January 2Ø11 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 18-Jan @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

CERT Annual Meeting
SKYWARN members are invited to attend the CERT Annual Meeting on 06-Jan at 6:00PM. It will be held at the Steele County Community Center at the Fairgrounds.

Steele County SKYWARN is on Facebook! From Juliette B
Do a search on Steele County SKYWARN on Facebook and add yourself as a member. Once you are a member, you can post to the Wall, join in Discussions, & upload your weather Photos & Videos. Monthly meetings and other activities will be listed on the Events tab. If you know of something coming up that would be of interest to members, feel free to add it to the Events tab or contact Juliette Beaudry to add it for you.

Winter Solstice From Multiple Sources
The March 2009 Newsletter had a discussion about the Equinox and Solstice. The Winter Solstice has passed and the daylight is lasting a little longer with each passing day. You should have noticed sunsets getting later, but sunrises not getting any earlier. Sunsets will start to getting earlier in the first week of January.

Roof Snow From Multiple Sources
We have sure had our share of snow this winter, and a lot of it disappeared over the New Year weekend. The collapse of the roof at the Dome should be a reminder to check the loads on our houses. The actual weight of snow can have a wide variation, depending on how wet and packed it is. An inch of solid ice (or water) weighs about 5 pounds per square foot. Be sure to check your roof load and remove any excess weight that might accumulate, especially where there may be drifting or changes in roof height.

Snowflake Photos From Cal Tech
If you want to see an assortment of snowflakes, go over to SnowCrystals. A wide assortment of photos are exhibited, captured by using a specially-designed snowflake photomicroscope.

Tornado 2010 Final Count From Multiple Sources
Although the National Climate Data Center won't make it official until later in the year, it appears that MN will maintain the lead for the most tornadoes in 2010. The current count of 145 issignificantly larger than Number Two Texas with 105. The June outbreak produced 48 tornadoes in MN, or 33% of the tornadoes for the year. That single day MN total was double the annual count for 2009.

Go to Twin Cities Weather to read The Weather of 2010 in Review.

NOAA Educational Resources From Multiple Sources
NOAA upgraded the Educational Resources web site. The web site acts as a central location to access information from multiple NOAA offices. The information is organized by topics and makes good reading with an assortment of activities geared for education.

Will Hot Water Freeze First? From Multiple Sources
Who would think that hot water could freeze before cold water? Some people indicate that the hot water pipes in their cabin may freeze before the cold water pipes. There are multiple suggestions as to why this happens:

  • The energy in hot water cause the water to circulate faster, causing more water to be exposed to the colder air.
  • Boiled Water will have less air dissolved in it. The air provides a certain amount of insulation and inhibits water freezing.
  • Some of the hot water will evaporate, meaning there is less water to ultimately freeze.

Jet Stream Formation From New Scientist
Recent research suggests solar activity can affect the jet stream. Low solar activity deflects the jet stream into an orientation that can block northern Europe from the warming benefits of a westerly wind pattern. This may result in colder than normal temperatures. A comparison between solar activity and avergae winter temperatures dating back to 1659 found a good correlation. It is not known why this occurs.

Glowing Clouds From Various Sources
Mysterious, glowing clouds previously seen almost exclusively in Earth’s polar regions have appeared in the skies over the United States and Europe over several days. Noctilucent (”night shining”) were first observed in 1885. They form as ice literally at the boundary where the earth’s atmosphere meets space 50 miles up. Dust blowing up from below or falling into the atmosphere from space provides a resting spot for water vapor to condense and freeze. Because of their height, they reflect sunlight after the sun dips below the horizon.

Noctilucent clouds have been tracked with launches of the space shuttles. Space shuttle flights release 661,000 pounds of water vapor into the upper atmosphere. Plumes from space shuttle flights spread to the poles, forming broad "noctilucent" clouds in the high atmosphere. Noctilucent cloud formation has been spotted from launches in 2008, 2003 and 1997.

Weather Forecast Accuracy From Queens University
A new sensor called a dual polarized Frequency Selective Surface filter will be installed in future European Space Agency (ESA) satellites. The sensors measure temperature, humidity profiles, and gas composition. The breakthrough with this device is that it can separate vertically and horizontally polarized components of naturally occurring thermal emissions from gases in the Earth's atmosphere.

Term For the Month From Multiple Sources
Snow Dragon
The December blizzard and subsequent snows have made it difficult to find places to put all of the snow moved off of streets and sidewalks. The Snow Dragon is one tool some cities have put into service. One was used to remove snow from the Gophers TCF stadium in preparation of the Viking game played there.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN