April 211 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 19-Apr @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

WX Radio Programming
The Faribault Hy-Vee has again requested the help of Steele County SKYWARN to program WX radios. The event is planned for Fri, 08-Apr. The hours would be 9AM to about 3:30PM. Deuel NSL (507-451-8975) is looking for anyone that is available to help out on that day. Deuel will have a cloning cable and master radio to aid in programming.

The 2011 MN SKYWARN Workshop is scheduled for 09-Apr at the University of St. Thomas. The workshop is geared for experienced storm spotters, but is open to all. It is a full-day severe weather conference designed to train you in spotting techniques, equip you with information about the latest in weather technology, and connect you with other Skywarn communities from across the state. Advance registration is required.

Our own Dave Purscell KCUVY and Chris Gannon NCPG are scheduled to present at 10:00AM:

June 17, 2010 - Skywarn Lessons Learned with Three EF-3 Tornadoes

Anyone wishing to car pool is invited to meet up in the parking lot of Technology Navigators (345 Florence Ave) at 07:00 AM. Final arrangements will be decided based on who shows up.

Severe WX Awareness Week
Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota begins 11-Apr. MN Homeland Security and Emergency Management Departments, along with National Weather Service Forecast Offices will be putting out educational materials about different types of weather threats. Thursday is Tornado Drill Day and includes testing the sirens. Read more at...

SKYWARN Spotter Class
We had a great response to the SKYWARN class on 01-Mar. Over 50 people crowded the third floor of the Owatonna Fire Station. If you missed the class, be sure to catch on of the other classes in the area. Most of the classes are included on the Calendar page.

SKYWARN "In The News"
Steele County SKYWARN had a couple of hits in the Owatonna People's Press. An article appeared in the 24-Mar edition with pictures and video of Jerry KDKRY and Randy KDNUV taking flood gauge readings. The 30-Mar edition featured the collaboration of SKYWARN and local hotels. An information sheet prepared by SKYWARN is being used by the hotels to help educate guests on severe weather.

Two great examples of SKYWARN working to serve and protect the residents of Steele County. Thank you to all of the Steele County SKYWARN volunteers for the time and resources they provide.

Scanner Law
Steele County SKYWARN encourages spotters to pursue an Amateur Radio license. Communicating by radio has many advantages over cell phones. Individuals without an Amateur Radio license can monitor the Amateur Radio communications on a scanner. Remember, however, that Minnesota has a scanner law that prohibits scanners in private vehicles.

Tornado Season From Minnesota WeatherTalk
We know that, given the right conditions, tornadoes can actually occur any time of the year. These conditions are most often met in the late spring and early summer. The main supplier of warm, moist air is the Gulf of Mexico and the main supplier of wind shear is the polar jet stream, so tornado forecasters look for times when both are in supply over the same area. In the early spring and in the fall, the jet stream is often located across the contiguous 48 states and can at times dip all the way to the Gulf Coast. As the jet stream moves northward in the late spring/early summer, tornadoes become more frequent in the tornado alley of the Plains and Midwest. As summer progresses, the jet stream continues north and weakens, which is why the few tornadoes produced during the summer tend to occur from the northern Plains through the upper Midwest and into the Northeast.

Storm Warnings From Multiple Sources
We often comment that it seems like the first thing people do when the tornado sirens sound is go outside to look. Research suggests that only 63 percent of the general public understand that a "warning" is the most urgent alert given by the NWS. The research divided the population into individuals who had firsthand experience with tornadoes and those whose knowledge was gained from reading, television, or conversations. Individuals with firsthand experience tended to react to a warning to a lesser degree.

Lightning Safety From Science Daily
More people die from lightning than tornadoes and hurricanes. The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in your lifetime is one in 3,000. Most people dont realize they can be struck by lightning even when the center of a thunderstorm is more than 10 miles away. when you see lightning, go inside. Standing under a tall tree is the most dangerous place to take shelter. Even inside, talking on the phone is the leading cause of lightning injuries.

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Thunderstorm Antimatter From Multiple Sources
Terrestrial gamma ray flashes (TGFs) were discovered in 1994 emanating from the tops of thunderclouds. Observations made from orbiting satellites detect "terrestrial gamma-ray flashes" within thunderstorms at the same altitudes used by jet airliners. TGFs occur in the first few milliseconds of strikes and provide a clue on how lightning may get started. Electric fields in clouds often initiate a spark despite being apparently too weak to do so. Scientists also detected beams of antimatter above thunderstorms.

We know from basic science that electrons have a negative charge and protons have a positive charge. Some anti-particles are defined as an electron with a positive charge (positron) and a proton with a negative charge (anti-proton). Antimatter is theoretically formed from these anti-particles, just as matter (as we normally know it) is formed from normal protons and electrons.

The belief is the antimatter particles form as the result of terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGF) associated with lightning. TGFs develop from strong electric fields near the tops of thunderstorms. The resulting high-energy electrons give off gamma rays when they're deflected by air molecules, which produce a risk to airplanes.

Commercial airplanes are struck by lightning once or twice a year. Could airline passengers and crews to be exposed to harmful levels of radiation? Research suggests they could receive a radiation dose equal to that from 400 chest X-rays if their airplane happens to be near the start of a lightning discharge. The exposure of this magnitude would occur within a very brief period and would be limited to a couple of hundred feet, so the opportunity for the exposure should be very rare.

Term For The Month From Minnesota WeatherTalk
A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed. The official definition is a wind that must increase at least 17 mph and must attain a top speed of at least 24 mph and last at least one minute in duration. Squalls are usually associated with active weather, thunderstorms, or heavy snow. Around the world, squalls may have other names reflecting the local geography. Blunk is used in the United Kingdom to describe a squall associated with turbulent weather.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN