Monday, 30 November 2009

The aftermath

Well, last night's storm created a little excitement around here and Mauna Kea experienced its second snowfall of the winter. I wasn't at the summit but the various webcams on Mauna Kea caught the the early-morning scene although within a few hours most of the snow had already melted - it's still a little early in the season for the really bad snow storms we see from time to time and the daytime temperatures and sunlight are usually sufficient to melt the snow quickly.

UKIRT's webcam caught the snow covered road a little after 8am. The tracks in the snow were probably left by the rangers on their early morning inspection of the summit. They closed the road for a while until the snow had melted.

The webcam on Gemini captured the CFHT, MKAM and the snow field in between.

To the south, one of the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory webcams captured Mauna Kea in the early morning light with snow on the summit, although as you can see the snow was clearly contained to the summit area and didn't extend much further down than a few hundred feet. Occasionally it can snow all the way down to Hale Pohaku at the 9,000 foot level.

By sunset this evening, the snow had nearly all gone.

At home it wasn't so pretty! Although I didn't hear anything overnight (the wind and rain was a little too loud and of course I'd closed all the windows!) this morning I found a couple of trees had come down, I assume due to the wind.

This one barely missed my car, it was literally inches away, the end of the branches had snapped off when they hit the ground and were actually under the car! I don't think the tree is that healthy which probably explains why it fell.

I have no idea what the tree is called, sorry, but looking up at the branches this is where the it had clearly snapped overnight. Looking round a little more, I saw several other places where branches had snapped off but I couldn't find the branches! This is actually right on the boundary between my yard and the neighbouring uncleared land which is difficult to access as it's overgrown, so I assume the fallen branches are over there somewhere.

Out in the front yard I found a piece of my rooftop TV antenna. I don't think reception's going to be very good for a while! Incidentally, that trunk in the ground used to be underneath the "lawn", you wouldn't have known it was there. The unusually bad storms of the last couple of years plus summer droughts have eroded my top soil so badly that it now protrudes a couple of inches above the ground.

The infamous glowing picnic table effect

Stupidly, I forgot I had left my camera out in the top lanai on its tripod. When I was closing all the doors and windows in panic last night I suddenly saw that the tripod had been blown over and the camera was lying on the wet lanai floor. I brought it in immediately, dried it off and turned it on. It seemed to work although I didn't take any pictures. My first attempt at taking a picture when I arrived home this evening, however, resulted in this:

Uh oh! Why was my picnic table and bench glowing like this? I was obviously a little concerned that I'd damaged the camera or had my table taken on some ghostly paranormal-like properties during the storm?

Turns out it appears to be something to do with the circular polarizer I habitually keep on the camera lense. When I took it off the pictures looked normal again. Although I had cleaned and dried the filter, and it looked good to my eye, something was up with it. I'm going to leave it in its case with some desiccant and perhaps a few grains of rice and see if that fixes the problem. I should understand how a polarizer might cause such an effect, but am going to have to think about it...


Zuzana said...

Ah snow, and on eh first of December as well!
I am happy you survived the storm though. Something similar happened to my camera by the way, it was in the summer when I was taking pictures of rain. It went away after a while though.;)

Beep said...

The glowing table needs to go on one of those paranormal investigation web sites :)

The storm damage is scary. So glad to know you are ok.

Tom said...

Protege - pretty sure it wasn't the camera but a filter I have on the lense, but I still haven't figured out the physics!

Beep - I've already given the answer away but I think I might just try and surreptitiously post this image on a woo woo site and ask if my picnic table is possessed. After all, a tree fell down next to it so what other proof do you need that something paranormal is going on?