Oskaloosa.com

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

February 4, 2014

NWS gearing up for storm spotter training

OTTUMWA — It’s a bit odd to be thinking about this spring’s severe weather as you brace for yet another winter blast this week. But formal planning and training for storm spotters gets underway later this month.

Spring means temperatures that don’t require Thinsulate in your clothes. Green replaces the blinding glare of the sun on the snow. And, if the kids get too crazy inside, you can kick them out into the yard.

But spring also brings different risks. Since 1980, Iowa has only recorded one tornado in the December-February time frame. Once March arrives, things pick up fast.

And this year’s schedule comes along with a new review of tornado activity in Iowa since 1980. Why 1980? National Weather Service Lead Forecaster Craig Cogil said a “concerted effort by the NWS to try and document and rate all tornado events” significantly increased the quality of data in the 1980s as compared to the prior decades.

That was also about the time amateur and professional storm chasing started to take off, and improvements in radar technology also helped. Between the two, the chance of a tornado — even a brief one — being seen and reported went up.

So has the lead time for major outbreaks. While there is still no way to tell whether the season will be more or less severe than normal, forecasters are getting better at identifying when people should pay close attention and getting word out days in advance. Cogil said some of the major outbreaks in recent years had as much as a week of lead time.

“While the specifics weren't necessarily known, the pattern favorable for a major outbreak was recognized and added to products by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and local offices,” he said.

New generations of radar are further improving the ability to identify tornadoes and warn of them. But there’s a big gap in what they can do. Radar is line-of-sight, which means if you’re too far from the radar, it can’t see much more than the tops of storms. That’s where spotters come in.

Text Only
CNHI/Southeast Iowa
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Life and Times cover.tiff Life and Times

    Click here to go to the new Life and Times e-magazine.

    May 30, 2012 1 Photo

  • Honey Creek Resort recognized for recycling MORAVIA — Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake has been selected as having the best government recycling program by the Iowa Recycling Association.“Iowa’s Greenest Resort” received the award July 17 during the Iowa Recycling Association annu

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

Obituaries
Oskaloosa Shopper
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Photo reprints