The city in summer floated in a daze that moved otherwise sensible people to repeat endlessly the brainless greeting “Hot enough for ya? Ha-ha!” It was like the final joke before the meltdown of the world in a pool of sweat.
New York City's first summer heat wave broke on Friday evening, and the Empire State Building seemed like a fine place to watch the lightning as the cold front slid in from the west.
Shortly after taking the photo, there was a flash and immediate crack of thunder, and the outdoor deck was closed. The web is conflicted on whether the skyscraper is struck by lightning 10 times, 25 times, or 100 times a year.
A variety of weather instruments are visible above the 86th floor deck. The wind speed and direction are shown on this beautiful Art Deco dial in the lobby, restored in 2009:
Scientists have been fascinated by snowflakes since the invention of the microscope. The most realistic simulated snowflakes to date come from mathematicians David Griffeath and Janko Gravner. Their most recent work on the subject generates elaborate three-dimensional "snowfakes" down to the microscopic ice caves inside.
For an explanation of their snowfakes and some realistic images, see the slideshow at Discovery. There are more architectural-looking drawings like the one above in the math paper: Modeling snow crystal growth: a three-dimensional mesoscopic approach
The Lunar New Year begins today. According to a Chinese calendar going back more than three thousand years, this year is named for the Dragon, a mythical creature of power, wisdom, and good luck.
The Chinese dragon is unlike the guardian monsters of European myth. In East Asia, dragons are an honored part of nature's royalty, rulers of skies and storms. The dragons of Japan and China are found in the air, but never seem to need wings. They are never completely visible, and they can shrink to the size of a silkworm or fill the sky.
Collecting images of weather dragons has been kind of a hobby while building the Upweather app. So the beginning of a Dragon year seems like a great time to kick off the Upweather blog. There will be more here about Upweather, and more about dragons too.
What better year than this one to learn more about the weather?
Happy New Year!