WFO Little Rock WCM John Robinson (bottom) shows the visitors from Nepal how severe weather warnings are issued (Photo: WFO Little Rock)
(Sept. 9, 201) – The staff at the Little Rock forecast office hosted visitors from Nepal, who were in the United States for three weeks to study disaster and crisis management.
In Nepal, hazards include earthquakes, floods and landslides each monsoon season, wildfires in the summer season; and even glacial lake outburst flooding.
During their visit, the Nepalese examined various approaches and elements of crisis and disaster management, highlighting the function of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and associated technologies as a means of improving disaster planning, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.
At the forecast office, Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Robinson demonstrated how Doppler weather radar and storm spotter reports are used to issue severe weather warnings. The methodology of issuing warnings using the WarnGen program on AWIPS was demonstrated and there was considerable discussion of dissemination and receipt of the warnings.
Robinson also used the Weather Event Simulator to replay radar data from an EF4 tornado that affected western Arkansas on May 25. The upper air program and instrumentation at the office were also discussed.
Senior Service Hydrologist Tabitha Clarke spoke about how GIS is used for plotting tornado tracks, verification, flooding and the co-operative observer program.
Tori Carr, the program coordinator for the Arkansas Council for International Visitors, the group that planned the visit, noted, "You all went out of your way to give them such useful information and also to show them Arkansas hospitality. I had many comments from the group that made me very proud to be a part of the council and have great presenters like you."
Other places in Arkansas that the Nepalese visited included the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the Arkansas Geographic Information Office, National Guard Camp Joseph T. Robinson and the Clinton Presidential Library.