Tuesday, March 9, 2010


A sunny afternoon was smothered by a billowing black blanket this last Saturday. What a downpour ensued! Massive hailstones punched holes in cars, windows, roofs and smashed vegetable gardens across Melbourne. The wind drove torrents across the velodrome in pursuit of those who only seconds before had been dashing for the line... a sprint that was called to a halt as the canvas gazebo, uprooted by a violent gust, was sent collapsing across the finishing straight. Riders scampered clumsly from the track through the gate, shouldering their bikes and clambering in cleats for shelter.

This morning's ride down the bike path in the aftermath was something of an obstacle course. The icy canonballs have of course melted. Still the evidence of their visit is everywhere. Trees appear to have been whipped through a blender. Roads, gutters and paths are covered in a shredded litter of leaves and twigs. Drifts of mud set traps for narrow tyres and dam puddles of black. Riding through them creates artistic café latte patterns as the mud is stirred... and destroys them as the rear wheel follows the front. My bicycle needs a wash!

All this gave me cause to check the maps available on the Bureau of Meteorology website. Here I discovered a map type I hadn't seen previously (see above). This map indicates the percentage of the mean rainfall that has fallen in a particular month. Pretty good! It clearly depicts the areas of above and below mean rainfall. I am very pleased to see they didn't just run through the usual (ugly) range of hues available whilst maintaining a constant (usually full) saturation.

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