Wednesday, September 09, 2020

This is what the apocalypse looks like

 This is a photo of our house taken at noon today:


















This is not the raw image.  I took this with an iPhone, whose auto-exposure made the image look much brighter than it actually is.  I've adjusted the brightness and color balance to match the actual appearance as much as I can.  Even so, this image doesn't do justice to the reality.  For one thing, the sky is much too blue.  The actual color of the sky is a reddish brown, the same overall hue as the rest of the image.  But the main thing to notice is that the lights in front of our house are on.  Those lights are on sensors that are supposed to make them only come on at night.  But here they are on at high noon in summer.  It's dark.  It feels like twilight.  We have to have lights on inside the house.  It is deeply creepy.

The cause of this is, of course, smoke from fires that are burning all around us, probably combined with some marine-layer overcast, though it is impossible to tell because the sky has absolutely no texture at all.  In 32 years of living in California full time, I have never seen anything like this.  No one has.  There has never been anything like this in recorded history.

Three days ago we set a record high at our house of 103 degrees.  Today it was 62 degrees when I woke up, and now at noon it has warmed up to a balmy 64.

I think we broke the planet.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a story about this with better photos.

UPDATE2: It is now 2:30 in the afternoon and it just straight-up looks like night outside.  The sky is still glowing a faint dull red, about what you would expect an hour or so after sunset, but anywhere else you look it is full-on dark.  It is genuinely scary.