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NWS Southern Region Employees/Offices Receive
National Weather Association Recognition

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(October 18, 2006) The National Weather Association (NWA) has recognized National Weather Service (NWS) Southern Region employees and field offices at its 31st annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Launched in 1977, the NWA awards program is designed to recognize employees and partners whose dedicated efforts provide critical meteorological services and information to the public. This year's award recipients include:

Robert Ricks, lead forecaster for Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Baton Rouge/New Orleans. Ricks received the NWA's Operational Achievement Individual Award. He was honored for issuing an Inland Hurricane Warning, with unprecedented wording, a day before devastating Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005. The warning achieved worldwide recognition and has been credited with saving many lives.

The Operational Achievement Group Award was presented to WFOs Baton Rouge/New Orleans; Jackson, Miss.; Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala.; and, the Regional Operations Center at NWS Southern Region Headquarters (SRH) in Fort Worth, Texas. This award recognizes the outstanding, life-saving achievements of these offices during Hurricane Katrina.

The Public Education Award was presented to SRH Deputy Regional Director Steven Cooper; Ben Weiger, chief of the Hydrologic Services Branch; Kandis Boyd, former program manager, Hydrologic Services Branch; Journeyman Forecaster Dennis Cain; WFO San Angelo Warning Coordination Meteorologist Hector Guerrero; and, Ron Trumbla, public affairs officer for the NWS Southern Region. This award recognizes them for their work in developing and implementing Turn Around, Don't Drown®, a nationwide flood safety awareness campaign.

The Aviation Meteorology Award went to the WFO Little Rock, Ark. Aviation Team. Team members included Senior Forecaster (retired) Newton Skiles, Science and Operations Officer Chris Buonanno and Meteorologist Intern Paul Iniguez. The team was recognized for "fostering improved aviation forecasting and services for the Arkansas aviation community by strengthening partnerships, providing weather safety education and developing local applied research".

The awards were presented at the National Weather Association's Annual Awards Luncheon at Cleveland's InterContinental Hotel.

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