Minutes of the High Plains AMS/NWA Chapter
February 12, 2013
Plains AMS/NWA Chapter held a teleconference, with a webinar, on
Monday, February 11th, at 11:30 AM CST. There were 25 members
logged into the teleconference. President Bill Taylor/North Platte,
Neb. welcomed everyone to the phone call, and quickly introduced our
guest speaker, Barbara (Barb) Mayes Boustead, a Journeyman Forecaster
from the Omaha, Neb. NWS.
Barb's topic, "Laura's Long Winter: Story of the Hard Winter of
1880-81" was both entertaining and educational. This story
began with Barb and others reading a series of books written by Laura
Ingalls Wilder, made famous from the TV series "Little House on the
Prairie." Barb and her co-author went back in climatological
record books to confirm, or prove wrong, the very dramatic winter
storms Mrs. Wilder wrote about. Digging up reliable weather data
from the 1880's is quite challenging, as data is quite limited.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote 4 of her 8 books while in De Smet, SD.
Barb was able to verify the weather presented in the "Laura's Long
Winter: Story of the Hard Winter of 1880-81". The winter of
1880-1881 in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri can
legitimately be claimed as one of the coldest and wettest winters on
record - ever! A "badness" index, named the AWSSI index, was
developed to rank winter storms, and 1880-1881 ranked the worst on
record. One interesting fact Barb and her research partner came
across was the mention of a Native American who visited Laura Ingalls,
and told her that every 3rd winter would be bad, and every 7th time of
a third winter would occur, it would be extremely bad. This
sounds like nice folklore, but the weather records do not support
it. The webinar ended with a few question from our members.
The business meeting followed the webinar. Treasurer Scott
Bryant, Lead Forecaster at Hastings, Neb. NWS, reported our total
ledger balance was $5883.70, with $2140.00 in the Jim Johnson Fund, and
$3743.70 in our checkbook balance. There were 2 new members added
since our last meeting, and 49 cents gained in interest. The next
subject, under Unfinished Business, was the election of officers.
All current officers will remain in office. Our President will be
William (Bill) Taylor/North Platte, Neb.; our Vice President will be
Jeremy Wesely, Hastings, Neb.; the Treasurer will be Scott Bryant,
Hastings, Neb., and the Secretary will be Tim Burke, Dodge City, Kan.;
and Past President will be Mike Umscheid, Dodge City, Kan.
Congratulations to all officers and thank you for serving this
Under New Business, the status of the High Plains Chapter was discussed
at length. Since travel funds have nearly vanished within the
NWS, it was thought we need to think hard about turning our annual
conference into a virtual, or partially virtual, conference.
Fewer members would have to travel, and thus fewer funds would be spent
on traveling. This year's conference will not be held, but more
intense thought and planning would be devoted to the 2014
conference. Also, the subject of face to face local chapter
meetings was discussed. We are going to work on this, with
possibly one of the late Spring or Summer meetings being held in
Norton. One suggestion brought up was to maybe refund one driver
(or so) from each office to drive their POV, reimbursing travel costs
from our treasury.
The phone meeting adjourned at 12:55 pm CST. Our next meeting is
tentatively in late March, and could possibly be held in Norton.