Montpelier.

State police reported dozens of accidents as many Vermonters got the season's first taste of winter driving.

More than 140 schools were closed Wednesday or planned to open later in the morning.

The snow was expected to continue throughout the morning until midday. The National Weather Service said a winter storm watch would continue until noon.

"We have a difficult clean-up ahead of us," Costello said. "Some of the damage is extensive." In New York, the weather problems started Tuesday afternoon in the Binghamton area, where snow caused dozens of vehicle crashes and knocked out power to a few dozen customers.

In Lake Placid, skiers celebrated the snowfall by skiing down Whiteface Mountain's Memorial Highway, which is closed to traffic for the winter.

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Friday, Oct. 28: The storm is over

4 AM: I quietly sign-out and drive home in the dark. The village is so quiet and the street lights are reassuring. It isn't as cold as I anticipated. It was predicted to be in the twenties overnight. Perhaps I am now acclimated. I go by house after house that has power and drive around the curve at Roger Shafer's B&B and I see my floodlight! I can't believe it! Perhaps it will go out just as I drive into the garage? But then I see that the upstairs lights are still on, and my hopes have come true: I have power!

The computer battery had died while on sleep mode so I didn't know if I had unwittingly killed the machine: but it fired right up! There was a blinking light on the phone but no message (thank goodness, I didn't feel like talking to anyone). The cats acted surprised that I came home at this odd hour: they were very comfortable and in no rush to get out of bed to say good morning to me. So I left them alone. I flushed a toilet! What a pleasure! I brushed my teeth, turned on the faucets. I collected 56 pieces of e-mail (none were urgent), read the news, and played my games. I watched the news on TV but nothing was new. I also collected news and photos that I could find about the Kingdom and the storm. There were still some pop tarts in the pantry so I had those with some vitamins and bottled water. There was nothing else to eat so I planned to return to the shelter for breakfast and to say goodbye and thank the Red Cross staff. I left at 7 AM. I was so dreadfully tired that I decided to shower when I got home and before I went back to bed for the day.

I had a muffin at the shelter before I thanked them for their wonderful help. Then I went across the road to Jennie's and had eggs and sausage with my last $4. I tried to stop by to make sure I could get snow tires but Francis hadn't opened yet. Dottie wasn't at church, and the pharmacist wasn't at the pharmacy yet. So I left my prescription on the counter and went home. I e-mailed the Sunday School news to Dottie and then I went to bed after I let Buddy out. He didn't last 10 minutes! It was just too cold! So Possum and I went to bed until 11 AM. I am watching my soaps as I collect this material and type it. But people in the Bush administration are being indicted today so the soaps are being interrupted. Buddy is sleeping in his spot beside me inside the drawer. Possum is still in bed with Pansy, Zorro, Turnip, and Mouse. Matilda is very comfortable on the chair. Charlie? He is Newport. I made Amy take him with her when she was here because he is simply too agressive to be left alone with the others. I am in no rush to have him back home.

Dottie called: everyone around her has power and her barn has power but not her house. So she has a problem on her pole. If I didn't have power she was going to have me move into one of her cottages that has heat.

I have to learn how to use the wood furnace. I need to look into buying a portable propane heater. I have to get somebody to cut up the fallen hardwood. But the priorities are still the septic and the garage doors.

It is 68 degrees downstairs. Upstairs it is 72. The lock on Amy's bedroom door fell into its latch so her door is now permenantly locked from the inside. Everything is back to normal.



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Thursday, Oct. 27: It won't end.

3 AM: panic. It is now 52 downstairs and I cannot get warm. I have three shirts, a bathrobe, two pairs of socks, and slippers on. I have a blanket drapped over my back and one over my lap. The orange juice is warm, I don't dare eat anything from the refrigerator, and the cats are miserable and follow me everywhere. I still have water bottles for the cats and the Coke won't go bad. The toilets are alright: my bag system for collecting toilet paper has worked well. This is the first test of the system of decorative hooks on the wall to hold plastic grocery bags. I started up the computer to play some Sudoku but the battery was down to 47% and it immediately shut itself down and won't wake up. I went back to bed and slept until 7 AM.

I had nightmares: Amy is in the backseat of the Saturn wagon, younger than now. We are driving from Glover to Barton and a Vermont Transit bus is speeding towards us when it catches the edge of the road, going over on its side, sliding, spewing brown smoke, and breaking apart. I know it is full of older people who need help, and some may have even died. I scream to Amy to run back to Glover and call 911. She leaves the car and runs off and I wake up. I am so cold. My feet hurt. I bury my hands in the cats that are under the covers and sleep again.

I dream of students who carry miniature houses in their arms. The houses have lights on inside them and I need to find out how they got power. But I can't ask because the people on the bus are my priority, and nobody else seems worried! The men at Currier's say they will wander on down soon. I can't find Amy to find out what happened when she called for help. I drive off again. The Barton ambulance squad is at the bus but people are directing traffic, not rescueing others. I drive by and go home....no, I am waking up.

I am too cold to sleep any longer. It is still too early (7 AM) to bother others and ask for help, so I settle down with my book. I decided that I would moving to the shelter today. They said they would pick me up. Perhaps I could persuade them to help me get my car. Amy calls at 8 AM saying she is coming at 11 AM to pick me up and get the car and bring me to Newport. I am to pack. It is too cold to pack or get dressed, so I continue reading until she comes. She makes sure the cats have enough food and bottled water. She packs up the freezer, which is unfreezing, and the refrigerator as I dress and pack a few items. The village says there may not be power until next week.

The heat in the car is delicious. I turn it up high and I still cannot get warm. My car is fine. There is still snow on the windshield. The bar is empty. We drive into Newport and I am surprised to see that there is barely any snow left there. I am quite upset about leaving the cats. But I can't tolerate thinking of spending another night in the house in the cold and dark. The cats will have to survive somehow. At Andy's house I watch the news (Meirs withdraws her nomination, ten thousand are still without power, maybe until next week) and my soaps. I sleep through most of the soaps. My feet will not warm up. The dogs are so noisy and the cat is a pest. I am definitely miserable about abandoning the house and the cats. We call the village and there is a chance that power will reach me this afternoon. So after Andy leaves for the gym I take a shower. My feet finally warm up. I wait until 4:30 to call the village again, and they are sorry, but no, no power until Saturday.

At this point I lose it and begin crying. Andy has returned. I am upset that Sophie and Scout sleep in the kennels on radiant heat concrete. They don't have pillows or beds. I am upset that the geese don't have a coop to stay warm in. I am not fit to be around other humans, so I pick up my bags and leave and refuse to discuss it with anybody. I get to McDonald's and have some awful food on the way home. There is no power when I get home, so without talking to the cats, I turn around and go to the Red Cross for help. At least in the village I can come home at three in the morning if I feel the need. I can walk around. I can pout.

The Red Cross workers are wonderful. They understand my dismay and smoke with me outside. We all trade stories. Tammy and her daughter Brittany are there. They have power and heat but no food. Nobody has any food. We have tea and conversation all evening. We read. FEMA is here. The governor was there before I came. The village electric workers came in after dark and check their list. I was not re-connected. But two houses below me are. So probably in the morning I will have power. I knew that my neighbors with the horses packed up and left about 8 PM last night, but they are not here. I ended up being the only "disaster victim" that stays the night but the Red Cross workers stay. There are five of them: Barton firepeople and son, daughter and granddaughter and an EMS person. I fill out the paperwork and decide where I want my cot. I have complete freedom to come and go as I please as long as I sign in and out so they know I am safe. They keep half of the lights on for me so that I can read. I meet more neighbors from Cole Road; John and Mary. There is a hot goulash supper. But by 10 PM I can't stay up any longer and read on my cot and eventually fall asleep. They turn off the lights at some point and I don't wake up until 3 AM.

I think it is 80 degrees in the shelter.

Click on photos to see them full size.




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The Storm is Still Here (Wed., Oct. 26)

I woke up right at 5 AM just like usual. I had called Dwayne Tuesday night and told him I couldn't get to work because the car was in Coventry, so I didn't have to call in. I turned on the computer and played some games of Sudoku to wake up, had my vitamins, washed up with bottled water, and checked the thermometers. Dave had said that the pipes wouldn't freeze this week without power, but I still wanted to keep an eye on what temperatures I was living in. Still 62 upstairs; 58 downstairs. I plugged up the doorsill in the kitchen but I couldn't do anything about the window that wouldn't close without opening it and letting in more cold air. Dwayne called at 6:15, just as the plow came. There was no school so I wasn't missing a thing. The first October snow day in twenty years. I told him I would call him later that day about Thursday. It was still snowing heavily. I was too cold to go out and talk to Bernie, as I would usually do when I am home and he plows.

The cognitively-impaired cats had forgotten about the snowstorm so I let them out again. But I had forgotten that in the winter they tend to follow the plow: down the driveway out to the road. This keeps their legs dry. They hate walking in deep snow. They were busy, though, stalking some fat finches that were waiting out the storm in the garage. I was able to get them back in easily, and they never went out again until Thursday (for Charlie) and Friday (for Buddy).

We went back to bed, in the still-dark morning, intending to read, but immediately slept until 8 AM. I called Amy, waking her. They had lost power but it had come back about 1 AM. So they had been up very late caring for the boarded dogs and then went to bed.

I had my cornflakes (and became concerned about how warm the inside of my new refrigerator was), and continued reading my book. During the day it became lonely and even boring at times. I swept the floor, wrote out the November birthday cards, and wrapped Danielle's and Amy's birthday presents. I wrote Simonne a letter, which meant I didn't have to call her. Panic rose up several times but I used all my cognitive-behavioral training to keep it under control. I finished The Curious Incident book after lunch (ham sandwich and milk). About this time, the snow blew off of the power lines coming into the house. The crab apple tree is seriously damaged. The top has broken off and is dangling on the ground. All the trees in the woods are bent over double, touching the ground. It looks as if some hardwood is down in the woods, too.

I began Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, another book I had gotten in Montpelier just a few days earlier when Camille and I had our outing. But I was feeling dirty by now, and colder. Upstairs was still 62, but downstairs had dropped to 56 and I felt it. When the sun began to set, which seemed to happen at 3pm in the gloom of the storm, I felt very cut off from the world. The loss of the use of the computer was the worst blow for me. That is my link to the world and my family. I called the village office and they didn't have good news for me: it could be the weekend before power was restored! Amy told me that 10,000 people were out of power around me. I didn't even know that 10,000 people lived in these three counties!

Dottie called, offering me warm food and a warming place, and a ride to my car. But I declined because I didn't want them out in the weather again. Also, I knew I still couldn't drive my car home on those roads with three year old summer tires. And I never wanted to abandon the cats. Matilda was now sneezing regularly and Possum was sneezing intermittently.

I decided to get the mail before dark. I never got it Tuesday, and I had seen Mary Lou dropping it off about 11 AM. So I put on my coat and boots and went out with the camera.

Click on the photos to seem them full size.






The panic episodes continued, more frequently, now. But I re-loaded my tea light candles and made supper before dark (tuna fish and canned pears and milk). I called the village again and they told me about the Red Cross shelter in the basement of the Memorial Building. There was still no hope of getting power until Thursday. Dwayne called that there would be a two hour delay on Thursday and I told him I still had no power, water, or heat so that I would be unable to go to work. To warm myself and help pass the time, I did some toe-touches and began to sing Christmas carols as I walked around the house. The singing upset Mouse quite a bit. She jumped after me around the house as I walked and meowed continuously, demanding that the noise stop. I finally gave up and did stop.

I continued to read by candlelight and flashlight until 9 PM, when I went to bed.

Upstairs it was 60 degrees. Downstairs it was now 55.

The storm is here (Tues. night, Oct. 25)

I left school at 4 PM and the roads were wet and the fields and mountains were green. But the rain was just beginning the change over to snow. All the people I check in with for their weather lore said I would be fine. So I confidently went to class in Newport. I knew we would probably have to leave for home early but that wouldn't be a problem.

My troubles began on the hills outside of Newport on Rt. 105. The road became snow-covered but as long as I went very slowly (as was everyone else), it was alright. At the Newport waterfront, though, the wind was like a hurricane. I had already decided that since conditions were deteriorating so quickly I had to cancel class, so I ran upstairs, cancelled, and started out for home.

Again, the snow-covered roads were not a problem if I drove slowly. I was worried about the Coventry high land though: that is always the worst area to drive on my way home. And it was that night. I began the drive uphill after the Rt. 14 intersection and the car began sliding even without me giving the engine gas. I pulled into the parking lot of Kingdom Playground because it was the last place with a phone until Orleans (which is on the "down" side of the highlands). The wind grabbed the door from my hands and slammed it into the side of the building. Inside it was safe and warm. Chris, the person there, gave me a phone, and I called Dottie, who called her husband Dave, who said he would pick me up in his huge four-wheel drive truck after 5 PM when E.M. Brown's closed. The satellite TV system began working once the wind blew the snow off of the dish, but the only thing they watched was CMT, not the weather. Traffic was slowing down ominously outside as the roads quickly worsened. I began to worry that Dave wouldn't be able to get through, but the men at the bar said not to worry: his truck could get through anything. I ate the sandwich I had packed that morning for my supper and Chris gave me a Pepsi.

Dave did make it. I threw three of my tote bags, my purse, and twenty pounds of cat food into the cab. The truck was large enough so that all these things were on the seat between Dave and me. The seatbelt holds people too close in these trucks, and it made me feel that perhaps there was a reason for that. Perhaps you needed to be held in extra tight because of the more serious nature of the accidents in these huge vehicles! If I moved my neck at all, even to look out the side window, the seatbelt locked up on me, holding me captive and pinned into the seat.

This was a good thing as it turned out. We saw a car that had slid off the road. Then up ahead there was a line of traffic that had stopped. The descent from the highlands was beginning and everyone had stopped so that they could creep down as slowly as possible. Dave was going slowly and I had relaxed. I actually felt secure in this big machine and thought we could make it home now! But even with over 50 yards (I think it was more), the road was too slippery for the truck, and when Dave braked for the traffic up ahead, the truck slipped. Dave kept it on the road for a long time, gently swerving this way and back as the truck slipped about, but he couldn't hold it and we went into the ditch.

The truck remained horizontal, just a slight tilt to my side. But we had gone over a wire fence and into a wet area. No matter what Dave did to rock the truck out, we only became more mired in the mud. So Dave walked to the next house, barely visible in the snowfall, for help. The people there came immediately with their four wheel drive but were unable to make a difference. They went home and called Bob Croteau, who came with his winch truck and winched us out, lifting the front end right off the ground and successfully getting us on the road. When the truck was in the air was the point when I finally muttered, "I'm scared now, Dave." But he explained what was happening and he was so calm that I was able to return to a low-terror state. My mouth became so dry that my cheeks stuck to my teeth.

We started for home again. Dave tapped the brakes and the wheels never slipped at all, so I was able to relax more. If I talked. Poor Dave, I talked non-stop the whole way home, and of course, I had to tell him every single inch of road that scares me in weather like this. As if he doesn't know the curves and hills. But he tolerated me very well. It was exciting to see the flood light outside the house when we got up Willoughby Lake Road. He helped me haul all of my bags into the garage and went home. I tried to call Dottie to tell her that her husband was safe and on his way home, but the phone was constantly busy until, of course, Dave had gotten home. I let Buddy and Charlie outside to get their desire for the outdoors out of them. It worked: they lasted all of five minutes in the garage, never venturing into the storm, which now looked like, and very nearly was, a blizzard but it wasn't because it was not cold enough.

I began making phone calls: to a student who had left a message (she wasn't home...why not? was she on those deadly roads because I had not cancelled soon enough?), Camille (she was very surprised, the weather in Wheelock was comparatively good!), Amy (reinforcing my morning instructions for her to stay in Newport all night), and Cherie. Cherie was not home. In fact, her brother said that she was in Newport at class. And their father was out trying to find his mother in the storm. But he told me to relax, they would get Cherie home safe and sound and use the interstate. They know how bad Rt. 5 in Coventry can be. I told him she had to call me, no matter how late.

Cherie did call on her cell phone. Her algebra class had not been cancelled but was leaving early and her father was on his way. As I was making the calls, the lights went on and off a total of eleven times. This didn't worry me at all. As I was on the phone I fed the cats and gave them water. I made sure I did chores that required water, like brushing my teeth. Cherie called again from home, but on her cell phone because they lose the house phone without power. She was safe, the ride home was "dicey" but she had known her father could do it in his truck. (I think I need one of these trucks that can "do it.") Finally the lights went out and never came back.

I had my flashlight and extra D cells, some AAA and AA batteries (but no idea what they were for besides remote controls), some nice fat candles, three candle lanterns that made blackouts cozy and homey, and 100 unscented tea lights. I put the tea lights in one of the lanterns, 12 at a time, and it made the most marvelous light. I could continue my phone calls very comfortably. So I called Anna on her cell, using the number Amy had written and left on the counter. A Spanish woman answered and hung up on me. I called Andrew's cell phone using the number in my address book from my purse, but someone else now owns that number. I had turned off the computer to save the battery power, but I fired it up again to get a list of people I might want to call or would need to call. Then I started again: Anna, no answer, so I left a very, very long message. The same with Andrew. I tried Anna's house and left another message. I called Amy again. I was going to call Simonne but I became suddenly tired and took my books, flashlight, and glasses to bed.

I was asleep before 10 PM. Not even that excellent book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time could keep me awake. It was 62 degrees upstairs.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Vermont (Tuesday morning, Oct. 25)

As often as I could I looked on the net for data about the elevations of towns in the NEK. I found this article and highlighted the relevant sections. Topozone has elevations for each town, but it requires inputting each county and then getting data for each place.I wanted the elevations because this storm was being forecast by elevation and even a hundred feet one way or another seemed to make a difference. In the end it made no difference: all of Orleans county suffered. This article has good background info on Vermont though so I decided to keep it as reference.I failed to keep the URL of this site...sorry! I need to find a flag and map to add to this post.

Vermont - USA State
Vermont bordered by New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Canadian province of Quebec...by Anand Singh Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik

Vermont is the northwesternmost and second-largest in land area of the New England states. Its name is derived from the French phrase monts verts, "green mountains," just as its capital, MONTPELIER, is named for the French city of Montpellier. Samuel de Champlain in 1609 was the first European to explore the region, and Lake Champlain in the northwestern part of the state bears his name. To the east the Connecticut River follows Vermont's 322-km (200-mi) border with New Hampshire. Vermont is bordered by Massachusetts on the south, New York on the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec on the north.

The only New England state without a seacoast, Vermont traditionally has been the region's most important agricultural state. Since World War II, however, Vermont's economy has become increasingly diversified, with recreation and manufacturing assuming greater importance.

The first European settlement in present-day Vermont was in 1666, when Pierre de St. Paul, sieur de la Motte, constructed a blockhouse on Isle la Motte in Lake Champlain. The settlement was temporary, however, and the first permanent settlement was by the English in 1724 at Fort Dummer (present-day Brattleboro). Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th state on Mar. 4, 1791, after having existed as an independent republic for 14 years.

LAND AND RESOURCES
Vermont's highest point, Mount Mansfield (1,339 m/4,393 ft), lies about 30 km (19 mi) almost due east of Burlington. The lowest elevation is along Lake Champlain, which lies at 29 m (95 ft) above sea level and drains northward into the St. Lawrence River. Vermont has 80 peaks exceeding 900 m (3,000 ft).

Occupying much of northwestern Vermont, the Champlain Valley lies quite flat close to the lake and was in fact at various times an old lake or seabed during the periods of higher water levels brought about by Pleistocene glaciation. Heavy clay soils mantle much of the area, often making drainage a problem. Toward the mountains to the east, relief gradually increases, and dairy farming gives way to other land uses.

The narrow Valley of Vermont, located south of the Champlain Valley, is traversed by U.S. Route 7 extending from Bennington in the south to Brandon in the north. The valley was a major settlement route into Vermont, and marble is quarried in the north.

The Taconic Mountains extend along the border with New York west of the Valley of Vermont. The highest summit is Mount Equinox near Manchester (1,163 m/3,816 ft). Slate is quarried along the western side. To the east of the valleys and extending the entire length of the state, forming its backbone, are the GREEN MOUNTAINS. The mountains occasionally separate into two parallel ranges, and the western summits are higher.

The largest and also most diverse physical region in Vermont, the Vermont Piedmont, occupies most of the eastern portion of the state and includes the valleys of the White, West, and Black rivers, all of which drain into the Connecticut. With elevations less than 600 m (2,000 ft), the piedmont was an important area of early hill farming. Most farms have long been abandoned, and much of the land has reverted to forestry and recreational uses, although dairy farms still exist.

The Northeastern Highlands region, often referred to as the Northeast Kingdom, is a small, wild, and isolated mountainous area north of St. Johnsbury. It is geologically closely related to New Hampshire's nearby White Mountains. The highest summit is Gore Mountain (approximately 1,000 m/3,330 ft), and nearly all of the region lies above 600 m (2,000 ft).


Climate Because of its inland location, Vermont receives little climatic impact from the Atlantic Ocean. An exception is the northeaster, which develops from low-pressure systems off the coast of Maine and generates moist northeastern airflow over the region, in the winter often bringing heavy snowfall to higher elevations. Also, because of its closer proximity to the Atlantic, southeastern Vermont tends to receive more precipitation than the sheltered Champlain Valley.

Precipitation patterns mostly reflect elevation. The Champlain Valley receives an average of 813 mm (32 in) annually, whereas Somerset, at an elevation of 634 m (2,080 ft) in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont, receives more than 1,321 mm (52 in), and mountain summits even more, with snowfall totals of 3,810 mm (150 in) not uncommon.

Temperature is also influenced by elevation and inland location. The average January temperature for the state is -8 deg C (18 deg F), whereas the July temperature averages 19 deg C (67 deg F). Temperatures cooler than these persist at higher elevations, however, and somewhat warmer temperatures prevail in the valleys.

Rutland, in the Champlain Valley, has an average temperature in January of -6 deg C (21 deg F) and in July of 21 deg C (70 deg F). Seasonal extremes prevail because of the lack of any significant marine influence. The record low temperature for Vermont is -46 deg C (-50 deg F); the record high of 41 deg C (105 deg F) occurred at Vernon on July 4, 1911. Growing seasons in the Champlain Valley are 150 days or more, but at higher elevations and in enclosed valleys some marginal farms have a growing season of only 90 days or even less.

HISTORY
When Samuel de CHAMPLAIN traversed the lake that bears his name in 1609, Vermont was hunting territory for various ALGONQUIN and Iroquois tribes (see IROQUOIS LEAGUE), and Algonquin groups such as the ABNAKI and MAHICAN were probably already permanent inhabitants of western parts of the state. In any event, most Vermont Indian place names are of Algonquin origin.

The Champlain Valley was recognized early as the strategic lowland corridor between the French settlements to the north and the British ones to the south. The sieur de la Motte built a blockhouse on Isle la Motte in 1666, and Captain Jacobus de Warm from Albany constructed a trading post on Chimney Point in 1690. A French fort was built on the same site in 1730, and the ruins of its chimneys that stood for years gave the place its unusual name. Of the many later British, French, and American fortifications built throughout the valley, CROWN POINT and TICONDEROGA, both in New York State, are the largest and best known.

Claims of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New YorkUnder the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Massachusetts had been granted the southern half of Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire, and to protect its settlements the colony erected a series of forts along the Connecticut River. Fort Dummer, the first permanent white settlement in what was to become Vermont, was built in 1724 near the present town of Brattleboro.

In 1741, however, George II ruled invalid Massachusetts's claims in Vermont and New Hampshire and fixed the northern boundary of Massachusetts at its present location. Gov. Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire saw this as an opportunity to grant lands west of the Connecticut River as far as a line about 30 km (20 mi) east of the Hudson River, the western boundary of both Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1749 he granted the town of Bennington in southwestern Vermont, and subsequently, by 1764, he had granted a total of about 135 towns, making Vermont known as the "New Hampshire Grants."

But Wentworth's real-estate activities upset Gov. George Clinton of New York, who, citing early charters to the duke of York, claimed that New York extended eastward to the Connecticut River. The king was asked to render a decision in the dispute, but wartime activities (see FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS) postponed judgment until 1764, when George III and his council declared "the western banks of the river Connecticut to be the boundary line between the said two provinces of New Hampshire and New York." New York thereupon declared all of Wentworth's 135 grants null and void and began to make new grants to new grantees of lands already held and settled under New Hampshire title.

Independence and StatehoodSettlers were thunderstruck and angered, and most were fearful of losing their lands. Violent outbreaks against New York authority were common, especially in western Vermont, where the GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS organized by Ethan ALLEN in 1770-71 harassed holders of Vermont land with New York titles. As the only organized military group in Vermont, the Boys later were able to support the cause of the colonies against the British, notably by helping Benedict Arnold capture the British fortress at Ticonderoga in 1775.

With the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Vermont settlers pondered their future. In a series of conventions the idea of independence was gradually accepted, and at Windsor on July 2-8, 1777, 70 delegates unanimously adopted a constitution that was almost an exact replica of Pennsylvania's. Vermont became the independent Republic of New Connecticut, alias Vermont, but the name New Connecticut was rarely used. After 14 years as an independent republic, Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th state on Mar. 4, 1791.

The 19th CenturyEarliest industries in the new state included the production of potash and pear ash, largely for the Canadian market because of the northward drainage of Lake Champlain. During the War of 1812, prosperous smuggling developed between Vermont and Canada, at the same time that America's first battleship, the Saratoga, built at Vergennes, was being sent into action under Commodore Thomas MACDONOUGH on Lake Champlain. The Battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814 gave Americans final control of the lake.

The Jefferson Embargo preceding the War of 1812, the war itself, and the opening (1823) of the Champlain Canal connecting Lake Champlain to the Hudson River all contributed to Vermont's growing orientation to the south and away from the north and Canada. The canal made it possible for Vermont farmers to ship goods to New York City, stimulating agriculture and wool production, until the 1860s when dairy farming began to dominate. During the Civil War the St. Albans Raid occurred (1864) when 22 Confederate soldiers based in Quebec robbed banks in St. Albans and fled to Canada. By the early 20th century, manufacturing replaced agriculture as the dominant economic activity.

A New Look Today the southern orientation of Vermont has been reinforced dramatically by a changing population and socioeconomic character of the state. Retirees, second-home owners, and new resident commuters from Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts have settled in the state. The population is growing modestly through migration, tourism is booming, and the stability and quiet so characteristic of the first 175 years of statehood is rapidly disappearing from the Green Mountain State.

LAND
Area: 24,903 sq km (9,615 sq mi); rank: 45th.Capital: Montpelier (1990 census, 8,247).Largest city: Burlington (1990 census, 39,127).Counties: 14. Elevations: highest--1,339 m (4,393 ft), at Mount Mansfield; lowest--29 m (95 ft), at Lake Champlain.

STATE SYMBOLS
Statehood: Mar. 4, 1791; the 14th state.
Nickname: Green Mountain State
Bird: ?
Tree: sugar maple
Flower: red clover
Motto: Freedom and Unity
Song: "Hail, Vermont!"
Flag: ?
Map: ?

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Winter Storm Watch

It doesn't make for a very good start to your day when, at 5 AM, you see the first of many updated watches. A huge low pressure system from the west, Hurricane Wilma, and Tropical Depression Alpha will all meet and make a huge nor'easter on Tuesday and Wednesday (and Thursday and Friday?) Is this the perfect storm all over again? It's the right time of year....the Halloween Nor'easter, just a bit earlier this year.

Oh! Before we archive the snow watch, here is the NOAA headline tonight:

...Hurricane WILMA Updates...
Wilma has regained a little strength over the Atlantic as it races northeastward away from Florida. Details...
...Early Season Winter Storm in the Northeast....
A strong low pressure system continues to develop off the Carolina coast and may become a major early season winter storm. This storm has the potential to bring heavy wet snow to parts of New York and Pennsylvania. The storm will produce also produce heavy rains...coastal flooding...and damaging winds across New England. Check your local Weather Forecast Office website for Details...


And that last "Details" link? This is what it shows (I am the top Vermont county in the east that has a Winter Storm Watch):

Click on the image to see it full size.

Orleans (Vermont)

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BURLINGTON VT
327 PM EDT MON OCT 24 2005
...HEAVY SNOWFALL WILL IMPACT THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE NORTH
COUNTRY TUESDAY AFTERNOON INTO WEDNESDAY...
.STRONG LOW PRESSURE CONTINUES TO DEVELOP OFF THE CAPE HATTERAS
COAST THIS AFTERNOON AND WILL MOVE NORTHEAST TOWARD CAPE COD BY
TUESDAY AFTERNOON. THIS WILL SPREAD ABUNDANT MOISTURE INTO OUR
REGION FROM EARLY TUESDAY MORNING INTO WEDNESDAY. LIGHT RAIN WILL
DEVELOP ACROSS SOUTHERN VERMONT BY EARLY TUESDAY MORNING AND
SPREAD INTO THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY AND NORTHERN NEW YORK BY MID
MORNING.
HOWEVER...THE AIR MASS WILL BECOME COLD ENOUGH TO CHANGE THE RAIN
QUICKLY OVER TO ALL SNOW ACROSS THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE
ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS BY EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON. THE SNOW WILL BECOME HEAVY
AT TIMES ABOVE 1000 FEET BY LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
FOR THE GREEN MOUNTAINS OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VERMONT THE AIR
MASS WILL BECOME COLD ENOUGH FOR ALL SNOW BY LATE TUESDAY
AFTERNOON AND COULD BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE EVENING
HOURS.
THIS HEAVY WET SNOW...COMBINED WITH NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS OF
20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH ACROSS THE HIGHER TERRAIN WILL
CAUSE DOWNED TREE LIMBS AND POWER LINES.
THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY AND OTHER LOWER ELEVATION LOCATIONS WILL SEE
A CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW OVERNIGHT ON TUESDAY WITH SOME LIGHT
SNOW ACCUMULATION POSSIBLE BY EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING.
VTZ003-006-008-016>019-250900-
/X.EXT.KBTV.WS.A.0001.051025T2000Z-051026T1600Z/
ORLEANS-LAMOILLE-WASHINGTON-EASTERN FRANKLIN-EASTERN CHITTENDEN-
EASTERN ADDISON-EASTERN RUTLAND-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...NEWPORT...JOHNSON...STOWE...
MONTPELIER...ENOSBURG FALLS...RICHFORD...UNDERHILL...BRISTOL...
RIPTON...EAST WALLINGFORD...KILLINGTON
327 PM EDT MON OCT 24 2005
...WINTER STORM WATCH NOW IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON
THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING...
A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW WILL CHANGE TO ALL SNOW IN THE HIGHER
ELEVATIONS BY LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON ACROSS NORTHERN AND CENTRAL
VERMONT. 6 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW WILL BE POSSIBLE BY WEDNESDAY
MORNING ACROSS THE GREEN MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN AND CENTRAL
VERMONT.
REMEMBER...A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
THE DEVELOPMENT OF HAZARDOUS WINTER WEATHER.
PERSONS ACROSS CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VERMONT...SHOULD TAKE THE
NECESSARY ACTION AND PREPARE FOR THIS UPCOMING WINTER WEATHER
EVENT. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR ANY MEDIA OUTLET...THAT
PROVIDES YOU WITH THE LATEST PRODUCTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE...WHICH ARE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO KEEP YOU INFORMED
DURING SUCH HAZARDOUS WEATHER EVENTS.
$$
TABER
Issuing Weather Forecast Office Homepage

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Cats are Distraught

We woke up to this. Of course, at 5 AM we can't see a thing so we all stayed in. As the sun rose we couldn't believe our eyes. At first I thought it was another heavy frost in the gloom of dawn. But Charlie always gets up as the light begins to come and I saw this when I let him out.

Charlie only stayed out about a half hour.

The state plow came by at 8 AM. Buddy had gone out by then and is hanging around the garage where just yesterday he made his last kill on a sunny warm day (40 degrees is pretty warm for now).

My car is home (for $225) but does not have studs. My summer tires are not in the best of shape. So here we go again!

The little birds, which I have not identified yet, are still flitting about noisely in this weather. They are behind the house and forage about the transition zone at the edge of the woods and the overgrown field. The trees are bending over from the weight of this first snow – which is always a heavy wet snow.

I suppose the moose hunters will love this: it will be easier to track the animals. I hope my moose are safe up on the mountain. There have been no hunters on this side.

More snow is expected in the middle of the week. But the remnants of Hurricane Wilma are expected after that, so there will be more flooding. But at least no snowy roads!

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Lost weekend

I've been working on the computer for two days now, just cleaning things up and playing around. Friday Camille and I went to Montpelier and went to two bookstores (Rivendell Bookstore and Bear Pond Books) and had lunch. I had the most wonderful strawberry shortbread cake. I can't forget it. We had a wonderful, quiet time. We took the wrong road out of Montpelier (Rt. 12 North) but found our way home very easily and made a trip over Stannard Mtn.

My car went to Taylor's Thursday night so that they could find the leak. And they did! The problem is that I don't have the car back yet and don't know when I will. As a result, I am missing my VAST class today. Did Taylor's forget to call? I called them late yesterday afternoon and Nick promised he would call when it was put back together again. I asked for snow tires but of course they don't have my size in stock. And of course it will be more than $300 this time.

So I promise myself to do my work at home today and stop playing on this machine! I will watch my DVDs, do my Sunday School, CCV, and VAST work, and read my new books and sleep. And answer my e-mails from Marcia and Gerri! It is so cold! Twenty-eight degrees now at 10:30 AM. I need a down comforter for these nights. But I need the septic system fixed, part of the roof fixed, and all of the garage doors fixed ($500 each). And two new computers and the wireless networking equipment for them. I always did require a lot. :-(

Anyway, I am supposed to go to Camille's for supper tonight and I don't even know how I will get there! I don't even know how, besides walking 3 miles, I will get my car!

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mathematics Club topics

NIM
Symbolic Logic
Games/Puzzles
Math Trail
Contests
Paper-folding
Origami
Orienteering
Codes/cryptography
Alphametrics/cryptarithms
GIMPS
SETI
Einstein @ home
Rep-tiles/symmetry/phi
If the World Were a Village
Pentominoes and Chaos Game
magic squares, stars, etc

don't forget MATH FAIR (Family Night?) plans!

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