September 2009 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 15-Sep @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

About 13 members attended the 18-Aug meeting. Topics discussed included:

  • SKYWARN was asked by Steele County to be proactive in responding to any threats during the Free Fair.
  • Brian KBDD authored a tri-fold handout for distribution at the Steele County Fair.
  • Working to provide severe weather awareness material to the public.

Another boring month from a severe WX perspective. Although it looked like something might have developed during the Free Fair, it fizzled out once the sun went down. It was good practice for the Instant Alert system.

Many thanks to Brian KBDD for taking the initiative to develop the tri-fold brochure. The outside of the brochure has information about SKYWARN and the inside has valuable information on what to do. After the brochures were printed, Mary folded them (about 500) by hand. They were made available at the CERT table in Safety Alley at the fair.

St. Cloud Spotter
An article on storm spotters appeared in USA Today. It featured a spotter from St. Cloud, MN.

Climate Records
Temperatures in the area have been on the cool side along with the lack of moisture. Go to NOAA Climate Records for MN if you want to investigate how current conditions compare with the past.

Raindrops (... falling on my head) From Multiple Sources
Raindrops come in a variety of sizes. Most are under 1mm in diameter, but can also be over 5 times that size. Scientists have tried to explain the different sizes. One theory is that falling raindrops collide and merge to form larger drops. High speed camera footage suggest that larger drops explode and create the smaller droplets. The passing air cause large raindrops flatten from a sphere into a pancake-like disc as they fall. Inflating like a liquid parachute that eventually explodes in a shower of smaller droplets. You can view a video showing the drops breaking apart.

WX Reports From Radio World
Weather is the second most popular category of mobile content after e-mail, according to some studies. That gives a tail wind to, which launched a service to make more information more accessible on BlackBerry smartphones. Users can subscribe to the free service from their BlackBerry smartphones; an icon will appear on the home screen that displays high-level weather conditions based on weather data "pushed" to the phone. Users can click on the weather icon to access updated and more detailed information including hourly forecasts, 10-day forecasts, weather alerts and radar images. AccuWeather officials cite research by Nielsen Mobile that weather is the No. 2 most popular type of mobile content and that was one of the top 15 mobile brands.

Flood Types From USA Today
The two most common are flash floods and river floods. Flash floods occur over a few hours, usually six or less, typically due to extremely heavy rainfall. More leisurely river floods take days or weeks to play out, often due to melting snow combined with steady, persistent rainfall. Other floods include hurricane storm surge flooding, hurricane inland flooding, snowmelt flooding, overland flooding, and flooding due to dam failures.

Jet Stream From USA Today
Jet streams are the fast-moving rivers of air high above the Earths surface. They can vary greatly in speed, height, width and location. Average winds in winter jet streams are about 100 to 150 mph and can drop to about 55 mph in summer. Their height can vary anywhere from about five to nine miles above the surface of the Earth, while their width can range anywhere from 100 to 800 miles. Just look at a jet stream map on a daily basis to see how the path changes on a regular basis. Jet streaks are jet streams squeezed into narrow bands with increased wind speeds.

Volcanoes and Thunderstorms From Live Science
Volcanic plumes have been known to spawn waterspouts and dust devils, as well as sheaths of lightning around their roiling debris clouds. A 200-year-old report of an eruption in the Azores by a sea captain indicates volcanic plumes rotate like a tornado system. Satellite images of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo iconfirm the rotation of strong volcanic plumes. A volcanic plume consists of a vertical column of hot gases and dust topped by an umbrella-like structure. A volcanic mesocyclone sets the entire plume rotating.

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network From USA Today
Volunteer weather observers feed valuable data to forecasters at the National Weather Service. Started in 190, the NWS Cooperative Observer Program, which has 11,000 volunteers who take a variety of measurements. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is in its 14th year with a national network of about 12,500 volunteers in 37 states. Volunteers measure rain, snow and hail each day, recording the amounts in an online database.

Lunar Photos circa 1960 From AR Newsline
Efforts are being made to retrieve pictures made by the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft in 1966 and 1967, when NASA sent five Lunar Orbiter missions to photograph the surface of the moon. The data was radioed back to Earth and recorded on large magnetic tape reels. It was then decoded and transferred to photographic film for scientific analysis. NASA has now released a newly restored 42-year-old image of Earth from Lunar Orbiter 1. Using modern digital technology, NASA produced the image at a much higher resolution than was possible when it was originally taken.

Term For The Month From Minnesota WeatherTalk
Used by hydrologists, it is a numerical expression for how a stream or river meanders through the landscape. Technically sinuosity is a ratio of the threaded channel distance between two points versus the straight linear distance between two points. A stream bed is said to meander if its sinuosity is greater than 1.5.

Copyright 2009
All Rights Reserved
Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN