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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas

April 2000

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

MIC NEWS. I am happy to announce Joe Arellano is the new MIC at NWSFO Austin/San Antonio. Joe comes to the office in New Braunfels with an extensive management and hydrometeorological background. Prior to his current MIC position at Corpus Christi, Joe was a lead forecaster at WSFO San Antonio, forecaster at NWSO Brownsville, and a meteorologist with the Agricultural Weather Service Center in College Station. Other assignments include WSO Tampa Bay and WSFO San Juan. Joe holds a BS degree in meteorology from Texas A&M, with additional graduate work at the same university. He has received numerous awards during his federal government career. Under his leadership, NWSO Corpus Christi recently became the nation's first WFO, and the office received the DOC Bronze Medal award for the service they provided during recent South Texas flooding. Congratulations, Joe, and welcome to your new assignment.

The vacancy at WFO Corpus Christi created by Joe's transfer is the latest of several MIC vacancies in the region. MICs Andy Anderson at NWSFO Lubbock, Tice Wagner at NWSFO Jackson, and Carlos Garza at NWSFO Atlanta have all announced plans for retirement within the next few months. Collective, these individuals represent roughly a century of distinguished service. Their dedicated leadership and accomplishments will be sorely missed, but we all wish them the best for many happy and productive retirement years.

When NWSFO Austin/San Antonio MIC, and former South Texas Area Manager, Antonio "Al" Dreumont stepped down last month to enter well-earned retirement, he added another 36 years to the above total. Al's career assignments spanned the country from Georgia to California, and NWS Headquarters to Brownsville - with stops in between. It was my personal pleasure to work with Al in Atlanta more years ago than I care to remember. On march 18, at a very well attended retirement ceremony at Ft. Sam Houston Golf Club in San Antonio, Al received many plaudits and mementos from well-wishers. On behalf of his Southern Region NWS family I would like to add our thanks and best wishes for a job - many jobs - well done.

WELCOME TO SPRING IN THE SOUTH. Springtime severe weather has come early and seemingly with a vengeance this year, but offices region-wide have responded in an outstanding manner. Here are just a few examples from the last two weeks:

- Last week heavy rains were mostly welcome across the dry Gulf Coast states and Florida, but they were accompanied by many warnings. NWSFO Jackson issued over 400 warnings (of all types) in just the first 2 days of April!

- On March 22 NWSO Midland issued 32 tornado warnings, 48 severe thunderstorm warnings, and 38 flash flood warnings - covering numerous severe events, including an F2/F3 tornado in two counties and record river flooding in the Colorado Basin.

More about the two significant tornado events of recent weeks is provided below.

GEORGIA TORNADOES. Late on February 13, and into the early morning hours of the 14th, tornadoes devastated portions of southwest Georgia, in the county warning area of NWSO Tallahassee. Our new technology performed well, and the NWSO staff even better. There were fatalities, but a survey along the paths of the three killer tornadoes left no doubt whatsoever that accurate and timely warnings saved many lives. There were more than 50 warnings issued in only a few hours, and several warnings had lead times in excess of 30 minutes. Unfortunately, in such situations even the best warnings cannot ensure the lives of those who have no way of hearing them, as too often happens late at night. Nonetheless, those Georgia citizens who heeded the warnings, the local media, emergency managers and other officials were quick to praise the NWSO staff for their outstanding warnings and statements. We expect to do well, but in my estimation we've never done better. Everyone at the Tallahassee office contributed in a significant way to the quality of service provided that night. It was based on preparation, organization, training, teamwork, maintenance, and a host of other tasks that all lead to success. On behalf of all in the NWS, I want to commend the Tallahassee staff for a job done exceedingly well.

FORT WORTH AND ARLINGTON TORNADOES. On the evening of March 28 an F1/F2 tornado tore through downtown Fort Worth, followed about 20 minutes later by another tornado rated as F3 during part of its path through the mid-cities (Arlington) area. NWSFO Fort Worth provided excellent warnings which were quickly commended by the media and city officials. Soon after the event national recognition and accolades came in on the office's performance. Remarkably, considering the extensive damage to several high-rise glass towers in the heart of downtown, there were only two tornado-related fatalities - the first ever in the city - and fewer than a hundred injuries. City streets were still cordoned off more than a week later due to the potential for falling glass.

Rain and flooding associated with the storms resulted in two deaths, and a fifth fatality resulted from the rare instance of a giant hailstone striking a young man in the head. Between 6 pm and midnight the NWSFO issued 40 warnings, with lead times up to nearly an hour. The potential for tornadoes in the area was clearly communicated early that morning, and it was obvious from reports during and after the storm that citizens and officials were well informed. Equally important, they knew what actions to take to protect themselves.

Coordination among the WFO staff and trained spotters is essential to the warning program if we are to achieve success such as this. That teamwork paid off in Fort Worth and it brought the following kudos - posted on-line - from one of their spotters:

... [The] team at the FTW NWSFO did a superb job last night. They issued the tornado warning well before the tornado touched down, allowing critical minutes for people to take cover. No doubt their efforts, reports from storm spotters, the response of emergency management and local media, along with everyone else involved, saved lives and kept the injury count extremely low.

There can be no doubt this was a forecast, warning, and preparedness performance which saved many lives and prevented many injuries. Congratulations to the entire staff at NWSFO Fort Worth for this remarkable job.

TALK ABOUT FORESIGHT... When severe weather threatens the region, one of the duties routinely performed by a member of the MSD is to coordinate with offices in the threatened area and prepare a brief status report. Our primary goal is to ensure operational readiness and focus SRH resources that day on addressing any equipment or other problems in need of immediate attention. That morning it was Rick Smith's job to prepare the status report. He indicated:

The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of north central Texas in a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms for late this afternoon and tonight. This includes the DFW area. Supercell thunderstorms producing very large hail, damaging winds and a couple of tornadoes are expected to develop by late afternoon and move into the Ft. Worth area this evening.

Rick...great job!

MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECASTS - ONE-STOP SHOPPING. I'm please to announce a new Web site is available containing daily river forecasts for the Mississippi Basin drainage. Included are daily river forecasts for the mainstem Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and entire Mississippi rivers. This will provide our customers and partners with a one-stop location for river information. The Web site was developed by a team of field and regional representatives from the Southern, Eastern and Central Regions. Special thanks to Ethan Jolly, senior hydrologic forecaster at the Lower Mississippi RFC, who designed the Web site with input from the team, and posted the river forecasts for the various mainstem rivers. The URL for this new site is http://www.srh.noaa.gov/riverwatch.

AWIPS PROBLEM/QUICK SOLUTION. Last month we discovered a potentially serious problem with AWIPS Red Banner Alerts having a potential for malfunction during severe weather. As a result, I informed NWS Headquarters I would delay further AWIPS commissionings while we investigated further. I also instructed all SR offices to ensure the operational availability of the PUP(s) during critical weather situations. Quick action on the part of our SOD staff and AWIPS management brought about an apparent remedy for the problem. MICs will check the operational soundness of the solution before relying on AWIPS as the primary workstation for radar operations, and the PUP will remain available as a backup source for radar information. Meanwhile I have resumed my approval on AWIPS commissioning documents on a site by site basis.

DAVE SMITH. It is with sadness that our friend and honored former SR Regional Hydrologist, Dave Smith passed away on April 5, succumbing to cancer. Dave retired in 1995 after a 32-year career as an NWS hydrologist, working at RFCs in Cincinnati and Fort Worth, and as Regional Hydrologist for the Pacific and Southern Regions. He was well known to many because of additional duties he cheerfully undertook working with the Office of Hydrology and International Affairs at NWSH, and at the NWS Training Center. With Dave goes a wealth of hydrologic experience, not to mention a mental almanac of baseball lore and statistics. The NWS SR family will miss Dave but most important we will cherish him in our memories.

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION

WINTER STORM/HIGH WIND VERIFICATION. As we move into April, we typically move toward the end of our climatological winter storm/high wind season. With this in mind, below are the region-wide winter storm and high wind verification statistics.

Winter Storm High Wind
Total Warnings 640 Total Warnings 95
Verified Warnings 501 Verified Warnings 61
Unverified Warnings 139 Unverified Warnings 34
FAR 0.21 FAR 0.36
Total Events 527 Total Events 64
Warned Events 501 Warned Events 61
Unwarned Events 26 Unwarned Events 3
POD 0.95 POD 0.95
Avg. Lead Time 8 hrs Avg. Lead Time 2 hrs

OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. April marks one of the most active severe weather months in the region. Severe weather coordination and preparedness activities usually reach a peak around this time, and planning for hurricane awareness campaigns is also well underway. Below are a few outreach highlights from across the region.

NWSO Morristown MIC Jerry McDuffie and WCM Howard Waldron have undertaken several projects to improve information flow in their CWA, including identifying locations for NOAA Weather Radio expansion sites, promotion of EMWIN including the rebroadcast site managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and contact information at the NWSO and the county emergency management sites. Jerry also reports the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, after a briefing from the three Tennessee NWS offices, will begin broadcasting all NWS hazardous weather products affecting the state on their information circuit. This will provide another dissemination channel for our products.

NWSFO Austin/San Antonio WCM Larry Eblen presented a severe weather awareness and safety program to 125 bus drivers and staff members of Durham Transportation, a major bus-charter organization in central Texas. Larry described severe weather climatology and formation. He also provided visual clues to storm severity and the behavior of tornadoes, lightning and flash floods. He concluded with a review of safety tips for each hazard and a promotion of NWR.

NWSO Melbourne MIC Bart Hagemeyer and WCM Dennis Decker represented the NWS at the Brevard Community College Career Day Fair. The NWSO was one of 40 organizations making career information available to the students of BCC. The NWS booth featured a short electronic severe weather safety presentation and various preparedness brochures. Bart and Dennis also described career opportunities and application procedures with the students who visited the booth.

NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge WCM Frank Revitte gave a presentation to the Lightning Protection Institute's spring conference. The conference participants consisted of contractors and installers of lightning safety and protection equipment. Frank gave a general overview of lightning development in storms, described severe thunderstorms and associated lightning, and outlined some lightning research inside and outside of the NWS.

NWSO Midland/Odessa hosted visits by six classes of high school science students. WCM George Mathews, forecasters Pat Vesper and Robert Boyd, DAPM Eddie Brite and ASA Beverly Martin organized and conducted the event. The visit was more than just a routine office tour, as the students were shown several local examples of tornadoes and hazardous weather events on the WSR-88D PUP. They also used video clips of 1999 significant weather stories in West Texas. Since the visits occurred a few days after the Fort Worth/Arlington tornadoes, the NWSO staff tied their archived cases in with current events and described the value of NWR.

EMWIN UPDATE. Testing of the 9600 baud EMWIN rebroadcast using the NWS-owned frequencies continues in Houston. Jim Robinson of the Harris County Appraisal District reports the signal has encountered less interference from pager frequencies than anticipated. The signal can be received at 99+ percent out to 15 miles with a unity-gain antenna. The 9600 baud datastream does not demodulate as reliably as the 1200 baud signal when the signal is weak. The range of the 9600 baud broadcast should improve considerably when the transmitter and antenna is moved from the test site to its permanent location. Testing is scheduled to continue through the coming weeks.

MEDIA CONTACTS AND SUPPORT. Some highlights from across the Region.

NWSO Key West MIC Bobby McDaniel and WCM Wayne Presnell participated in a PBS broadcast entitled "Live from the Storm: the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Weather." The program was shown on nearly 100 PBS stations around the country. Many educational networks aired the show via satellite, which enabled hundreds of thousands of students to view the program. Bobby and Wayne fielded questions on weather in general and hurricanes in particular during the live, interactive program.

