February 211 Newsletter

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

Amateur Radio License Class
Interested in getting you Amateur Radio license? The OSCAR Technician class begins 01-Feb.

Storm Spotter Class
Mark your calendar for 01-Mar for storm spotter class.

MNVOAD Conference
MN Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster (MNVOAD) will hold the 2011 Conference on 26-Feb. The event will be at Transfiguration Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Our NWS friend Todd Krause will be the keynote speaker. There is a $25 fee and advance registration is required. Download a registration form for pre-registration and payment.

SKYWARN Breakfast From Chris NCPG
Thank you to all that were involved with the pancake breakfast. 170 tickets were sold, netting the SKYWARN group $425. Despite the weather, many volunteers were still able to make it to the VFW and help with serving and cleanup. Again, thanks to all involved!

WX Dashboard
The WX Dashboard now has a mobile edition. The information is broken down into four pages: Local, Midwest, US, and Storm. Links to the Midwest, US, and Storm pages are included at the bottom of the Local page. There are many different types of mobile devices and we'd appreciate some feedback.

Daylight From Multiple Sources
More signs of spring are coming. Through the month of February, we will gain over an hour of daylight. You can get your own chart for the Duration of Daylight for any city in the US. The graphic below shows the amount of daylight through each quarter of 2011.

Flood Predictions From Multiple Sources
There is some concern about the potential for flooding this spring due to the large amount of snow on the ground. Every river in Minnesota is at risk for flooding this spring. NOAA air surveys suggest the snow cover is the equivalent of 2 to 3 inches of water. The big question is how fast the snow will melt. The Minnesota Climatology Working Group has consolidated narratives and graphics for review. The North Central River Forecast Center provides additional graphics on the chance of flooding.

Siberian Connection? From Multiple Sources
There is a lot of climate research that focuses on the affect of ocean currents and temperatures. After all, the surface of the earth is about 75% water. One researcher believes there is a correlation of winter conditions in the US and Siberian snow cover as far back as October. The heavier the snow cover in Siberia, the higher the probability of a colder winter in the US. The snow pushes high pressure and colder temperatures south due to a circulation of winds around the North Pole.

Icicle Formation From Multiple Sources
The January Newsletter included a notation on snowflakes. This month our attention turns to the formation of icicles. Canadian researchers controlled different conditions to see what the effect on the formation of icicles was. Some of the variables include water purity, air movement, and temperature (and others). YouTube videos shows the results of a couple of the experiments:

Natural Disasters From Multiple Sources
One study pinpoints how likely it is that natural disasters will literally be the death of Americans in certain regions of the country. Southerners are more likely to die from the effects of the weather than people living in any other region of the US. The odds of dying from the weather are lowest in the Midwest. A report nails down what parts of the USA have high rates of "chronic everyday hazards," from severe storms to avalanches and hurricanes. Simple heat waves kill far more people than all natural disasters combined, according to a newly published county-by-county map of natural hazard deaths. Other extreme summer hazards, such as floods, and cold winter weather also outranked hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. A county by county map reveals the hot spots.

National Geographic has an interesting web page providing information on all sorts of natural disasters.

CO Mapping From USA Today
New interactive Google Earth maps show the amount of carbon dioxide being dumped into the U.S. atmosphere every hour. You need the Google Earth Plug-in to view the 3D maps. Using existing data -- everything from factory emissions report to Census population figures -- CO2 output is estimated the from the burning of 48 types of fossil fuels. The page can be quite slow to load and contain some of data from 2002. An interesting problem for Hennepin County is non-road vehicle pollution from trains, snowmobiles, boats, lawnmowers, and other devices.

Wind Cycles From USA Today
Wind tends to increase during the warm part of the day, and decrease at night. Because of the heating of the Earths surface on sunny afternoons, air near the surface is heated rapidly and rises. As these columns of warm air (called thermals) rise into the atmosphere, winds from 3,000 to 5,000 feet can mix down to take the place of the rising air in the thermals. Since winds aloft do not feel the friction of the Earths surface (trees, buildings, etc.), they are typically stronger and it is the momentum of these winds aloft when they mix down to the surface that you feel as wind gusts on a sunny afternoon.

Term For The Month From Multiple Sources
Often confused with frostbite and trench foot, Chilblains. It actually refers to a type of ulcer that can affect an individuals extremities. The process starts with cold causing constriction of the small blood vessels in the skin. If the affected are warms too quickly, the blood may leak in areas where tissues do not respond to the warming quickly enough. Symptoms may include itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on extremities, such as on your toes, fingers, ears and nose.

Something For The Newsletter?
If you have anything to submit for the Newsletter, e-mail it to Steele County SKYWARN by the 20th of each month prior to publication. Submissions can be articles of interest, local news, or something to sell.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN