Skip to main content
  The Houston Canoe Club
Share our Joy of Paddling!

P.O. Box 925516
Houston, Texas

The Houston Canoe Club 

is a Paddle America Club

Link to ACA

Shopping Cart
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeNL-2017-01 Cozy Day

A Cozy Day at the Ballet du Marais
December 3, 2016
by Tom Douglas
One thing that always seems to add to the enjoyment of a ballet or a paddling trip is to read some advance reviews and dig into a little background. By ten days before the planned December 3 outing to the Cypress Wonderland, the critics at the National Weather Service (NWS), Intellicast, and Wunderground were already saying that we might be in for a memorable performance. By Wednesday, the NWS reviews still had some uncertainty, but the overall message was increasingly clear:

A cool and wet weekend is in store for Southeast Texas given the approach of both a strong upper level storm system from the west and a coastal surface trough from the southwest. There are some indications that locally heavy rains will be possible…but will be highly dependent on the track of the coastal trough. Stay tuned!

Wednesday's Advance Reviews
So, following a scouting expedition to the Cypress Wonderland on Thursday (reviewed in a separate article) and one more look through the various forecasts, I made the decision to call off our planned trip to the swamp and sit back to watch Saturday’s performance of the Ballet du Marais unfold on the computer screen at home.

By about 4:30 on Saturday morning, sneak previews of the show were already becoming decidedly more florid:
Heavy rain event underway and will continue through the weekend.
Warm front/coastal trough poised near the coast and showing some efforts of moving into the Matagorda Bay area... dewpoints of 73-75 aimed at the coast there with more northeasterly flow in place along/up the coast from there. Tides are elevated and a Coastal Flood Warning was issued earlier... see marine section below for more on that. So far the LLJ [Low Level Jet] 35-45 knots has been focusing most of the rainfall near the coast around Galveston but that should shift eastward somewhat and with that the widespread rain with embedded and elevated heavy showers and thunderstorms will expand out of the Hill country and develop overhead in the inland areas of SETX. Rainfall rates may not be as high but the thunderstorms that form will still be capable of 2+" per hour rates. Expecting two areas of heavier rainfall through the afternoon hours.
As the curtain went up on the Ballet du Marais at 9:00, the character Température de l’air, who was dressed in a long gray, overcast gown, stepped to the center of the stage where she remained nearly motionless, in the 50s, throughout the performance. To the right, Pluie soared by 2.8 inches in a series of leaps, followed by Niveau de l’eau, who rose more smoothly, but even higher, by 4.9 inches. Mirroring their motions to the left, Température de l’eau floated slowly down by half a degree as Salinité plunged by 0.013 parts per thousand, almost in a single bound.
La température
de l’air
  La pluie
  Le niveau
de l'eau
  La température
de l'eau 
  La salinité
It’s hard to say which seats were the best. Intellicast offered up a fine view from the mezzanine, and Wunderground showed us what it looked like from the orchestra (in Mont Belvieu). In any event, I was happy to be watching this from the warm and cozy comfort of home. When the final curtain came down at 4:00, I put another log on the fire and reached for a book of poetry. Still thinking of what conditions must be like out on Interstate 10, I decided to go with Robert Frost’s classic, “The Road Not Taken."

View from the
    View from the

The author,  Tom Douglas