Saturday, January 31, 2009

Record high?

According to the weather station at the Blaine Airport our highest hourly temp was 46F. Looking at the almanac on MyCast that I have on my phone 46 is the record high for today which was set in 1995 so we might have a tie today if the 46 that was reported is actually counted. Noone really expected it to get this warm today, the NWS saying that highs would be around 35 with clouds and patchy light freezing drizzle in the morning. I was up at 9:00 to get ready for work and it was clear out by that time so I'm guessing the clouds/drizzle that was expected cleared out much faster than expected which allowed the sun to be out longer and thus warm temps more than anticipated. It felt awesome out there today, on my way to get some lunch I drove with my window down. After the cold January we had I think we deserved a day like today. Unforunately it wont last as tomorrow it supposed to be cloudy and breezy with highs around 30 and colder on Mon/Tues with highs only around 15. Still no storms in the near future so it should stay pretty quiet thru atleast the first week of February.

I was looking at the surface obs in areas under a Red Flag Warning down in Kansas and the air down there is unbelievably dry. I think I was at the surface obs for Goodland, KS and they had an air temp of 70 with a dewpoint of -6 creating a relative humidity of 4%. :o

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What is that?

Oh, its snow, something we havent seen in a long time here in Minnesota. I'm not sure on exact measurements, but January has been very dry this year in my memory. We picked up a quick half inch here, enough to allow me to play with the hand brake in the empty part of the Cub Foods parking lot after picking up a couple boxed dinners (the same dinner I nearly upchucked myself after seeing the weird Yankton TOR video Bill posted from 5/5/07). Streets aren't bad, I'm sure the highways aren't bad, snow has ended, just a quick dusting to remind us that Minnesota Januaries arent always about extreme cold. But, other than this I dont see much more snow for a while, certainly nothing big (or even any clipper systems) through the beginning of February. A nice brief thaw this weekend with highs maybe getting to 32, otherwise still very boring. Not much else to say except that I took some pics for my photo class and we are developing the film this week. I will probably just bring the film in to Proex or something and have them make prints of the negatives, it will take way to long to get the pics on here if I wait until after I enlarge them myself. But I should have a couple cool ones (I hope) but we will see.

Small warm up?

Still very boring weather and I dont have much to say. I just thought I would mention that temps here in central Minnesota should rebound back in to the 20's to near 30 over the weekend which will be very welcome after the recent cold snap. Although temps weren't nearly as bad for this recent arctic air plunge, it was still colder than most people wanted. But now it looks like temps should stay around average for a while. No big storms in the near future, hardly any snow at all actually. The most exciting thing right now is that January is almost over which is historically the coldest month here in Minnesota, so I am definately glad it is ending. Also, I am actually starting to notice a change in daylight a small bit, only a few months till chase season will be really starting here in the upper midwest. Like I said, not much to say, most of this post really isnt anything important but I havent updated in a few days.
On a more interesting note, my chase vid is almost done. I realize I have been saying this for a while but I should be done with it by Saturday at the latest. Email me for a copy:
midwestchaser@yahoo.com

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boring Weather

The weather has been extremely boring here in Minnesota for the last week or so. About the only interesting thing about the weather right now is the arctic air that is again sitting over us. But atleast it looks like a minor warm up back to the mid 20's by midweek. Taking a quick look at the GFS I dont see much of anything happening storm wise in to the first couple days of February, atleast certainly not for the rest of January. I'm getting sick of winter already, the small warm up we had last week really changed my mindset from winter mode to thinking about spring.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that Metro Skywarn has posted the dates for their spotter classes. I will most likely be attending the March 14th one in Blaine, as that one is usually one a lot of the chasers from the area go to. Anyone else planning on going to that one? One bad thing I just realized yesterday is that I might not be able to make it to the 2009 Minnesota Skywarn Workshop. We are going to have a wedding at work that Saturday and it would be a pretty tough day for me to try to get out of. We will see, I definately want to make it but I'm not 100% right now

Lastly, I made some major progress on Mother Nature: Rage & Grace. At this point, its mostly just offseason pics I need to put in, and I have already started getting them in there so it should be done some time this week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Basketball team forfeits a win?!?

Sorry for staying off-topic but I had to post this. I was monkeying around on Yahoo when I saw this article. Here is a little preview for an idea of what I'm talking about:

DALLAS -- A Texas high school girls basketball team on the winning end of a 100-0 game has a case of blowout remorse.
Now officials from The Covenant School say they are trying to do the right thing by seeking a forfeit and apologizing for the margin of victory.

Now, I admit 100-0 is bit over the top, but come on, thats the way sports are! I cant believe people are making such a big deal out of this. Ok, the losing team only had 20 girls, but that's why you dont play against one of the best teams in the state! They haven't won a game in four seasons, isnt that maybe a sign that they should join a different conference, one that they can actually compete in?!? Instead of making the players from the winning team feel like crap, why dont they make the A.D. of the losing team feel like crap for letting it happen if this is such a big deal to the parents? Players should not regret a win, EVER, no matter what the score is. A win is a win, and they should never feel like they they played too well. This is just another example of how so many parents now want everyone to be equal and let everybody win. This isnt the way sports are, sometimes you're gonna get creamed, thats the way it is. I can remember plenty of times I was on a team and got killed. Heck, I was on a church basketball team and we lost 114-14 to another church, and NOONE complained, and we were much younger than the players in the article. We didnt cry, we didnt sulk around, our parents weren't compaining. It just amazes me how soft some people are. Did the winning team run up the score? Yea, probably (but for all we know they had their subs in and still got to 100), and I dont like running up the score, but is it enough of a reason to make them forfeit the game? In my opinion, not at all. The losing team obviously should not have even been playing this game, and that is the fault of whoever runs the basketball league for the state of Texas, dont take a win away from the players because some idiot scheduled a huge mismatch.

And oh yea, more arctic air saturday thru monday.........

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Update on my chase vid.

Not that my vid. is a huge production but I thought I would let everyone know I have gotten some major work done. The dates that I have the most pics for are pretty much done and the little bit of video I have is getting worked on as we speak. After this its pretty much just finishing up the last few chases of 2008 and then the off season pics (which should take a while but if I actually work on it it shouldnt be too bad). I'm shooting for it to be done by January 30th. Sorry its taken so long, my time management for this project hasnt been great. Again, if you havent told me yet and you want a copy, leave a comment or drop me a line.
midwestchaser@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reunited and it feels so good

Ok, so the title is extremely cliche and I feel sort of queer for saying it but its true. I was finally reunited tonight with my film SLR camera. I let my friend borrow it for a photo class last year and didnt get it back til after work today. I need it for a photo class at ARCC. It should be mostly stuff I already know but when you only need 3 more credits to be full time and nothing else works in your schedule you will take what you can get. The camera body is a Nikon N65 with a 28-80 mm Nik(k?)or lense. Its old school and I desperately need to upgrade to a DSLR but there are other things I need for chasing first. There are some things I have been wanting to try out but the Canon Powershot I usually use doesnt have the aperature settings I need. I'll be posting some of the pics I take and I should be able to get some good ones, although all the ones for class will be black and white. Time to start lining the fridge with film. I wonder how long its been since most of you have had to do that?!?

On a different note: I know I'll get a few rotten fruit thrown at me for saying this but I skipped my meteorology class today to watch the inauguration. I never thought I would be so intrigued by this kind of event but this was so much different than any other inauguration so far. His speech was simply awesome...

Monday, January 19, 2009

The real definition of F.O.R.D.

