ah, the weather…

Heard from several folks over the past few days asking if we’re under water. We’re fine… high and dry… both at home and at the office. Ironically the office park where digital.forest lived from 1997 until 2005 DID get severely flooded, and at least one of the datacenters in that area (T-mobile) suffered an outage. I’m SO glad we left North Creek Parkway. I miss the paths, and I miss the salmon in the creek, and I miss Teriyaki Etc., and more than anything, I miss Hobin-san and Sato-san at Hana Sushi… BUT I’m so happy to be at this amazing facility in Seattle. (But I digress)

Despite what the news media says, these things happen every year in the Autumn. Usually in November, but it can happen anytime from Mid-October until Christmas. Low pressure sits off Vancouver Island, pushing the jet stream south, pullling cold air down from the north… we get snow all the way down to sea level, and the mountains usually get DUMPED on… several feet of snow in a matter of a day or two. Then just as suddenly, the low moves on and the jet stream snaps back north pulling warm, very moist air from the Pacific. The traditional term for it is a “Pineapple Express.” All the snow melts in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes. It takes the better part of a day for it to come down out of the mountains but if it continues to rain while that is happening the lowlands start seeing floods.

Last year it happened in early November.

This year the temperature change was swift and dramatic. Sunday night I was up late brewing a big batch of BioDiesel. I was acutely aware of the temperature (in the mid 30s F) because I was wearing my big winter coat and I also have a big temp dial on the processor. When I pumped my waste oil into the processor from the settling tank it moved like molasses. I looked at the temp gauge and it read about 34°F (or ~.5°C for my worldly Metric readers.) There was frost here and there around the barn as well, and the gravel of the driveway made that crunchy sound like ice when I walked up it to the house. I awoke and ventured out to the barn at 5 AM to shut off the processor… throwing my big winter coat on as I prepared to leave the front door. As I stepped off the front porch my brain registered something odd. Half way down the driveway I realized what it was… “damn, it is WARM out here.” There was a light rain, and some wind, but the temperature was way up from the night before. Close to 60°F/15.5°C. I shut off the processor (temp gauge there read ~100°F/38°C… about right for a batch of BioD that had processed for several hours) and walked back to th house with the coat in my hands. Checked the weather widget on my OSX dashboard and it reported 58°F/15°C… so my guess was right.

10-12 hours later the floods began down below… like clockwork.

One thought on “ah, the weather…”

  1. re: BioDiesel Processing: what, exactly, has to be done to the waste oil to make it suitable for use as fuel?

    PS: Glad you’re all okay. When I saw the news reports, I immediately thought of you, remembering last year’s wind storm.

Comments are closed.