GOODBYE AND HELLO
With greater emphasis being put on equipment exposure, we had to move the temperature and precipitation equipment at Phillipsburg, Kansas. KKAN-KQMA Radio in Phillipsburg provided us with temperature and rain data for many years and were wonderful partners with the National Weather Service. Unfortunately, tall buildings and surrounding concrete were having an effect on the measurements. Mr. and Mrs. Don Shields graciously volunteered to take over the temperature and rain measurements. A big welcome goes out to them as they join our family.
POSSIBLE EQUIPMENT MOVES
As we make our round of visits this summer, we will be evaluating every site to ensure it meets proper exposure requirements. The requirement for the rain gage is it must be twice the distance away from surrounding obstacles, such as buildings and trees. For temperature sensors, they must be in areas where the air flow is not obstructed. If it is determined the equipment needs to be moved, we will work with you for the best possible solution.
COOPERATIVE OBSERVER AWARDS
Presenting Length of Service awards to our wonderful observers is one of the best parts of the job. We always enjoy visiting with our observers. This provides us a rare opportunity to sit and visit. Most of the time we are on a tight schedule when making our annual visits, so this is a welcome change.
Congratulations to the following observers:
Arnold Merrill and Nick Blankenbaker
Steve Carmel presented a 30 year award to Arnold and Nick at the Red Cloud Power Plant. The Power Plant staff have provided temperature and precipitation data since Feb. 1976.
Merl Heinlein, Senior Forecaster, and Marla Doxey recently presented Della with her 30 year award. Della wears many hats in Osborne County, Kansas. In addition to being an official rainfall observer, she is also a school bus driver, and sole editor for the local newsletter. An avid flower grower, many of her “flower children” have found themselves new homes in neighboring states.
John A. Nelson
Steve Carmel and I were happy to have morning coffee with John A. and his wife, Frieda, at the local coffee shop in Fullerton, Nebraska. The coffee shop is located inside the town pharmacy, so you can also do a little shopping as they have many wonderful items. They also have great story tellers and home baked goodies to snack on. John A. has been reporting the rainfall for the past 15 years and provides our office with many stories and jokes. He is also a wonderful wood carver and proudly showed us his carving of the rare Mile-or-more bird.
Ernest E. Kuhl
Ernest Kuhl has one of the “coolest” gardens around. He grows a wide variety of vegetables, flowers and grape vines. If I remember correctly, which sometimes I don’t, he mentioned the grape vines were 30 to 40 years old. Making wine from grapes is not easy, so now they make jam. Sounds like a good deal to me. Steve Carmel and I were proud to present Ernest with a 15 year award for reporting the precipitation for the Orleans area. He is also the wire-weight reader for the Republican River. Let’s hope we have water in the river for him to measure.
As a retired farmer, Joe still keeps very busy. Joe not only reports the precipitation for the Edison area, but he also changes the tape on the recording Fischer and Porter rain gage. Joe keeps a close eye on this gage. The dust created by elevator coats the solar panel on the recording gage. Almost daily Joe will come out and wipe it off to ensure the battery stays charged. He also listens for the 15 minute punch sound which tells him the gage is still operating. Merl Heinlein and I were very happy to present Joe with his 10 year award.
ADDITIONS TO OUR STAFF
Since the last newsletter, we have had a couple of new people join the National Weather Service family at Hastings. Many of you have spoken to them early in the morning when calling in your data. Please welcome:
Jim is one of our new Journeyman Forecasters. A native of Illinois, he attended Arizona State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in geography in 1991. He worked as a pilot weather briefer in Phoenix, Arizona for two years before beginning work with the NWS as a meteorological intern in San Diego in 1993. Jim worked in the El Paso, Texas and Medford, Oregon offices before arriving here in mid-December. Jim has been married to his wife, Amber, for about 4 years, and has two step-children with her. Their names are Elissa and Dylan. Jim’s hobbies include traveling, flying small aircraft, snow skiing, water skiing and storm chasing.
Our newest electronics technician, comes to us from Lubbock, Texas, and has a Bachelors of Science degree in Information Technology. John was raised on a farm in rural Giles County Tennessee. He entered the Navy immediately upon graduating from high school, and received training as an electronics technician. He spent 12 years aboard Thresher Class Nuclear Fast-Attack submarines where he became the ship’s Chief Electronics Technician, and also served as an Advanced Electronics Instructor, teaching submarine systems and radars. John later worked for Motorola as a senior bench and field Communications Electronics Technician before being recruited as a Station Engineer for Voice of America Broadcasting. John and his wife, Colleen, now reside in Harvard.
Scott was born and raised in the relatively small town of Newton, IA., located about 30 miles east of Des Moines, IA. He attended Iowa State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree with a major in meteorology. Scott’s first weather related job was with WeatherData, Inc., a private weather forecasting firm located in Wichita, KS., where he remained for four years before we snapped him up as a meteorological intern. Scott joined us in February. Scott and his wife, Nichole, have been married for three and a half years. In June, they will be celebrating their son’s first birthday. During his off-time, Scott enjoys reading, dining out, playing tennis, watching football and of course, storm chasing. He is quick to add, there is no greater joy in my life than spending time with Nichole and his son. His family provides him with his greatest adventures and happiest moments.
In our last newsletter, we introduced you to Kurt Buffalo, a new meteorological intern for the National Weather Service. We are happy to announce Kurt was promoted to Journeyman Forecaster on-station.
TORNADO SAFETY TIPS
« IN HOMES OR SMALL BUILDINGS: Go to the basement or cellar (if available) or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect your body from flying debris.
« IN SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, FACTORIES, OR SHOPPING CENTERS: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. Don't take shelter in halls that open to the south or the west. Centrally-located stairwells are good shelter.
« IN HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS: Go to interior small rooms, halls, rest rooms or designated shelter areas. Stay away from exterior walls, elevators, doors or glassy areas.
« IN CARS OR MOBILE HOMES: ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY!!! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.
« IF NO SUITABLE STRUCTURE IS NEARBY: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head. Be alert for flash floods.
« DURING A TORNADO: Absolutely avoid buildings with large free-span roofs. Stay away from west and south walls. Remember: lowest level, smallest room, center part.
« TO PREPARE FOR A TORNADO: Store water in clean covered containers. You should keep disaster supplies in your home at all times (i.e. flashlight, radio first aid kit.).
No matter where you are, do some advance planning. Identify protective areas you can get to in a hurry. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio that will provide an alarm if a tornado watch or warning is in affect for your county.
The key to tornado survival is to be prepared and to take immediate action when a warning is issued or when you spot a tornado. Remember, the actions you take during a tornado may save your life and the lives of your family.
BOTTOM LINE FOR TORNADO SAFETY: GET IN, GET DOWN, COVER UP!
National Weather Service Hastings, Nebraska
Lightning is one of nature’s most awe inspiring and dangerous phenomenon. The average lightning flash could light a 100-watt light bulb for more than 3 months! The temperature of a lightning bolt may reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit which is hotter than the surface of the sun!
On average, lightning kills one person in Nebraskan per year, and about 73 Nationwide. In fact, lightning remains one of the most deadly weather phenomena in the U.S., and it can occur almost anywhere throughout the entire year. Lightning occurring during snowstorms has even killed people! Many people incur injuries or are killed due to misinformation and inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms. A few simple precautions can reduce many of the dangers posed by lightning.
Do you hear it?
Once you hear thunder, it is time to act to prevent being struck by lightning. Generally speaking, once you can see lightning or hear thunder, you’re already at risk. Louder or more frequent thunder indicates that lightning activity is approaching, increasing the risk for lightning injury or death. If the time delay between seeing the flash (lightning) and hearing the bang (thunder) is less than 30 seconds, immediately seek a safer location.
AVOID being in or near:
High places and open fields, isolated trees, gazebos, open sided picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communication towers, flagpoles, light poles, bleachers (metal or wood), metal fences, convertibles, golf carts, water (ocean, lakes, swimming pools, rivers, etc.).
When inside a building AVOID:
Use of the telephone or computer, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or any contact with conductive surfaces with exposure to the outside such as metal door or window frames, electrical wiring, telephone wiring, cable TV wiring, plumbing, etc.
Stay in your automobile. An enclosed automobile offers reasonably good protection from lightning, as long as you don’t touch metal.
Pay attention to weather warning devices such as NOAA Weather Radio and/or credible Lightning Detection Systems. NOAA All Hazards Radio and local weather forecasts should be monitored prior to any outdoor event to determine if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Use good common sense if living in or traveling across Nebraska this year.
National Weather Service Hastings, Nebraska
Newsletter by Marla Doxey - Webpage composition by Steve Carmel