Im sure many have heard this before but the name of the car company Ford is really an acronym for Fixed Or Repaired Daily. I have a 2000 Ford Focus that I got in 2006 thru a police auction in Brooklyn Center. Since then we have put in upwards of $1000 of repairs in to it and there is still a couple hundred that still need to go in to it before the '09 season. The last problem that we had to get fixed was an oil leak that got oil in ot all the gears in the engine. This cost about $400 including labor. While the car was in the shop for the engine problems, the mechanics realized that my suspension was f*cked up (and that's not an exaggeration). However, there was a recall on the suspension for the model car I had. The problem? The recall expired 2 months we brought it in. This was another $400 for a new suspension. In the summer of 2007 we had to replace the windshield (and not from hail mind you). For some unknown reason that I will probably never figure out, there was a spider web crack all around my rear view mirror and the rear view mirror actually popped off. It was like a baseball or something hit it on the outside right where the mirror is. This was another $100-$200. Then of course the piece of rubber that is on the outside of the windshield at the bottom that prevents water from leaking in to the car comes loose on the passenger side, so whenever it rains hard I get a nice big nasty puddle of water in the passenger side floor. This is one of those things I still have to fix but I did get an estimate last fall which was about $130. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind my car is a 2 door. To get to the back seats on the passenger side you pull a lever to get the backrest of the seat to spring forward. Of course the lever got stripped and doesnt work any more, so now I have to use a vise grip to get it to work. The piece that moves the vents from side to side on the passenger side broke so now air just blows straight out. Im pretty sure I have another leak in my engine (and I just got the other leak fixed in October). And just last night, I was backing out of the driveway and I cranked the wheel to the right just to have a little fun. What happens? Somehow the damn fan shift to the right and hits something whenever I turn it on. So, in just over 2 years the car has already need about $2000 in repairs. Right now, it is nowhere close to being ready for chase season, I have absolutely no faith in it handling trips at this point. Even if we were to sell the car and get something new/more reliable we still have a couple hunder bucks before we could sell it. Fixed Or Repaired Daily, seems about right.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I found this interesting...

I was thinking about a winter storm that went through norhtern Minnesota a week or two ago and I remembered seeing a product from the Marquette NWS that was called a "Heavy Freezing Spray Warning" for counties along Lake Superior in the UP of Michigan. Unforutnately my computer was acting up and I couldnt read the warning text. Anyways, I thought this was pretty interesting since I have never thought about anything like this but I suppose it can be problematic. Im guessing they are talking about the spray of the waves crashing on shore, I dont know what else they could be talking about. I've never seen or heard about this, but then again we dont have to deal with it here in central Minnesota. So I was wondering, what is the criteria for a "Heavy Freezing Spray Warning"? I wonder if its some sort of weather phenomona that requires a specifc set of weather conditions? Or is it something that happens rather regularly along the shores of the Great Lakes? I was also wondering what problems these conditions would create? I mean, I would assume that these conditions and consequent problems are pretty much confined to right along the shore but maybe winds could carry the mist/spray farther inland? If anyone knows I think it would be pretty interesting to learn about, especially because like I said before it not something we ever really think about for those of us who dont live along the shores of the GL.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lutsen Trip

Ok, now that I finally got the video problems worked out I'll post a recap of our trip. We were in Lutsen from January 6th-January 9th to go snowboarding at the Lutsen mountains. All in all there were 7 of us that went up for the 3 day, 4 night trip. 4 of them went up during the day on Tuesday, a friend and I had to work till 10:00 Tuesday night. We got on I35 a little after 11:00 pm for the 4 hour drive. We made good time till we got on Highway 61 on the other side of Duluth. Just after getting on 61 we saw deer hanging around on the side of the road so we decided to play it safe and drive well under the 55 mph speed limit and we never went over 45 mph the rest of the way. We got to the Solbakken resort where we were staying. We didnt get up there till 4:00 am, and didnt get to bed till 5:00 am. Woke up at about 9:00 am Wednesday morning. I headed in to town with a friend to pick up the lift tickets and get some breakfast while the other guys got ready. We got back to the cabin at about 9:45 to pick up the other guys. We left to head back to Lutsen to snowboard. So, the way this resort has their roads back to the highway setup is there is one road that goes pretty much straight to the highway but is a bit steep in the snow. The other path goes around the rest of the cabins but is not nearly as steep. So, we decide to take the shorter way since we were in an SUV. We make it up the incline just fine but once we were are about to get to the highway there is a propane truck filling a truck that is right in our way and there is no way to get around him. We think, son of a b!tch, but whatever, we'll just put it in reverse and take the other way around. Well, for those of you who have never been to Solbakken the roads are EXTREMELY narrow. We almost get back to the other road when all of a sudden we start sliding down the little embankment on the side of the road. Not that the embankment was steep, but when its covered in snow it is very slick. We try putting it in drive to try to get out, but we only slide further in the embankment. So, we get out, we try pushing it out, we try digging it out. Finally our buddy goes to get his SUV to try to pull the other car out. Well, the SUV that orginally got stuck is still far enough in the narrow road that there is hardly any room for the other SUV to get by. Of course, our buddy who was trying to pull the first SUV out also got stuck. Luckily it didnt take long to get him out. But first car took forever. To make a long and frustrating story short, we broke our only shovel digging out the undercarrage of the car. In the end, we dug out enough of a hole and filled it with some pieces of wood from the wood pile from our cabin while 2 people pushed the car sideways and 2 people pushed from the front. All this took about an hour and I honestly thought we were never going to get it out. But after this we get to Lutsen. The good thing about the day is that we got to enjoy lake effect snow the entire day and we had some nice fresh powder. We boarded until about 3:30 then headed back to the cabin. Went to bed around midnight and woke up around 9:00 Thursday morning. We left for the mountains around 9:45 and thankfully this time we didnt get stuck. I did bring my video camera to do some filming of my friends doin some jumps and I will post atleast one of the videos. Thursday was nice and sunny so we got both types of great weather for skiing/snowboarding, nice fresh snow and nice warm sun. We went back to the cabin around 3:30 again and went out to eat at the Cascade restaurant just to our north on 61. I didnt get to bed until about 4:00 and had to wake up at 8:00 am Friday to get ready to head back home since I had to work at 3:00. Luckily, the winter storm that was supposed hit central Minnesota went south, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten back until well after 3:00, since we didnt get back til 2:30 even in the good weather. So that's a brief recap, I'll post one of the videos and a couple pics:
video

