Round 3

Sorry this is a short post. Parts of the state have seen severe weather the last two days including a short lived EF-0 tornado in Winneshiek County on Monday evening. I have only looked over a small amount of data but it looks like there is potentially yet another round to come through the state this afternoon & evening. The SPC is currently highlighting part of the state for an Enhanced risk of severe storms with all modes possible (see graphic). I’ll try to make another post later with an update but we shall see, otherwise check for the latest on the Iowa Weather Network  website or the website of your local NWS office.


In a case of strange timing, we just released a newly redesigned website this week as well.



A few weeks ago I glanced at an article in one of the local papers about county officials being sworn in and their thoughts on issues. I noticed both of the new county supervisors and the re-elected county sheriff all brought up the radio system. I realize the supervisors are inheriting a problem from their predecessors here but why are we still talking about this? The system has had issues since it went live over three years ago yet so far nothing has been done to solve the problem. Given that part of it seems to be the result of corner-cutting by the county, had they just built it right the first time then maybe there would not have been an issue in the first place.

Rumor is the latest idea is to jump onto the State of Iowa’s new system when Motorola gets it built out in the area. This would necessitate replacing every radio in the county yet again as the current radios are incompatible with the state system. However based on what I’ve read, based on the specifications that will not solve the problem. The state system is being built to provide 95% mobile coverage. The requirement for the Boone County system was 98% however officials never stipulated if this were mobile or portable. (Portable would require more tower sites as portable radios have less range.) Even converting the existing Boone County sites to the state system, this would likely result in basically the same problems we currently face as the physics (and tower locations) don’t change.

There was talk of a property tax levy to pay for the new equipment, one city official was quoted as saying “the City of Madrid will oppose the levy if funds paid to RACOM Corporation for a non-working radio system are not recovered.” (Council minutes 1/3/17, fixed for spelling)

I’m no lawyer, but pretty sure the city & county have zero case here. The departments have been using the system for years, and I have a hard time seeing them being able to prove the coverage requirement was not met given how vaguely it was written.

Unfortunately it seems we keep spinning our wheels and not actually getting things fixed, since neither the County 911 Board, Boone County Board of Supervisors, or city councils seem to have the leadership to actually get things done.

First Big Snow of 2017?

I think the system moving through the state today & tomorrow is our first major snow of the new year although only the north side of the state will see snow, the southeastern side will see mainly rain. I put up a short post on the Iowa Weather Network site with a few details. A good portion is under a Winter Storm Warning while the counties on the southern fringe of the snow are under a Winter Weather Advisory as there will likely be a sharp cutoff to the snowfall amounts.


Ice Storm 2017

As the first storm of the new year begins to hit the state I posted a short blog over at Iowa Weather Network which you can read here. Things are beginning to ice over here in Madrid so please stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, and if you must go out then be careful. Roads will likely continue to deteriorate overnight.

AMBER Alert out of Des Moines

This is basically a repost of what I originally wrote for Iowa Weather Network earlier this morning.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety has issued an AMBER Alert for two brothers abducted from Des Moines, Iowa on December 28th. Landon Griffin, 12, and Morgan Griffin, 11, were abducted by their non-custodial mother Mary Andrea Purcell, 35. Purcell may be driving a Gold or Brown 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with Iowa plates C R Y 3 7 1. She may be heading to Oregon or Minnesota. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Purcell or the children contact your local law enforcement or the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 515-286-3333.

On Snowfall Click-bait “Forecasts”

Another winter, another season of people posting click-bait snowfall “forecasts” on Facebook. I use the term forecast extremely loosely, as its usually little more than a JPEG of the output of one run of one computer model.

I saw a post this morning (I suspect the same one Ed Wilson was referring to during the news) suggesting the possibility of something like 40″ of snow across the area next week. There are multiple things wrong with this.

First, simply from a timing perspective, it’s a week away so a whole lot of variables will change. Sure we could get snow, it could also end up in Canada or bring rain/thunderstorms to the Gulf Coast, if it makes it here at all. Anything is possible at this point. The GFS has popped up systems like this, although not to this extreme, in the 7-14 day range multiple times since before Thanksgiving if I’m not mistaken, but we have yet for any of them to materialize.

Second, receiving 40″ of snow is highly unlikely in any event as that is more snow than Des Moines has seen in a  month, let alone one day. The record for snowiest month stands at 37.0″ and dates back to January 1886. That’s 130 years. The record for a single day is 19.8″ which has stood since January 1942.

Moral of the story (TL;DR): Don’t believe snowfall forecasts more than a couple days out from the event. Anything beyond that is throwing darts at a map.

Hello November

So as usual I’m terrible at keeping things updated. I downsized two servers to save a few bucks but also tried to tweak them to work better, so hopefully the pages here load faster now. I’ve slowly been working on getting my weather-related uploads to the site switched from FTP to something more secure, or at least as many of them as I can anyway.

The company I host my servers on has been doing some upgrading of their own according to their blog including new fiber & routers, which could allow for some interesting setups in the future.

Weather has been pretty quiet and things look to be winding down…then again I didn’t expect the radar to look like this yesterday:



That’s all for now.

Today’s Forecast: HOT

As you can see it’s pretty much hot everywhere with an Excessive Heat Warning in effect for much of the region. The warning running through 7 PM Saturday for the central third of Iowa and portions of eastern Iowa, and through 8 PM Friday in southwest Iowa.


Overnight Storms, Weather Wire

Not much to report weather wise lately other than a couple back-to-back nights of storms with heavy rain, I dumped about 2.7″ out of the gauge at the house this afternoon. Looks like there might be a chance for some more yet this morning, but probably mainly north of US 30 by radar trends so far. Most of the wind damage seemed to stay north of my area, although a fair amount of damage was reported around Fort Dodge and Eagle Grove.


With the NWS apparently looking to discontinue the EMWIN ByteBlaster feed, I’ve had to look into an alternate method of feeding my weather alerting software. Fortunately, the new NWS Weather Wire is free and supported by my software (Weather Message), after purchasing the necessary addon. I have a couple other programs that are fed from the ByteBlaster feed that I have yet to figure out how to feed. Fortunately the feed doesn’t appear to be going away until the end of the year.

Quick post – stay tuned

Just a quick post this morning..

After a few storms made their way through the state yesterday the active pattern looks to continue through the week, especially tomorrow and Thursday. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to write out some more detailed thoughts later today..

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