Tag Archives: Weather

Sinkholes Dot the Landscape

Sinkholes are numerous on the karst landscape of the Ozarks, but are often overlooked. After a large rainfall event, sinkholes throughout the area temporarily fill up with water and become ponds. During most events, falling rain percolates through the karst system in these various sinkholes quickly enough that water doesn’t accumulate above the surface. With at least 7″ of rain over 48 hours, there are plenty of sinkholes that cannot drain quickly enough. All of these photos are between Pearl Creek Farm and Cotner’s Corner (US 160 and MO 123 junction).

MO 123 Sinkhole Pond
This sinkhole is bisected by MO 123 just north of the road to Cave Springs. The water here just sits until the underground drainage can catch up from all the rain.

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A Lot of Rain

Today is the second day of a massive rainfall event throughout southwest Missouri. Here, I recorded 4.69″ of rain yesterday and 3.07″ of rain today, both amounts shattering my previous one-day record for precipitation amounts. Flooding in the creek was at its highest on Saturday night after dark.

Sandstone Spring, looking upstream from our foot bridge. Note the scouring of leaves from the bank.
Sandstone Spring, looking upstream from our foot bridge. Note the scouring of leaves from the bank.

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Weather Observations at Pearl Creek Farm

I love data. It turns out there’s a lot to track around the farm and I keep a variety of databases to do the heavy lifting for me. My database of choice is PostgreSQL, a poster child for open source software, which probably means nothing unless you’re a geek like me. This post is the first in a series that shows the various ways that we do science at Pearl Creek Farm!

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Frost Flowers

It’s a good year for frost flowers. These “flowers” form during the first really cold nights of the fall. Basically, water is forced up through the stems of certain species of plants and is forced outward, forming intricate patterns. Most of these frost flowers formed on the stems of Verbesina virginica, White Crownbeard.

This is by far the most frost flowers I’ve ever seen in the wild. This is the third time I’ve seen them at Pearl Creek Farm. The other times I saw one or two only. There are more than two dozen out there now!

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Water victims of the arctic vortex

We went to great lengths to protect the water lines underneath the bathroom. I never dreamed the water lines for the kitchen, protected by a sub-basement, would cause any problems. Boy, was I wrong. The photograph below doesn’t look too bad, but imagine it filled with books and important papers. Luckily, this area was mostly filled with things we were probably going to discard anyway (or might have kept, but probably didn’t really need) and old version of books that I’ve since updated.

A soaked bookshelf beneath the kitchen sink.
A soaked bookshelf beneath the kitchen sink.

Still, there were definitely a few heartbreakers in here. This is a partial pile of them. There will be more to succumb, I’m sure, but I’m holding out hope.

Mass grave for the victims of tonight's disaster. There will probably be more but some books were wet only at the edges. Sometimes, those will pull through.
Mass grave for the victims of tonight’s disaster. There will probably be more but some books were wet only at the edges. Sometimes, those will pull through.

The first thing I saw when I went downstairs was my old TRS-80, still in its original box. It was completely soaked. I have contemplated many times getting it out and taking it for a spin, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I thought this would make the decision for me, but the electronics inside seem untouched.

The TRS-80 looked like it was ruined as it was sitting right underneath the leak. Miraculously, the box was soaked but nothing inside was touched. I guess they made better cardboard back in the old days.
The TRS-80 looked like it was ruined as it was sitting right underneath the leak. Miraculously, the box was soaked but nothing inside was touched. I guess they made better cardboard back in the old days.

There was a bright spot, though, for at least one person in the family. While we were cleaning up, Julian discovered Alex’s abandoned toy room in the basement. Even if that area had gotten wet, it wouldn’t have caused any long-term damage except to the carpet remnants.

Alex's abandoned basement toy room.
Alex’s abandoned basement toy room.

Anyway, Julian scavenged a couple of new Batman toys and brought them upstairs to play. I have a feeling he’s going to want to visit again soon.
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The prognosis? Michelle called a plumber who also happens to be our neighbor. He’s on-site in Branson right now and hasn’t slept for two days. Apparently, pipes have been bursting all over the Ozarks. The earliest he can stop by will be Saturday and that’s not a definite. Fortunately, we have a shutoff valve for the water lines going to the kitchen so we’re not completely without water for the house.

Is it spring yet?

Well, that didn’t last long

Although Sunday night was supposed to be as low as it was going to get, it actually got quite a bit colder on Monday night. Fortunately, the temperature didn’t get much colder than this during the overnight hours. In fact, it warmed up and we woke up to a balmy 2oF above zero!

I’m hoping this “polar vortex” scoots on out of here for the rest of the winter. I think we’ve all had enough of it.

Thermometer showing minimum temperature from last night (-9.4oF).
Thermometer showing minimum temperature from last night (-9.4oF).