NWS Tampa Bay Forecaster Jennifer Colson and ER-MET Mike Gittinger support Tampa Emergency Operations Center during Pirate Fest. (Photo:: Tampa EOC)
(Feb. 7, 2012) - Emergency Response Meteorologists (ER-METS) from the Tampa forecast office got a chance to test their skills at two major outdoor events in late January. As part of Tampa's annual Gasparilla festival, the specialists provided critical decision support services at the Tampa Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The EOC was activated to support two key events that occurred during consecutive weekends at the end of the month. The first was the Gasparilla Children's Parade which drew about 150,000 people. The second event was the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and Pirate Fest which drew more than 250,000 people. Nearly 1,000 boats were also anchored in Tampa Bay to view the parade.
The Tampa EOC serves as a two-county, Unified Command Center. Emergency Response Meteorologists Rick Davis and Todd Barron provided on-site support during the Children's Parade; and ER Met Mike Gittinger and Forecaster Jennifer Colson provided support during Parade of Pirates and Pirate Fest.
"Each year, our team has a unique opportunity to provide decision support services in collaboration with emergency management and multi-agency partners for this event - our mutual goal is to ensure public safety and fine-tune our skills and training," said Brian LaMarre, meteorologist-in-charge of the Tampa Bay Area forecast office.
As part of the activation, the meteorologists submitted a written briefing via E-Team software, including detailed hourly weather forecasts, marine forecasts, and Hysplit trajectory and dispersion model data. Verbal briefings were also provided during agency situation report round robin sessions.
The events also doubled as a drill for the upcoming week-long activation that will be required when the Republican National Convention convenes in Tampa next August.