Desierto norte de Chile

Monday, April 26, 2010

First time homebuyer tax credit -- check in hand!

Today, 26 April 2010, nearly 8 months after I closed on my town home on 28 August 2009, I received a check in the mail from the IRS. My amendment of my 2008 federal income tax return was approved (presumably after they verified that I do indeed maintain a principal residence in the US), and the IRS mailed me a check for $8000 + interest. After waiting for quite a while, now I get to decide what to do with this new cash infusion. Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A day north of the warm front

Today was a unique weather day here in Annapolis. The broad synoptic-scale setup featured a deep closed low circulation over the Ohio River valley with a warm front extending east to the Atlantic coast. Despite not being predicted by most of the short-range numerical models, I expected the warm front would lift north of us today (considering it started the day paralleling the Potomac River). However, the front never made it as far north as I expected ... although it got really close to us! Andrews Air Force Base, about 20 miles to our west-southwest, warmed into the mid-70s; we briefly hit 63F before falling back into the 50s with drizzle and mist (see figure below). I said "unique" to start this paragraph because I'm not sure I've ever been this close to a warm front and not have it pass through, plus a 15-degree horizontal temperature gradient over 20 miles is pretty impressive!

The warm sector to our south is characterized by instability (CAPE > 1500 j/kg) and some wind shear, and as the deep closed low translated toward us, the SPC issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. One storm over the Blue Ridge in eastern West Virginia even exhibited brief low-level rotation, prompting my friend MK at KLWX to issue a Tornado Warning. No reports of tornadoes were received, though, and by 00Z the only severe reports in the Sterling CWA were for hail. We'll see what happens as the cluster of storms currently entering western MD move east during the evening and overnight.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First-time homebuyer update

So I think there might be some serious "thawing" with regard to my first-time homebuyer tax credit! I called the IRS tonight and - after selecting several wrong options first, but eventually getting to the right place - was told that the amended return was accepted! Not only has it apparently been accepted, but also with interest ($8000 + ~$350 in interest!) The representative said she thought a check might be going out this Friday (woohoo if true!) but that it might still be 2-4 weeks. Hey, after waiting nearly 8 months, what's a few more weeks? Will be checking the mailbox with renewed vigor :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What a difference 9 weeks makes!

The following two photos were taken on Saturday February 6 and Saturday April 10th. What a difference!!

Mmm, a spring cookout!

Mefi and Rene surprised me today when they arrived back from working with several pounds of beef, a bag of charcoal, a pack of hot dogs, and some onions: ingredients for an excellent cookout! We grilled and ate, and then enjoyed watching Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Barcelona won 2-0).

Here are a few pictures, with Mefi, Rene, and Inocente:

Ya esta la primavera! (por fin!!)

Spring has sprung in Annapolis. Like I said in Friday's post, the first several days of this past week were quite warm (highs in the mid-upper 80s, 15-20 degrees above normal). These warm temps caused the previously-dormant vegetation to burst forth from its dormancy, in flowers and leaves and all sorts of pollens.

Here are a few pictures from around town:

Friday, April 09, 2010

We need the rain

In honor of yesterday's ~.70" of rain, this post is titled "We need the rain". Although, actually, this area is running above normal for precipitation - both for this calendar year and extending back to last year (see plot below).

A couple of very random things from recent life.

1- I went home for Easter last weekend. It was good to see family and relax for a few days, even if driving 11.5 hrs round-trip for a visit of < 2 days is a bit much. I invited my friend Baltazar with me, but he couldn't make it due to work.

2- Owing to a pronounced upper-level ridge the past few days, we saw record (or near-record) high temperatures all this week. Yay! I always enjoy a little heat in April, when the air is still dry enough to enjoy the heat (example: temps above 80, dewpoints in the low 50s; see plot above) If this year is like last year, the next time we see air temps this high, they'll be accompanied by dew point temperatures through the roof (i.e., 85F/75F, which was a common observation for much of August last year.)

3- I've discovered a Wind Rose plotting function in Matlab. I think it will really help me examine atmospheric flow in central Chile. And it should aid my students in understanding the flow by displaying it graphically.

4- I am very excited about the SWIFT (Severe Weather In-Field Training) activity: a colleague and I will take 10 students out to the plains for two weeks of seminars, briefings, forecast discussions, and storm observations. I love the plains and look forward to getting back out there: wind in your face, long-range visibilities, tumbleweeds, minimal traffic (and I am not looking forward to "chaser convergence"... we have a 15-passenger van we'll need to find a spot for. Ugh.) Plus the chance to interact with students outside of the classroom setting.

5- I have 2 roommates: Rene and Inocente. They're friends from church and are both from Guatemala. We've been enjoying some good conversations - although we're all pretty busy and don't get much time together (example: yesterday they worked from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., and I was at the store when they got home, so I spoke to them for about 10 minutes before heading upstairs to get ready for bed).

Ok, that's all my observations/thoughts for now. Until next time...

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