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.

America and Britain In Pig War Standoff
June 15, 2010

Pig War, not War Pigs

On This Date in History:  Let’s see. We have had many wars in American History: American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pig War.  The Pig War?  

Battle of New Orleans: Pointless Battle Almost NOT the final Conflict Between Britain and America

After the conclusion of the War of 1812 in late 1814 and after the Battle of New Orleans, which came about in January 1815 after the treaty concluding the war had been reached, America and Britain still had differences.  However, after a war of independence and then a second war between the former brothers, one would think that further armed conflict was not a possibility.  In 1818, both English and American citizens had settled in what was known as the Oregon Country, which includes present day Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and parts of Wyoming and Montana.  So, the two sides simply agreed to be cohabitants of the region.  I suppose they figured that sooner or later that they’d straighten it all out.   However, by 1845, nothing had changed and the folks in the region seemed to be growing weary of each other.

Map of Pig War Dispute

Americans thought that the British presence was nothing but an obstacle to their divine “Manifest Destiny” and the Brits thought that the wild influx of American settlers were trespassers on land guaranteed to the crown through previous treaties and trading practices established by the Hudson Bay Company.  Cooler heads prevailed and in 1846, the Oregon Treaty was signed and it stipulated that the Americans had control of all territory south of the 49th parallel with the boundary extending “to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island; and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca’s straits to the Pacific Ocean.”  The wording must have been made up by eastern lawyers who had never been there because the truth was there were two channels, not one.  Dividing the two straights was San Juan Island and each side claimed the island for themselves.

Griffin, no ordinary farmer, refused to pay tax to Uncle Sam

So, citizens of both nations quickly staked claims to the island.    The old bugaboo of taxation led to the first conflict when America tried to collect taxes on British produce.  Englishman farmer Charles John Griffin refused to pay, claiming he was not subject to American taxation.   Griffin was no ordinary farmer though.  He had been appointed as the chief agent of the Hudson Bay Company.  Nevertheless, it just so happens that of all the people on the island, it was Griffin’s pig on this date in 1859 that got loose and began to stick his snout in the potato patch of Lyman A. Cutlar(Cutler).   Being a true American, Cutlar did what any well bred Yankee would do: He shot the pig dead.  Griffing marched with quite indignation straight to the office of the British magistrate and demanded compensation of $100 from Cutlar.   To me, $100 is a lot of money today and back then it was a small fortune.  Naturally, Cutlar refused to pay, claiming that he was not subject to British law.

George E. Pickett as a 1st Lieutenant

The Americans on the island called on the government for protection and so, Uncle Sam sent young Captain George E. Pickett with troops.  That would be the same Pickett who gained fame for his exploits as a Confederate General at the Battle of Gettysburg.   In response to the presence of Pickett and his 66 troops, Britain sent a bunch of warships with an eye toward routing the American command.  Pickett was reinforced by 171 more troops.  When it was apparent that the Americans were still outgunned by the British ships, more troops were called for.  Could the United States and Britain be headed back to war again over a pig rooting around in a potato patch?  For a time it looked that way until “Old Fuss and Feathers,” commanding American General Winfield Scott, arrived from Washington at the direction of President James Buchanan with a proposal.  Each side would station 100 men on the island in a contrived stand-off, or balance of power, until an agreement could be reached. 

There's Even a Book About the Pig War

Well, the slavery issue was boiling over in America around that time and Uncle Sam had bigger fish to fry.  So, the “Pig  War”, as it became known,  got put on the back burner for 12 years.  In 1871, there was an Anglo-American treaty signed called the Treaty of Washington.  That document called for the “Pig War”  matter was taken up by German Emperor Wilhelm I who promptly referred the question to a 3 member arbitration board.  The board, through the kaiser, ruled in favor of the Americans.  In November 1872, all British troops evacuated the island and two years later, all American troops left.  Thus, after the governments of both countries had kicked the sovereignty issue down the road to let someone else deal with, peace finally came to the Pacific Northwest.  Politicians had left the question of slavery to others from the Declaration of Independence  through the Missouri Compromise and the result was a war in which over 600,000 Americans died.  At least the punting of the San Juan Island issue only resulted in the death of a single pig, in what has been fondly remembered as “The Pig War.”

SPC Severe Outlook June 15 2010

SPC Severe Wind Probability June 15 2010

Weather Bottom Line:  On Monday night, Snow White and I went for a walk.  She is always quite concerned about thunderstorms and she got nervous when we saw distant lightning to our North and to our South.  I told her that I suspected that, not only would we have time for the walk, but also that we may get no rain at all as I thought that we would be in between the storms.  The lightning was cool.  This is the second time that I saw lightning shoot up from the cloud to no apparent destination.  The first time I saw this was at the Kitty Cat Castle on the Georgia Coast.  I’m guessing that what I am seeing are called sprites.  They were first discovered by astronauts on the Shuttle.  A very interesting phenomena that I don’t think anyone has quite figured out yet.  Anyway, I was right.  We got the walk in and we never had any rain.   When I came home, I looked at the radar and it appeared to me that the storms I saw to the north were almost all the way to Cincinnati and the ones to the South were in Meade county.  Quite a distance, though farther than I would have expected.  Needless to say, there was no thunder. 

SPC Tornado Probability June 15 2010

We remain in the same pattern but it seems to me that the storm track has shifted slightly north.  So, there is a shortwave out in Iowa on Tuesday afternoon and the vector appears to be taking it Northeast toward the Great Lakes.  It may swing around to a more easterly component later on but I would think that the main part of the short will be well north of our area.  Having said that, there is an appendage from that vortmax extending into Central Missouri and a new outcrop of storms ahead of the main short in Central Illinois. That too is moving Northeast.  I think our issue will be with the appendage. I see some indication of a low level convergence zone setting up with other parameters suggesting that the appendage may blossom into storms during the heat of the day as it moves into Southern Illinois.  I would think that there will be a reasonable shot of storms late in the day or the evening, very similar to what we had Monday.  Whether or not a line forms or if that line holds together by the time it gets here remains to be seen.  Also, I betcha we get some scattered guys ahead of the short wave in the heat of the day forming ahead of the shortwave, similar to what it already going on in Illinois.  That would be my greatest concern for severe weather…perhaps and errant supercell would not be totally out of the question.  As I am writing this, I see the boys at the SPC have seen the same thing because they just now changed the outlook to include a moderate risk for the region just north of Louisville, between say Charlestown and Indianapolis.  So, keep that in mind as you go into the late afternoon and evening.  If you find yourself in a thunderstorm, be sure to tune into your radio or tv to see what the story is. After today, the ridging of the storm track should continue and I think the storm chances will be decreasing for the rest of the week until Saturday when a weak cold front comes knocking at the door.

National Anthem Declared 117 Years After Key Wrote It
March 3, 2010

Our Flag is Still There...At the Smithsonian With a Few Repairs

Capital Goes Up in Smoke

On this Date in History:  During the War of 1812, the British had several military successes including the invasion and burning of Washington, DC.  On August 24, 1814 they burned down the White House and Dolley Madison gained fame for saving the famous painting of General Washington.  President Madison and Dolley had escaped so the Redcoats were pretty much done with the nation’s capital and returned to their ships.  The next target was Baltimore.  The Americans anticipated that the British would attack the important Maryland port city of 40,000 by both land and sea.  As they made preparations, it was learned that a beloved local physician had been captured and spirited to one of the British ships in Chesapeake Bay.  Dr. William Beanes was being held on the British flagship HMS Tonnant.  

Artist's Depiction of Key is Wrongly Dramatic

There was great fear that Dr. Beanes was going to be hanged and so the locals called on the services of a Georgetown lawyer to approach the British in an attempt to gain the elderly doctor’s release.  Attorney Francis Scott Key gained permission from President Madison to sail on the sloop Minden along with Colonel John Skinner under a flag of truce in an attempt to work out a deal.  The British received Key courteously but at first refused to release the good doctor.  Then, Skinner and Key produced a bag full of letters from wounded English prisoners who praised the Americans for their treatment and medical care.  One of the physicians mentioned was none other than Dr. Beanes.  That softened the Redcoat hearts and they agreed to allow Key and Skinner to take Beanes home.  But, there was a small problem.

