Minutes of the High Plains AMS/NWA Chapter Meeting

November 21, 2013

The Chapter of the High Plains AMS/NWA held the first face to face meeting since March, 2012 on Thursday, November 2013.  There were 17 members able to attend, despite the ongoing winter weather. 
We met at 11:00 AM at the Destination Kitchen in Norton, KS.  This was the first time the chapter met at this establishment.  Our gathering started with a lunch, with great food and good service, received well by all.  After lunch, we recessed to a small room for a presentation by Jeff Halblaub of the Hastings, NE forecast office.  Jeff’s presentation was entitled “Wake Lows and Threats”.  After Jeff Halblaub’s presentation, the business meeting followed. 

The meeting was called to order by President Bill Taylor at 12:57 pm.  President Bill welcomed all to our first “non”-virtual meeting in over a year and a half.  The first order of business was to discuss the status of the 2014 High Plains conference.  Vice President Jeremy Wesely and Rick Ewald, both from the Hastings, NE forecast office, briefed the attendees on the conference status.  The Hastings office will go forward with plans for the conference to be held sometime in August, 2014 (before the hosting college is back in session).  The conference spaces will be reserved; a call for papers will go out, and other pre-conference details taken care of.  Costs will be low, due in part to the Hastings College providing space; few, if any, high cost Keynote speakers will be contacted; and more young, first time speakers will be approached.  We want to get back to our Chapter’s original motive to host a conference in which first time presenters would have a comfortable environment to present.  If the NWS budget is too limited to support conference attendance, alterations will be made to change the conference to a virtual conference.  High Plains members are asked to contact their respective MICs now, and ask them to set some funds back dedicated to conference attendance.  Furthermore, each university in the high plains area will be contacted in person by one of our members (who attended there), to speak to meteorology classes about our conference, and specifically about the student paper competition.  The January to March timeframe was suggested for these campus visits, to give students plenty of time to prepare for an August presentation.  Aaron Johnson, SOO, Dodge City forecast office, suggested we offer the students some travel expense funds, to encourage more student participation in the conference.  This student reimbursement issue will be voted on at a later meeting.

Scott Bryant, Treasurer, reported the Available Balance on 11/20/13 was $5,861.10.  The Jim Johnson Scholarship Fund was at $1810.00, leaving the Checkbook Balance at $4,051.10.  All non-paid members are encouraged to pay your 2014 dues of $15 by the next meeting. 

The next meeting will be a virtual meeting on January 8th, 2014.  The presenter will be Greg Carbin, WCM from SPC.  He will present the “10 Ten Weather Events of 2013”.  Vice President Jeremy Wesely will send out login information prior to the January meeting.

The Jeff Halblaub presentation, “Wake Lows and Threats” was presented nicely and was well received.  He stressed how important microphysics are to Wake Low development, while the Rear Inflow Jet also plays a key role.  Jeff also compared Wake Lows to Gravity Waves, suggested they may be one and the same, but it is not conclusive.  A key parameter to watch for is diminishing precipitation, which can precede the formation of a Wake Low and strong winds.  There are three stages common to a Wake Low event:  1) Heavy rain, 2) Rains taper off quickly, and 3) a sudden drop in Sea Level Pressure.  Then Jeff reviewed a case of a Wake Low from May 11th, 2011 in Northern Michigan.  There was a couple of bands of heavy thunderstorms, some with severe thunderstorm warnings.  The data in the area is quite sparse, and strong winds were hard to detect.  Jeff obtained a few reports from ships, one of which was an isolated 40kt gust.  Jeff later verified this strong wind.  In the Great Lakes area, Jeff stated that if you find a 40kt gust, then there is likely to be some kind of water level fluctuation, such as in a locks or canals.   

Bill Taylor, President
Tim Burke, Secretary