Archive for bora



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Compare this sunset view to the one of two days ago. No exegesis required.

Compare this sunset view to the one of two days ago.  No comment required.

Yes, the haze has evaporated, or migrated, or flown — anyway, it’s gone.

Yesterday afternoon the wind veered around to the northeast, where the bora lurks.  A northeast wind may be fierce, and even dangerous, and whatever else you want to call it (especially if you live on the northeastern edge of the city, where you get it straight in the teeth), but I call it just about my favorite wind.

Perhaps you have never thought about the various winds, and their characteristics.  Here’s a thumbnail:  “Scirocco,” southeast wind.  Warm and damp and, if it’s strong, it becomes an unindicted co-conspirator of acqua alta.

“Garbin,” southwest wind, known in Italian as libeccio.  Its special trick is to bring fog — I mean real fog, not the haze of the past few weeks.  It can also blow like blue blazes.

“Bora,” northeast wind.  Cold and dry.  That’s why I love it.  I can deal with the cold, as long as it brings the dry.  As for force, it can be ferocious, though here we don’t usually get the extremes that can make the bora life-threatening in Trieste.  Not made up.

There are many fine variations of wind as you work your way around the compass, but those are my main players.  When I look at the weather forecast, I don’t primarily care whether it says rain or sun, or even cold or hot. I look to see which direction the wind is predicted to come from, and its speed.  I can deduce most of the other attributes from that, at least as far as my modest needs are concerned.

Oh sorry, that was redundant.  All my needs are, by definition, modest.  Example: Comes the bora, Erla is happy.  You can’t get much simpler than that, at least if you’re a person who really doesn’t care about rubies and platinum and Densuke black watermelons and lavender albino ball pythons, like humble, honest, hard-working, plain-speaking little me.

Turning the other direction, I see not only sun, but shadows, for the first time in several eons.  Not only is this air you can breathe, it's air that knows what to do with your laundry.

Turning the other direction, I see not only sun, but shadows, for the first time in several eons. This isn’t just  air you can breathe, it’s air that knows what to do with your laundry.  You can’t see me here, but believe me, I’m happy.

Categories : Venetian-ness
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March blows into Venice

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We were all peacefully plodding along toward spring when March burst through the door. Did the famous month come in like a lion?  More like a pack of enraged jaguars.

On Monday night (February 28) the wind began to pick up.  A very special wind, the bora, blowing from the northeast with gusts up to 54 km/h (33 mph).

At Sant' Elena, looking toward the Lido.

This went on all day and night for the following two days — as I write, the wind is finally subsiding to a polite 20 km/h (12 mph).

The scirocco, the fetid breath of the southeast, can impel acqua alta, but if you stand sideways to the bora it will blow your brain out of your skull. Not that you’ll be needing your brain at that point, because the survival instinct will have taken over the controls.

We could hear the powerful roaring noise with the door and windows shut. Women didn’t hang out their laundry, which told me more than even the messages being tapped out on our window by the desperate Venetian blinds. Normally you’d like a real breeze because it gives you a boost in the drying-laundry department, but here your housewife would have risked either seeing her underwear being ripped out of the clothespins and soaring away toward Sardinia, or clinging to the clothesline while being rent to rags, like a flag in a hurricane.

For me, not seeing laundry is more ominous than the dog that didn’t  bark in the night.

The bora making its point along the Fondamente Nove.

But while all this is very exciting for Venice (well, for me, though it’s certainly not the first bora I’ve experienced), it set a record for Trieste, the city as famous for its wind as Venice is for its canals.  They haven’t had a zephyr like this since 1954.

The Triestines endured this bora with gusts up to 163 km/h (101 mph). This is a speed which isn’t even on the Beaufort scale, and creates more damage and danger than 76 acqua altas put together. Some people in Trieste were literally blown over, suffering serious head injuries.  The houses and trees went through something of the same thing.  It’s quite a place where the weather person can breathe a sigh when he tells the viewers that the wind is dropping and that now it’s only at 70 km/h (43 mph).

Here is a view of the bora in Trieste at 150 km/h.  This occurred in 2005, but it gives some idea of what 163 km/h might look like.

Interesting fact that sounds like folklore, except that I can confirm that it’s true: No matter how many days the bora may last, it always ends on an odd-numbered day. Like today. Strange, I know.

I stayed home and made my once-a-year batch of galani, to gorge on today (“Fat Thursday”).  They didn’t come out as well as they did last year, and I am convinced that I changed nothing.  Of course we’re eating them, but they fall short of sublime, which is disappointing.  If I’m going to eat slivers of fat and sugar, they ought to be at least irresistible.

The galani this year. Next year, even better.

Call me deranged, but I’m blaming the bora.  Cold high pressure from Russia meeting warm low pressure from the southwest right over our little hovel. I’m just glad that the roof tiles didn’t get blown away.  Though I suppose I could have glued some galani on in their place.

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Categories : Nature
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