Sunday, April 24, 2011

Good Friday Storms

No art today, more of a weather report and storm aftermath. You in the US may have heard this on the news, but since I happened to be in it I think it definitely deserves a mention here.

First let me say we're fine, no problems here. But just a mile or so away large trees were snapped along with huge hail. We got extremely lucky here.

Late last Friday afternoon (Good Friday) we had a storm front move through, actually two big storms that met up in St Louis. They really started picking up strength west of here in Warrenton, maybe even as far west as Hermann, and tore through well into eastern Illinois. I don't know exactly how far that is, but I would think it's a good 100 miles.

These weren't your normal everyday thunderstorms. They were big and it seemed they were just about everywhere. Rain, hail and tornadoes were all there, and not just the run of the mill version. Hail the size of soft balls (that's about 4 inches for the non sporting), inches of rain and a confirmed E4 tornado (the scale goes to 5) An E4 tornado is defined as having winds from 166 to 200 miles per hour, that's big and rare. E5s are practically unheard of. Just to get an idea of how rare these are E4 and E5 tornadoes make up less than 1% of all tornadoes. It wasn't entirely unexpected. Stormy weather had been predicted for several days. There were even storm chasers in town waiting for them. They were probably still here from Tuesday when another good size storm rolled through about the same time of day. Well, they got a good show. One of the bigger cells went right over the regional weather bureau which isn't very far from here.

If you've never been a big storm complete with tornadoes consider yourself lucky, but they are extremely fickle. By that I mean one place can be totally leveled while someplace else just a few hundred yards away can come through unscathed. That's what happened here. There was a lot of destruction in New Melle just a few miles away in a straight line from here. Just a mile or so there were 12 inch trees broken down and egg size hail. Here, some hail, mostly pea size with a few piece slightly bigger. One gust of wind maybe, but nothing out of the ordinary. Didn't even blow over the trash can. Like I said we were really lucky this time.

Pictures are worth a thousand words so here are some pictures just to give you some idea. I stole most of these from the local news stations. If you'd like to see more google fox 2 news or kmov.

This is what it looked like coming in. Storm sirens are already blaring.

I forgot to mention some rather spectacular lightning.

Here's one of the tornadoes. I don't think it's one of the big ones that did most of the damage, but it's big enough. Most of the tornadoes we get around here are rain wrapped making it hard to see them. Not your classic plains tornadoes here.

That's some big hail and it was pretty widespread.

Now look at some of the damage. While you're looking at this keep in mind that there were no deaths and not even any serious injuries as far as I know. Apparently the warning systems work pretty well and I think there was a fair amount of luck involved too.

The airport was hit really bad too. There are a lot of big reinforced glass panels there that were mostly blown out. Most of the roof on one section is gone. The windows in the control tower that are supposed to be able to withstand a wind of at least 100 miles an hour were blown out. And then there this picture of a shuttle van that was apparently picked up, and is now just dangling off the side of the building.

The area in general is quite a mess. Tornado damage, flooding from the storms and normal spring floods with more rain coming today, tomorrow maybe Tuesday and Wednesday too. We'll get through it though, always have before. Nobody died so it's not that bad. One last view.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wetlands in Fog

Oil on Panel
8 x 16

Another one of those moody, foggy wetlands paintings. Not much to say about this, hopefully it speaks for itself. I think there are a few more of these in me trying to get out. I'll try to mix in some other things so you won't get bored.

Spots of Interest

In my roaming around I've come across a few sites that may be of interest, at least I thought they were. Some are already linked here but I think these deserve some special attention.

First, if you've ever wanted to see the Sistine Chapel, but found yourself economically challenged or maybe you just don't want to go all the way to Italy here's your chance. Here is the Sistine Chapel in the round without the crowds. Moving around takes a bit of getting used to, but still pretty cool stuff. Really the best way to see the ceiling frescoes is to lay down on your back and just look up. You'll find that that's frowned upon, and you'd probably be trampled. Don't have to worry about that here.

Edit: The Vatican doesn't seem to want to cooperate. The link isn't taking you to where it's supposed to. Here's the actual address, maybe a little cut and paste will work.

Next is Scott's Sketchbook from Scott Waddell. The whole blog is good, but what deserves special notice is his series of webisodes dealing with drawing and painting. Lots of good, clearly presented information, and the webisodes are really well put together. He puts some time in on these rascals.

And lastly is this video of a lecture held at the Grand Central Academy on the Golden Ratio. You may find the first part a little heavy on the geometry, but it is needed to introduce the topic. Once he gets into the use of the ratio and underlying grid systems in general, well, I thought it was interesting.

The Golden Ratio from Benjamin Cave on Vimeo.