Febuary 2008 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 19-Feb @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. February's meeting will be held in the CERT room in the basement of the Owatonna Fire Station. The main topic of the February meeting is to review the activation procedure for severe weather events.

Amateur Radio Class
OSCAR is offering a Technician Class beginning on 12-Feb. Classes are scheduled for Tue and Thu nights. Classes finish up with an exam session on 11-Mar. Check the OSCAR web site for additional details.

Sven Sungaard
Owatonna Community Education is holding An evening of Weather Talk with Sven from KARE11. Sven will talk about forecasting and severe weather. The session is 21-Feb at 7:00PM. The cost is $14 and additional information is available through Owatonna Commuity Education.

SKYWARN Training
Karen Trammell KD5PTI from the NWS at Chanhassen will come to Owatonna on Thursday, 13-Mar. Karen has been coming to Steele County for the past several years and always has an interesting class. The workshop begins at 7:00PM at the Owatonna Fire Station, 107 W. Main Street. Anyone with an interest in weather and storm spotting is invited.

Spotters should have refresher training at least every two years. Classes can also be searched at Minneapolis NWS and Metro SKYWARN. The Calendar page is updated with known regional listings.

January Meeting Notes
Approximately 12 people attended the 15-Jan meeting. Topics that were discussed include:

  • Dave P. distributed the SKYWARN meeting dates for 2008, the third Tuesday of each month.
  • The master contact list was passed around to ensure it had current information.
  • There was a discussion on how to promote SKYWARN for training and membership. Suggested ideas included:
    • Deuel P. is developing posters to distribute for the Amateur Radio class and will include SKYWARN.
    • Dale C. offered to distribute public service announcements to the newspaper and radio stations.
    • Develop an article on SKYWARN to the newspaper.
    • Participate in an edition of Owatonna Today.
  • Additional pictures of members were taken (and subsequently posted) for the SKYWARN web site.
  • The group went down to the SKYWARN operations room to view the updates.

MN Tornado History From University of Minnesota
The mixing of moist gulf air clashes with contrasting colder, drier air from the north and northwest contributes to the triggering of tornadoes. Minnesota lies along the north edge of the region known as Tornado Alley. The earliest verified Minnesota occurred north of Truman on 18-Mar-1968. The tornado reported east of Maple Plain on 16-Nov-1931 is the latest in any year. Nearly 3/4 of all tornadoes in Minnesota have occurred during the three months of May (16%), June (33%), and July (27%). Although tornadoes can and do occur at any time of the day or night, statistically, the most probable danger period in Minnesota is late spring and early summer, between 2PM and 9PM.

A short explanation on the formation of a tornado can be seen at

Radar Tutorial
Metro SKYWARN has a nice tutorial on radar and radar images. It is a good introduction to better understand what the radar images are (or are not) illustrating.

Weather School
The National Weather Service has a series on on-line training materials. The Jetstream site is designed to help educators, emergency managers, or anyone interested in learning about weather and weather safety. The information is arranged in a matrix by subject; beginning with global and large scale weather patterns followed by lessons on more specific topics. A short quiz is included at the end of each subject to self check your understanding. On the main page is a link for "Today's Weather Activity" which could be a puzzle or occasional coloring page.

How Much Snow Was There? From NOAA
A "snowboard" is suggested for the most accurate snowfall measurements. This is not the kind used to go down Buck Hill, but a piece of flat wood, painted white. The board should be about 16" by 16" and placed in an open area approximately 20 to 30 feet away from any structures (house). The use of two snowboards would allow measuring new snow fall and snow depth.

New snowfall measurements must have had the snowboard cleaned off before the new snow begins to fall. You don't want to include any snowfall left on the ground from a previous event. Use a ruler to measure the new snow depth to the nearest tenth of an inch. If there has been a lot of wind blowing and drifting the snow, it may be necessary to take more than one measurement on the snow board and average the measurements. Once you've recorded the new snowfall, clean off your snowboard. Snow depth is measured the same way, except the snow board is never cleaned.

Weather Channel Sale From Associated Press
Landmark Communications plans to announce plans to sell the company, which owns the Weather Channel and nine daily newspapers. If sold in pieces, the Weather Channel and could be worth $5 billion to a buyer.

Global Temperatures From NASA
Global warming has been in the news a lot lately. This graph is the global annual surface temperatures relative to 1951-1980 mean temperature. To collect the data, Goddard Institute researchers used temperature data from weather stations on land, satellite measurements of sea ice temperature since 1982 and data from ships for earlier years. The eight warmest years in the GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990.

Copyright 2008
All Rights Reserved
Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN