Monday, August 09, 2004

Lonely as a cloud...

The weather can be a fascinating subject. I once spent a week in a Minnesota apartment watching a satellite's eye view of the North American cloud system swirling around: a continual cold, dry blast coming down from the North, and severe blizzards passing just to the south to dump meters of snow on the eastern seaboard.
Oh dear! I hear you say. This guy really does need to get out more! Maybe, but there was a reason other than a comment on the content of US daytime television, : I had chicken pox, but that's another tale.
Anyway, this little pleasure has since become much more accessible and personalised. If you live in Australia (and, I suspect, several other places) you can check the weather radar maps at the Bureau of Meteorology. These update every 10 minutes or so, and are very useful if you want to know whether it's going to stay fine for the next half hour, or whether a weather front to inspire The Day After Tomorrow is bearing down on you.

...or even if it's worth while hanging out the washing, as I did last Saturday. It was a cold, dull day, and had been raining overnight. But a quick check of the Melbourne map showed the last rain band moving off over the hills to the east, and only a few brief showers coming in. OK, I'll risk it, and then go do the grocery shopping, thought I.

There is an iconic cartoon by Leunig that depicts a family blissfully watching a beautiful sunset streaming through the window...on the TV. The irony of this was not lost on me, as I spent the next hour slipping from shop to shop pursued by a continuous downpour. It just goes to show that there's nothing like sticking your head out of the window occasionally!


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