NWS Lubbock Winner of Three Southern Region
2005 Isaac Cline Awards

By Justin Weaver
WFO Lubbock, TX

Damage from a tornado near Ralls, TX (Click on the image for a larger view). Damage from a tornado near Ralls, TX (Click on the image for a larger view). Damage from a tornado near Ralls, TX (Click on the image for a larger view).
The following images were taken during a WFO Lubbock Damage Survey in Ralls, TX on May 13, 2005 (Photograph by Brian LaMarre, WFO Lubbock Warning Coordination Meteorologist). Click on the image for a larger view.

Each year the National Weather Service (NWS) recognizes operational excellence by its employees in the delivery of meteorological and hydrological products and services through the Isaac M. Cline award. Isaac Cline had a lengthy career in the U. S. Weather Bureau (the predecessor of the NWS) distinguished by his innovative forecasting, and his development of dissemination techniques, combined with outstanding public service efforts. The most noteworthy and most difficult time of Mr. Cline’s career came during the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the deadliest weather event in the history of the United States. His acute understanding of concurrent weather conditions, his advance predictions, and his heroic forecast and hurricane warnings saved several thousand lives.

The Isaac M. Cline awards are presented annually in 9 categories at the local office level, the regional level and the national level. All recipients at the local office level from the Southern Region (SR) of the NWS (33 offices) are considered for the SR regional awards. For 2005, the NWS office in Lubbock, Texas received 3 of the 9 regional awards. The Lubbock office received awards in the categories of Meteorology, Outreach and Support Services.

Seventeen individuals at the Lubbock NWS office were recognized in the category of Meteorology for providing exceptional warning and forecast services during the extreme West Texas severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak of May 12-13, 2005. During a 14 hour period on those days, the Lubbock office issued 100 severe thunderstorm, tornado, and flash flood warnings and 93 follow-up statements. Several members of the staff worked an extremely long shift (18-20 hours) with a few returning back to service with as little as 3 hours of sleep to perform damage surveys, media interviews and severe weather operations the following day (which included another tornado watch and a few warnings). Many sacrifices in personal lives were made to carry out the NWS mission to the residents of West Texas. Of the nine tornadoes reported, one was rated F3 and two others were rated F2. The F3 tornado totally destroyed one home, seriously damaged others and laid waste to farm equipment (see the above pictures), irrigation pivots and power poles just west of the community of Ralls (about 30 miles east of Lubbock). Numerous reports of tennis ball to baseball sized hail were received along with a few reports of softball sized hail. Many veteran storm chasers commented that these storms were some of the most prolific hail producers they had ever experienced. Through all of this destruction, there were only a few minor injuries and no fatalities! The lack of serious injuries and fatalities was a direct result of the preparation, dedication and technical proficiency of the 17 award recipients as well as the performance of local emergency managers, broadcast media and spotter groups. All systems worked as they should and WFO Lubbock delivered world class warning services to their customers and partners.

Image taken of the Science Spectrum Display (Click on the image for a larger view). Image taken of the Science Spectrum Display (Click on the image for a larger view). Image taken of the Science Spectrum Display (Click on the image for a larger view).
The following are images taken of the Science Spectrum Display created by the NWS Lubbock (Photograph by Justin Weaver, WFO Lubbock Meteorologist-In-Charge). Click on the image for a larger view.

A total of nine individuals were recipients of the Regional Isaac Cline award for Outreach for developing and deploying a professional, interactive display (pictured above) to educate the residents of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico about weather, weather safety and the NWS mission. The Lubbock NWS office is co-located with the Science Spectrum, a popular non-profit museum for science education. The Science Spectrum, established in 1989, serves over 150,000 persons annually at the museum facility. Teachers, students, families and individual visitors to the museum come from approximately 150 miles in all directions to Lubbock for hands-on science activities, film (Omni Theater), live presentations and exhibitions. In 2004, WFO Lubbock formed a team of talented individuals (the award recipients) to partner with the Science Spectrum to design and construct a professional, interactive display to provide severe weather public preparedness information and to increase the visibility of the NWS. The hope was to both educate and entertain children and adults alike. With financial assistance from NWS Southern Region Headquarters (SRH), technical support from the Science Spectrum, and outstanding talent from the NWS Lubbock project team, this unique display was designed, constructed and deployed within a 200 square foot area at a prominent location within the museum during the winter, spring and summer of 2004. This project presented a unique opportunity for NWS Lubbock to provide public weather education and entertainment to thousands of West Texas and eastern New Mexico residents each year. The result was a professional, interactive display designed to use weather to educate and entertain visitors. The display was also designed to be easily updated and expanded and will remain part of the Science Spectrum Museum for future generations to experience and enjoy!

Picture of Marsha Black, the Regional Isaac Cline award winner for Support Services.

Picture of Regional Isaac Cline award winner for Support Services Marsha Black (Photograph by John Lipe, WFO Lubbock Service Hydrologist).

The Regional Isaac Cline award for Support Services was won by NWS Lubbock’s Administrative Assistant Marsha Black. What makes Marsha so unique is that in addition to her normal duties, she volunteers to participate in many other office programs and activities. She was a vital member of the group that developed the Science Spectrum display (winner of the Regional Outreach award), assisted with several projects around the office, was vital to office communications during the May 12-13 severe weather outbreak (winner of the Regional Meteorology award) and assisted at several NWS information booths as well as safety and job fairs. These are just a few examples of Marsha going well above the work normally expected from her position. Marsha’s initiative, quality of work and pleasant personality make her a definite asset to the WFO Lubbock staff as well as the rest of the NWS.

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