April 2Ř12 Newsletter

The next SKYWARN meeting is 17-Apr @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month.

SKYWARN Training
Our first Skywarn Training class of 2012 was held on Tuesday evening, March 13th. Jerry Ibberson taught a class of 36 students, a dozen of whom were brand new to SKYWARN. Many of them returned the following Tuesday for the monthly meeting and were officially added to our roster.

Minnesota Skywarn Workshop
The 2012 Minnesota Skywarn Workshop has been set for April 14th at Schulze Hall at the University of St. Thomas. The keynote speaker will be Mr. Greg Carbin, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma.

Severe Weather Awareness
For more than 25 years, the state of Minnesota has conducted a Severe Weather Awareness Week in partnership with the National Weather Service and local governments. Tornado Drill Day is Thursday April 19, 2012 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m.

Emergency Information for Non-English Speaking Individuals
Do you know someone with limited proficiency in the English Language. One source of information that might be useful is Emergency & Community Health Outreach (ECHO). ECHO provides information and videos on a wide array of topics in several different languages.

Flash Flood Safety in a Car From Multiple Sources
It looks like we are being spared any issues relating to spring flooding. The threat of flash floods, however, must be remembered daily. Something to remember as spotters are cruising rural roads during storms is more than half of all people killed in floods are those in vehicles? Six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult, and 18 inches of water to lift your car. Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. NEVER drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

“Turn Around – Don’t Drown”

April – Pink moon From Multiple Sources
The April Moon has many names associated with budding flowers in the spring. The term pink moon is associated with a wild flower.

Satellite Tracking From Multiple Sources
With the unseasonably warm weather we had in March, it should not have been too much of a surprise to see a MN tornado in our backyard. The 19-Mar tornado in Elysian was the first of 2012 for MN. The NWS report indicates the EF-0 moved 7 miles after touching down. It interacted with a downburst on the east side of Lake Francis.

After every reported tornado, it's the job of the weather service to track its path, and estimate the damage. Although probably not used for the 19-Mar event, meteorologists can use high resolution satellite photography to analyze the path and intensity of recent tornadoes. Mathematical models identify storm damage using satellite images of Earth's surface, land use and vegetation. The result of the high definition images is tracking a tornado's path of destruction, whether it's in a city or a forest far off the beaten path -- areas where damage can go undetected.

Toilet Bowl Water From Multiple Sources
Have you ever noticed on a windy day that the water in your toilet bowl might move around? Modern homes are built with a vent stack that allows air into the sewer line. The stack releases the fumes to escape from the sewer line and allows air into the sewer line so it flows smoothly. Without the vent, the sewer might flow more like a water from a plastic bottle. Air has to go into the bottle to replace the water coming out.

The vent stack is typically a plastic pipe that comes out near the peak of the roof. A slight vacuum develops as the wind passes over the pipe. The amount of suction that is developed varies with the speed of the wind. The changes in suction make the water in your toilet bowl "slosh about" in the bowl. You would also see this in any of the traps under your sinks. The water in the toilet bowl is more visible.

The Sky is Falling (maybe) From Multiple Sources
Satellite data indicates the cloud tops have been dropped about 100 feet over the past 10 years. The data comes from a satellite launched in 1999. While the data is interesting it is able to be correlated with similar data over several decades. No one really knows what this might mean. One suggestion is that lower clouds might be a method the earth is using to release additional heat into the atmosphere to counter global warming.

Rotating Wind Turbine Blades From NOAA
Some NOAA radar installations are located near wind turbines. The rotating wind turbine blades may appear on radar as thunderstorms. Basic radar sends a signal into the atmosphere and looks at the signal reflected back to the radar installation. Today's Doppler radar looks for motion in the sky and can filter out stationary objects. Wind turbines create air movement that can clutter nearby radar displays. The Radar Operations Center includes a discussion on wind turbines and other issues that may interfere with radar.

Terms For The Month From From Multiple Sources
Smir and Smur
These words refer to a fine rain or drizzle. The terms originate back to the 19th Centruy, but are rarely used today.

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Steele County SKYWARN
Owatonna, MN