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I’ve been holding off on blogging about this, but since I’m heading out of town tomorrow, I feel I must mention it today. There’s actually a decent chance of some measurable snowfall on Christmas day this year not only in Nashville, but in most of TN, and even some states south of TN. Here are the official statistics on a white Christmas in Nashville, from the National Weather Service:

THERE HAVE BEEN ONLY NINE CHRISTMASES WITH MEASURABLE AMOUNTS OF SNOW SINCE SNOWFALL RECORD KEEPING BEGAN IN NASHVILLE BACK IN THE WINTER OF 1884 AND 1885. THE LAST TIME MEASURABLE SNOW FELL ON CHRISTMAS DAY IN NASHVILLE WAS IN 1993 WHEN THREE TENTHS OF AN INCH WAS MEASURED. TRACE AMOUNTS OF SNOW FELL ON CHRISTMAS IN 2002. STATISTICALLY THERE IS ONLY A 7 PERCENT CHANCE OF MEASURABLE SNOW ON ANY GIVEN CHRISTMAS. THE MOST SNOW EVER TO FALL ON CHRISTMAS IN NASHVILLE IS 2.7 INCHES IN 1969.

The storm system that has been contributing to the unusual rainfall in southern California will be sliding across the southwestern states today and tomorrow, and joining with an upper level disturbance from the north. The upper level disturbance will be providing the cold, while the low pressure system to the south will be providing the moisture.  As the two combine, moisture will be spread north of the low pressure system over the gulf coast on southerly winds, which will bring enough warm air to change the precip to rain on Christmas eve day, but that night the cold air from the upper disturbance will take over and switch it back to snow, which should continue into at least Christmas morning. From what I’ve read, the models are in fair agreement on the timing of the whole thing, but not on the amount of moisture (read: depth of snow) involved. So we’ll have to wait until probably this time tomorrow, or even tomorrow night to really get a good grip on snow amounts. Even then, models can only go so far. I wouldn’t get my hopes up for any “deep” snow though, I’d be very surprised if Nashville got more than 2 inches. I will be with my family in northeast TN, so this will all happen about 6 hours later than Nashville, but naturally there will probably be a little more snow there, and I have every intention of taking a trip to the mountains where there’ll be a lot more snow. Maybe even go skiing.

I may find something to blog about over the weekend, but this will probably be my last post until next week. So Happy Holidays!

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Weekend shows & weather

April 23, 2010

This weekend is actually pretty good in terms of live music in Nashville. Here’s what’s on my radar:

The biggest story tonight and tomorrow is probably Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt, featuring the awesome one-two punch of Phoenix and Passion Pit. The full lineup is at the RoS website, but the only bands I’m even remotely interested in seeing are those two, and maybe Two Door Cinema Club. I will be there taking pics for the Scene as usual.

Friday: If outdoors festivals aren’t your thing, Chicken Ranch Records out of Austin, TX is doing a badass showcase at the Basement featuring The Clutters, We Were The States, Tiger Tiger, and Jimmy Duke & the Riot.

Saturday: If outdoor festivals aren’t your thing and afterparties are, you’ll want to head to 12th & Porter where the weekly Y2K DJs Coach and Hands off Sam will be joined by none other than members of Passion Pit, who will have (or not, depending on the weather) played Rites of Spring earlier that evening. DJ Potamus is also on the bill. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Passion Pit’s DJ sets- they did at least a few of them at SXSW this year.

Sunday: Peelander-Z w/ Tim Chad and Sherry & The Man Power at Exit/In. I saw Peelander-Z there a couple years ago and it was a blast. The bass player was literally hanging upside-down from the balcony. Just be prepared for some major crowd participation if you go.

Another big story this weekend is the weather. As you can see from the NWS severe weather outlook to the right, we’re in the “moderate risk” category for severe storms on saturday. The current thinking is that some storms will beigin to roll in very late tonight, sometime between 11pm and 3am, and hopefully not drenching tonight’s Rites of Spring festivities. Then the real action will start up saturday morning and basically be a threat all day long, into the evening. This is not just a few storms with a little hail and some wind, there is also a good possibility of tornadoes, and that’s why I have a strong feeling much of saturday’s Rites activities will end up getting canceled altogether. I can only hope for their sake that the threat passes by the evening AND that no damage is done to the stage/equipment so that the headliners can at least still play.

Important weather things to remember for saturday: The Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma issues severe weather watches. A watch is for a large area of land and means that conditions are favorable for severe weather to occur, but it is not an immediate threat. Our local National Weather Service office issues severe weather warnings. A warning is usually for a county or even just a city area and means that severe weather is actually occurring and will hit your area soon, so take cover. There’s always confusion on Vanderbilt’s campus regarding the on-campus vs. the downtown Nashville tornado sirens as well. Here’s how it works: the downtown Nashville siren goes off if there is a tornado warning issued for anywhere in Davidson County. The Vandy campus siren only goes off if a tornado warning is issued that specifically includes downtown Nashville. Thus, sometimes the downtown siren will go off and the Vandy campus one won’t (example: a warning issued for SE Davidson Co./LaVergne), and frankly it confuses the hell out of people on the Vandy campus. But that’s how it works.

Please be safe and heed all warnings this weekend!

South Park may have pulled off the impossible: putting Kayne West’s ego in check. This Billboard.com article reports that last Wednesday’s episode “skewered the famously self-important rapper… painting him as a narcissistic figure so out of touch with reality he couldn’t even take a (very politically incorrect) joke.” Well done, South Park. Check out Kayne’s blog post here.

Stephen Colbert is a smart guy. The most brilliant thing he’s done recently is rally his fans to vote on an open NASA poll for the name of their next node to be added to the International Space Station. They had some suggestions- Serenity, Earthrise, etc… very typical-sounding names for stuff like that. But they had an write-in option, which Colbert exploited. The result was that the name “Colbert” won the contest for naming the node, and NASA has been scratching its head as to what to do about it ever since. Tomorrow night we’ll find out their decision in a clever way- astronaut Sunita Williams will be on the show to unveil the name. Will it really be Colbert? Only time will tell. It’ll be an interesting episode for sure…

The CIA and USAF have finally declassified a project that was based at the mysterious Area 51 base in Nevada. The LA Times interviewed 5 former employees of the facility who disclosed details on a top-secret spy plane code named OXCART. This plane allegedly has an odd shape, and was capable of flying at Mach 3. This could explain a HUGE number of the UFO sightings in that area, because according to this article there were 2,850 test flights of this thing, all conducted from Area 51. This is a bigger deal than it may seem, because up until now, the government didn’t even acknowledge that Area 51 existed. By declssifying this project they’re now admitting that it does exist. A big step forward if you ask me. I’ve always been fascinated by the place, and really want to go out there just to walk up to the signs telling you that you’ll be shot if you try to break in. I’m quite sure that there are some crazy things going on there involving technology that we haven’t even dreamed of yet, but I won’t say or believe that they’re reverse-engineering UFO’s and keeping aliens in freezers until proof of such a claim exists. Via io9.

Friday’s tornado outbreak was pretty devastating, though the vast majority of the damage was from an EF3 twister that hit nothern Murfreesboro. The official NWS survey has determined that a total of 4 tornadoes hit middle TN on friday- three EF1’s and one EF3. The report actually says “at least EF3,” so there’s a chance it may be upgraded to an EF4. One of the things that made this particular tornado so devastating was the fact that it was a multiple-vortex tornado. I will leave you with this absolutely amazing video footage shot from a tall building in Murfreesboro. (Probably the bank building.) You can easily see the smaller funnels inside the main vortex. The first few seconds are jittery but he sets the camera down and you get a long, clear look at this monster. Watch closely at about :45, 1:15, and 1:30 where you can clearly see a smaller vortex to the right of the main one.

Remember when those crazy religious zealots disguised as “developers” wanted to build a Bible theme park in Rutherford County and failed? Then they tried to do the same thing in Wilson County and failed again? Well, a family in Rutherford Co. is suing the county for damages because they had a land deal with the developers, pending county approval. The county is ready for a fight, though, and declined a settlement offer to avoid hearings. I can’t see how the family will win this. The county had very good, completely legal reasoning for not approving the park. There was no wrongdoing involved! Via Nashvillest.

There’s a tornado watch today until 4pm, so be on the lookout. Since it’s a relatively hot topic lately, I thought I’d show you a little tidbit about how tornado warnings are issued. As you should know, warnings are only for counties or cities. They issue them when a tornado is indicated by either doppler radar or by a trained spotter, or both. Doppler radar has a unique ability to determine whether the precipitation it detects is moving toward or away from the radar site. Here’s an image from this morning from the NWS website showing the Storm-Relative Mean Radial Velocity. Don’t worry about what that means, but just know that red indicates precip moving away from the radar site, and green indicates precip moving toward it.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

The brighter the color, the faster the wind speed. The area highlighted is what’s called a “couplet” and it shows bright red and green right next to each other, indicating rotation. This is what the NWS means when they say that doppler radar indicates a “storm capable of producing a tornado.” The couplet only means there’s large-scale rotation in the storm, not necessarily a twister on the ground. That’s where spotters like me come in. We are the eyes and ears that can actually confirm that a tornado is on the ground, thus enhancing the NWS’s ability to issue accurate and timely warmings. Sorry that ended up being a little longer than I expected…

Now for a taste of what’s going on this weekend…

Tonight I’m shooting pics of Flight of the Conchords at the Ryman. It’s sold out, so I’m very excited to be photographing/seeing them.

Saturday there are a few things going on, but I have no idea what we’re going to, if anything, yet:
Pico Vs. Island Trees/And the Relatives/Elle Macho @ Mercy Lounge
JEFF the Brotherhood, The Tits, The Weiners @ The End

Finally, if you haven’t seen this video of Billy Bob Thornton on a Q TV interview with his band the Boxmasters, please do watch it NOW. It will make your day. The man is just plain weeeeird. Via Nashville Cream.

Jack White’s latest side project, The Dead Weather, will be playing their first public show in NYC @ Bowery Ballroom on April 14th. They played a private show right here in Nashville for the opening of White’s new label offices/record store/recording studio/photo studio complex back in early March. In other news via Brooklyn Vegan, AC/DC will be heading back to the US for some extended tour dates. I was under the impression that the Nashville show at Sommet Center was to be their last performance in the US… apparently I was gravely mistaken.

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few days, Lake Fever has posted a special 5-song issue of their “Lake Fever Sessions” video series starring Superdrag. They play several tracks from their new record Industry Giants, which was recorded at Lake Fever. Pretty effin’ awesome if you ask me. I suggest reading Joe Baine Colvert’s blurb to the right of the videos about his teenage years and first discovering Superdrag. The photo to the left was taken by me when I ran into them at SXSW. Speaking of that… I FINALLY got all my pics from Austin on my Flickr, so go have a look. There are a lot of random candid shots on there that weren’t in the Scene slideshows.

For your daily dose of “awww how cute,” check out this article about a new dog that will be a strong contender for the world’s smallest dog. His owners oh-so-cleverly named him Tom Thumb. Via sister sisyphus.

While we’re on the subject of really tiny animals… might as well mention this new species of tree frog discovered in the Andes Mountains. It’s called Noble’s Pygmy Frog. How cute.

The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog has a set of amazing photos of Mt. Redoubt, the Alaskan volcano that recently erupted. I knew it was only a matter of time before they had a post full of nice Redoubt imagery. I have a hard to choosing between the aerial shots and the nighttime lightning shots as my fav.

Credit: Josh Wurman, CSWR

Credit: Josh Wurman, CSWR

This May 10 through June 13, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are co-funding the greatest tornado chasing effort in history. It’s called VORTEX-2, and in classic scientific tradition, they came up with a really cool acronym, and then figured out words that would work with the acronym and also describe their project. The result- Verification Of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment 2 (VORTEX 2). As if we need verification that tornadoes rotate…. No matter how silly the name, I’d still LOVE to be right there with them!

io9’s quote of the day today: “The Best Green Technology is Population Control.” Just read this whole excerpt by author Paolo Bacigalupi. My favorite quote from the interview:

Advertising agencies and PR firms are delighted to sell us any number of “green” gizmos and they’re throwing in some nice self-esteem blowjobs for all of us, using their persuasive talents to assure us that we’re enlightened and forward thinking because we just stuffed a green X into our Prius.

On my way home from work- 31st ave north near Centennial park.

On my way home from work- 31st ave north near Centennial park. Click to enlarge.

Yesterday brought some very interesting weather to Nashville. Interestingly enough, the biggest story was the flash flooding that occurred downtown, not necessarily the (not-yet-confirmed by the weather servie) tornado that allegedly touched down near the airport/Donelson. Nashvillest had a link to a pretty amazing video of the Hillsboro Village area during the peak of the flooding. Poor Fido’s! I hope they didn’t have any real damage from the water! I barely made it home from work before the cops shut down West End due to the water. Yesterday’s incident was the classic example of flash-flooding. It was simply a case of a tremendous amount of water being dumped in one area in a very short amount of time. When this happens it simply overwhelms even the best of drainage systems, and all that water has to go somewhere. In fact, according to the NWS website, we set a record high maximum daily rainfall yesterday! Go us?

The Sun is sleeping. At least as far as sunspot activity goes. As you probably learned in middle school, the sun goes through an 11-year cycle of sunspot activity. The peak time is solar maximum and the low point is solar minimum. Right now we’re in solar minimum (the last maximum was around 2001), but this one is particularly low. So low that it has scientists intrigued as to what exactly this could mean for the next solar maximum, scheduled for 2012-2013. Universe Today has a great article on this if you’re interested in learning more.

Ok, on to some non-scientific links…

Oddee.com has some really big stuff on today’s post.

A German researcher accidently pricked herself with a needle used to inject Ebola into mice, and was given an experimental vaccine that had never been tested on humans. She’s fine now, but it’s not clear whether the vaccine saved her, or if the virus simply never enter her bloodstream in the first place. Scary…

Those crazy pranksters at Improv Everywhere pulled off one hell of an April Fool’s joke wednesday. They attempted to give someone the “best funeral ever” by finding the smallest funeral with the fewest likely relatives/friends, and sending a large group of mourners to make the family have the best funeral ever. The only thing is… it was all staged, including the funeral itself. But the local news totally fell for it and covered it as a real news story! Congrats, guys. In case you didn’t know, this same group drew some ire over a prank where they found a crappy band with almost no fans, and sent a huge group of people to one of their shows to totally rock out and act crazy as though they were dedicated fans. Of course, this ended up backfiring and really pissed off the band and a lot of youtube viewers. The group finally apologized for the whole thing.

WEEKEND STUFF!

For Friday:

Probably the coolest thing happening is The Privates’ Motion EP release show at the Basement. These guys just can’t seem to stop making amazing rock music. Opening are Hotpipes and the Garland Sisters.

Also, L.A.-Nashville transplants The Ettes are rocking the Exit/In with Wax Fang and The Whigs.

Another event worth mentioning is the Hot Rocks Dance Party at Mercy Lounge. This event is basically the same thing as the weekly Monday night rock n roll dance parties held at the 5 Spot, except they’ve jumped the river for a weekend time slot, and added in Broadway honky-tonker Heath Haynes.

For Saturday:

The Tits, Lovehog, & Sam Stewart @ the End.

Carter Administration & Power Load: an AC/DC Tribute @ the 5 Spot. Power Load is comprised of members of the Carter Admin and the Clutters.

Another local music tidbit that you probably already know by now: the full motion picture soundtrack to locally-made indie film Makeout With Violence is now available at their website. Two full CDs of music for only $15? You can’t beat that with a stick.

Image via Time.com

Apparently Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber is on the list of TIME magazine’s candidates for the 100 most influential people. You can vote to rank each individual’s influence on a scale of 1 to 100. Seriously? Everyone’s heard of the “Pitchfork effect,” but I think it has become less relevant over the past 2 years or so. It just seems to me that people start regarding over-hyped “blog-buzz” bands as “Pitchfork bands,” and rightfully so, because most of the bands they’ve hyped over the last couple years have had little staying power. Ex.- Vampire Weekend, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, etc… Hipster Runoff has a take on this issue.

Rapper T.I. has been confirmed as the “other” headliner for this year’s Rites of Spring, and it will probably be one of his last performances before starting his 1-year jail sentence. Kinda weird but kinda cool at the same time?

In other festival news, the 2nd All Points West lineup has been announced, and it includes Nashville/Bowling Green act Cage the Elephant. These guys have a very festival-friendly live show from what I’ve heard, so it’s really no surprise, especially since they’re also playing Coachella and Bamboozle.

It had to be invented eventually… shoes that grow with children’s feet.

President Obama signed a very important environmental bill into law yesterday called the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. This protects wildnerness areas in California, West Virginia, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, Utah, Virginia and Oregon. It also protects a thousand miles of rivers. This act has been in the works for many years, so one can only credit Obama with the final push to make it law. Still, a big win for our country’s natural beauty. Via the Daily Galaxy.

NASA unveiled a mock-up of the Orion Crew Vehicle yesterday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For some reason I can’t find any photos of this in the public domain, but it basically looks just like the Apollo modules from the 60’s. Technologically, though, it’s vastly more advanced than the Apollo modules. The new Constellation project (of which the Orion Crew Vehicle is a part) will carry astronauts to the ISS beginning around 2015, to the moon in the early 2020’s, and hopefully to Mars in the mid 2030’s. I really hope that I’m still around when that happens.

Finally, the National Weather Service in Nashville has completed their assesment of the storm damage from this past Saturday. As you probably know if you’re from here, a tornado warning was issued for western Davidson and eastern Cheatham Counties around 5:30pm. The storm that prompted this warning did indeed drop an EF1 twister that hit northern Cheatham County. Also, another storm that hit Rutherford County dropped an EF1 twister that hit very near downtown Murfreesboro. This tornado was orginally thought to be and EF0, but further damage assesment prompted the NWS to upgrade it to an EF1. They have very good aerial survey methods that can determine whether damage was caused by straight-line winds or a tornado. The Enhanced-Fujita scale uses damage to estimate the wind speeds in the tornado. There is still no direct way to measure the wind speeds inside the actual funnel, unless the tornado happens to directly hit a wind vane and it somehow miraculously survives. But the chances of that happening are slim to none. If you know me I’m sure you’re wondering whether I chased either of these storms, and the answer is yes, I did attempt to track down the one in Davidson County, but chasing in TN is very difficult, mainly because the roads are not laid out in nice, easy-to-navigate grids like they are in the plains, and also because the storms around here tend to be High-Precipitation Supercells, rather than Low-Precipitiation Supercells which are more common in the plains. This means that most of the tornadoes in TN are shrouded in rain and thus very difficult or impossible to spot from a distance. So no, I was unsuccessful in seeing/documenting this tornado.

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