November 2Ø11 Newsletter

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

SKYWARN Breakfast
On Sunday, December 11th, Steele County SKYWARN and the Special Deputies will be co-hosting a Pancake Breakfast at the VFW Hall in Owatonna. Doors will be open from 8 AM to Noon. Tickets are $5 each ($6 at the door).

We only make money on pre-sales tickets, so we need to get out there and sell. We have 400 tickets to sell. People attending the meeting last night checked out just over half of the available tickets. If you need additional tickets, pick them up from Bonnie at the fire hall during normal business hours. All funds and any unsold tickets (of which there should be none) need to be turned in by the end of day on Friday, December 9th.

For an extra incentive, the highest selling volunteer will receive a $25 gift card.

We will also need a few volunteers to staff two shifts the morning of the breakfast. If we have more volunteers available they can mingle and talk with guests about severe weather. We will work out the details and sign up for shifts at the next SKYWARN meeting on November 15th.

Seasonal Climate Outlook From NOAA
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released a new seasonal climate outlook this week. Covering the months of December through February, it includes references for another La Niņa. The La Niņa effect may be influenced by lesser-known and less predictable Arctic Oscillations. These could produce dramatic short-term swings in temperatures this winter. Arctic Oscillations can push cold air into the U.S. from Canada. The best guess is simply a colder and wetter period for Minnesota.

Snow Measurement From Multiple Sources
Based on the CPC outlook, we should have the snow shovels pulled out and snow blowers ready to go. Many of us have rain gauges that we can easily glance at and empty on a regular basis. Keeping track of snow fall is a little bit more intensive. There are three measurements required for a full report of solid precipitation. They are:

  • Measure and record the snowfall ( snow, ice pellets ) since the previous snowfall observation,
  • Determine the depth of snow on the ground at the normal observation time,
  • Measure and record the water equivalent of snowfall since the previous day's observation.

For the most accurate snowfall measurements, two snowboards placed 30 feet from a building can be used. A snow board is simply a 16" by 16" piece of wood, painted white. One snow board is used for measuring snow depth. The other is used for tracking new snow fall. The board used for measuring snow depth remains on the ground all season. The board used for new snow fall is cleaned and placed on top of the snow forthe next observation period.

Additional information is available from NOAA. The Measuring Snow video is a 23 minute instructional video to teach National Weather Service Cooperative Observers. The video shows examples that use an 8" NWS standard rain gauge.

Beaver Moon From Multiple Sources
Continuing on with the discussion from last month, the full moon in Novemebr is may be referred to as the Beaver Moon. This seems relates to the added activity of beavers preparing for the winter and/or trappers having one last opportunity before the swamps froze.

Red Flag Warning From Multiple Sources
We certainly had a version of Indian Summer in early October. Several days of "Red Flag Warnings", when conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation. The criteria used for issuing a red flag warning may vary across different redions. Local considerations used for red flag warnings includes vegetation type, vegetation moisture content, and topography. Local meteorological criteris include sustained wind speeds greater than 20 mph, relative humidity less than 25%, and temperatures greater than 75F.

Musical Weather From Multiple Sources
Have you ever just sat back and listened to the wind? Have you felt music could be pulled out of a storm? Variable 4 is a project started by two sound artists to translate weather conditions into musical patterns in real time. The process starts with 24 pre-recorded movements. The data from a weather station is fed into a computer. A computer program controls musical elements (pitch, tempo, etc.) based on weather conditions such as temperature, rainfall, wind speed, humidity, and sunshine. If the current weather conditions correspond to a given movement, the system will transition from one movement to the matching movement. which it controls at both the movement and note level - changing pitch, tempo and expression by switching between pre-recorded snippets of music from 24 separate movements

Gravity Waves From
Ever notice cloud patterns that look just like waves in the ocean? These are specific instances in which clouds very nearly mimic waves or stream flows. Gravity waves are essentially areas of repetitive vertical displacement caused by a triggering mechanism, like throwing a rock into a pond. In a stable atmosphere air will rise in response to a triggering mechanism. The air will then sink after it rises to the cooler temperatures. Momentum causes that motion to overshoot the point of equilibrium and process repeats, up and down, until equilibrium wins and the motion is dampened. You can view a time-lapse video of gravity waves that occurred over Tama, Iowa in May, 2006.

Term For The Month From Minnesota WeatherTalk
Mustard Winds
Mustard is an often used adjective suggesting a negative connotation. Some examples include mustard gas and mustard oil. The English will sometimes refer to a wind that brings on severe windchill conditions as a "mustard wind." This is most commonly a cold and damp northeasterly wind off the North Sea. On this side of the pond, we use adjectives like "biting", "penetrating", or "bitter" to describe the wind that accompanies a cold front.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN