by Augustine Villa
*note: this is the first in a two-part post because Augustine REALLY LOVES Iowa State
The weather in Ames is never boring; we get to see everything on the spectrum from frozen wasteland to tropical paradise. You always have to be on your toes, because it is possible to have snow and 90 degree weather in the same week (Evidence, May 2013).
Awesome spring weather: Even if you don’t like “studying” on the grass of central campus when its warm (and ending up in an impromptu soccer match) or watching new life spring up as birds come back to campus and flowers start sprouting, you have to appreciate the comfortable warmth of the springtime in Ames. The fact that you felt like you would lose your nose to frostbite 12 times during the winter compels you to enjoy it. You just can’t help but feel happy!
Tons of snow (sometimes): I love the snow for many reasons, not the least of which is it gives me a sort-of socially acceptable time to wear my buffalo hat. If you have ever seen someone walking across campus with a giant (18 inch) tall brown fuzzy hat with horns on the side, then that was me. It’s wonderfully warm, and great for wearing anytime you want to draw lots of attention to yourself, especially from tour groups. Also, if it’s snowing, then you can count on the temp being at least a balmy 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, you can grab a lunch tray and go sledding on the hill by the Knoll. I don’t know of anywhere else you can sled in your President’s yard.
Occasional Thundersnow!: Just last week, we had one of the most beautiful thundersnows I have ever witnessed. It was a truly momentous experience, with jaw dropping flashes and booms accompanying the silent swath of snowflakes descending from the sky. The contrast of the silent snow with the thunder was unequivocally inspiring.
Raining sideways (My own experiments): Although this is theoretically impossible, thinking of the popular phrase intrigued me and I decided to estimate the angle of rainfall on several occasions with wind velocities from 30-50 mph. My estimations were made from inside looking out of a vertical flat pane window in Martin Hall on the 3rd floor as rain fell past. Using paper, a pencil, and a protractor, I was able to trace the average angular displacement from the vertical of the rainfall due to the wind. The average displacements between occasions varied from 10 degrees to nearly 55 degrees from the vertical, meaning that the rain actually was traveling HORIZONTALLY faster than it was traveling down on one occasion (and at approximately 45 degrees on one other occasion). To test out my measurements, I then proceeded outside, wearing my sweatshirt (with the hood tucked inside), remember that, it’s an important detail. I stood in the parking lot of Martin Hall, walking a little ways out with my front facing the wind so that any potential effects by buildings on the wind were mitigated and the back of my sweatshirt stayed dry. After standing in the rain with my back facing the wind for 30 seconds (I also put up my hood at the beginning of the 30 seconds), I proceeded back indoors with my front again facing the wind, and analyzed my sweatshirt. After analyzing the back and the hood, which were the areas exposed during my 30 seconds standing, I was able to conclude that the back contained nearly twice as much water per square inch. This was a rough estimate, but the difference was clear. I’m still not sure what made me even think of this, but hey, I think it is cool and hope you do too.