Click on the picture for a larger version. Click here for a view from the other side of the operations area.
Although we are still shuffling a few things around and working out a few details, here's a peek at the new design of our operations area. The "operations area" is basically the section of our office where we regularly conduct forecast and warning operations for our designated forecast area. For a map of our forecast area, click here.
If you have visited our office before, you'll notice that this looks quite different from what you saw. The old design featured desks oriented in a large ring, with forecasters sitting at the corners facing away from each other. This redesign was implemented to foster improved information flow and easier collaboration amongst the forecast staff during high impact weather situations. It only involved repositioning existing equipment. The resdesign occurred mostly on Thursday, July 12th.
The "bone-shaped" design at the far end of the photograph was adopted in a similar fashion to what is in place at the NWS Forecast Office in Tampa Bay. This is where forecasters monitoring the radar and performing mesoscale analysis will be seated during high-impact weather situations. From the perspective of the photo, the two workstations on the right side of the bone design have additional computers with radar software that will allow the radar operators to examine a wide variety of information - including additional radar data from various sites around the region.
The public service, quality control, and upper air (weather balloon launches) desk will usually be staffed at the location in the bone design as well. This position will allow storm reports to immediately be shared to the radar operators in this central location. At the top of that area of tables will be a two-headed computer display and an array of phones - including our Emergency Management communications equipment and the Hurricane Hotline - for an event coordinator. A coordinator is used in higher-impact weather events to oversee the forecast and warning operations.
The redesign places six AWIPS (Advanced Weather Information Processing System) workstations and an additional coordinator station in a centralized location in our office, and was planned for maximum efficiency during significant severe weather or tropical cyclone events.
Here is a chronological sequence of photographs showing the progression of our redesign: