Ever had an urge to once in a Blue Moon buy me an Icom-706? Well, lands sake & glory be, your time opportunity has arrived!
On New Years Eve we will be treated to a Blue Moon. The current definition of a Blue Moon is a second full moon in a calendar month.
Blue Moons occur every two and a half to three years, the next one being on August 21, 2012. New Years Eve Blue Moons are more rare, the last being in 1971.
Where the term “Blue Moon” originated no one knows, but it dates to the days of Shakespeare. Back then it had little to do with the calendar cycle, but with an actual visibly blue moon appearance, which of course signaled global calamities in the near future. Sort of a Middle Ages version of Y2K, the 2012 Mayan calendar end of the world & Global Warming.
So enjoy the moon and thank you in advance for my new radio.
I hope you had the opportunity to participate in the Graduate Storm Spotter Training webinar that was held earlier this month. It was very well done and very informative. If you missed it, they are hoping to do another one later in 2010.
In the activity we participate in it’s important that we obtain a good working knowledge of meteorology so we can understand what is being said in the forecast office & so we can make sense of the reports we receive, some of which may sound loopy if we don’t understand what one is trying to describe.
Some online resources are:
http://www.training.disasterweather.org/ NSR Online Training. On this site, you will find a number of online courses originally targeted towards First Responders including fire fighters, emergency management, law enforcement, dispatchers, public works, and search and rescue personnel. The training has been expanded to provide training for the Spotter Network community.
http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is271.asp IS-271 Anticipating Hazardous Weather & Community Risk. This course is operated by the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education,and Training (COMET). Designed for emergency managers, this course has four main sections:
Weather: Provides a basic introduction to meteorology, particularly as it relates to hazardous weather.
Hazards: Describes the factors that can turn inconvenient weather event into a weather disaster.
Forecasting: Explains the forecast process and what limits forecast accuracy
Warning Partnership: Discusses the various pieces that go into producing an effective response to a hazardous situation
The most comprehensive site I’ve found is http://www.theweatherprediction.com/ which heavily covers the subject, including interpreting Skew-T charts, models and other more advanced items.
As for books, try these:
Weather: a Golden Guide by Paul E. Lehr, R. Will Burnett & Herbert S. Zim. This small non-technical book at first glance may seem like a “child’s book”, but actually gives thorough, readable overview of the subject.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather by David Ludlum covers every type of weather system, cloud formation, and atmospheric phenomenon common to North America with 378 photographs capturing cloud types, precipitation, storms, twisters, and optical phenomena such as the Northern Lights, along with essays on these items.
I would add that ANY meteorology book by David Ludlum is worth the effort. Especially his historical works. When someone says “strange unheard of things are happening” you will remember reading in his books that these same “strange unheard of things” also happened in 1928, 1935, 1947, 1956, 1969, 1972, 1981, & 1999 also, and so maybe these “strange and unheard of” things aren’t so strange after all.
Peterson Field Guide to Atmosphere by John A. Day, Vincent J. Schaefer, Roger Tory Peterson gives 400 photographs and line drawings illustrating every kind of atmospheric phenomenon: clouds of every type; storms, from cloudbursts to hurricanes; and sky colors.
These books I’ve recommended are heavy on the visuals and scarce on the mathematical hieroglyphics, for I don’t need a mathematical formula, or algorithm, as formulae are now properly called, to tell me that a cumulus cloud is chubby. I figured that out by own little self a few years ago.
Check out these resources and the many others out there. l find it an endlessly fascinating subject.
Hopefully you will too.
January is named for the Roman god Janus, the god of gates and doors, and so openings and beginnings.
January receives more sunlight than December, but the equilibrium between incoming solar heat and the heat radiated into space by the northern snowfields does not peak until late January and early February, six weeks after winter solstice. So the weather continues to cool, with January 8 – 20 being the coldest part of the year.
One of the most tragic outbreaks of cold weather in Alabama occurred January 10-18, 1982, when 20 people died and 300 were injured. 16,000 people were forced into emergency shelters and storm damage totaled 78 million dollars.
At least 5 people perished in the extreme cold of January 19-22, 1985, that rewrote low temperature records over much of Alabama. This storm brought ice accumulations up to one foot in Lauderdale County. Bridges were coated with ice well into Central Alabama and four people were killed in traffic accidents on icy roads.
On Saturday January 19, 2008 Central Alabama enjoyed a rare snowfall, with Trussville getting 0.8 Inch, and Central Alabama getting from 2 to 5 inches from Dallas to Chilton County.
Typically in January there is a 53% chance of up to one inch of snow & a 25% chance of over one inch of snow.
Barometric pressure is highest in January.
This January’s first Full Moon is “Wolf Moon” in Native American folklore.
Interestingly, the Saxons called January Wulf-monath or Wolf Month.
So you might watch out for wolves.
This month’s meeting will be on January 12 at 7PM at the National Weather Service
Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
I hope to see you there.
Mark / WD4NYL