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Cool Stuff | The Suck Zone

March 20th, 2010 Minnesota River Flooding

Posted on March 21st, 2010 by Chris White.
Categories: Cool Stuff, Outdoors.

I took the kids on a short ride down to the Minnesota River just South of me to check out the flooding.  Crests are expected in about 4 days.  We were going to follow that up with some disc golfing at Moir but, the MFA had an event and the course was way too crowded so we watched and chatted with the disc golfers for 20 minutes before heading home.

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January 10th, 2009 The Elusive Snow Owl

Posted on January 10th, 2009 by Chris White.
Categories: Cool Stuff.

On our way back from Ft. Snelling State Park we stopped at the airport on cargo road.  Now as we were passing Ft. Snelling National Cemetery Alison described an almost perfect Snow Owl with it’s back facing the highway but, it was well inside the Cemetery, and with the turnaround from 494 it would have been a 15 minute journey but, she had seen an Owl.  We took the 24th avenue exit, and drove around the side of the airport, underneath a runway to the fed-ex building where a snow owl has been spotted daily since early December.   We watched the airplanes for a few minutes but, short of spotting the owl we were not really expecting to see anything so we headed to Black Dog Road.  I have not seen a large number of owls this year as I usually do but, they have Eagles.  This was a quick trip, we did not go as far as the East outlet from Black Dog Lake.  The kids had gotten their fresh air for the day and were not afraid to express it.  Once I arrived home I noticed I had a text from Bill D that their were not any Snow Owls at the airport with a timestamp dated before we even stopped (opps).  After I got home I saw that someone had reported one in Dodge County, I don’t think that is going to happen.

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January 10th, 2009 Winter Trails Day with REI at Ft. Snelling State Park

Posted on January 10th, 2009 by Chris White.
Categories: Cool Stuff.

I took the kids to “Winter Trails Day with REI” at Fort Snelling State Park.  They had a large number of demo’s, groups (Everyone from the Minnesota Rovers, to Skijoring groups with huskies).  REI brought every pair of rentals it owns, along with a couple of snowshoe vendors, and about half the visitors packed theirs for naturalist guided tours.  Most people strapped on a pair and walked around from station to station.  Some of the stations were geocaching, cold weather camping, animal tracks, building snow forts, cross country skiing, along with various vendors.  We hit about every single station, I can’t name one we did not hit.  Ali very impressively got every single animal track correct where she would match up a mold of an animal track to the animal that made it and they were not the typical squirrel/dog tracks either, Ali initially had the Eagle/Turkey tracks reversed but, recognized their the eagle’s talons.  I grilled a ranger if they had any snow owl’s in the park but, he had said about the only thing he could offer since he worked St. Paul is they picked two off of streets/highways last month (snow owl versus vehicle, never would have thunk it being an issue).  The naturalists were pretty busy giving tours and being mobbed by people but, they had the stations laid out pretty well.  Inside the shelter was a large fire, hot chocolate, and an impressive array of stacks of brochures and maps.  When we arrived home the kids threw themselves down on the ground in front of the new but temporary Christmas Tree we have planted out in our front yard.

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December 11th, 2008 Twin Cities AMS visits KARE11 Sven Sundgaard

Posted on December 11th, 2008 by Chris White.
Categories: Cool Stuff.

I have been a Twin Cities American Meteorological Society(AMS) member for a couple of years now but, for some reason I only make it to one meeting per year, generally the first of the season.  I was really disappointed in all the cool meetings I missed over the last couple of years, the last one was at Weather Nation with Paul Douglas, Todd Nelson, Kristen Clark, and Gretchen Mishek.  Having read the newsletter the previous night and remembering the next meeting was, well tonight, I sent an e-mail last minute to try and get on the list last minute.  Tonight’s meeting was at the KARE 11 studios in Golden Valley with Sven Sundgaard as tour director.  I showed up for the 6pm news broadcast, the news studio was mostly automated, other than the news anchor’s only two other people were in the studio (although, more people were in different control rooms and newsroom within the building).  The high definition camera’s(Canon) were all robotic mounts along with most everything else.  15 or so of us watched the newscast with more people arriving for the 7pm meeting/tour with Sven.  We went outside to the KARE 11 backyard for the weather portion, three camera’s (two live outside) follow Sven as he walks outside the door to the backyard to do his part in front of the green screen outdoors.  It was pretty cold out but, Sven’s genetic makeup originated in Norway and he had previously been Chief Meteorologist at KBJR-TV in Duluth.  I had seen a news broadcast with green screen done before but, it’s always fun to watch.

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(1600ASA/f4.9 – no flash – SD1000)

The clicker is in his left hand to control the images that are superimposed over the green screen with two monitors on either side of him and in front of him in order to see what he is pointing at.  I kept wondering if he ever loses his clicker, he had it on him the entire night.  We then went back inside to watch the rest of the newscast.  More people arrived for the meeting then we got the full tour of the studio’s and the meteorology area in the newsroom which was pretty cool and of course a few had to play in front of the green screen as Sven clicked through the screens, eventually we frooze and went inside.  Kare11′s NexRad tower is by the blackdog power plant in the River Valley, the dome on top of the studio’s was actually the old one.  We are not positive if the dome is empty or not.  They run a couple of meteorologic models on-site in addition to many third party feeds in the newsroom along with the ability to control the radar in Burnsville he went through many of the products that he had access to along with how he constructs the overlays you see during the newscasts.  Like most other ‘on-air meteorology personalities’ in the Twin Cities Sven does have a degree and background in meteorology.

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July 18th, 2008 Police Ride Along

Posted on July 18th, 2008 by Chris White.
Categories: Cool Stuff.

I went on a Police Ride along July 18th from about 6pm to 3am (Fri night). I am not allowed to give any specifics other than it was fun to beat heck. Plenty of traffic stops (people running stopsigns into busy intersections, 5+ over in 35mph zones(depended on conditions, maybe it was 9+), etc, 2 medicals (both resulted in code 3 rides to the hospital), patrolling, an assault, missing person, full tour of dispatch (if you have never visited a decent sized dispatch, do it, very cool, this was the second I have seen, now I want to see Henn Cty dispatch in Golden Valley). I am thinking ‘and they pay you for doing this’. Very cool.

(no photos, no additional details)

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