Wesley Burgett (left) of the West Texas  Mesonet and Jeff Vitale (right) of the Lubbock National Weather Service accept the Larry R. Johnson Special Award from National Weather Association President John Scala (center).
 
  Wesley Burgett (left) of the West Texas Mesonet and Jeff Vitale (right) of the Lubbock National Weather Service accept the Larry R. Johnson Special Award from National Weather Association President John Scala (center). Photograph courtesy of the National Weather Association. To view a close up image of the Larry R. Johnson Award CLICK HERE.  

Larry R. Johnson Special Award Received

 


The Texas Tech University West Texas Mesonet (WTM) and the Lubbock Weather Forecast Office (WFO) received the 2008 National Weather Association’s (NWA) Larry R. Johnson Special Award. The award was presented on October 15th at a luncheon during the NWA’s 33rd Annual Meeting held in Louisville Kentucky. Accepting the award was Wes Burgett, from the WTM, and Jeff Vitale, from WFO Lubbock.

The Larry R. Johnson Special Award is presented to an individual or group to recognize unique events or extraordinary accomplishments, which significantly contributed to operational meteorology. This award was presented to the WTM and WFO Lubbock for the design and implementation of a real-time, free-access weather observation and dissemination system to improve forecasts, watches, warnings, agricultural, and climatological services for the residents of West Texas.

 
 
Photograph of the Texas Tech University West Texas Mesonet station in Tahoka, TX. The station can be seen observing critical weather elements (e.g., wind and relative humidity data) during one of many fire weather events in the 2005/2006 record breaking fire weather season across Texas. (Photograph by Bruce Haynie, WFO Lubbock NEXRAD Electronics Technician).
 
  Photograph of the Texas Tech University West Texas Mesonet station in Tahoka, TX. The station can be seen observing critical weather elements (e.g., wind and relative humidity data) during one of many fire weather events in the 2005/2006 record breaking fire weather season across Texas. (Photograph by Bruce Haynie, WFO Lubbock NEXRAD Electronics Technician).  
 


The WTM currently consists of a dense network of over 50 observation stations, mostly over northwest Texas, a wind profiler used extensively for weather research, and a radiosonde observation system (used to sample the middle and upper atmosphere). All surface observations and upper air data are available free of charge in near real-time for anyone from the WTM web site (http://www.mesonet.ttu.edu/). This weather information is also shared directly with the National Weather Service and is used in many different aspects including formulating routine forecasts; meeting customer and partner requests for conditions at or near one of their many stations; and most importantly, aiding the watch and warning process during high-impact severe, fire weather, winter and flash flood events. In return, WFO Lubbock staff help support maintenance efforts; develop IT and web-based applications for data access; and collaborate with media and emergency response officials in promoting WTM data and interest in future expansion efforts.

Needless to say, this collaborative effort has been beneficial for all, and is one that will hopefully continue on for many years to come.


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