Friday, January 19, 2018

Harbor Ice Lingers After Storm as Flooded Provincetowners Shovel Out

The Truro shoreline, and My Yot in the ice, seen from the beach at St Mary's Church.
Former fishing vessel My Yot was seen in Provincetown Harbor surrounded by sea ice last Saturday. From Saint Mary's beach, looking toward the Truro shoreline, the anchored boat appeared to float gently amidst the gradually melting floes of ice left behind after the so-called "bomb cyclone" storm that had ripped its way up the East Coast the week before.
A weather condition known as bombogenesis occurs when a very big drop in air pressure happens in a very short period of time, creating a storm of explosive strength. The sudden drop in pressure causes air to be drawn spiraling into the center of the growing storm, only to be rapidly pushed out through the top of the system.
If the amount of air being sucked into the storm can't keep up with the amount being blown out of the top, the pressure drops even farther and the system grows that much bigger, sucking in more air from farther, and still farther away. Our storm was so strong that it drew in moist air from as far away as the Caribbean.

Folks, and pets, are happy to walk on the beach again, as ice shifts with the tides.
Bombogenesis is achieved when the air pressure drops at least 24 millibars over a period of 24 hours. In this storm, there was a pressure drop of 59 millibars in those 24 hours, which set us up for a storm so strong that it may actually have broken previous records.
PTown saw storm surge and flooding, window-rattling winds and some very cold temperatures, yet we came out pretty well, since the heart of the storm was very far out to sea, where scientists estimated possible 50-foot waves. A blizzard warning had been issued from Virginia to eastern Maine. Even parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina got six inches of snow, which is a huge struggle for them.
JFK airport had to be closed for a bit due to 55 mph winds, Islip airport on Long Island got snow at the rate of about three inches per hour, the shoreline and islands of Massachusetts recorded winds over 70 mph, and as the storm was strengthening in New England, Boston was nearing tides at an all-time record high.

Harbor colors are actually enhanced with all the white spots to play on at sunset.
Communities farther inland got their share of extreme weather out of this event, too. Immense temperature drops were felt from the East Coast to the Midwest as this epic storm jostled the polar vortex.
It pulled in masses of frigid air from Siberia, the North Pole and Greenland all at once, causing a rapid drop in normal, regional winter temperatures by as much as 40 degrees in some spots.

So PTown really was quite lucky, despite flooding in many Commercial Street businesses, homes, restaurants, and the UU Meetinghouse. We live in a town where the electricity goes out when someone sneezes in Wellfleet, yet we escaped the serious, lengthy outages that are so dangerous in extremely cold weather.
All in all, we did alright. And as temperatures warmed up a bit, folks could get back to strolling along the harbor, stepping around the ice floes that settle on the flats when the tide rolls out, and enjoying these spectacular, unusual sights.

If the beach becomes impassable, take the stairway up to Fanizzi's, reopening today.
As we were reaching low tide on this day, the sun was getting ready to set as well, making for some lovely scenes of sea ice glistening as it came to rest on the tidal flats circling around Provincetown Harbor.
The beach in front of Fanizzi's had slowly begun taking on its usual late-afternoon pinkish, golden glow, but with a lot of extra sparkles and colors appearing in that rare, temporary art form that Mother Earth had floated on the water for us.
After closing while they worked to recover from heavy flooding and storm damage, today sees Fanizzi's Restaurant once again opening its doors, resuming their usual schedule, complete with early bird specials, Friday Night Fish Fry, Sunday Brunch, that stunning view, and all the things that make this resilient little spot a favorite neighborhood hangout. Stop in and warm up a bit if you get a little chilled on your beach walk.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Spotted on MacMillan Pier in Provincetown...

A pure white pigeon shares the rooftop of a pier shed with more common fellows.
Keeping a camera handy always pays off in PTown, whether you run into an exquisitely sequined drag queen strolling Commercial Street on a summer's day, or come across a snow-white pigeon perched among the common gray ones on a tiny rooftop.
They've all poofed out their feathers as much as possible against the frigid winds, as snow flurries collect on the shingles of an artist's shed on the pier. There's something lovely about the gray ones as well, and the nearly colorless sky makes this a monochrome moment I was glad I could preserve in this usually colorful town by the sea.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Saint Mary's Begins 28th Season of Winter Community Luncheons in Provincetown

Now through February, St Mary's will serve lovely Saturday lunches at no charge.
Weekly community luncheons will begin for the winter season this Saturday, January 6th, 2018, at Saint Mary of the Harbor Episcopal Church, with everyone invited.
Join your neighbors for a home cooked meal at St Mary's every Saturday from noon to 1 PM during January and February.
Volunteers prepare and serve specialty dishes of various church members featuring a different favorite recipe whipped up every Saturday. Each meal begins with a crisp garden salad.
The delicious hot lunch pictured here is Priscilla Jackett's famous tandoori chicken, baked in the oven with multicolored bell peppers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, celery, and just a bit of spice. It was served with brown rice, mixed winter vegetables and crusty bread. It's among the favorite dishes of regular guests.
Musicians bring over a dozen folk instruments to Saturday lunches.
There is a wonderful feeling of community here, with an amazing cross section of Provincetowners sharing communal tables, visiting with old friends, and meeting new ones, while enjoying a nice meal along with a bit of rather spirited entertainment.
Live music often gets the crowd singing along, or gets them on their feet to dance, with musicians from Cape Cod towns singing and playing a wide variety of tunes and instruments.
Of course, the view of Provincetown Harbor is superb, since the picture windows of Saint Mary's dining hall look right out over the beach, just a few feet away. Combine this scenic beauty with good food, music and friends, and you'll see why this weekly event has been so popular for all these years, now embarking on its 28th season. And the volunteers show that they are genuinely glad to have you there.

The volunteers also bring a variety of homemade treats for dessert.
Dessert is buffet trays of bite-sized sweets like brownies, bars, cookies, and cakes, so you can taste a few without going too far overboard.
Coffee and tea are served as well, and folks are encouraged to relax and chat, or to get up and dance to the music, or whatever suits them.
Everyone is invited to this wonderful, weekly community event. Saint Mary's is in Provincetown's Far East End, just beyond Howland Street. It's right on the edge of the harbor, at 517 Commercial Street.
Come and join us in he first luncheon of the New Year, and every Saturday through February.