Pics from a chalet and from out cabin. God I want to be back there











Having Some Trouble

I'm having some trouble changing the file type of my video from a trip to Lutsen. The default file type that comes from my video camera is .MOD and I cant for the life of me figure out how to switch it to .mpeg or something similar. Websites like Facebook and programs like Windows Media Player, Adobe, and others dont support .MOD and like I said I cant figure out how to switch it. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

EDIT: Scratch the original post, I figured out alteast one way to do it, although there may be a faster way to do it. What I ended up doing is putting the RAW file in to Windows Movie Maker and publishing the video which then puts it in to .wmv format.

Monday, January 12, 2009

1/12/09 Alberta Clipper

An Alberta Clipper is moving through the Upper Midwest today bringing a large swath of 2-5 inches of snow accumlation in ND/SD/IA/MN/WI along with very strong winds sustained 25-35 mph and gusting to 50 mph in some places. Although the snow accumulation isnt huge, there is plenty of loose snow from previous snowfalls to create whiteout conditions thus Blizzard Warnings have been issued for large potions of ND and SD along with northwest IA and along the SD/MN border. Winds should subside late this evening in ND and SD but continue over MN/IA/WI. Along with the snow this system is bringing extremely cold temps to ND and northern MN with low temps potentially getting down to -30 degrees F and combined with the winds associated with the clipper will bring wind chills from -40 to -55 degrees F. Wind chill warnings have been posted for northeastern Minnesota and look for many schools in that area to be closed or atleast delayed start due to the extreme wind chills. Another system will impact the same general area Tuesday night with a few more inches of snow possible.

Side notes:
I am still working on getting the Lutsen pics/video from my video camera. Im having a helluva a time converting the file type on the videos. The current file type is .MOD and I want to change it to .wmv but I havent figured out how yet. Any advice? Once I get this figured out I will have a recap of the trip which was an awesome time!

Also, my chase video "Mother Nature Rage & Grace" is still in the works. My computer decided to crap out on me right before I left for Lutsen so I couldnt get any work done before I left. Procrastination and the trip itself are also reasons I havent finished it yet. But I promise it will be done soon. Again, if you like a copy, either by trade or just a copy of it, let me know via email: midwestchaser@yahoo.com

Friday, January 9, 2009

So frickin tired

I headed up to Lutsen, MN for a few days with 6 friends for a snowboarding trip which is why i havent updated lately. Of course my laptop decided to fail me the day we were leaving so I wasnt able to get my daily fix of weather info. We left Tuesday, came back today, snowboarded Wednesday and Thursday. HELLUVA time! Nothing beats kicking it with friends out on the slopes and then going back to the cabin and having some fun. We stayed at the Solbakken cabins which were suprisingly cheap for how big it was. I would type a longer post but my brain is fried right now, lack of sleep plus a 4 1/2 hour ride home and then right away going to work for 7 hours. Ugh, I'll post more with some pics later, we have a few stories from this trip.