"And here's Conrad the Weather Hamster with today's forecast..."

Since moving across the continent, I've had to re-learn how to interpret the weather service warnings. I spent the first eighteen years of my life living in a desert valley, and the next decade or so 7000ft up the lee-side of a mountain, so moving all the way out to the Atlantic coast was a big of a change.

It turns out that issuing these things is half computer prediction and half meteorological experience, i.e., some guy sticking his head out the window and remarking, "The last time it looked like this, our parking lot turned into a wading pool." I haven't got them all figured out yet, but I think I've decoded many of the major ones.

  • Phoenix: If you go outside, you'll end up with dust in places you didn't know you had.
  • Flagstaff: If you go outside, you'll end up hanging onto random buildings to avoid being blown into the road.
  • Boston: If you go outside, tie your hair back.

  • Phoenix: Must be May.
  • Flagstaff: Must be August.
  • Boston: Must be over 80°F.

  • Phoenix: Relative humidity over 15%.
  • Flagstaff: Relative humidity over 25%.
  • Boston: Airport weather station noticeably more underwater than usual.

  • Phoenix: Stay inside for an hour, it'll be raining in sheets. After that you're good as long you don't mind driving in the center turn lane at all times, since the City of Phoenix seems to think that "storm drain" is just the English translation of "arroyo".
  • Flagstaff: Stay on the sidewalks, the lawns will be squishy. You live on a 20° slope, so you'll be fine, but Munds Park will look like a bathtub by evening.
  • Boston: Go to the grocery store now, before they call you to start loading animals into the ark.

  • Phoenix: Pampas grass pollination in progress.
  • Flagstaff: Pine tree pollination in progress.
  • Boston:  Plant orgy, buy stock in Benadryl.

FIRE DANGER/AIR QUALITY WARNING (smoke inhalation hazard)
  • Phoenix: Close the window.
  • Flagstaff: Close the window.
  • Boston: END OF DAYS.

  • Phoenix: END OF DAYS
  • Flagstaff: END OF DAYS
  • Boston: Close the window.


  1. I remember one year, around March (probably 2007-ish) when the Merrimack flooded and about half of Lowell and the surrounding area was underwater. And I remember a summer about 10 years before that, while my family was moving to Natick, it rained so hard for so long that a good two-thirds of Natick and Framingham looked like wading pools (the other third is on hills).

    In other words, Conrad the Weather Hamster speaks the truth. Especially regarding the plant orgies. I <3 <3 <3 <3 24-hour loratadine tablets.

  2. Can I just mention that I just read a post about *the weather*, and LAUGHED TILL I CRIED.

    Hats off to you for being awesome.


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