Category Archives: Video

May’s Weird Weather In LA

Rain. Thunder. Lightning. In May. In Los Angeles.

Yeah, I get it. You live in Tornado Alley and weather like this just means that it’s a day that ends in “Y” and you think I (and everyone else in LA going ape over a little bit of convective activity) am a real goober.

Fine, wait until you come out here and run into Anne Hathaway or Keanu Reeves in Starbucks and you can’t remember your own name for five minutes…

I wasn’t sure we would actually get any rain at our location, but then the first drops hit the window.

The the lightning started and with it the downpours.

It was great to watch at lunch from the dry safety of my office.

(Image from NOAA Hi-Def Weather Radar Pro app)

Yeah – that’s a lot of yellow, orange and red!

(Image from Weather Underground app)

After the fact I noticed this on Weather Undergound – look at that temperature drop! 14°F in about an hour.

Fun times!

 

 

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography, Video, Weather

Minimal Convective Activity

With a front moving through last night and making a mess of rush hour in LA I was hoping to see some convective activity (clouds building up into thunderstorms) when the sun came out.

It looked hopeful for an hour or so, but then fizzled as the winds came up. Instead of thunderstorms I came out to a car covered with pine needles, pollen, and debris.

Not a decent trade.

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The Running Of The Butterflies

Something unusual has been happening around Los Angeles this year – butterflies. Clouds of them. Swarms of them.

We’re not talking “blotting out the sun” swarms, nothing apocalyptic. But for a few days last month there were days at the house on the hill where we would see what I estimated to be several hundred per minute flitting by for hours at a time. It’s been quite impressive.

They’ve been notoriously difficult to get pictures of. For the most part they’re not stopping or refueling on any of those flowers in our yard that I shared last month. They’re just bobbing and weaving in the breeze, a half dozen here, ten there, a few more over there, coming past the house and being gone downwind in just a few seconds.

Then they were gone for several weeks and I figured that was it. Until they started showing up on Thursday and Friday. Yesterday while driving back home from the hangar in Camarillo I saw the largest clouds of them I had seen yet, easily ten times the rate that I had seen last month.

This morning they were flowing past the house at a pretty good rate and I finally got some pictures. I found a corner of the house with a good view of the sky where the butterflies were coming around the house at my back and then silhouetted against the sky. I got video from my iPhone, than did some screen captures of freeze frames.

The individual images are somewhat blurry and small – they’re just a tiny crop of a full frame with a picture of a small-ish butterfly, typically five or six feet away. The video is found at the bottom.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Critters, Photography, Video

Sky Boom

We’ve got a bit of weather moving through tonight – I love this! And with an iPhone with a pretty good video camera built in, I can share:

It also does pretty good frame captures:

There actually is the faintest trace of the bolt still visible in that last shot – click on it to blow up the image to full screen size to see it.

It’s still booming out there, but about fifteen minutes ago another cell passed right over us, it started pouring, and the temperature dropped about 15°F in about five minutes. I’ll watch from inside for now.

 

 

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Filed under Photography, Video, Weather

Ford Tri-Motor

We got some unusual stuff flying about CMA and on the CAF SoCal ramp today, even by our standards.

Our PBJ (B-25) is done with it’s annual inspection and was back flying training missions. We had a Vietnam era Huey helicopter come in and take three groups of riders out.

I didn’t get to go on either aircraft – I have an audit starting Monday and had no time for flying today, which is a sad, sad commentary on the state of the world.

But I did come out of my padded room long enough at one point to see the EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor up and taking riders. You just don’t see one of those every day!

 

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Video

El Nino

I don’t know if this has officially been declared an “El Nino” year by the National Weather Service (or whoever’s in charge of such things) but it sure feels that way to those of us getting drenched.

In an “El Nino” year, there’s a warm patch of Pacific Ocean water that forms around Christmas time (which has something to do with the name – google it) and the end result is an unusually wet winter in California. We get these “atmospheric rivers” that start funneling huge, wet, relatively warm storms onto the California coast, one after the other for days, one onslaught after another.

Whether official or not, this is what we get:

(I wasn’t driving, thanks!)

At this particular moment, the weather radar looked like:

(Image from Wunderground, despite their competitor’s ad, which I find somewhat hilarious and ironic and just a bit creepy.)

It’s quiet now, mostly, but there’s a lot of unstable air behind these fronts, and another couple of fronts to follow about every eighteen hours, so tomorrow and Monday look soggy as well.

While this might be beneficial in terms of alleviating our constant water shortages and drought in California and the Southwest states, it’s not so good in terms of the flash flooding and mudslides.

Welcome to California! If one thing doesn’t kill you, it’s opposite thing will!

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Filed under Los Angeles, Video, Weather

Spectacular SpaceX Launch

Tonight SpaceX launched a large weather satellite out of Vandenberg just after sunset. We know from experience that this can lead to some truly spectacular views in the Los Angeles area.

Since we’re now in a home at the top of a hill with a decent view to the west (Vandenberg is to our northwest and they’re launching to the south, so the rocket goes directly to the west of us) instead of one at the bottom of a hill (this hill, in fact) with the hill blocking the horizon to the west, I was hoping we would get some decent views. I was not disappointed.

With advance warning of the launch, I decided to try my first FaceBook Live streaming video of the launch. There were lessons learned and things to do better next time, but I think that it turned out pretty well all in all. You can watch it:

HERE

It starts as we’re about a minute or so before launch and in the background you can hear the audio from the SpaceX webcast. You’ll also hear the dulcet tones of me and my gravelly, nasal voice trying to give some sort of running commentary, and occasionally going a bit ape. Did I say that we had “decent” views? Try “spectacular” views!

You can fast forward to about 3:45 to when I first see the rocket coming up over the hill. At 5:05 the first stage shuts down, the stages separate, the second stage lights off and heads south to deliver the satellite to orbit, and the first stage starts puffing clouds of gas from the cold gas control thrusters as it maneuvers. (This whole thing is utterly amazing and colorful and freaked out more than a few people in LA who didn’t know what was going on.)

At 08:20 the first stage re-entry burn starts as the first stage slows and aims for landing back at Vandenberg. (It fell below the hill again after the burn ended so I couldn’t see the landing, but it did occur and was perfect.) From there on I follow the second stage and satellite, which was visible all the way to second stage engine cutoff!

That’s freaking amazing, just astonishing.

Enjoy the video, and if you’re in the LA area, keep an eye on the SpaceX feed (or on my FaceBook and/or Twitter feed) for the next dusk launch.

In ten years I would love to see these things be weekly events. In twenty I would love to see them daily.

We’re spreading off of this planet and becoming a multi-planetary species!

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Filed under Space, Video