OR-AMS Meeting Summary


“4th Annual Weather Sampler”


  On September 24, 2009, 14 members and guests gathered at the McMenamins-Broadway to share their latest weather projects – a new tool, or idea, or analysis, etc.  This meeting format is unusual in that there is no formal guest speaker – chapter members simply share their topics.  We enjoyed good food and drink, as well.  


  President Bobby Corser welcomed everyone and made announcements.  Kyle Dittmer presented on behalf of Martha and Nader Khoury, who couldn’t attend at the last minute.  Columbia Weather Systems has released their latest line of professional weather monitoring equipment -- the Magellan Weather Station.  It is a rugged, all-in-one sensor module with built-in compass for auto-alignment of wind direction -- great for portable and mobile weather monitoring.  One of the more interesting applications for the Magellan Weather Station is a company that incorporates them into their buoys.  To keep up to date with our developing technologies and interesting applications, we invite folks to become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our blog (updated twice a month): www.columbiaweather.com.


  Phil Welke showed us meteograms from a “west coast city” on Dec. 17, 2008 and wanted us to guess which city.  The pattern was very cold and snowy.  People guessed The Dalles, Portland, Newport, Springfield, Spokane, Sacramento, Hollywood, and Bellingham.  Los Angles was correct.  He also showed a photo of a rotating funnel cloud near North Plains, June 20, 2009.


   Jim Little talked about the IGES meteogram and how you can customize your own meteogram with computer scripts (and Jim can share how with interested folks).  NOMADS is used by the NWS.  GRADS will interface with NOMADS to make maps.


  Pat Timm mentioned that on Labor Day, a cold front sweep the region and snow lines dropped to 6000 feet.  A big thunderstorm on the beach, Ocean Shores (near Hoquim, WA) dumped 0.75 inch rain in 10 minutes.  Groundbreaking for a new NEXRAD in Grays Harbor will start in 2010 and completed by 2011-2012.  This radar will help in detection in the blind spot of the west side of the Olympic Mountains that the Seattle and Portland radars can’t see.


  Steve Pierce asked, “Which year had the most number of >90 degF days in Portland?”  That would be 2009!  He also said that the Farmers Almanac (if you believe such things) predicts a “doomsday” December 2009.  Stay tuned.


  Kyle Dittmer shared his new invention: a portable stream channel.  Using a variety of rocks, including volcanic cinders, he epoxy-glued many gravels to the bottom of a 2-meter long plastic rain gutter.  This modified gutter can be used to demonstrate streamflow over a rough and natural stream channel and compare with a smooth (i.e., manmade) channel.  The tool demonstrates river flow, erosion, and rainfall-runoff relationships.  This tool will be used in his Portland Community College and Marylhurst University earth science classes.


  Paul Sommer-Weisel, a German exchange student, talked about weather patterns in Germany.  The weather is quite varied and depends where you are in the country – the south sees more sunny days than the cooler cloudy north.  Rain is more common in the valleys.  In central Germany, annual rainfall totals of 1300 mm (51 inches) are found.  Weather is becoming more extreme in recent years.  In 2003, there was a 300-year flood in Dresden (eastern Germany), then a major heat-wave in the summer of 2004.  Snowfall totals have been in decline.


Note-taker: Kyle Dittmer, 2009-2010 Oregon-AMS Secretary (and Past-President)