Even in a snowy winter landscape, I feel as if I’m surrounded by fractals. In order to capture this feeling, I turned to the complex topography of the Mandelbrot set. I added an fBm coloring algorithm, to mimic the soft hues of a winter storm. When the fractal was complete, I decided to superimpose a sketchy map outline for clarity. (The NOAA does it, why can’t I?) Here’s what I came up with:
…which is rather similar to a recent image from the NOAA:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Image of the Day, showing snow accumulation over the Rockies from this week’s repetitive snow storms.
The photo caption says:
“A winter storm brought snow spread through the Rockies and damaging wind in the Nevada and California. Accumulations from the sprawling system will continue to coat areas southward to the high country of New Mexico and Arizona and into Wyoming and Colorado.”
In other words, Colorado is due to be hit by a few more large storms. We had 29 and a half inches of snow (measured at the nearby Jefferson County Airport) fall on December 21st and 22nd. The second wave started last night, and a third wave is on its way. Luckily, the bulk of the snow seems to be moving east of us, but we’ve already had a dusting of at least six inches. Since last week’s snow never entirely melted, we’re up to our elbows in the white stuff. The NOAA has more information.
The repeated storms have, of course, caused chaos on Denver roads. Many have tried to beat the next wave by trying to get out of town, including my aunt and uncle, Carole and Chris, and their kids, Danny and Kevin, who were quoted in this morning’s Denver Post:
Twelve hundred dollars in travel vouchers can be a big incentive to brave the snow. So at 6 a.m. today, Littleton resident Chris Havelick, his wife, Carole, and two sons – Kevin, 11 and Danny, 13 – hopped into Havelick’s 4-wheel drive pickup and headed for DIA.
Last summer, on a trip to Calgary, Canada, two of the four were bumped from a United flight. The reward – the $1,200 in travel vouchers.
Havelick wanted to see his two brothers in Rochester, Minn. and he also wanted to use the vouchers before the end of the year.
They originally had been scheduled to fly to Minneapolis at 10 a.m. today, but that flight was cancelled and United automatically rebooked them on a 1:55 p.m. flight this afternoon.
They left their home early on snowpacked roads to avoid other motorists. But what the family saw were motorists driving too fast for the conditions.
“We decided to come out before the traffic. But there were groups of four and five SUVs and pick-ups going 50 miles per hour, trying to get ahead of each other. You want to be in front if someone spins out,” Havelick said.
Havelick, a software developer, has seen far too many speeding SUVs spin out and crash in snowy weather in Colorado.
With light snow falling at the airport, the family is hopeful of getting out of Denver this afternoon.
But just in case, they’ve made reservations at a hotel about four miles from the airport for tonight.
It isn’t just my family encountering traffic headaches in the Denver area. The snow has affected everyone, leading some to criticize Mayor Hickenlooper for not clearing Denver’s roads quickly enough during the first snowstorm. In response, the Denver Post has released this game, which challenges YOU to do a better job.
On a different note, if you happen to be looking for more fractals and less snow, be sure to check out this article, sent to me by my talented SciBling, Bora, over at A Blog Around the Clock. The article, from the San Diego Union-Tribune, discusses fractals as art, explains some of the basics, and includes a small gallery of inspiring fractal images. It looks as if I’m not the only getting the hang of imitating nature with fractal art.
OSEI Image of the Day, picturing snow accumulation in the Rockies, via the NOAA. Screenshot of Mayor Hick’s Snowplow Adventure, via the Denver Post. All other images were made by the author, fractals using ChaosPro.