When a Hurricane Saved Washington DC and helped Win a War
August 25, 2010

Hurricane Providence Saved Washington as Commander In Chief Headed For the Hills

Hurricane Providence Saved Washington as Commander In Chief Headed For the Hills

Madison did not live up to Cartoon Maker's Image

Madison did not live up to Cartoon Maker's Image

On This Date in History:  The war of 1812 began June 18, 1812 when Congress declared war on Great Britain and President James Madison signed the measure into law. Why we call it the War of 1812 is lost on me because it wasn’t over until Christmas of 1814 and the biggest victory for the United States occurred after the war was over. Seems Andy Jackson and his boys in New Orleans didn’t get the news and met the British in a famous battle around Lake Borgne. The battle took place in January of 1815….so officially, one cannot say there was a battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812 because it was 1815 and the war was over. But, since Cleveland had already taken the moniker “the mistake by the lake” I guess they had to call it something. Wouldn’t that be pretty bad luck if you fought and died for your country in a battle of a war that was already over?

Stuart's George Saved by Dolley

Stuart's George Saved by Dolley

Now, not long before the war was over, Washington DC was in big trouble. On August 24, 1814, soldiers were racing alongside the civilians out of town in a panic. The British had landed 8 days prior with some 4000 battle-hardened troops who had seen plenty of action in the wars with Napoleon. The Americans were not experienced, not well trained and not well led. The President of the United States, James Madison came galloping through on a horse shouting “Clear Out! Clear Out!” When the Commander-In-Chief is telling everyone to haul-ass, then everyone listens. One of America’s proudest moments. Before his wife, Dolley Madison, left she grabbed a bunch of paintings including Gilbert Stuart’s famous painting of George Washington.  It’s a good thing she did because, as it turns out, Dolley Madison is credited with saving valuable artifacts of the nation

Maj. Gen. Robert Ross Led The Men Into Washington and Led Them in a Hasty Retreat In the Face America's Secret Weapon

The Redcoats came marching into Washington expecting a defense. Instead, they faced but a single volley of musket fire. But, it was enough to get their attention because it killed one guy, wounded three others and took out the horse from under the commanding general. The Brits moved on to the Capitol, where again they expected a last stand. So, they fired a few rockets through the windows and storm trooper busted down the doors only to find the chirping of crickets. So, they set the place on fire. Then they set the White House on fire as well as the Treasury building. Major General Robert Ross, the commander, stopped by the newspaper National Intelligencer to pick up the scribe’s final paper that assured the residents that the city was safe. Yup…the press was right on that story and have been as accurate ever since. Anyway, Ross couldn’t get the paper into his pocket as a souvenir because he had already filled his pockets with some of Madison’s personal papers. The general shouted, “Damn It! My pocket is full of old Madison’s love letters!” That’s what he gets for looting.

Bill Thornton Saved the Patent Office...Sorta

Bill Thornton Saved the Patent Office...Sorta

On August 25, 1814, a single maniac named John Lewis came charging at the British Army. He was the grandnephew of George Washington and it seems he was upset over his impressment into the Royal Navy. So, he went on a revenge binge only to get himself shot to death. There was another, more successful defender though. Dr. William Thornton ran the Patent Office and just as the soldiers were set to torch the building, he told the perpetrators that they would be no better than the barbarians who had put ablaze the Ancient Library of Alexandria. I suppose in shame, the Redcoats backed off and the Patent Office was saved. Then, Divine Providence showed up.

Not Long After the British Burned the White House, a Hurricane Doused the Flames and Forced the Redcoats Backed to their Ships

The British tried to set fire to 150 barrels of gunpowder at an abandoned American fort. The nitwits ended up setting off the whole kit and kaboodle at once and killed 30 of their own men while wounding another 44. Seems these guys were their own worst enemy. Then the wind picked up and the rain started to fall in buckets. Just in the nick of time, on this date in 1814,  before the entire city was burned to the ground, a hurricane showed up. The fires were put out and Ross ordered a full scale retreat back to their ships. The British never returned and Washington DC was saved from total destruction by this so-called “Hurricane of Providence.”   Most accounts of the burning of Washington, such as the New World Encyclopedia, mention the hurricane in passing but do suggest that the rain from the tropical cyclone did put out the fires in the public buildings.  Now, just because the British evacuated Washington DC doesn’t mean that they were done. Somehow their ships were spared the wrath of the hurricane because less than a month later, they attempted to invade Baltimore but they were not able to fully penetrate the city’s defense or destroy Fort McHenry that guarded Baltimore Harbor. It was during the bombardment of Fort McHenry that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words to what became known as the Star Spangled Banner. And guess who was also involved in that attack? Why none other than Maj. Gen. Robert Ross was a key figure in the adventure of Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore. So, without the Hurricane of Providence, maybe there would not have been a Star Spangled Banner. But, this national intervention of Divinity didn’t save everything. While the city was saved, the Patent Office that Dr. Thornton so skillfully saved wasn’t as lucky. The roof blew off. Perhaps Dr. Thornton missed church that week.

Weather Bottom Line:  You won’t believe the end of the week.  A big fat area of high pressure is dropping down from Canada.  You’ll wake up to temps in the low 60′s or maybe even upper 50′s on Thursday morning.  It will be tough to get to the low 80′s in the afternoon.  Friday the high moves off to the east but overnight temps will fall to the low to mid 50′s.  The wind will become more easterly on Friday afternoon and we’ll get to the low 80′s.  Another cool night on Friday night will give way to Southeasterly winds on Saturday and highs in the mid to upper 80′s and then we’ll threaten 90 on Sunday.  There will be abundant sunshine throughout.  This high will get anchored along the East Coast which will help prevent Hurricane Danielle from approaching the US and most likely what will become Hurricane Earl as well.

Hurricane of Providence Saved Washington DC and perhaps the Nation
June 18, 2010

Hurricane Providence Saved Washington as Commander In Chief Headed For the Hills

Hurricane Providence Saved Washington as Commander In Chief Headed For the Hills

Madison did not live up to Cartoon Maker's Image

Madison did not live up to Cartoon Maker's Image

The war of 1812 began on this date in history when Congress declared war on Great Britain and President James Madison signed the measure into law. Why we call it the War of 1812 is lost on me because it wasn’t over until Christmas of 1814 and the biggest victory for the United States occurred after the war was over. Seems Andy Jackson and his boys in New Orleans didn’t get the news and met the British in a famous battle around Lake Borgne. The battle took place in January of 1815….so officially, one cannot say there was a battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812 because it was 1815 and the war was over. But, since Cleveland had already taken the moniker “the mistake by the lake” I guess they had to call it something. Wouldn’t that be pretty bad luck if you fought and died for your country in a battle of a war that was already over?

Stuart's George Saved by Dolley

Stuart's George Saved by Dolley

Now, not long before the war was over, Washington DC was in big trouble. On August 24, 1814, soldiers were racing alongside the civilians out of town in a panic. The British had landed 8 days prior with some 4000 battle-hardened troops who had seen plenty of action in the wars with Napoleon. The Americans were not experienced, not well trained and not well led. The President of the United States, James Madison came galloping through on a horse shouting “Clear Out! Clear Out!” When the Commander-In-Chief is telling everyone to haul-ass, then everyone listens. One of America’s proudest moments. Before his wife, Dolley Madison, left she grabbed a bunch of paintings including Gilbert Stuart’s famous painting of George Washington. Good thing she did.

Maj. Gen. Robert Ross Led The Men Into Washington and Led Them in a Hasty Retreat In the Face America's Secret Weapon

The Redcoats came marching into Washington expecting a defense. Instead, they faced but a single volley of musket fire. But, it was enough to get their attention because it killed one guy, wounded three others and took out the horse from under the commanding general. The Brits moved on to the Capitol, where again they expected a last stand. So, they fired a few rockets through the windows and storm trooper busted down the doors only to find the chirping of crickets. So, they set the place on fire. Then they set the White House on fire as well as the Treasury building. Major General Robert Ross, the commander, stopped by the newspaper National Intelligencer to pick up the scribe’s final paper that assured the residents that the city was safe. Yup…the press was right on that story and have been as accurate ever since. Anyway, Ross couldn’t get the paper into his pocket as a souvenir because he had already filled his pockets with some of Madison’s personal papers. The general shouted, “Damn It! My pocket is full of old Madison’s love letters!” That’s what he gets for looting.

Bill Thornton Saved the Patent Office...Sorta

Bill Thornton Saved the Patent Office...Sorta

The next day, a single maniac named John Lewis came charging at the British Army. He was the grandnephew of George Washington and it seems he was upset over his impressment into the Royal Navy. So, he went on a revenge binge only to get himself shot to death. There was another, more successful defender though. Dr. William Thornton ran the Patent Office and just as the soldiers were set to torch the building, he told the perpetrators that they would be no better than the barbarians who had put ablaze the Ancient Library of Alexandria. I suppose in shame, the Redcoats backed off and the Patent Office was saved. Then,  Divine Providence showed up.

Not Long After the British Burned the White House, a Hurricane Doused the Flames and Forced the Redcoats Backed to their Ships

The British tried to set fire to 150 barrels of gunpowder at an abandoned American fort. The nitwits ended up setting off the whole kit and kaboodle at once and killed 30 of their own men while wounding another 44. Seems these guys were their own worst enemy. Then the wind picked up and the rain started to fall in buckets. Just in the nick of time before the entire city was burned to the ground, a hurricane showed up. The fires were put out and Ross ordered a full scale retreat back to their ships.   The British never returned and Washington DC was saved from total destruction by this so-called “Hurricane of Providence.”   Just because the British evacuated Washington DC doesn’t mean that they were done.  Somehow their ships were spared the wrath of the hurricane because less than a month later, they attempted to invade Baltimore but they were not able to fully penetrate the city’s defense or destroy Fort McHenry that guarded Baltimore Harbor.  It was during the bombardment of Fort McHenry that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words to what became known as the Star Spangled Banner.   And guess who was also involved in that attack?  Why none other than Maj. Gen. Robert Ross was a key figure in the adventure of Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore.  So, without the Hurricane of Providence, maybe there would not have been a Star Spangled Banner.  But, this national intervention of Divinity didn’t save everything.   While the city was saved, the Patent Office that Dr. Thornton so skillfully saved wasn’t as lucky. The roof blew off. Perhaps Dr. Thornton missed church that week. 

Weather Bottom Line:   It’s going to be hot and humid over the weekend; similar to what we saw last weekend.  There will the tail end of a front coming and sitting down on top of us by Sunday.  The difference between this weekend and last weekend is that there is not nearly the number of shortwaves wandering through the flow, so the prospects of rain and t’storms is diminished.  The NAM wants to have a wave pass on Saturday bringing us an elevated chance for rain and t’storms on Saturday afternoon while the GFS favors a shortwave passing to the north and an appendange far enough south to increase our prospects on Sunday afternoon.  Since the boundary will be closer to us or even over us on Sunday, I would favor it as the better prospect.  Just keep in mind that, should you find yourself under an isolated or scattered t’storm it will have the potential to drop a pretty fair amount of rain given the moisture content of the air.

1st Earth Day Was “Sooner” Than You Think
April 22, 2010

Is The Earth Any Different Now Then When the Crew of Apollo 17 Took This Photo?

Is The Earth Any Different Now Then When the Crew of Apollo 17 Took This Photo?

Trail of Tears Map

Trail of Tears Map

On This Date in History:  In the long, sad history of the United States and its eradication and relocation of the continent’s native (Indian) tribes, the area now known as Oklahoma became somewhat of a clearing house area of the tribes. Andrew Jackson had been a big Indian fighter in Georgia and Florida. His methods were often suggested to be cruel and inhuman. When he was elected President, his first message to Congress in December 1829 made mention of his intention to remove the native tribes from their land. By 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act and his successor, Martin Van Buren, followed through on Jackson’s policy and enforced the Removal Act and some following treaties by taking the Cherokees and some other tribes to the newly acquire territory north of what was then Mexico. It was probably the only thing Van Buren did of note as president and it pretty much sucked. Thousands of men, women and children died of various causes from the long walk to the newly designated Indian Territory. It was known as the Trail of Tears.

Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears

This land was supposed to be where all of the Indian tribes would be placed and eventually, they were told it would become an Indian State. But, as usual, what the Indians were told is not what Uncle Sam did. The Indians settled in much of the territory except for an area in the center. The railroads started crossing the territory with white men coming in to work and some wished to settle there. Some illegally took over Indian homes and land. Meanwhile, in Texas, the cattle industry boomed and the ranchers needed to get their beef to the East Coast markets. The only way to do that was to get the cattle to the closest railheads which where in Kansas. So, the ranchers illegally drove their mainly Longhorn cattle across the lush plains of the Indian Territory on the trek to Kansas. People who tried to get into the land or coveted the land were known as Boomers. Everyone took notice of the land in the center of the territory that became known as the “Unassigned Land,” but the 1887 Dawes Act was supposed to protect the Indian people. The US Government tried to enforce the laws but eventually just gave in and acquired the “Unassigned Land” with an eye toward opening it to settlement.

At Noon, The Land Rush Was On

At Noon, The Land Rush Was On

On this date in 1889 at noon, the land became officially opened for settlement and thousands of whites rushed in to grab their stake. But, a number of people wanted to cheat…and they were called Sooners, just like the football team. They were people who went into the area to stake a claim sooner than they were supposed to. Some even soaped up their horses to make it look like that they had rushed in that day to stake their claim. By 1890,there were over 100,000 Whites, 18,000 Blacks and 50,000 Indians in what became known to be the Oklahoma Territory. In 1906, the Indians attempted to create their own state, as had been promised, but the effort failed and on November 16, 1907 the Indian Territories and what had been the Unassigned Land to form the new state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the Choctaw word for Red People. You don’t suppose those good folks at the Oklahoma University chose their team colors because of that, do you?   Naw…they’re so sensitive which is why they will probably be distraught when the ‘Horns put it too them again in October. Here are additional Oklahoma Land Rush Images.

One might apply the “Sooner” label to the United Nations and Earth Day

April 22, 1970

April 22, 1970

Earth Day has a history that stretches back to 1970.   But, if you read below, you will find that there was a battle between Earth Days at that time, sorta like the battle between Beta and VHS.   The video battle for home use was won by VHS and the Earth Day battle was won by the April 22 crowd and not the United Nations,which had designated the first day of Spring as Earth Day.   Over time, it was determined that giving the Earth just one day was not sufficient so now we have Earth Week.   Apparently, several cities began taking up the time from April 16 to April 22 as an opportunity to promote energy saving ideas, recycling and other stuff that will save the world.  However, it seems that there may be a battle brewing over this as well. Seems that UC Berkley, has designated the calendar week for its activities. Last year,  I heared Oprah promoting Earth Week. Something tells me that Earth Week of the calendar week of April 22 will win out over April 16-April 22.  In recent years, critics as well as environmental groups have opposed the commercialization of Earth Day.   There are also those, like the National Center for Policy Analysis that ridicule Earth Day for past predictions that have not come to fruition.  Not sure where’s the beef.  I mean, its not like our planet couldn’t use some cleaning up.

Pres. Clinton Gave Nelson The Presidential Medal of Freedom

Pres. Clinton Gave Nelson The Presidential Medal of Freedom

The image from above was from Apollo 17, the final moon mission. I like it because it’s not some doctored up picture and shows the earth as it really is (was). Earth Day is rather interesting because there are two people who get credit for its invention. If you look up International Earth Day, you will find that John McConnell claims to have introduced the idea to the UN in September of 1969. He said that nature provided the perfect day on the Spring Equinox. The first UN sanctioned Earth day was on March 21, 1970. The UN Peace Bell is rung on every UN earth day. Their website says that the purpose of Earth Day is “to celebrate Earth’s life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends.”

Peace Bell at United Nations

But, the media has grabbed on to another Earth Day, April 22. This first Earth Day was held on this date in 1970. This was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who said, “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” I guess he had the most juice because most people think of April 22 as Earth Day and political aims seem to have been met in July of 1970, when President Nixon by Executive Order established the Environmental Protection Agency, which some would find ironic. But there are several ironies regarding Earth Day with one including Nixon himself.

Ironic historical notes about Earth Day:

Happy Earth Day?

Happy Earth Day?

April 22, 1915: The German Army first introduced the use of poison gas on the battlefield as they fired 150 tons of Chlorine into Allied lines. Happy Earth Day.

April 22, 1992: More than 200 people were killed and 1000 buildings damaged when the sewers exploded in Guadalajara, Mexico after natural gas filled the lines. The warning signs were there but

Created EPA

Created EPA

apparently the government nor the government controlled national oil company did anything about it. Happy Earth Day.

April 22, 1994: The guy who was perhaps spurred by the first Earth Day, President Nixon, to create the Environmental Protection Agency….died.

BTW…I still think we should be focusing the attention on water pollution more than climate change…but alas…there doesn’t seem to be any money in that.

SPC: Slight Risk for Severe Weather Sat AM to Sun AM

SPC: Severe Weather Probability Sat AM to Sun AM

Weather Bottom Line:   I’ve been telling you for the past week that things might get interesting.  The reason was that it looked like a big storm would be ejecting from the West.  Yesterday, I showed how the SPC had a fairly bullish assessment of a severe potential for the lower Mississippi Valley for Saturday morning through Sunday morning.  It’s a shade unusual for them to say that a wide spread severe event is likely for a specified area 4 days out.  But, I had suggested that they may ultimately expand that region of concern northward to cover our region and, they have now done so. 

It’s a pretty complex situation because this guy is going to be breaking up. I would surmise that one might suggest that our rain chances Thursday night and Friday are a reflection of small pieces coming through the flow.  As we get to the weekend, the storm comes out from the plains and makes its presence known.  It’s going to be interesting to see how things shake out here.  My suspicion is that Saturday afternoon that there will be storms developing out west and a few of them may hold together to cause some problems Saturday evening and night.  I’m not sold on the idea that there is no risk at all on Sunday, though it seems less likely than Saturday.  Thing is, this guy kinda goes pokey on us and seems to be progged to hang around on Sunday, which means we should at least keep an eye on things.  It does not appear that Saturday’s stuff will be a widespread event as that should be reserved for the lower Mississippi Valley, though the potential for a few troublemakers is there.

Sign From God Elects American President
February 9, 2010

Quincy Adams is Lucky Andy Didn't turn to the pistols to resolve the electoral college SNAFU in 1824

Quincy Adams is Lucky Andy Didn't turn to the pistols to resolve the electoral college SNAFU in 1824

On This Date in History: George W. Bush was not the first son of a president to become president. Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison but John Quincy Adams was the son of the second president, John Adams. But, like the election of GW Bush, the election of the first presidential son did not come without a hitch. In the case of GW Bush, we had Supreme Court intervention while John Quincy Adams looked even higher.

Close But Not Enough for Old Hickory

Close But Not Enough for Old Hickory

Adams did not have a majority of the electoral votes. In fact, Andrew Jackson had more of the popular vote and more electoral votes. But, neither man had a majority of the electoral college so the election went to the House of Representatives. How did that happen? Well, the two party system wasn’t too developed at that time and a whole bunch of people took the Republican mantra. Remember, this is way before the birth of the modern Republican Party just prior to the Civil War. In fact, a bunch of state legislatures disdained the slate of candidates and nominated favorite sons. At one point ,there were 17 candidates but by election day, the field had narrowed to four.

When a Win is Not A Win

When a Win is Not A Win

Jackson took the most votes in the popular election as the sitting Senator from Tennessee and war hero. His opponents said he was a hot head who was semi-literate who was good for a bar room fight but not fit for national office. Adams had the second most votes and was the sitting Secretary of State. He was quite qualified through experience and education, but was considered pretty bland and boring, lacking in any human warmth. The guy in third was William H. Crawford who had been treasury secretary and collected a bunch of political debts that were redeemed for support for the nation’s top office. He was so over-the-top with political appointments and trading that President James Monroe threatened him with a pair of fire tongs in a heated discussion on the subject. Kentucky’s Henry Clay was fourth but he was eliminated by the 12th Amendment that said only the top 3 vote getters could be considered.

Steve Could Say "no" to Dan and Hank, But Not God

Steve Could Say "no" to Dan and Hank, But Not God

On this date in 1824, the vote was to take place in the House and Adams figured he needed to win on the first ballot if he were to win because after that, Jackson’s popular support would wash over the decks. John Quincy was certain that he had locked up 12 states, which left him one short. But, New York stood tied. If he could take the New York delegation, then he would be the president. Apparently, Henry Clay was in the Adams camp because he counseled that an old and wealthy landholder who was a representative in the New York legislature was most likely to be swayed. His name was Stephen Van Rensselaer III and he was led to the chambers of the Speaker of the House where he felt the full force of persuasion than none other than Clay himself and Daniel Webster. Who could turn that down? Van Rensselaer that’s who. Guess he owed a lot to Crawford because thats whom he was supposedly backing. As it turns out, Webster and Clay had some effect because after they left, the old man bowed his head and prayer, asking for guidance. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was a piece of paper with the name of John Quincy Adams. It was possibly a discarded ballot but Van Rensselaer accepted it as Divine intervention and while he could deny Webster and Clay, he could not deny the will of God. He took the slip of paper, put it in the ballot box and John Quincy Adams became the 6th President of the United States. While Bush the younger went on to win a second term, Adams the younger lost his re-election bid but went on to serve in the House of Representatives until 1848 when he was literally carried out of the legislative body after suffering a stroke on February 21.

NWS Louisville overnight forecast

By Early Tue AM 65.5% of nation under snow cover avg depth 8 inches

Weather Bottom Line:  I will bask in the glow of victory as a good bit of the area got 5-6 inches of snow with Louisville in the 6 inch range and some even greater totals. The guys who clear the snow from our place used leaf blowers and buried my front porch and our adopted cat, Paintbrush.  Hmmm… Snow White gave a gentle lecture at 6:30am so I decided that I needed to get my lazy self out of bed.  I cleaned off the car and the driveway and then we went on our winter walk.  We love walking in the snow.  I was surprised that the birds were chirping.  I thought for sure that they would stay silent wherever birds go when it snow.   A cold front will swing through in the late afternoon or early evening.  We can expect some more snow with that as it lifts up the air as it literally plows through.  If you think about it, a cold front kinda looks like a snow plow from a vertical profile perspective.  Probably less than an inch of additional snow.

             LOCATION………………………..SNOWFALL……..TOTAL ON
                                                                         THROUGH 1 PM     GROUND
                                                                                 (INCHES)        (INCHES)

LEXINGTON (OFFICIAL)                                           2.0               1
LOUISVILLE INTERNATIONAL (OFFICIAL)    6.3             7
LOUISVILLE NWS OFFICE                                        6.1             7
BOWLING GREEN (OFFICIAL)                                0.9             1

Pretty Common Across Area by Afternoon Tuesday

Now, I still do not see how we get above freezing anywhere soon. I know that the national forecasts advertise mid 30′s for Saturday and Sunday but I’ve noticed that they have been lowering the numbers closer and closer to freezing.  Anyway, if we do nudge above freezing anytime soon it won’t be for long or that much above freezing.  Overnight, the wind will pick up and the temps falling to the teens…only the teens because of the wind.  Wednesday perhaps some passing snow showers or flurries.  The wet roads may freeze in spots but it may not be all that bad because the wind will help evaporate that water but if it freezes before the wind can work on it, then there may be some issues. Keep that in mind when driving at night or the morning.  Thursday, we stay in the 20′s in the afternoon and if we get some clearing on Thursday night, which is possible, then those double digits lows you see on the national forecasts for our area will be way off the board.  Clear skies, thick snow cover, light winds…that sounds like zero or below zero to me.  Certainly single  digits.  From that point, it gets unclear.  I have some data saying that we get nothing as another storm system comes across similar to the last two with  a low to the south and one to the north.  Several models want to keep them separate and we stay in no man’s land.  But, the GFS has the northern branch diving down over us.  It wants to give us snow all weeked with a crescendo of 3 inches on Monday leaving us with a 3 day total of additional 5 inches.  No other model calls for this but, in some regards, it makes some sense.  We’ll see how it shakes out.  My guess is that the GFS is closer to what will happen than not..but its strictly a guess.  I still don’t see how we get above freezing for the rest of the week into early next week.  But, I’ve been wrong before…but not this time. I claim victory!!!

Battle of New Orleans Fought After War Was Over
January 8, 2010

Battle of New Orleans: Pointless Battle Vaulted Career of Andrew Jackson, Johnny Horton and the Royal Guardsmen

When I was 7, this was my favorte album

On This date in History:  The American War of 1812 began in…well…1812.  But, the name is an odd moniker because it implies the war took place in 1812 when, in fact, it went on long after that.  It even went on even when it was over.   The war began in the middle of 1812 but went on until the end of 1814 when, on December 24, 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed that ended the conflict.  Now, the United States Senate did not get around to ratifying the treaty until February 16, 1815 but typically, when a treaty is signed, there is a cessation of hostilities pending ratification.   But, in the early 19th century, there was no internet and snail mail really moved at a snail’s pace.

I Thought the Royal Guardsmen were Cool

When I was a kid, the Florida band The Royal Guardsmen had an album called Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron.  While the title song was the big hit, there was also several other memorable songs, many of which were covers.  One was the Battle of New Orleans.  It starts off with the line, “In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.  We took a little bacon and we took a little beans and we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans.”    I know that this was one of the cover songs as it was originally written by Jimmy Driftwood and was recorded by Johnny Horton.   In 1959, both Driftwood and Horton won Grammy Awards for the tune.  So, I suppose the boys from Florida thought that it was a good idea to do a cover of the song in the early 1960′s. 

Treaty of Ghent Couldn't Stop War Right Away

Now, the lyrics would imply that the battle took place in 1814.  In fact, many people think that the Battle of New Orleans was the decisive battle of the War of 1812.  But, the decisive battle took place on Lake Champlain in September 1814.  Invading British forces were forced back into Canada by the United States Navy and the American victory led the British to conclude that the best course of action was to head to the town of Ghent in Belgium and wrap up the peace negotaions that had gone on in a halting manner for some time.   

Old Hickory ended up on the 20 partly due to useless victory

Now, Driftwood for some reason referred to Andrew Jackson as “Colonel Jackson” when he was a General.  And General Jackson did lead an army to near New Orleans.  Keep in mind that communications were slow and so neither Jackson nor the British commanders were aware of what was going on with the peace negotiations.  So, British Commander Sir Edward Pakenham went forth with his plan to attack New Orleans.   He reasoned that if he captured the Big Easy, then he might separate Louisiana from the rest of the United States.  Pakenham had no idea that Jackson had an extra pair of eyes.  Seems that pirate  Jean Lafitte became aware of the British invasion force to the Southeast of New Orleans near Lake Bourne and directly had that information relayed to Jackson.  So, when Pakenham led his forces toward New Orleans on this date in 1815, he found 4500 troops under Jackson firmly entrenched along the Rodriguez Canal. 

Pakenham Forgot American Way of War Dispensed with Silly European Rules

Even though the Brits outnumbered the Yanks 7500 to 4500, the defensive position of the Americans, surprise and terrain worked against the British.  Perhaps just as important for the Americans is that Jackson had a pretty fair number of militiamen from the backwoods of Kentucky and Tennessee.  These lands produced the likes Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and there were more where they came from.  The expert marksman from the American frontier cut the marching British to pieces.  In just 30 minutes, 2000 British soldiers were either killed, wounded or missing.  American casulaties were just 8 killed and 13 wounded.  I suppose that the British had not learned their lesson from the American Revolution because Pakenham allowed himself to be exposed to fire.  There had been a European tradition in warfare to not shoot the opposition’s officers so that there may be a sense of order on the battlefield.  But, the Americans had regularly targeted British officers in the late 18th century for the purpose of creating chaos in the ranks of the stronger opponent.   And in the early 19th century, they did the same thing.  Pakenham didn’t get the memo and the result was Sir Edward was counted among the dead in the first 30 minutes of the battle.  The British retreated and never came back. 

The battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815 in a war that was over in 1814 and was the last major battle of the war known as the War of 1812.  And the battle became famous in the 20th century by a song that said Andrew Jackson was a colonel when in fact he was a general.  And the final treaty of this misnamed war more or less left things as they were before the war.  Nothing seemed right about the War of 1812, unless you were Andrew Jackson.  The exploits of Jackson in the pointless battle made him famous and it helped launch his political career that eventually took him to the White House and on the twenty dollar bill. 

Louisville NWS snow reports as of Friday morning

Weather Bottom Line:  My latest foray into snow forecasting ended up on a pretty positive note.  Snow forecasting is really pretty difficult because small variances in moisture totals can result in relatively large differences in snow totals.  But, in this case, it was a pretty good bet that most people would get around 3 inches with some up to four and the farther south of Louisville you went, the lower the totals down toward 2 inches.  Anyway, the snow showers on Friday will end in a few flurries after sundown and then during the day on Saturday we get to the 20′s and we say good bye to snow showers but still get some flurries.  Now…we do warm up…I have been saying for over a week that we wouldn’t get to freezing until the 15th.  The computers think its the 13th. I think the NWS goes for the 12th.  Whatever…we’re still talking about below freezing temperatures for every minute of 2010 for nearly 2 weeks.  There is indications that we get a pretty fair warm up for the several days starting midweek as the jet stream goes back to Canada with a big ridge building in the US.  But, there is one model that is trying to create a potential snow maker a week from Sunday.  Key to that last sentence is “a week from Sunday.”  It’s a long way away and there would  have to have everything to come together perfectly for that to happen.  But, regardless, there is no indication of a return to extended cold once we come out of this ice bucket.  Oh..BTW…the models call for low teens on Sunday morning.  The NWS says 11.  The clouds will be breaking on Saturday night.  I’m tellin’ ya….if those clouds break sufficiently by say…2 or 3 am on Sunday…we get down to near zero.  It’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

Hurricane Providence Saves Washington; Midwest, Ohio Valley Severe Storms Next Few Days
June 18, 2009

Hurricane Providence Saved Washington as Commander In Chief Headed For the Hills

Hurricane Providence Saved Washington as Commander In Chief Headed For the Hills

Madison did not live up to Cartoon Maker's Image

Madison did not live up to Cartoon Maker's Image

The war of 1812 began on this date in historywhen Congress declared war and President James Madison signed the measure into law. Why we call it the War of 1812 is lost on me because it wasn’t over until Christmas of 1814 and the biggest victory for the United States occurred after the war was over. Seems Andy Jackson and his boys in New Orleans didn’t get the news and met the British in a famous battle around Lake Borgne. The battle took place in January of 1815….so officially, one cannot say there was a battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812 because it was 1815 and the war was over. But, since Cleveland had already taken the moniker “the mistake by the lake” I guess they had to call it something. Wouldn’t that be pretty bad luck if you fought and died for your country in a battle of a war that was already over?

Stuart's George Saved by Dolley

Stuart's George Saved by Dolley

Now, not long before the war was over, Washington DC was in big trouble. On August 24, 1814, soldiers were racing alongside the civilians out of town in a panic. The British had landed 8 days prior with some 4000 battle-hardened troops who had seen plenty of action in the wars with Napoleon. The Americans were not experienced, not well trained and not well led. The President of the United States, James Madison came galloping through on a horse shouting “Clear Out! Clear Out!” When the Commander-In-Chief is telling everyone to haul-ass, then everyone listens. One of America’s proudest moments. Before his wife, Dolley, left she grabbed a bunch of paintings including Gilbert Stuart’s famous painting of George Washington. Good thing she did.

The Redcoats came marching into Washington expecting a defense. Instead, they faced but a single volley of musket fire. But, it was enough to get their attention because it killed one guy, wounded three others and took out the horse from under the commanding general. The Brits moved on to the Capitol, where again they expected a last stand. So, they fired a few rockets through the windows and storm trooper busted down the doors only to find the chirping of crickets. So, they set the place on fire. Then they set the White House on fire as well as the Treasury building. Major General Robert Ross, the commander, stopped by the newspaper National Intelligencer to pick up the scribe’s final paper that assured the residents that the city was safe. Yup…the press was right on that story and have been as accurate ever since. Anyway, Ross couldn’t get the paper into his pocket as a souvenir because he had already filled his pockets with some of Madison’s personal papers. The general shouted, “Damn It! My pocket is full of old Madison’s love letters!” That’s what he gets for looting.

Bill Thornton Saved the Patent Office...Sorta

Bill Thornton Saved the Patent Office...Sorta

The next day, a single maniac named John Lewis came charging at the British Army. He was the grandnephew of George Washington and it seems he was upset over his impressment into the Royal Navy. So, he went on a revenge binge only to get himself shot to death. There was another, more successful defender though. Dr. William Thornton ran the Patent Office and just as the soldiers were set to torch the building, he told the perpetrators that they would be no better than the barbarians who had put ablaze the ancient library of Alexandria. I suppose in shame, the Redcoats backed off and the Patent Office was saved. The Divine Providence showed up.

The British tried to set fire to 150 barrels of gunpowder at an abandoned American fort. The nitwits ended up setting off the whole kit and kaboodle at once and killed 30 of their own men while wounding another 44. Seems these guys were their own worst enemy. Then the wind picked up and the rain started to fall in buckets. Just in the nick of time before the entire city was burned to the ground, a hurricane showed up. The fires were put out and Ross ordered a full scale retreat back to their ships. While the city was saved, the Patent Office that Dr. Thornton so skillfully saved wasn’t as lucky. The roof blew off. Perhaps Dr. Thornton missed church that week.

SPC Severe Outlook Thursday

SPC Severe Outlook Thursday

Thursday Severe Hail Probability

Thursday Severe Hail Probability

Weather Bottom Line: Look, it’s 2:22am on Thursday and I’ve got things to do, like go to bed. So this isnt going to be too detailed. We’re in an area of unsettled weather for the next few days. We’ve got a strong jet stream and there will be areas of short waves roaming through. On Thursday, the SPC seems to feel the best chance for things blowing up will be to our northwest. That is where the biggest threat, a moderate risk, is outlined. But the flow is right down over our area so the SPC seems to think that the storms will be winding down from big boppers with some super cells to probably a line of strong stuff. While our twister threat is just 2%, our hail and high wind threat is much higher. On Friday, the big blow up area is just to our north but we are on the fringe so look for your local tv stations to be breaking into your favorite programs on Thursday and Friday and possibly Saturday too. That’s it in a nutshell. Probably a good idea to pay attention the next few days. Despite the limited risk of tornadoes on Thursday put out by the SPC, don’t be surprised to see a tornado watch….maybe Friday too.

Thursday Severe Wind Probability

Thursday Severe Wind Probability

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0101 AM CDT THU JUN 18 2009

VALID 181200Z – 191200Z

…THERE IS A MDT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM SRN MN…NRN AND CNTRL
IA…SWRN WI THROUGH NRN IL INTO NRN IND…

…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM THE CNTRL AND NRN PLAINS
THROUGH THE OH VALLEY…ERN TN VALLEY…CAROLINAS AND MID
ATLANTIC…

…SYNOPSIS…

Friday Severe Outlook

Friday Severe Outlook

LARGE SCALE PATTERN WILL UNDERGO LITTLE CHANGE THURSDAY. AN UPPER
RIDGE WILL PERSIST FROM THE CNTRL PLAINS THROUGH SERN STATES. AN
UPPER TROUGH WILL PREVAIL IN THE WEST…AND PRIMARY BELT OF WLYS
WILL REMAIN OVER THE NRN THIRD OF THE COUNTRY. SHORTWAVE TROUGH NOW
APPROACHING THE CNTRL ROCKIES WILL EJECT NEWD…SUPPRESSING THE
UPPER RIDGE OVER THE CNTRL PLAINS AND UPPER MS VALLEY.

AT THE SURFACE A WARM FRONT SHOULD LIFT NWD THROUGH THE UPPER MS
VALLEY AND INTO PORTIONS OF THE UPPER GREAT LAKES…THROUGH NWD
PROGRESS OF THIS BOUNDARY MAY BE SLOWED BY ONGOING CONVECTION. THE

Friday Severe Probability

Friday Severe Probability

EJECTING IMPULSE WILL PROVIDE IMPETUS FOR A COLD FRONT TO ADVANCE
SEWD THROUGH THE NRN PLAINS WILL ADVANCE SEWD THROUGH THE NRN/CNTRL
PLAINS…REACHING THE UPPER MS VALLEY TOWARD THE END OF THIS PERIOD.
A DRYLINE WILL PERSIST FROM WRN TX NWD THROUGH CNTRL KS AND SRN NEB.

…CNTRL PLAINS THROUGH UPPER MS VALLEY REGION…

STORMS WILL LIKELY BE ONGOING NORTH OF WARM FRONT EARLY
THURSDAY…PRIMARILY OVER A PORTION OF THE UPPER MS VALLEY AND
GREAT LAKES WHERE ISENTROPIC LIFT WILL BE MAXIMIZED WHERE LOW

Saturday Convective Outlook

Saturday Convective Outlook

LEVEL
JET INTERSECTS BAROCLINIC ZONE. THIS ACTIVITY WILL SHIFT EWD DURING
THE DAY. A RESERVOIR OF VERY UNSTABLE AIR WILL PERSIST IN WARM
SECTOR SOUTH OF THIS BOUNDARY WHERE A WARM EML WILL OVERSPREAD A
VERY MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER /LOW 70F BOUNDARY LAYER DEWPOINTS
RESULTING IN 4000+ J/KG MLCAPE.

IN WAKE OF EARLY ACTIVITY…A CAP RESULTING FROM THE WARM EML WILL
LIKELY SUPPRESS THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT IN WARM SECTOR MUCH OF THE
DAY. HOWEVER…STORMS MAY DEVELOP ALONG PRE-FRONTAL TROUGH OVER THE
CNTRL PLAINS AS THE BOUNDARY LAYER DESTABILIZES AND AS DEEPER
FORCING FOR ASCENT INCREASES IN RESPONSE TO EJECTING SHORTWAVE
TROUGH. OTHER STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO INTENSIFY FARTHER EAST ALONG
AND NORTH OF THE WARM FRONT WHERE MOIST…UNSTABLE INFLOW FROM THE
WARM SECTOR WILL BE MAXIMIZED. BULK SHEAR OF 50+ KT WILL BE MORE
THAN SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT SUPERCELLS…SOME OF WHICH COULD PRODUCE
VERY LARGE HAIL. TORNADO THREAT IS EXPECTED TO BE HIGHEST OVER THE
UPPER MS VALLEY. IN THIS REGION…HODOGRAPH SIZE WILL BE MAXIMIZED
WHERE THE STRENGTHENING LOW LEVEL JET INTERSECTS THE BAROCLINIC
ZONE FROM LATE AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING. STORMS MAY EVOLVE INTO
ONE OR MORE MCSS DURING THE EVENING AND OVERNIGHT WITH AN INCREASING
THREAT OF SIGNIFICANT WIND DAMAGE.

…OH VALLEY THROUGH TN VALLEY AREA…

STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO INTENSIFY ALONG NW-SE ORIENTED BAROCLINIC
ZONE AS THE ATMOSPHERE DESTABILIZES DURING THE AFTERNOON. NWLY FLOW
ALOFT OF 40-50 KT WILL RESULT IN BULK SHEAR SUFFICIENT FOR ORGANIZED
STORM STRUCTURES INCLUDING SUPERCELLS AND BOWING SEGMENTS. STORMS
MAY EVOLVE INTO CLUSTERS AS THEY SPREAD SEWD ALONG INSTABILITY
GRADIENT. DAMAGING WIND AND LARGE HAIL ARE EXPECTED TO BE THE
PRIMARY THREATS.

…CAROLINAS THROUGH MID ATLANTIC…

DIABATIC HEATING OF THE MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER WILL RESULT IN MODERATE
INSTABILITY IN THIS REGION THURSDAY. STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN AND IN VICINITY OF PRE-FRONTAL TROUGH.
ORGANIZED MULTICELL CLUSTERS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ISOLATED DAMAGING
WIND AND HAIL WILL BE PROBABLE THROUGH MID EVENING.

…SRN HIGH PLAINS…

STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP IN VICINITY OF DRYLINE/LEE TROUGH
WHERE DEEP MIXING WILL WEAKEN CAP. THE THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT
WILL BE CHARACTERIZED BY STEEP LAPSE RATES AND MODERATE INSTABILITY
WITH LARGE BOUNDARY LAYER TEMPERATURE/DEWPOINT SPREADS. MODEST
UNIDIRECTIONAL VERTICAL SHEAR WITH WEAK FLOW IN THE SURFACE-700 MB
LAYER WILL SUPPORT ONLY LOOSELY ORGANIZED STORMS. HOWEVER…THE
THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT WILL SUPPORT ISOLATED DOWNBURSTS AND HAIL
WITH THE STRONGER STORMS.

..DIAL/SMITH.. 06/18/2009

The Sooners Were Cheaters All Along
April 22, 2009

There's a Long History of Sooner Criminality

There's a Long History of Sooner Criminality

Even Many Oklahomans Recognize The Best Use For Sooners

Even Many Oklahomans Recognize The Best Use For Sooners

On This Date in History:  Millions of people around the world know of the term “Sooners” to represent a dispicable football team that occasionally beats the University of Texas (THE University) at the annual Red River Shootout  in Dallas during the Texas State Fair.  If you  ever get a chance to go, you should.  However, I’m afraid that the experience will be dulled in years to come as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked the organizers of the event to move the game to the new $1 Billion stadium built for the professional team.  It just won’t be the same without the fairgrounds with Big Tex, the corny dogs and midway.  Anyway, since 1945, either one or both teams have been ranked in the top 25 in 60 of the 65 games with the Longhorns naturally beating Oklahoma 58 times while losing just 40 and the fans suffering

True Representation

True Representation

through 5 ties.  Former legendary Longhorn head coach Darrell Royal helped coin the phrase, “a tie is like kissing your sister.”  I don’t think any Longhorn would say his sister was as ugly as a Sooner. So, where did Oklahoma University get the nickname Sooner?  As one might expect, the origination is one of criminal activity, something the Sooner football team has tried to live up to several times over the years. 

In the long, sad history of the United States and its eradication and relocation of the continent’s native (Indian) tribes, the area now known as Oklahoma became somewhat of a clearing house area of the tribes.  Andrew Jackson had been a big Indian fighter in Georgia and Florida.  His methods were often suggested to be

Trail of Tears Map

Trail of Tears Map

cruel and inhuman.  When he was elected President, his first message to Congress in December 1829 made mention of his intention to remove the native tribes from their land.  By 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act and his successor, Martin Van Buren, followed through on Jackson’s policy and enforced the Removal Act and some following treaties by taking the Cherokees and some other tribes to the newly acquire territory north of what was then Mexico. It was probably the only thing Van Buren did of note as president and it pretty much sucked.   Thousands of men, women and children died of various causes from the long walk to the newly designated Indian Territory.  It was known as the Trail of Tears.

Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears

This land was supposed to be where all of the Indian tribes would be placed and eventually, they were told it would become an Indian State.  But, as usual, what the Indians were told is not what Uncle Sam did.  The Indians settled in much of the territory except for an area in the center.  The railroads started crossing the territory with white men coming in to work and some wished to settle there.  Some illegally took over Indian homes and land.  Meanwhile, in Texas, the cattle industry boomed and the ranchers needed to get their beef to the East Coast markets.  The only way to do that was to get the cattle to the closest railheads which where in Kansas. So, the ranchers illegally drove their mainly Longhorn cattle across the lush plains of the Indian Territory on the trek to Kansas.  People who tried to get into the land or coveted the land were known as Boomers.    Everyone took notice of the land in the center of the territory that became known as the “Unassigned Land,”  but the 1887 Dawes Act was supposed to protect the Indian people.  The US Government tried to enforce the laws but eventually just gave in and acquired the “Unassigned Land” with an eye toward opening it to settlement. 

At Noon, The Land Rush Was On

At Noon, The Land Rush Was On

On this date in 1889 at noon, the land became officially opened for settlement and thousands of whites rushed in to grab their stake.  But, a number of people wanted to cheat…and they were called Sooners, just like the football team.  They were people who went into the area to stake a claim sooner than they were supposed to.  Some even soaped up their horses to make it look like that they had rushed in that day to stake their claim.   By 1890,there were over 100,000 Whites, 18,000 Blacks and 50,000 Indians in what became known to be the Oklahoma Territory.  In 1906, the Indians attempted to create their own state, as had been promised, but the effort failed and on November 16, 1907 the Indian Territories and what had been the Unassigned Land to form the new state of Oklahoma.  Oklahoma is the Choctaw word for Red People.  You don’t suppose those good folks at the Oklahoma University chose their team colors because of that, do you?  Naw…they’re so sensitive which is why they will probably be distraught when the ‘Horns put it too them again in October.  Here are additional Oklahoma Land Rush Images.

Chilly Wednesday Morning Start

Chilly Wednesday Morning Start

Weather Bottom Line:  Tuesday went pretty much as expected.  Remember a few days ago when I kept talking about a shortwave coming through the flow? Well, it came over and a short wave generally is a pool or cold air.  So, Tuesday started with sunshine and cool temperatures.  As the surface warmed a bit, the contrast between the ground temperature and the colder air aloft was sufficient to create clouds and then showers for the afternoon.  If this had been in January, it would have been snow showers.  The short wave will move on and the air aloft will warm so when we warm to the low 60′s on Wednesday in the sunshine, the lapse rates won’t be so steep as to create clouds and so, we will be fine.  And the rest of the week we warm to the mid 70′s Friday to near 80 on Friday and low to mid 80′s on the weekend.  This warm up is due to a ridge building in the east and a trof in the west.  The trofiness in the west will produce little shortwave impulses ejecting into the plains.  With the Gulf opening up somewhat, there will probably be severe events developing in the plains for the weekend into early next week.  We’ll have to see if there is a long wave shift to the east.  If that would happen, then our risk for t’storms or perhaps even strong storms.  But that solution is not showing itself at this time and may not…too soon to tell.

http://alphainventions.com/

alphainventions

Electoral College Winner is Loser; Severe Threat?
February 9, 2009

Quincy Adams is Lucky Andy Didn't turn to the pistols to resolve the electoral college SNAFU in 1824

Quincy Adams is Lucky Andy Didn't turn to the pistols to resolve the electoral college SNAFU in 1824

 

On This Date in History:  George W. Bush was not the first son of a president to become president.  Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison but John Quincy Adams was the son of the second president, John Adams.  But, like the election of GW Bush, the election of the first presidential son did not come without a hitch.  In the case of GW Bush, we had Supreme Court intervention while John Quincy Adams looked even higher. 

When a Win is Not A Win

When a Win is Not A Win

Close But Not Enough for Old Hickory

Close But Not Enough for Old Hickory

Adams did not have a majority of the electoral votes. In fact, Andrew Jackson had more of the popular vote and more electoral votes.  But, neither man had a majority of the electoral college so the election went to the House of Representatives.  How did that happen?  Well, the two party system wasn’t too developed at that time and a whole bunch of people took the Republican mantra.  Remember, this is way before the birth of the modern Republican Party just prior to the Civil War.  In fact, a bunch of state legislatures disdained the slate of candidates and nominated favorite sons.  At one point ,there were 17 candidates but by election day, the field had narrowed to four.

Jackson took the most votes in the popular election as the sitting Senator from Tennessee and war hero.  His opponents said he was a hot head who was  semi-literate who was good for a bar room fight but not fit for national office.  Adams had the second most votes and was the sitting Secretary of State.  He was quite qualified through experience and education, but was considered pretty bland and boring, lacking in any human warmth.  The guy in third was William H. Crawford who had been treasury secretary and collected a bunch of political debts that were redeemed for support for the nation’s top office.  He was so over-the-top with political appointments and trading that President James Monroe threatened him with a pair of fire tongs in a heated discussion on the subject.  Kentucky’s Henry Clay was fourth but he was eliminated by the 12th Amendment that said only the top 3 vote getters could be considered. 

Steve Could Say "no" to Dan and Hank, But Not God

Steve Could Say "no" to Dan and Hank, But Not God

On this date in 1824, the vote was to take place in the House and Adams figured he needed to win on the first ballot if he were to win because after that, Jackson’s popular support would wash over the decks.  John Quincy was certain that he had locked up 12 states, which left him one short.  But, New York stood tied.  If he could take the New York delegation, then he would be the president.  Apparently, Henry Clay was in the Adams camp because he counseled that an old and wealthy landholder who was a representative in the New York legislature was most likely to be swayed.  His name was Stephen Van Rensselaer III and he was led to the chambers of the Speaker of the House where he felt the full force of persuasion than none other than Clay himself and Daniel Webster.  Who could turn that down?  Van Rensselaer that’s who.  Guess he owed a lot to Crawford because thats whom he was supposedly backing.  As it turns out, Webster and Clay had some effect because after they left, the old man bowed his head and prayer, asking for guidance.  When he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was a piece of paper with the name of John Quincy Adams.  It was possibly a discarded ballot but Van Rensselaer accepted it as Divine intervention and while he could deny Webster and Clay, he could not deny the will of God.  He took the slip of paper, put it in the ballot box and John Quincy Adams became the 6th President of the United States.   While Bush the younger went on to win a second term, Adams the younger lost his re-election bid but went on to serve in the House of Representatives until 1848 when he was literally carried out of the legislative body after suffering a stroke on February 21.

 

Note the lack of CAPE on the NAM Wed Evening but elevated Helicity and SWEAT Index in our area

Note the lack of CAPE on the NAM Wed Evening but elevated Helicity and SWEAT Index in our area

SPC Severe Feb 10-11 7am-7am

SPC Severe Feb 10-11 7am-7am

Weather Bottom Line: 

The front on Sunday did not penetrate too far so the colder air never really got here even though our winds were out of the northwest.  So, it was a nice day.  Sue me.  Clouds will be on the increase as a low swings through the flow out of the Southwest and into the plains.  I would think that we’d see temps in the mid 60′s both Monday and Tuesday but clouds and rain chances may keep a lid on the mercury.  Rain chances will probably be in your local forecast, regardless of what channel you watch, from say Monday night through Wednesday night.  The question will be the biggest threat for t’storms and if we get strong storms or not.  The second storm system that swings around through the flow from the Southwest will be closer to us than the first one.  We will be relatively warm and humid and the wind profile may be decent.  Question is timing.  The NAM has the best dynamics on Wednesday evening.  The GFS has the best dynamics on Wednesday morning. 

SPC Severe Probability Feb 10-11 7am to 7am

SPC Severe Probability Feb 10-11 7am to 7am

Now, the GFS has a Sweat Index in excess of 500 and my observation over the years that, regardless of whatever the other indices say, a Sweat Index over 500 every time that I can recall results in something.  The NAM Sweat index is high but not as high as the GFS.  Both indicate a good bit of helicity as well but neither has much in the way of CAPE.  That is an index of potential energy and there just isnt much to write home about.  The early morning entry of the GFS has a timing issue as well but since we’re talking about wind dynamics with that, I suppose that is not as important.  Bottom line is we do no have a consensus.  The risk of severe weather is marginal at best though some pretty good rumblers with gusty winds are possible.  We’ll have to work out the timing difference later.  The temps following the storm will be chillier…closer to seasonable.  The GFS wants to toss out about a half inch of snow for next Saturday.

The boys at the Storms Prediction Center have picked up on this by kinda splitting the difference.  You can see they have the slight risk for Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning to our west but has the dreaded 5% chance for our area.  A broader, less specific area for “day 4″ is for Wednesday morning through Thursday morning.  So, they have their bases covered in case one or both of the model solutions is correct.  I’ve put their discussion that goes along with the “day 4″ map below:

Feb 11-12 7am to 7pm

Feb 11-12 7am to 7pm

DAY 4-8 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0359 AM CST SUN FEB 08 2009
  
   VALID 111200Z – 161200Z
  
   …SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY INTO THE
   APPALACHIANS THIS COMING WEDNESDAY…
  
   MEDIUM RANGE FORECAST GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO INDICATE THAT A REGIONAL
   SEVERE WEATHER THREAT DEVELOPING LATE TUESDAY/TUESDAY NIGHT WILL
   CARRY OVER INTO AT LEAST EARLY WEDNESDAY.  MREF MEMBERS SUGGEST A
   HIGH LIKELIHOOD FOR A PRE-FRONTAL TONGUE OF LOW-LEVEL
   MOISTURE…CHARACTERIZED BY MID 5OS SURFACE DEW POINTS…TO EXTEND
   AS FAR NORTH AS THE MISSISSIPPI/OHIO RIVER CONFLUENCE AT 12Z
   WEDNESDAY.  AND…THIS MAY CONTRIBUTE TO ENOUGH INSTABILITY TO
   MAINTAIN A SQUALL LINE EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER…PERHAPS AS
   FAR AS THE WESTERN SLOPES OF THE APPALACHIANS…AHEAD OF A VIGOROUS
   SHORT WAVE TROUGH ACCELERATING THROUGH THE OHIO VALLEY DURING THE
   DAY.  STRONGLY FORCED CONVECTION WILL BE EMBEDDED WITHIN A VERY
   STRONG MEAN ENVIRONMENTAL FLOW /GREATER THAN 50 KT/ CAPABLE OF
   SUPPORTING CONSIDERABLE DAMAGING WIND GUSTS…EVEN IF THERMODYNAMIC
   PROFILES BECOME DECREASINGLY FAVORABLE FOR LIGHTNING ACTIVITY WITH
   EASTWARD PROGRESSION.  SOUTH OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY…STORM
   DEVELOPMENT AHEAD OF THE FRONT MAY BECOME MORE DISCRETE IN THE
   PRESENCE OF WEAKER MID-LEVEL FORCING/GREATER INHIBITION.
   BUT…PRE-FRONTAL DEEP LAYER SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN FAVORABLE
   FOR SUPERCELLS AS FAR SOUTH AS THE CENTRAL/EASTERN GULF COAST.
  
   THEREAFTER…UPSTREAM WAVES PROGRESSING THROUGH THE PROMINENT BELT
   OF WESTERLIES ACROSS THE SOUTHERN TIER OF THE U.S. MAY SUPPORT
   ADDITIONAL RISKS FOR SEVERE STORMS LATE THIS COMING WEEK INTO NEXT
   WEEKEND.  BUT…THE PREDICTABILITY OF THESE SYSTEMS IS TOO LOW TO
   CONFIDENTLY DELINEATE ADDITIONAL AREAS…DUE TO THE INCREASINGLY
   LARGE SPREAD AMONG MODEL DATA AT THIS EXTENDED RANGE.

Donkey and Elephant Arrive! So Does Arctic Air
January 15, 2009

How Did We Get To This Point?

How Did We Get To This Point?

On This Date In History: Did you ever wonder how the Democratic Party adopted the Donkey as its symbol and the Republicans got the Elephant? Well, it all goes back to the latter half of the 19th Century and a cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly named Thomas Nast. Harper’s Weekly was a political magazine that reached its zenith at the outset of the Civil War with a circulation of over 200,000. Nast was a feared and popular political cartoonist that came on board in 1862. President Lincoln’s Secretary of War was Edwin M. Stanton. Stanton is widely quoted as having said “now he belongs to the ages” at Lincoln’s deathbed upon Lincoln’s passing. The rest of what he is quoted as saying was “there lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.” I’m not sure why that part is generally lost to history except that maybe it would make the quote too long. We like short, catchy phrases in America. It’s also interesting to note that just prior to Lincoln’s death, Stanton had advocated the execution of a man named George Vaughn for spying. Lincoln instead issued Vaughn a pardon…one hour before the 16th President was assassinated.

