June 2009 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 16-Jun @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

About 30 members attended the 19-May meeting.

  • A tutorial was given on some features with GRLevel3
  • Dave KCUVY explained more about the Instant Alert® system.

Pictures and Badging
At the conclusion of the past couple of meetings, participants were given the opportunity to fill out the necessary form and have pictures taken necessary for badging. Pictures are loaded onto the Trained Spotters page. Steele COunty is fortunate to have a group of people trained in several groups. Becasue of this, we are working though some issues on being sure badges are issued with the correct information. Because of this, there is a delay in getting badges issued for SKYWARN, CERT, and RACES.

No activations were made during May.

WX Radio Events
A WX radio event was held at the Owatonna HY-Vee on Sat, 02-May.

The HY-VEE WX radio event at Faribault took place on Friday the 15th. Mike KCDKC, Bill KCDJX and Deuel NSL worked that one. The event took place from 12:45PM until 7:00PM with a total of fifty (50) radios sold/programmed.

The 12-May SKYWARN class had 21 in attendance...a mixture of current Skywarn and CERT members, as well as 8 new people who expressed interest during the Home Show and Owqatonna HY-Vee events. A few members that had already attended in March came back as a refresher.

Lightning Safety Week: June 21-27, 2009 From NOAA
Science has learned more about this transient phenomenon in the past 3-4 years than in the preceding two hundred forty four years since Franklin's "kites and keys" experiments. In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million lightning flashes each year, killing an average of 62 people. Early Greeks believed that lightning was a weapon of Zeus. Scandinavian mythology alludes to Thor, the thunderer, who was the foe of all demons. The Navajo Indians hold that lightning has great power in their healing rituals. You can read more about ligntning myths and facts starting with these colorful beliefs. Be sure to also take the time to learn about lignthning safety.

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

The blog providing regular updates, allowing members of the public an inside glimpse of the action.

Flu Season From Weather Underground
Do the cold temperatures and lower humidities of winter cause increased transmission of the flu virus? Influenza hits hardest in winter - November to March. In the tropics, where there is little change in seasons, influenza occurs year-round. Looking at the transmission of flu virus in guinea pigs, researchers controlled temperature and humidity. They discovered that:

  • Viruses are most stable at low RH (20%-40%).
  • Least stable at intermediate RH (50%).
  • Become stable again at high RH (60%-80%).
  • At high RH (80%), droplets grow quite large and quickly settle to the ground. Even though the virus is stable at high humidities, it settles out of the atmosphere quickly.
  • There were infections at 86F, which implies that people may transmit the virus by direct contact rather than by coughing and sneezing.

Influenza virus transmission indoors could potentially be curtailed by simply maintaining room air at warm temperatures (>20 C) at either 50% or 80% RH.

Be Sun Wise From Weather Talk
As Summer comes on in full force, we need to be mindful of the harmful UV rays produced by the sun. Be sure to check the Ultra Violet Index (UVI) each day along with other weather features as you plan your day. The UVI is estimated based on expected intensities at solar noon and ranges from 0-15. The exposure categories used are:

minimal (0-2), low (3-4), moderate (5-6), high (7-9) and very high (10 and above).

For categories of 6 or higher it is best to wear sunglasses and put on some blocking lotion if you intend to be outside for hours. You can get a historical graph of the UV Index forecast and "clear sky" UV Index forecast over the course of a year.

Air Quality From Weather Talk
The American Lung Association released its Annual State of the Air report on national air quality this week. This document includes a report card (grades A-F) on air quality for hundreds of of cities and counties across the USA. The grades are based on three types of pollution: ozone, annual particle pollution, and 24-hour particulate pollution.

Sunrise and Sunset From USA Today
Ever wonder why isn't the earliest sunrise on the longest day and the latest sunrise on the shortest? One must first understand a little bit about the solar day versus the day measured on our clocks. Solar noon is the time when the sun is highest in the sky. Only rarely does solar noon coincide with clock noon. A solar day is the amount of time that elapses between one solar noon and the next. Near the summer and winters solstices, the solar day is more than 24 hours long and, therefore, solar noon occurs at a slightly later time each day.

The time between solar noon and sunset does not change very much near the winter solstice. A later solar noon means a later sunset, which implies that the day with the earliest sunset has already occurred. A later solar noon also implies a later sunrise, suggesting the latest sunrise has yet to come.

A more complete explanation by Larry Denenberg can be found here.

Term For The Month From Minnesota WeatherTalk
Rain Foot
Hopefully, this is something we might remember from our SKYWARN training. It refers to the shape of the rain shaft or condensation cloud that descends from a thunderstorm base and shows a horizontal bulging near the surface that mimics the impression of a foot. It is a visual indication of a wet microburst or heavy rain that is accelerated towards the ground by downburst winds coming from the thunderstorm. In the midst of such a storm it is almost impossible to see, but if you observe this feature from a distance it does appear as a foot descending towards the ground.

Picture Corner

Shown here are several individuals that assisted in the set-up of the 02-May WX Radio event at Hy-Vee.
Left-to-right are Jim H, Tom K,Chris G, Marv N, Dave H, and Ann R.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN