Crozet Weather Almanac: May 2012

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by Heidi Sonen and Roscoe Shaw

Many people suspect that meteorologists study things like “Hairspray 101” and “Happy Talk Lab.”  However, the reality is that the college curriculum for atmospheric science is very demanding and loaded with horrendous things like calculus and physics and fluid dynamics and mathematical modeling. Most of the professors Heidi and I had went out of their way to take the fun out of weather.

Hard-core science combined with modern computing power has steadily improved weather forecasts. Heidi likes to say, “We are right on the money six days a week.”

It’s that seventh day that has proven elusive, but I think we have stumbled on the problem. Weather Fairies! I just found out that weather fairies control everything. They never taught us this in college, so we had to find out from our seven-year-old daughter.

Since Heidi and I met in front of a weather map and both have degrees in meteorology, it figures that if we begat offspring, they just might be slightly above average at weather acumen. Isabella certainly seems that way and is well-schooled in things like the three necessary ingredients for a rainbow (sun, rain, low sun angle) or the difference between rain and drizzle (droplet size).

So often, the younger generation sees things that the old folks just plain miss, and so it is with weather fairies. Recently, Bella explained to me that weather isn’t controlled by things like the downstream propagation of baroclinic instability at all. Instead, seven weather fairies control everything.

The seven weather fairies are: Chrystal, the snow fairy; Abigail, the breeze fairy; Pearl, the cloud fairy; Goldie, the sun fairy; Evie, the mist fairy; Storm, the lightning fairy; and Hayley, the rain fairy. Bella explained that Jack Frost sends evil goblins after a rooster named “Doodle,” whose tail feathers control the weather fairies. When I seemed confused, she suggested that I study more about it. You and your kids can learn more, too. Just google “Rainbow Magic Weather Fairies” or ask about it at Crozet library.

May Recap

May was another warm month, averaging about four degrees above normal. A warm May is still pleasant, though. The hottest was just 90 on the 28th. The coldest morning was 47 on the 12th. Rain was near normal at 3.72” with almost half of that falling in an all-day downpour on the 14th. Our water table is normal and should be adequate to last  in the hot weather for the next few months.

Rainfall Totals

  • UVA   6.94”
  • Charlottesville Airport  3.89”
  • Afton Summit  3.84”
  • Crozet  3.72”
  • Waynesboro  3.42”
  • Greenwood   2.43”
  • White Hall  2.31”