December 21 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 21-Dec @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

SKYWARN Breakfast From Mark S
SKYWARN members, the tickets to sell for the VFW breakfast on 12-Dec are available from Bonnie at the front desk at the fire hall. Please return unsold tickets and cash to her by close of business on Friday 10-Dec. Thanks for your help in supporting Steele County SKYWARN. Any questions please contact Mark Schultz 451-0468.

Breakfast is served from 08:00 AM until Noon. Volunteers are needed to buss tables, fill coffee, syrup, other condiments, and handing out additional pancakes. We need around 5-6 volunteers for each shift. The first shift is 7:30 AM until 10 AM. The second shift is 10 AM until 12:30 PM. If you can work for one of these shifts, please call Chris at (952) 484-1323.

Flood Review
CAER held a debriefing session of the September Flood Response on 17-Nov. A wide range of groups assembled to individually answer three questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. What were challenges and what went well?
  3. What improvements would you suggest?
The format was different than the September debriefing on the June tornado outbreak. It is great to see SKYWARN members have the interest to participate, share, and learn.

SKYWARN Appreciation Day NOAA
Through the cooperation of local amateur radio operators, the National Weather Service is supporting the annual SKYWARN Recognition Day on Saturday, 04-Dec. Celebrating the contributions volunteer Amateur Radio operators make to NES via the SKYWARN storm spotting and reporting program. All amateur radio operators who participate in the SKYWARN program are more than welcome to participate.

Winter Weather
The week of 08-Nov was Winter Hazard Awareness Week in Minnesota. Hopefully we all have emptied the gasoline from our lawn mowers and put fresh gasoline into the snow blower by now. Vehicles should be ready for the extra cold weather we should expect.

Winter Storm Warnings Reactions
You are invited to participate in a survey following winter storms this season. The survey was created by Matt Taraldsen, a meteorology student at the St. Cloud State University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, under the guidance of Dr. Anthony Hansen, Communication Studies Professor Suzanne Stangl-Erkens and meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Duluth.

The objective of the survey is to provide insight into the way people deal with hazardous winter weather. This information is important to the weather forecasting community to improve their communications to the public. A link to the survey will active for 3 days after a winter storm.

Moon Effect From Multiple Sources
The April 2008 Newsletter discussed Animal Weather Predictions. Folklore includes all sorts of plants, animals, and planets. Folklore involving the Moon include the phase of the moon, haloes, and relationship to specific calendar days. We recognize the Moon plays a role in the tides, but recent research suggests the Moon may indeed play a role in weather. Used precipitation data from as far back as 1895 shows that rain and snow tends to increase slightly a few days prior to a quarter moon. The researchers do not have an explanation for the effect.

Coldest Place on Earth From USA Today
Do you think it gets cold in Minnesota? The average temperature of Siberian city of Verkhoyansk is -58 degrees in January. The world's all time record low was -128.6, recorded in Antartica during 1983.

Terms For the Month From Multiple Sources
As winter starts to ramp up, it is time to become familiar once again with this series of weather terms:

  • Blizzard: Winds of 35 mph or more along with considerable falling and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than one-quarter mile for three or more hours. Extremely cold temperatures often are associated with dangerous blizzard conditions, but are not a formal part of the definition. The hazard created by the combination of snow, wind and low visibility significantly increases, however, with temperatures below 20 degrees.
  • Blowing snow: Wind driven snow that reduces visibility to six miles or less causing significant drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind. Drifting snow: Uneven distribution of snowfall caused by strong surface winds. Drifting snow does not reduce visibility.
  • Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulation or just a light dusting is all that is expected.
  • Freeze: Occurs when the surface air temperature is expected to be 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below over a widespread area for a significant period of time.
  • Freezing rain or drizzle: Occurs when rain or drizzle freezes on surfaces such as trees, cars and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice. Temperatures above the ground are warm enough for rain to form, but surface temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the rain to freeze on impact. Even small accumulations of ice can be a significant hazard.
  • Frost: Describes the formation of thin ice crystals on the ground or other surfaces. Frost develops when the temperature of the earth's surface falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but because frost is primarily an event that occurs as the result of radiational cooling, it frequently occurs with air temperatures in the middle 30s.
  • Graupel: Small pellets of ice created when supercooled water droplets coat, or rime, a snowflake. The pellets are cloudy or white, not clear like sleet, and often are mistaken for hail.
  • Heavy snow: Depending on the region of the USA, this generally means that four or more inches of snow has accumulated in 12 hours, or six or more inches of snow in 24 hours.
  • Ice storm: An ice storm is used to describe occasions when damaging accumulation of ice are expected during a freezing rain situation. Significant accumulations of ice are defined as one-quarter inch or greater. This can cause trees, utility and power lines to fall down causing the loss of power and communication.
  • Sleet:Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists. Heavy sleet occurs when a half of an inch of sleet accumulates.
  • Snow showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.
  • Snow squalls: Intense, but of limited duration, periods of moderate to heavy snowfall, accompanied by strong, gusty surface winds and possible lightning.
  • Whiteout: A condition caused by falling and/or blowing snow that reduces visibility to nothing or zero miles; typically only a few feet. Whiteouts can occur rapidly often blinding motorists and creating chain-reaction crashes involving multiple vehicles. Whiteouts are most frequent during blizzards.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN