October 2009 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 20-Oct @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

About 17 members attended the 15-Sep meeting. Topics discussed included:

  • Dave provided a Severe Weather Awareness presentation at the Colonial Manor's annual picnic. About 35 people in attendance. Lots of excellent questions.
  • City/County is moving to Code Red for their notification system. SKYWARN will try it out this fall / winter. If it meets our needs we will plan to switch to it as well. If not, we will stay on Instant Alert.
  • Lengthy discussion on the recent FCC ruling which would make it illegal for the NWS to communicate with us via Amateur Radio frequencies. Need to post information about the ruling to the website and newsletter so that people may contact their representatives. Ham's especially need to make their voices heard.
  • Discussed the combined drill with CERT and RACES/ARES.

Activation From Dave KCØUVY

OFD Annual Chili/Wild Rice Soup Feed
The OWatonna Fire Department is holding their annual Chili Feed on 04-Oct. Tickets are $6 in advance or $8 at the door.

Steele County Volunteer Badges
If you have been patiently waiting for a Steele County volunteer badge, please be patient a little longer. A new badge system is being implemented. The new system will standardize badging across the region. This will make it easier for volunteers to respond outside of Steele County, if authorized.

Code Red Call-Out
The County is moving to a new calling system called CODE RED. At this time, SKYWARN will continue to use Instant Alaert.

WX Radio Cloning
It was mentioned in the July Newsletter that Midland Radio would provide a cloning cable to assist Steele County SKYWARN in future WX radio programming events. Midland followed through with providing two cables, along with the instructions. Tom NØUW had the opportunity to put it to the test by programming a group of 24 WX radios. The cloning process does not include setting the time on the clock. That has to be accomplished manually. Once everything was set up, it took less than three minutes to unpack a new radio, clone the settings, set the correct time, and put the cloned radio back in the box.

A Cool Summer From Weather Talk
Many people have commented on how cool the summer has been. Comparing the May-Aug data to historical averages shows MN is about 3 to 3.5 degrees F colder than the statewide average temperature of 61.5 degrees F. The coldest year was 1915, averaging only 58.8 degrees F statewide. NOAA indicates the average summer temperatures (June through August) across the contiguous 48 states were generally cooler than normal. The composite mean summer temperature across all the states ranked as the 34th coolest summer since 1895.

Fall Colors From Multiple Sources
As summer begins to close, one of the joys of fall is the changing colors of leaves. The MN DNR reports on the progression of fall colors.

Morning Glory Clouds From Wired
A peculiar cloud type shows up in Australia in the fall. Moving at 35 miles per hour, the 600 mile long clouds look like mole tunnels. The cloud formation can cause problems for pilots, although they travel each year in hopes of “cloud surfing”. Although similar clouds appear across the globe, no one has explained the cause of Morning Glory clouds.

Amazing Sky From Discover Magazine
Discover Magazine has an interesting gallery of photos by naturalist Tim Herd. It is titled Amazing Things the Sky Can Do.

Citizen Sky From Citizen Sky
Want to make a contribution to space science? The star epsilon Aurigae turns down its light once every 27 years, and scientists are trying to find out why. Epsilon Aurigae will begin to dim this fall. The star is too bright to be observed with the vast majority of professional telescopes, even the naked eye can provide useful data. Astronomers are hoping to recruit an army of amateur astronomers to help solve the mystery. Volunteers in the Citizen Sky project are asked to collect data on the star’s brightness, as well as joining in on other aspects of the scientific process.

Past Weather Conditions From
If you want to see what was going on across the U.S. on a particular date and time, try the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center’s (HPC) surface analysis archive. Simply select date and time and you’ll get a map showing the placement of high and low pressure areas as well as fronts and selected observations from around the country.

If you are looking for climate information (temperature, rainfall, etc.) for a particular location, the best place to start is the local National Weather Service office website. Pick the “Climate” section in the left navigation and click “Local.” This will bring up an interface where you can access a lot of climate info for different observation sites in your general area.

Tornado Shelter
And from someone not a Vikings fan:

Q. Where do you go in Minneapolis in case of a tornado?
A. To the Metrodome - there's never a touchdown!

Term For The Month From Minnesota WeatherTalk
This is not unlike the word "blurt" which refers to a sudden, impulsive, and often unexpected verbal response from a person. This term is used primarily in Scotland to refer to sudden spells of wind gusts and rain which occur during unsettled highly overcast conditions. Blirty weather certainly fits for much of our weather this past week in Minnesota, some of which brought spells of rain and cool wind gusts from the north and east. I recall seeing many jackets and sweatshirts this week. We have also seen plenty of cloud, fog, drizzle, rain and wind, along with some record cold low and high temperatures already this month.

Copyright 2009
All Rights Reserved
Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN