All posts tagged: strong winds

Rain in California, Smoke in New York

Rain in California, Smoke in New York

An atmospheric river is exactly what it sounds like: a ribbon of concentrated moisture that can stretch for 1,000 miles through the sky. The one that brought all manner of chaos to Los Angeles this week formed when water vapor rose from the sea’s surface somewhere east of Hawaii. As the planet turned, it got caught in a narrow channel between pinwheeling pressure systems. Strong winds pushed it east, until it came to hover like a snake over Southern California. Think of its tail as having sections. Mountains and pressure systems popped some up into the colder parts of the atmosphere, and the droplets in them cooled until they fell to Earth as unusually intense rain. In one 12-hour period, Bel-Air received more than eight inches of rain—a deluge that may not repeat for 500 years. Joan Didion—who must always be consulted on this subject—wrote, “Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse.” Having grown up in the region, I have some sense of what she meant. Whole months of relatively undifferentiated sunshine …

A Biopic That Should’ve Been a Documentary

A Biopic That Should’ve Been a Documentary

Annette Bening’s portrayal of a legendary swimmer in Nyad ultimately succumbs to narrative cliché. Liz Parkinson / Netflix November 1, 2023, 8 AM ET For years, the filmmaking team of Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi has specialized in making documentaries about athletes and adventurers who push the very limits of human survival. The directors’ critical peak came with the 2018 documentary Free Solo, but in works such as Meru and The Rescue they painted portraits of mountaineers and cave divers who exist to perform nigh-impossible feats of endurance. So it’s no surprise that their first foray into making a narrative feature closely resembles that kind of documentary: Nyad, a biopic about the distance swimmer Diana Nyad, whose athletic goals were challenging to the point of being absurd. Nyad (played by Annette Bening) is an open-ocean swimmer who set various records in her 20s, including swimming from the Bahamas to Florida in record time back in 1979. But she never completed a more ambitious, more dangerous trip from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, some 110 …