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When The Weather Calls for Supplies


lovehockey
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I'm a member of a weather-oriented website, and I can trust you that this winter has been frustrating so far.

That being said, if we were in a weather situation that called for staying at home for a few days, with or without the threat of the power going out, what would you be running to the store to acquire?  Or are you already supplied?  If it's the latter, what do you have?

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If power goes out on my block, I get in my car start heading to WV, take my husband and my dog. (Joking, mostly).  We live on the same grid as some important buildings and although they have back up power generators, there is rarely more than a flicker.  But mostly I have what I need, candles, wine, booze, goldfish crackers, gas fireplace and range.  If only we had gas hot water heaters.

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Related.  It could use a little updating.

I will say that the solar panel capacity/price curve has been glorious in recent years: small, 15W foldable travel panels can be found all over eBay for the cost of one superfancy Boulud burger, while lightweight bendable panels of much higher capacity go for not much over a hundred bucks (although now-solar-industry-standard MC4 cabling will cost a bit).

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Care to share any insider knowledge of how likely it is that we'll be snowbound this winter?

Right now, not looking great, but if it changes I'll let you know.

I will now change my tune:  Keep your eyes out for this upcoming weekend (Friday-Sunday).  This far out, there's a ton of uncertainty as to what form(s) the precipitation will take, but it's looking more likely that we'll have wet weather.

Okay, now I'm confused. Your Jan 15 reply implied with some degree of confidence that you're able to look forward at least a couple of months - I remember just a few years ago, we had snow on the ground in April - but now, just two days later, you express uncertainty about what's going to happen in less than a week.

Can you explain to us how far into the future current weather-forecasting models can go, and how the accuracy breakdowns work? I've never had a good grasp on this (mainly because mainstream media treats us like children, and I've never gone out seeking answers, and when I have, it's been to the Old Farmer's Almanac  :)).

I assume that, in general, the further out in time predictions go, the less confidence forecasters have in them, but is this a straight-line kind of thing, or are there variations along the way? Is it possible, for example, to be uncertain about what's going to happen in five days, but to be able to say, with great confidence, that there will be no enormous storms during the next two months?

And about that Old Farmer's Almanac (which has been around since 1792!) - is it just mumbo-jumbo, or is there anything at all behind it? I honestly have no idea, but the few times that I've (briefly) thought about it, I've assumed that it was sort of like Astrology - maybe just predicting things based on planetary and/or lunar positioning, or something like that - I doubt they'd developed sophisticated computer modeling algorithms in the 18th century, but you know what? Some people swear that the sap runs during a full moon, and they've been doing this their whole lives.

100% Chance of Snow Blowing

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To start, there are multiple weather "models" that are run 3 times a day.  The big boys are are the GFS (American) and Euro (three guesses).  Along with them are the Canadian, the UK, and the Navy's.  There are also short-term models (84 hours or less to showtime) like the NAM and the HRRR.  A lot of TV stations use another model called the RPM (Rapid Precision Model).  I'm sure I've forgotten a few models, but these are the well-known ones.

As well, the major models will go out to 15 days or more, so when something shows up on a model in the D+10-15 range, it's best to be skeptical.  D+6-9, keep your options open.  Within D+5, you're feeling better.  D+3, you're feeling OK.  Of course, even the D+3 range models can vary, much to forecasters' frustration.

To add to the fun (or confusion) the GFS and Euro run "ensembles", as in "let's somewhat change the parameters 2-3 dozen times."  Those provide a lot of entertainment.  For example, one may show 2 inches of snow and another 30.

When I posted on Saturday morning, the GFS was showing a snowstorm this upcoming weekend, with some support from others, but the Euro wasn't on board.  Between then and now, the Euro has jumped on board, albeit with different locations for the highs and lows, which can make a difference.  But all of the models, long-range, are showing something for next weekend, and now the models will battle it out as to the placement of the highs and lows (ie. how much cold air will stick around for the festivities).

The problem is that right now we don't know where everything will set up with respect to all rain, all snow, or a mix of everything.  We probably won't know for sure until late Tuesday or Wednesday if the models keep this up.  But right now all of the models are locking on to something happening next weekend, with snow featured, perhaps significantly.  I remember they did this in December 2009 and February 2010 when we got dumped upon.

At this point, be aware that something may happen.  Could be rain, could be a lot of snow.  We'll see.

P.S. If you want to know the website of which I'm a member, IM me and I'll let you know.

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Related.  It could use a little updating.

I will say that the solar panel capacity/price curve has been glorious in recent years: small, 15W foldable travel panels can be found all over eBay for the cost of one superfancy Boulud burger, while lightweight bendable panels of much higher capacity go for not much over a hundred bucks (although now-solar-industry-standard MC4 cabling will cost a bit).

Any rec on manufacturer and model?

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I'm a member of a weather-oriented website, and I can trust you that this winter has been frustrating so far.

That being said, if we were in a weather situation that called for staying at home for a few days, with or without the threat of the power going out, what would you be running to the store to acquire?  Or are you already supplied?  If it's the latter, what do you have?

I'm buying my airline ticket this evening.

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Any rec on manufacturer and model?

Because my particular purpose was to rig it to a canvas tent roof, I chose something lightweight and without a metal frame or sharp edges: a 50W Renology RNG-50DL panel.  Monocrystalline cells sealed onto a plastic substrate.  A little utility cord slung over the ridge pole and I had no trouble hoisting it aloft.  The crystalline cells are theoretically less efficient on cloudy days, but should last far longer than a thin-film panel (in what can only be described as electrochemical irony, thin-film solar materials are slowly destroyed by exposure to sunlight.)  Output is compatible with solar 12v charge controllers.

No opinion on the small cheapies.  For example, here's a 20W unit on eBay for about $55.  Note that these are specialized for USB charging, and designed to produce 5V instead of 14.4V, so they're okay for charging a pocket USB powerbank, but not a large deep-cycle battery.

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I stopped in at The Cupboard* on the 1500 blk. of East Capitol a little while ago and they were decently stocked and will be open tomorrow as well.  Only useful to people in Hill East, but this seemed like the thread for it.

*A reasonably sized corner store not on a corner (though I think they refer to themselves as a bodega)

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Based on Don's current tweets, I am beginning to think we should be more carefully planning car provisions than home provisions.  Hoping everyone gets home safe tonight.

Car Provisions isn't a joke - We keep box of granola bars in the car for just such an situation

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