December 211 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 20-Dec @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

SKYWARN Recognition Day
SKYWARN Recognition Day celebrates the contributions volunteer SKYWARN spotters and Amateur Radio operators make to the National Weather Service (NWS). Steele County SKYWARN participants have the opportunity to visit the Chanhassen office on 03-Dec. Those who'd like to car pool will meet at IT Navigators (345 Florence Ave, behind the AmericInn) at 7:45 AM. An 08:00 AM departure time is planned.

Amateur Radio operators can participate by making contacts with NWS offices across the land. Earn a SKYWARN Recognition Day certificate by working just one National Weather Service office. Over 5 dozen NWS offices are scheudled to participate. Exchange call sign, signal report, QTH, and a one or two word description of the weather occurring at your site ("sunny", "partly cloudy", "windy", etc.).

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. Contact Chris (952-484-1323) for additional information and/or if you can help.

Chris NCPG
Congratulations to Chris NCPG on his appointment as Deputy Director for Steele County Emergency Management. This is great recognition to the efforts Chris has volunteered behind the scenes for Steele COunty, CERT, and SKYWARN.

People's Press Campaign
The Owatonna People's Press ran a weekly campaign in July and August. The campaign featured severe weather tips and included pictures of some SKYWARN members. If you missed the campaign in print, pdf files were added to the SKYWARN Archives.

Automated Flood Gauges
Those that volunteered to take flood gauge readings during the 2010 floods recognized the many hours and miles required to accomplish that task. Hopefully, we will never be called on again to do that. The task is becoming a little less involved as two new automated gauges are being installed. One gauge is located on the northwest bank of Bridge Street and is currently functioning. Another is being installed on Dane Road. The sensor in the river is essentially a pipe. The water pressure varies by the height of the river, exerting pressure in the air tube, and converted to water depth.

Both systems are still being worked on, but the Bridge Street gauge appears to be reporting data.

Cold Moon From Multiple Sources
Is anyone surprised taht the Full moon for December is called the Cold Moon? During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. This occurs because the moon has a high trajectory across the sky and is opposite a low Sun. The moment of the Winter Solstice comes just over 15 hours after this full moon. This moon may also called the Moon before Yule.

Islands In The Sun From Multiple Sources
The Islands In The Sun project by the University of Minnesota is looking to understand the mechanisms behind urban heat islands with a goal of finding ways to lessen their effects through landscape design. The project is looking for locations in the Twin Cities Metro area to install data loggers for a 4 year period.

Warning Simulator From
The poor weather forecasters get a fair amount of ridicule for poor forecasts. Sometimes, they are challenged for making the wrong choice for warnings. A warning may go out prematurely, or too late. The staff at the Atlanta office of the Nationall Weather Service (NWS) created the Hot Seat Warning Simulator. This tool is intended to provide participants with an appreciation of the meteorology of severe weather events and the decision-making process that goes into NWS warnings. There are several scenarios with different levels of difficulty. HotSeat requires Java Version 1.4.2 or later.

Salinity Barrier From Multiple Sources
We know El Nio and La Nia develop due to eastward migration of the tropical a large warm-water mass in the Pacific Ocean. The salinity of the ocean can change with geographic area and depth. A salinity barrier layer may form only less than 100 feet below the surface. Any layers with differences in salinity levels can acts as an insulator. The barrier that develops because of the insulating effect restricts mixing and heat exchanges between the stratified layers of the upper ocean.

Term For The Month From Multiple Sources
Most people have heard of Stonehenge, the circular arrangement of large stones in England. The sun aligns with the stones on the solstices. The east-west streets of Manhattan align with the setting sun around the summer and winter solstices. In the spring, Manhattanhenge occurs between 28-May and 12-Jul. In the winter, it occurs between 05-Dec and 08-Jan. Similar events can occur in other cities if the street grid plan is laid out using true north as opposed to magnetic north.

Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved
Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN