On This Date in History: Joseph Knowles went green before going green was cool. In the midst of urbanization in the early 20th century, there was quite the “back to nature” movement going on in the nation and Joseph Knowles in Maine decided to show that it was possible for man to get back to his roots. So, on this date in 1913, he dropped his drawers and headed into the wilderness. The newspapers followed his two month odyssey and trumpeted poetic prose such as “NAKED HE PLUNGES INTO MAINE WOODS TO LIVE ALONE TWO MONTHS”
So, if he’s alone in the woods, how do the newspapers follow him? He sends them messages written with the burned end of a stick on birch bark. The Boston Post reported the messages as soon as they got them and sales skyrocketed. Rumors started that the loin cloth that he wore was really a bear skin he purchased for $12 complete with 4 bullet holes! The scandal! Well, upon his return, he set the record straight…as in straight to the bank. He published a book about his adventures and it became an immediate and long lasting best seller. Maybe it was a reality tv before there was even tv! See, there is a modern day author who claims it was all a hoax! Jim Motavalli (available on Amazon)says that it was all a part of “nature fakery” that was common in early 20th century and his foray into the wilderness was but a stunt to increase readership in the Boston Post. I wondered how the newspapermen were able to find all of those bits of treebark with messages on them. Well, anyway, if it was a hoax..it worked.
William Randolph Hearst gave Knowles a chance to redeem himself in California with observers to make sure it was all on the up and up. Hearst must have paid a lot of money. I mean, who wants to watch some guy wandering around naked in the woods for two months. A third expedition was more interesting. This time, he was supposed to cavort around with a naked woman! Now for that one, I bet whomever was sponsoring the event to get people to pay to watch. But, alas, it didn’t come to pass. The partner who called herself “Dawn Woman” backed out of the deal. Oh, it wasn’t running around naked with a slightly overweight middle aged man she objected to…no…she recanted when she found out she had to run around in the cold and kill wild animals. I guess going all the way back to nature has its limitations.
Hoaxes sometimes linger into popular culture in the form of myth and sometimes those myths end up in songs or poems. You know, Paul Bunyan, Mike Fink and such. There is one song though that is based on a grisley truth. On August 4, 1892 a crime took place that inspired the rather gruesome children’s song: “Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father 41.” If you look carefully at the photo of Ms. Borden at the left, she kinda looks like she might be an ax murderer. Certainly more so than Elizabeth Montgomery did when she portrayed Borden in a made for TV movie in the ’70s. Well, the jury didn’t agree and she went free and the murder of her stepmother and her father never was officially solved. Maybe the real cause of it all was the weather. It was over 100 degrees that day. It may have been the first big time, media driven crime/trial in America. And now we have court TV.
Weather Bottom Line: We had a shortwave move through the flow this morning. It appeared as if it would move through. In fact, one of the weather foofs on tv said it was coming to an end, but it didn’t. What I suspect was going on was that, as the sun was rising, the storms were backbuilding and so we got anywhere from 4-7 inches of rain in about 90 minutes. The mayor dogged the “weather people” for saying that there would be no problems between 8 and 9 am. That is why governmental entities charged with keeping an eye on the weather should be the source of information, particularly when there is a regional forecasting office in Louisville. This is not the city’s fault. Our geology is such that water run-off is pretty quick to occur because our area just can’t absorb rain very often. At 10am, the airport had reported 3 inches of rain in the previous hour, but stopped reporting at that point.
Anyway, another shortwave is coming down at midday and will probably be
affecting the area by about 1:30 or so. The vector appears to be toward the north of Louisville, though the earlier system seemed that way too and then suddenly built south. I wonder if there is some sort of odd flow pattern there and that might happen again. Nevertheless, since areas to the south of that track got the big rains this morning and is pretty worked over, it may be tough to get extreme heavy rain in areas that have already been slammed. But, that is not a slam dunk because this is a pretty strong short and we do have a few hours for the atmosphere to recover. At noon, the only shortwave showing up is the second one. It’s a tough call regarding any more because the models claim that there will be another this afternoon and evening, but I’m not so sure that these two guys that we have or will have are not the two that the models had been portraying…that they came in ahead of schedule. In any event, the situation needs to be monitored. If we get this cat coming in from the west and then the stuff to the north dives down like it did for some reason this morning, then cell mergers may be afoot. If we get any rain of any kind, it will not help. Don’t try driving around barracades. First off, you might get stuck and its not real safe to do that. But, if you don’t care then keep in mind that the cops are arresting people who ignore their barracades.
The Severe Threat for Louisville is probably over with but the second short wave going over virgin areas to the north will definitely be under the gun for very strong storms. I said probably for the rest of the area to the south, including Louisville, but if the line developing south from the next shortwave to the north has an outside chance of being a trouble maker. I doubt it but its theorhetically possible for dynamics to be such that it could develop…but it will be tough for that to happen. If it does, it would be wind and hail that will prove problematic. I think that north and west of Louisville will be most likely to get strong winds and it will be interesting to see if those storms hold together when they get to the city. However, in spite of some words from local weather people, I would not be surprised at all for another inch or two of rain to fall this afternoon. Again, as I mentioned before, I’m pondering the likelihood of cell mergers.
DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1114 AM CDT TUE AUG 04 2009
VALID 041630Z – 051200Z
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM PORTIONS OF THE OH/TN
VALLEY/WRN APPALACHIANS ACROSS THE OZARKS…
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF THE NRN/CENTRAL
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS THE LOWER GREAT LAKES
REGION/ST LAWRENCE VALLEY…
…OH VALLEY REGION INTO TN VALLEY AND WWD ACROSS THE OZARKS…
PRIMARY CONCERN FOR THIS REGION WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON BOWING
MCS/POSSIBLE DERECHO PERSISTING INTO FAR WRN IND AT 16Z…AS WELL AS
IMPACTS FROM EARLIER MCS/PERSISTENT WAA DEVELOPMENT AHEAD OF IT INTO
NERN KY AND SWRN OH/SERN IND. APPEARS PRIMARY CORRIDOR OF SEVERE
THREAT…MAINLY IN THE FORM OF PSBLY WIDESPREAD DAMAGING
WINDS…WILL PROGRESS ESEWD ACROSS CENTRAL IND THROUGH THE EARLY
AFTERNOON ALONG OUTFLOW FROM EARLIER ACTIVITY. LONGEVITY OF THIS
SYSTEM WILL DEPEND UPON RECOVERY OF AIR MASS INTO THE OH VALLEY
REGION OF SRN OH/NRN KY AS MOMENTUM/WLY COMPONENT OF MEAN FLOW
ADVECTS THE SYSTEM MORE ESEWD…AND/OR A TURN TO A MORE SSEWD MOTION
AS PROPAGATION INTO GREATER INSTABILITY BEGINS TO DOMINATE. SHOULD
SYSTEM TURN…THREAT WOULD THEN SHIFT MORE SWD INTO CENTRAL/ERN KY
AND TN AND POSSIBLY PERSIST WELL INTO THE EVENING…ALTHOUGH THERE
MAY BE A TEMPORARY LULL IN WIND DAMAGE THREAT LATER THIS AFTERNOON
AS THE SYSTEM TURNS MORE SSEWD AND ADDITIONAL COOL POOL MOMENTUM
FARTHER WEST INTO THE LOWER OH RIVER VALLEY AND TOWARDS SERN KS/SRN
MO/NRN OK…A VERY UNSTABLE AIR MASS IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP THROUGH
THE DAY ALONG SURFACE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY SHIFTING INTO SRN MO/WRN
KY/SRN IND. AS CAP WEAKENS AND REGION REMAINS ALONG PERIPHERY OF
MODEST NWLY MID LEVEL FLOW…POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE STORMS IS EXPECTED
TO INCREASE BY LATE IN THE DAY. COVERAGE OF ENSUING STORMS IS MORE
QUESTIONABLE OVER THIS AREA…ALTHOUGH ANY STORM WHICH CAN FORM WILL
SUSTAIN A RISK OF DAMAGING WINDS/HAIL INTO THE EVENING.
…WRN NEB/SD AND NE WY AREA THIS AFTERNOON INTO TONIGHT…
AREA WILL REMAIN UNDER MODEST WNWLY FLOW ALOFT ALONG PERIPHERY OF
MID/UPPER LEVEL RIDGE OVER THE CENTRAL/SRN ROCKIES. AT THE
SURFACE…LOW LEVELS REMAIN FAIRLY MOIST WITH 50+F SURFACE DEW
POINTS EXPECTED TO PERSIST WITHIN UPSLOPE FLOW PATTERN INTO ERN WY
AND THE HIGH PLAINS OF WRN SD/NEB. THIS SHOULD SUPPORT AN AXIS OF
MODERATE INSTABILITY THIS AFTERNOON…AND INCREASE STORM
COVERAGE/INTENSITY ALONG AND EAST OF HIGHER TERRAIN BY LATE IN THE
DAY. FORECAST SOUNDINGS INDICATE SUFFICIENT SHEAR/INSTABILITY FOR
SUPERCELLS AS THE CONVECTION SHIFTS ACROSS LOWER ELEVATIONS THROUGH
THE EVENING…WITH ATTENDANT THREATS OF VERY LARGE HAIL AND ISOLATED
TORNADOES. THE STORMS COULD THEN PERSIST INTO THE OVERNIGHT HOURS
AS LOW-LEVEL WAA INCREASES WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF A 20-30 KT
SLY/SSELY LLJ…WITH SEVERE THREAT TRANSITIONING MORE TO
…LOWER GREAT LAKES…
SHARPENING MID/UPPER LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE GREAT LAKES WILL SHIFT
NOSE OF 50+ KT MID JET ACROSS SURFACE COLD FRONT MOVING EWD INTO THE
LOWER GREAT LAKES REGION TODAY. COMBINATION OF FRONTAL LIFTING AND
DEEP ASCENT WILL OVERSPREAD AXIS OF MARGINAL TO MODERATE INSTABILITY
AND SUPPORT SUPERCELLS AND SMALL LINES OF FAST MOVING STORMS EWD
ACROSS THIS REGION LATER TODAY AND THIS EVENING. DAMAGING WINDS AND
HAIL WILL BE PRIMARY THREATS… ALTHOUGH A BRIEF TORNADO COULD OCCUR
AS WELL. STORMS SHOULD WEAKEN WITH EWD EXTENT THIS EVENING AS
ACTIVITY SHIFTS EAST OF NARROW INSTABILITY AXIS.
…CENTRAL/ERN ORE INTO THE NRN ROCKIES…
SOME LOW-MID LEVEL DRYING HAS BEEN NOTED THE PAST 1-2 DAYS FROM NE
CA/NW NV INTO SRN ORE. INSTABILITY WILL LIKELY BE REDUCED SOMEWHAT
THIS AFTERNOON COMPARED TO A FEW DAYS AGO…EVEN THOUGH THE LARGE
SCALE PATTERN IS RELATIVELY UNCHANGED WITH THE CLOSED LOW OFF THE CA
COAST AND THE RIDGE EXTENDING NWWD FROM THE SRN ROCKIES TO THE GREAT
BASIN. STILL…SCATTERED STORMS SHOULD FORM AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON
WITH HEATING OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN…AND THE STRONGEST STORMS MAY
PRODUCE HAIL AND GUSTY OUTFLOW WINDS INTO THE EARLY EVENING.