Meteorologist-in-Charge Justin Weaver, right, discusses the warning and response process with Tom Nichols, left, Director of the Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) Police and Safety Services, and LISD Officer Craig Jackson, center.
Weather Forecast Office in Lubbock Partners with Local Law Enforcement to Develop a Documentary Promoting Weather Safety
By Brian LaMarre
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
WFO Lubbock, TX
It’s not every day the NWS has an opportunity to promote weather safety with television cameras rolling in the WFO operations center! However, on March 2, 2005, the Lubbock Weather Forecast Office (WFO) created a warning environment for film crews of the Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) Police and Safety Services.
To set the stage for severe weather, Justin Weaver, Meteorologist-in-Charge; Steve Cobb, Science and Operations Officer; Brian LaMarre, Warning Coordination Meteorologist; and Robert Barrit, Senior Forecaster simulated the process of disseminating a tornado warning for expected impact in the city of Lubbock.
To provide the “special effects”, Steve and Robert were filmed discussing the warning process while viewing a tornadic thunderstorm on the Weather Event Simulator. Justin provided a high-level of situation awareness to the warning process during a mock relay of storm spotter information from SkyWarn networks to the WFO. As the simulated tornado warning was being disseminated, Brian provided notification to state and local partners via the National Warning System hotline, and Robert staged a live tornado warning broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio.
Over the years, the partnership between the WFO and the LISD Police and Safety Services has greatly enhanced public awareness to severe weather safety. The documentary will air on LISD-TV cable channel 12 in Lubbock throughout severe weather season. To mitigate the impacts of severe weather, also included in the documentary is footage of tornado drills conducted at local schools to illustrate proper safety procedures taken by children and school officials.
In previous years, the WFO would participate in a taped, Q&A session with the LISD. “This year, however, we wanted to emphasize the importance of the local WFO in providing life-saving services to the community”, said LaMarre. Weaver added, “The idea was a welcomed change by the Lubbock School District and Safety officials” – and what a great way to enhance exposure to our mission of protecting life and property!
WFO Lubbock forecast operations center during a simulated, and taped, tornado warning exercise for a documentary with the Lubbock Independent School District Police and Safety Services. Seen simulating the event, MIC Justin Weaver, far left, receiving reports on amateur radio; Steve Cobb (SOO), left, disseminating a tornado warning on AWIPS; and Brian LaMarre (WCM) providing critical warning information to state and local officials via the NAWAS warning hotline. LISD photographer, Kenneth Dixon shoots the video.