Nast's First Use of Donkey

Nast's First Use of Donkey

Anyway, Stanton was a holdover Secretary of War when Andrew Johnson took over. Remember, Johnson was a slave holding Democrat whom Lincoln put on the 1864 ticket in order to woo pro-Union Democrats. Johnson’s reconstruction policies were not in tune with the group of Republicans known as Radical Republicans. Stanton eventually openly challenged Johnson on his policies. The Republican Congress had unconstitutionally passed a law that said the President couldn’t remove a cabinet official without prior congressional approval. Johnson challenged that by firing Stanton. That action led to his impeachment, the only presidential impeachment until Bill Clinton. In both cases, neither man was convicted and removed from office. Keep in mind that impeachment proceedings are largely political and not criminal.

So, Stanton survived but he died in 1869 and I guess the Democrats continued to attack him even in death. So, cartoonist Nash created the drawing above on this date in 1870 depicting the “Copperhead” Democrats, or southern Democrats as the donkey kicking the dead lion, Stanton. The eagle on top depicts the Federal dominion over the South….it was still Reconstruction.  But, Nast was not the first to use the donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party.  It’s origins actually go back to the time of President Andrew Jackson, whose detractors referred to him as “jackass” for his sloganeering and populist platform.

Nast's First Use of Elephant

Nast's First Use of Elephant

Later, toward the end of President Grant’s second term, there was talk of a third term. This flies in the face of what we’ve been taught in school that Grant was terrible. Truth is he was very popular and might have won a third term. In 1880, he came reasonably close to gaining nomination for a third term as he concluded a world tour. One of his last stops was on December 11, 1879 in Louisville. The New York Herald newspaper vigorously opposed a third term so Nast created a cartoon with a Donkey in a lion’s skin (labeled Caesarism) chasing away other small animals. Those animals were labeled as with other newspaper’s names. Going nuts in the picture is an elephant labeled “Republican Vote” and he’s perched over a deep gorge labeled as “chaos”.  Nast was not happy with what he perceived to be the Republican Party’s fear of charges that Grant was trying to become a tyrant, or another Caesar. 

For some reason, the Donkey and Elephant stuck as icons for the opposing parties. Probably due to the popularity of Nast and partly due to lack of creativity on the part of others. So, if someone sticks you with a nickname that you didn’t necessarily ask for, just remember it happened to the two political parties who have dominated the electorate since 1860. May you have such a long and prosperous life.

NAM Midday Temps Near 10 with Cold Air Still Spilling In...High Won't be Much Better

NAM Midday Temps Near 10 with Cold Air Still Spilling In...High Won't be Much Better

Weather Bottom Line:  Okay…I busted for a few hours.  For 4 hours we were above freezing and even made it up to the average high for the time of year of 40.  But, we quickly tumbled into the 20′s and will continue to do so.  Thursday morning lows in the mid to high single digits is pretty tough to do with winds blowing some 10-20 mph and that just shows how the depth of the cold in this airmass.  Thursday I bet we don’t get out of the lower teens.  Then Friday I still go along with a low near zero with some folks being below zero.  Friday’s highs still look like we stay in the teens but maybe the upper half of the teens.  Another little clipper comes down on Saturday and I suppose that since we got up to 40 with this one then maybe on Saturday before the clipper moves through we move to just a degree or two above freezing.  It comes through with not much moisture so don’t expect much snow.  Sunday will have a reinforcing shot of cold air but not as cold as this blob that we have now.  Mid 30′s probably on Monday and Tuesday and then the big ridge out west broadens and our temperatures start to moderate, but don’t look for a rapid warm up.  Snow lovers…sorry…the pattern just doesn’t let itself to a good snow.  Maybe next time if we can get the subtropical jetstream in the act.  There’s still time. I think we had our 10 inch snow last year in March.

A Presidential Duel and the Severe Outlook
May 30, 2008

Here’s the deal on the weather. There will probably be an outbreak of severe weather well to our northwest as an upper low pressure passes to our northwest and north. It will be weakening as well and any energy tailing down from the main center of vorticity would be coming around here late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Strong storms would not be initiated in our area but would have to hold together if we were to get anything. While conditions are somewhat better for such activity holding together than a couple of days ago, it is still not a given that any severe storms would have the ability to hold together when they move through. When the front slips through on Saturday afternoon, there are also limiting factors that would tend to downplay the risk. Nevertheless, the SPC has us in the slight risk area as of early Friday morning. The above map reflects that and I suspect their reasoning is more precautionary than ominous. I’ll update this later on Friday.  Bottom line is that Friday will be hot and humid with highs near 90 and if anything of consequence were to move in here, it would be late Friday night.  Here is the link to the SPC report.

 

Storm Prediction Center Report

 

 

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On This Date In History: Our future president killed a man in a duel and he did so right here in Kentucky.  Now, Abraham Lincoln was known to be quite abrasive as a young man. His wit was used as a rapier and often really hacked his prey. On at least two occasions, he was challenged to a duel.  That is not the image that we have of Father Abraham.  Well, this isn’t about President Lincoln.  No, this is about “Old Hickory” whose reputation better suits the story. 

Andrew Jackson had developed a rough and tough reputation when he ran for President in 1824.  He handily won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to John Quincy Adams.  The pair battled for the Presidency again in 1828 and Jackson won in spite of charges from the Adams camp that Jackson was an adulterer.  His wife, Rachel, had been married to some guy named Robards.  In 1790, the Kentucky legislature declared that Robards could sue for divorce.  Now, Jackson had been a practicing lawyer since 1787 but I think he could have used the help of a Heavy Hitter.  Jackson assumed that the legislature’s declaration was one of divorce. So, he married Rachel in 1791.  Robards finally got around to suing for divorce in 1793, citing Rachel’s adultery with Jackson.  The pair got remarried in 1794 but the damage had been done. 

In spite of the fact that the charge of adultery was technically correct, Old Hickory often too hum-bridge to anyone who questioned his wife’s honor.  It is said that the future President was involved in 103 duels with his actual participation in 14.  Of the 14, only one resulted with the death of one of Jackson’s opponents.  And he did it in Kentucky!!  On this date in 1806 near Harrison’s Mills, Kentucky in Logan county near the Red River, Andrew Jackson shot and killed Charles Dickinson.  The standoff came about because…you guessed it…Dickinson questioned Jackson’s wife’s honor.  You’d think that by that time people would have figured out that, when it came to Rachel, truth was not a defense and Andy was gonna get even. 

Dickinson was younger and a much better shot than Jackson.  He was called a snap shooter for his speed and accuracy.  Jackson knew this and had a risky strategy.  He would allow Dickinson to fire first!  When the pair stood apart at the traditional 24 feet, Dickinson wore a form fitting waist coat and trousers while Jackson had a loose fitting frock coat.  Dickinson fired and Jackson didn’t flinch.  Dickinson couldn’t believe that he missed.  Jackson took careful aim and his pistol got stuck in half cock. So, he tried again and this time he struck a fatal blow to his victim. 

Here’s the interesting part…Dickinson was not wrong.  He didn’t miss Andy.  The loose frock coat made the marksman unclear of his target but it was more luck or Divine intervention.  While Dickinson lay dying, Jackson’s second noticed blood on Old Hickory’s foot and asked if he had been hit.  Jackson replied, “Oh, I believe he has pinked me a little.”  Truth is, the bullet had broken some of Jackson’s ribs before it lodged so close to his heart that it was left there for the rest of his life.    But, Jackson was not about to let his victim know that he had hit his mark. Instead, he went to a nearby tavern and had a bottle of wine sent to his dying antagonist.    And it didn’t change the fact that for two years, Rachel Donelson had indeed been married to two men at the same time.  Imagine what would have happened had someone actually lied about Jackson’s wife!! 

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