The Weather Spotters Guide to the Galaxy

Weather and women are similar to me, both beautiful-both a total
mystery. I didn’t find the secret to either one this week but was
given some tools to at least begin a rudimentary understanding of the
weather. A primer on women has yet to be created.

Skywarn is a program began by National Weather Service (NWS) in the
sixties to make mortals into trained weather spotters. The NWS has
radar facilities all across the country however they still need eyes
on the ground to observe the weather. Radar travels in a straight
line and the earth is curved, so radar only reveals a portion of
potential storms as it travels from its point of origin and steadily
up and away from earth. Trained spotters are needed to create a
weather story to either side of that wave of radar.

I attended Skywarn training which dealt mostly with identifying the
telltale signs of a thunderstorm which are the precursor of severe
weather. I don’t have enough space here but suffice to say that not
all “funny looking” clouds are created equal. Our brief training
seemed to always point to a wall cloud and an anvil cloud complete
with overshooting top as tornado scat. The wall cloud is closer to
the ground and points down and towards rain or hail and has visible
rotation. The anvil cloud is the giant umbrella that lords over
everything except the overshooting top which is like the useless
button on top of a ball cap.
An exchange of warm rising air for cold falling air is what creates
rotation. Without rotation, you have rain and ruined ball games. If
rotation shows its face, you have potential for severe weather. Our
training was 2 ½ hours and was not enough time to make me able to
understand weather spotting enough to make you understand it in five
hundred words. If you are interested in the Skywarn classes, you
can participate online at
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/presentations/spotter-training/NWS-Spotter
-Training_files/frame.htm or just google “skywarn online training.”

Minnesota experiences the most tornadoes of any state in the United
States. Most of our tornadoes are at the lower end of the Ehanced
Fujita (ef-1 through ef-5) scale and so are not typically as
destructive as the Oklahoma/Kansas/Texas area tornadoes. Be prepared
and have a safe place to go in the event of tornadic weather, stay
informed by listening to local media (radio, television, internet)
and buy a weather radio, they’re cheap and broadcast the best weather
information I’ve ever found.

We are now entering the storm season and the more real information
(not coffee-shop baloney) you have, the more prepared you will be for
storms. You will also have less fear and be able to enjoy the weather
a bit more.
I think the Skywarn classes help remove a bit of shrouded mystery and
fear when it comes to the weather. As far as mysterious women, that
is a natural veil beyond the understanding of man and a fear with
which we will just have to learn to live.

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