I made a quick day trip Monday (Labor Day, Sept. 4) down the Fort Valley, SW of Front Royal VA, off Route 55. This road (678) splits the Massanutten Mountain (highest point is Signal Knob about 3200 feet) into two ridges, with an impressive canyon.
Here are two personal photos of a yard during the solar eclipse today in Arlington VA. It was 82% total. The sunlight took on a dusky quality, seeming a little more orange. It seemed a little alien.
Shortly after the sun returned in full, we had a brief heavy thunderstorm., with no wind. The rapid reheating of the atmosphere caused a thunderstorm cell to form.
1 – Dusky light
2 – You can see the crescents on the ground from the sunlight filtering through pinholes in the trees.
3 – PBS News Hour (4 hours)
4 Diamond Ring Effect
The total eclipse gives astronomers an unusual opportunity to study the Sun’s corona and prominences, with an eye to better understanding coronal mass ejections from solar storms that might do considerable damage to the US power grid, if an event the size of Carrington in 1857 were to happen again. We judged a bullet in July 2012.
Jack Andraka has a better picture of the ground crescents on Twitter, link.
If you damaged your eyes, you may not know until the next day (MSN today).
Two foxes appeared in the yard. The male has appeared before, and I call him “Reid”. He is getting so that he recognizes me. The other night I wondered if he wanted to come in the garage. He behaves almost like a feral cat.
Sunday night and Monday morning (July 9-10) I visited Gatlinburg, TN. A huge wildfire took place on the mountains slopes surrounding the town in late November, 2016 (as detailed in an earlier post here May 24).
The town is encased on the western side of Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and you drive 5 miles of parkway from Pigeon Forge to get there.
The town seemed quite lively at night, with its theme park atmosphere. 10 miles to the S, Pigeon Forge has the appearance of a small Las Vegas, with a Titanic exhibit, upside down office building, and Hollywood replica. That town was somewhat affected.
During the day Monday I took the chairlift ride and could see much more of the damage on the mountain slopes, including mountain homes that burned. But it is true that the community is unusual in its direct exposure to possible wildfire, so building there entails some risk.
I do think that climate change has made the ferocity of the fire more likely.
I didn’t get to the “Road to Nowhere” W of Asheville (on the east side of the mountains) but I encountered two short curved tunnels, each about 1/3 mile long (without elevation drainage like PA Turnpike has) on I-40 going Eastbound to Asheville. This is a road to “somewhere” indeed. The curve is to the left driving East. There is a campground “Harmon’s Den” Indeed, Richard Harmon is the greatest of all time.
Today I visited Crisfield. MD. on the SW tip of southern MD in the Chesapeake Bay’s “East Coast”.
The entire city lies at 3 feet or less elevation. It appears to have had serious flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Tidal flooding is not much of a problem because the Bay extends much further north.
The people seem comfortable with the risk and unconcerned about climate change. One veteran said the city was built back better after Sandy.
There is one big windmill.
There is a ferry to Tangier Island, VA, one round trip a day, no cars.
Today, I drove up Rt 16 from Emmitsburg MD toward Waynesboro PA. About two miles east of the little town of Blue Ridge Summit (at about 1300 ft) there is a cross street called Harbaugh Valley Road. If you turn south, toward the MD line, you will drive past the razor-wire fence boundary of the Raven Rock Mountain Complex, a US government doomsday shelter property similar to Mt Weather in VA, and similar in purpose to the Greenrbrier bunker under the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs W Va, which I visited in 1997 before moving to MN. That facility was built in the 1950s but never used.
You can see a yellow gate (the top of it) from one of the side streets.
As you drive East on 16, you come to Old Waynesboro Road, going off diagonally to the north. You can see a small structure on the mountain to the south that may be related to the tunneling. You’re supposed to be able to see something from Jack Mountain road, but I did not.
The side roads are not marked very well, which seems intentional.
In case of a nuclear attack, only government officials and Congress could go. Families are not included. This sounds like a place for ABC’s “Designated Survivor” series.
At the Ballston Common (Arlington VA) Farmer’s Market today, a guitar performer was singing “Dancing in the Moonlight”.
That’s an old song I remember from 1973, about the time of my “second coming”. I remember one Sunday night driving back home in late February, to northern New Jersey through SE New York State (from skiing in Killington VT) and hearing the song, as the radio said, “we may be dancing on the snowflakes”.
I’m reminded of Reid Ewing’s song, “In the Moonlight (Do Me)” from Modern Family.