This Flag is Made Up of People! Like Soylent Green!

They discovered that, inadvertently, attorney Key had learned of the plans for the imminent British attack.  At first the trio was detained on the HMS Surprise but later were moved back to their sloop, the Minden, where they were to wait until after the conclusion of the battle.  On September 13, 1814 the British warships opened fire with a tremendous barrage on Fort McHenry, which protected Baltimore Harbor.  In the initial 25 hour assault, the British fired some 1500 cannonballs, many of which had lit fuses that were designed to explode when they reached the target.  But, they were not too dependable and often became nothing more than bombs bursting in air.   The British also had a new weapon, the Congreve Rocket, that produced red arcs of flame that painted the night sky. 

The first phase was over in the evening and Key, Skinner and Beanes were concerned as they waited on their sloop.  They knew that as long as Fort McHenry was being attacked, then it had not surrendered.  So, their spirits were revived when the bombardment roared back to life at 1AM on the 14th and continued until the pre-dawn hours when the guns went silent.  From his vantage point, Key could not know if the silence meant that Fort McHenry had fallen or not.  It was not until the skies brightened and Key saw that the American flag still fluttered in the morning breeze that the Americans had withstood the onslaught.  What Key did not know was that the battle had proven so difficult that the British officers had determined the cost of success was too high.  The cannonade had been called off and the invading troops on land were ordered into a retreat.

Key's Manuscript

Key was an educated man and an amateur poet.  After witnessing the sight of the flag over Fort McHenry, he scribbled down some inspired words on the back of a letter that he had in his pocket.  As he sailed across Baltimore Harbor he wrote a few more words.   In the Indian Queen Hotel, Key finished his poem later that night.  Key’s brother-in-law, Judge J.H. Nicholson took the poem to a Baltimore printer and distributed it around town under the title, “Defence of Fort McHenry.”   A few days later on September 20, 1814 it was first published in the Baltimore Patriot newspaper.  Papers around the nation picked up the poem and at least one added the note, “Tune: Anacreon in Heaven.”  Not long thereafter in October, a Baltimore actor sang the tune with Key’s words and called it the “Star Spangled Banner.”  It is not clear if the singer sang all four verses to the “Star Spangled Banner.”

These Guys Knew the Tune Before Key Ever Wrote the Words

The song was immediately popular and was included in the repetroir of American patriotic songs.  It was not until the 20th century that the United States had a national anthem.  It was on this date in 1931 that Herbert Hoover signed the bill designating the Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem of the United States. It’s interesting to note that the words to the song were not included in that legal document.  And, it’s probably a good thing that the words to the original tune, To Ancreon in Heaven was not included.  You see…the tune had been composed by John Stafford Smith in 1775.  It was written as an anthem for the London Gentlemen’s Club, The Anacreontic Society.  That club gained it’s moniker from the Greek poet who worshiped “the Muses, Wine and Love.”    It was considered in 18th century America to be a “bawdy British drinking song” but it seems fairly tame to me.  Besides that, if you read the lyrics to “To Anacreon in Heaven” and try to put it to the tune, you find that Key’s words fit much better than the original lyrics that fit about as well as most fraternity drinking songs.

Note the CAPE in Tejas by Monday Morning

Weather Bottom Line:  The forecast is still the same and lame.  There will be a warm up to near or even maybe above seasonal levels for the weekend then a chance of rain early in the week.  Now..that interesting feature is still looking pretty good, though may not bring action around here.  The low will exit on Sunday out of the desert Southwest and might bring a risk of severe weather to the Texas Panhandle and then the Arklatex.  On Tuesday or Wednesday, the set up is looking pretty decent for a low level jet and general dynamic pattern for a severe weather outbreak, though I would think that it would be the Gulf Coast states…maybe as far north as the northern part of Dixie.

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!

US Gov’t backs Brazil Offshore Drilling-Hypocritical or Good Deal? Dolley Madison: Savior Cupcake?.
August 24, 2009

 

Except if The Drilling is off Brazil's Coast, then Uncle Sam is All For It!

Except if The Drilling is off Brazil's Coast, then Uncle Sam is All For It!

 

Petrobras Drillship Will Have Plenty of Work

Petrobras Drillship Will Have Plenty of Work

What about alternative energy?  You may have heard about a new oil field discovery.  Brazil found a huge oilfield over 100 miles offshore with an estimated reserve of some 40 billion barrels of oil.  And it’s light crude, which is the good stuff.  Now, Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of alternative fuels and has been pushing that way for some time.  They were despearate for oil in the 1970′s and decided it was best to find domestic energy sources for national security.  Now that they found the Sugar Loaf Field as well as a previous big find, Greenpeace Brazil is claiming that Brazilian arms are wrapped around the national oil company and letting go of the environmentally frieindly alternatives.  The Brazilian oil discovery has brought joy to many, but controversy in the domestic press as well.   Now, there is plenty of investment dollars out there. The stockprice of the Brazilian national oil company Petrobras sky rocketed on the news.  But, there is a new investor….Uncle Sam.  President Obama campaigned against offshore drilling in the United States but the Obama Administration has pledged $2 billion to Brazil for offshore drilling development and there could be more where that came from. 

Petrobras Has Converted Tankers Into Floating Production Storage Offloading (FSO) Units

Petrobras Has Converted Tankers Into Floating Production Storage Offloading (FSO) Units

There are critics who claim that is hypocritical and want to know why its okay for the US to invest in drilling off Brazilian waters and not the good old USA, where even Russia just agreed with Cuba to begin drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Chinese are not yet drilling offshore near Floridia. The China drilling in the Gulf story was wrong, but the Chinese are drilling exploratory wells on Cuban soil.  In any event,  you can look at it another way.  They found the oil.  So, if we help them to develop the field, then maybe they would be willing to allow US companies access.  But, then again, it would probably be most feasable to export to the US than elsewhere anyway.  Either way, having access to oil in our hemisphere with a frienidly neighbor is a better national security proposition for America than depending on more unstable or unfriendly regimes half way around the world.

The Saving Cupcake?

The Saving Cupcake?

On This Date in History: Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the First Lady of the United States and wife of President James Madison. In 1790, she married a fellow named John Todd, Jr. of Philadelphia and had two sons. He was a lawyer and things were dandy until a yellow fever epidemic in 1793 that claimed his life, that of one of his sons and his mother and father. I’m not certain if John Todd, Jr. was related directly to the Todds of Kentucky. But, following his death, Dolley married James Madison and Dolley’s sister, following the death of her husband married Judge Thomas Todd of Kentucky in what was the first marriage ceremony in the White House. Sounds like it wasn’t very good luck to be the first to marry the Payne girls.

   Anyway, Dolley goes and marries James Madison and was a very well thought of First Lady.  Perhaps

Dolley Madison Immortalized?her biggest claim to fame, other than having a pastry company immortalized by the Peanuts gang named after her, was her valor. On this date in 1814, First Lady Dolley Madison was scowering  White House, looking for artifacts and paintings to save. This was the time of the War of 1812…even though it was 1814. The British had invaded and burned the city, including the White House. A few weeks later in Baltimore Harbor, Francis Scott Key would write the words to the Star Spangled Banner. But, when the British were coming, Dolley didn’t have time to write poetry, she was concerned

Saved By Dolley

with not just saving herself, but also valuables in the White House. Her quick thinking saved many historic and valuable papers. She is also credited with saving many paintings, including a famous portrait of George Washington.  All would have been lost without Dolley because the British burned the Executive Mansion, leaving nothing but the outer walls.

Of course, the British got their payback when Andy Jackson took’em to the Woodshed at the Battle of New Orleans, before anyone realized that a peace treaty had been signed days before. Oh well…the redcoats deserved it. And Dolley Madison’s name is in its proper place near the top of the First Lady list…and on

A Vending Machine Favorite

the top of a box of Zingers. 

Weather Bottom Line:  I’m telling you, this pattern is very unusual.  Really a more early fall pattern than late August.  Hurricane Bill acted like storms do in late October.  If you recall the movie The Perfect Storm, it had to do with Hurricane Grace which ran a similar path to Bill. That was in late October.  So, enjoy it while you can.  Certainly was great for the Inaugural Celtic Fest in New Albany on Saturday.  Snow White and I enjoyed it thoroughly and there were some 2000 visitors.  The bands were great and the headliner, Brendan Loughrey from Ireland was not only good, but also a great guy to hang with.  He has some good stories and his career continues to blossom.   You should be on the lookout of next year’s event.  I hope its in New Albany again because the venue is great.  But, don’t look for the same type of weather again in August.  This long wave pattern won’t last but we will remain relatively dry with lower than normal temperatures for much of the week.  By week’s end, there may be a front close enough by and humidity levels high enough to prompt some showers, but until then we can save on our air-conditioning bills probably through midweek.

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

Dolley Madison Saves the Day For George and From Fay!
August 25, 2008

To track the remnant of Fay via radar imagery, you can click on this Interactive Radar (Click Here) and zoom in to street level, loop and navigate anywhere in the nation.

I’m honestly tired of talking about Fay and look forward to Gustav, which may be entering the world this week as Invest 94L is looking rather interesting. The NHC is still planning on taking a peek with the hurricane hunters scheduled to make a couple of visits, unless it just totally falls apart. But it’s looking fairly decent. For the 0824 18Z Invest 94L spaghetti models, see the previous post. (Click Here) We’ll talk about it more later. As for the remnant of Fay, it’s going to mainly stay bottled up in the South. A frontal boundary that came through here Sunday will hold that moisture at bay. Then the remnant low will slowly lift up from South Mississippi into Central Mississippi and North Alabama. The heavy rain will stay to our South and East but I’m banking on us getting on the fringe

5 Day Rainfall Forecast 0825 00Z to 0830 00z

5 Day Rainfall Forecast 0825 00Z to 0830 00z

of the action on Wednesday and Thursday for some relief. There may be some isolated t’storms in the southern part of the viewing area on Monday afternoon, much like we had in the northern part of the viewing area Sunday. Temperatures will be held down a bit as we’re behind the front with a northeasterly flow and there will be the high clouds. But, I’m going a shade above guidance as there should still be a little sinking air around Fay’s circulation, which is still decent. We have a front on Friday night or Saturday that will bring a chance for rain and t’storms and right now, it looks to be a sharp cold front for this time of year and conditions should be ideal for the latter two thirds of the Labor Day Weekend.

On This Date in History: Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the First Lady of the United States and wife of President James Madison. In 1790, she married a fellow named John Todd, Jr. of Philadelphia and had two sons. He was a lawyer and things were dandy until a yellow fever epidemic in 1793 that claimed his life, that of one of his sons and his mother and father. I’m not certain if John Todd, Jr. was related directly to the Todds of Kentucky. But, following his death, Dolley married James Madison and Dolley’s sister, following the death of her husband married Judge Thomas Todd of Kentucky in what was the first marriage ceremony in the White House. Sounds like it wasn’t very good luck to be the first to marry the Payne girls.

Anyway, Dolley goes and marries James Madison and was a very well thought of First Lady. Perhaps

Dolley Madison Immortalized?

Dolley Madison Immortalized?

her biggest claim to fame, other than having a pastry company immortalized by the Peanuts gang named after her, was her valor. On this date in 1814, Dolley Madison was rummaging through the ruins of the White House, wondering where she would stay and what to do with the artifacts she had saved. This was the time of the War of 1812…even though it was 1814. The British had invaded and burned the city, including the White House. A few weeks later in Baltimore Harbor, Francis Scott Key would write the words to the Star Spangled Banner. But, when the British were coming, Dolley didn’t have time to write poetry, she was concerned

Saved By Dolley

Saved By Dolley

with not just saving herself, but also valuables in the White House. Her quick thinking saved many historic and valuable papers. She is also credited with saving many paintings, including a famous portrait of George Washington.

Of course, the British got their payback when Andy Jackson took’em to the Woodshed at the Battle of New Orleans, before anyone realized that a peace treaty had been signed days before. Oh well…the redcoats deserved it. And Dolley Madison’s name is in its proper place near the top of the First Lady list…and on

A Vending Machine Favorite

A Vending Machine Favorite

the top of a box of Zingers.

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