On March 7, NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich participated in a one-hour broadcast entitled "Family First." The show focused on severe weather preparedness, and drew a crowd of almost 800 people. In addition, the show was broadcast live by a regional cable network which reaches 600,000 homes in North Texas. Other participants in the program included local TV weathercasters and representatives from FEMA, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, "Safe Room" builders, amateur radio spotters, storm chaser organizations, engineering firms, and local emergency management. The program featured a lengthy question and answer session covering a variety of topics. Significantly, the weathercasters publicly acknowledged the NWS as "the experts when it comes to severe weather forecasts and warnings."

NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge and the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center hosted a workshop for area media. Weathercasters from New Orleans, Biloxi, and Baton Rouge attended the half-day event. After welcoming comments, SOO Mike Koziara provided an overview of the changeover from AFOS to AWIPS. WCM Frank Revitte described the new NWWS, and service hydrologist Dave Smith discussed the hydrologic situation in the area. Senior forecaster Robert Ricks and Mike Koziara then reviewed significant severe weather events in the area. MIC Paul Trotter, Frank Revitte, and LMRFC DOH Bob Stucky described various aspects of the hurricane program in southeast Louisiana. The program concluded with a question and answer session.

REGIONAL PARTICIPATION IN THE FAA FLIGHT WATCH COURSE. On March 23-24, forecasters Newton Skiles (Little Rock), Neal DiPasquale (Amarillo), and Bill Hopkins (Lubbock) joined with prospective FAA Flight Watch students to discuss NWS aviation products and services, and to gain a better appreciation of how the NWS products are being used in flight operations and planning. Newton, Neal, and Bill commented on how receptive and open the students were in discussing the various aspects of the NWS aviation program.

A few concerns were voiced during the two days of NWS participation. One concern involved the lack of contact between Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) personnel and the local NWS office. Several of the briefing specialists noted they had made the effort to visit the NWS but there have been few or no visits by forecasters to the AFSS. As such, NWS forecasters have little appreciation of how the briefing specialists perform their duties. The slow response to amending TAFs was another hot topic. The briefers believe this is hurting their credibility with the pilots and, in turn, not doing much for the credibility of the NWS.

Plans are to continue the effort of sending NWS forecasters to these courses. Newton, Neil, and Bill wholeheartedly endorse continuation of this initiative. They found the interaction with the briefing specialists to be informative and very enlightening. We extend our thanks to them for volunteering to participate and to MIC John Jarboe at the Academy, for hosting their visit.

NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities in the Region's Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) program.

CWSU Atlanta. On March 19, the CWSU staff completed a week-long Center-wide spring weather briefing for air traffic controllers. Two briefings per day were held in an attempt to reach most of the controller workforce. The emphasis of the briefings was on severe weather, highlighted with WSR-88D imagery of the Camilla, Georgia tornado.

On March 22, Atlanta Center air traffic manager Mark Ward , and support manager of Technical Operations George Peurifoy, joined CWSU MIC Art Ayers for a visit to the NWSFO in Peachtree City. The purpose of the visit was to brief the FAA representatives on the capability of AWIPS in an effort to gain support from them in the negotiations for an RTA replacement system.

CWSU Fort Worth. Preparation for the WARP 1 OT&E continues at the Fort Worth ARTCC. Meetings involving the principal participants in the upcoming testing were held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area the week of March 13. Testing is still scheduled to begin in May with operations beginning in June. The Frame Relay Network system is fully operational in the CWSU, and the staff has found the system to be extremely useful in their operations. They have developed a number of scripts to enhance the utility of the display software.

CWSU Houston. The Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) site survey team visited the Houston Center March 6, to lay plans for the upcoming production model test. The Houston ITWS will be the second production model to hit the field with a scheduled delivery date of January 2001.

CWSU Memphis. MIC Tom Amis completed his detail to NWS Headquarters. Tom drafted an NWS national response to the FAA Traffic Management Unit (TMU) needs document. The response is currently under review. May 1 is the target date for submission of the final response to the FAA.

WFO CORPUS CHRISTI HOSTS AVIATION (TAF) WORKSHOP. Forecaster Mike Gittinger and the staff hosted an aviation workshop on March 1. Forecasters from NWSO Brownsville, the regional aviation meteorologist, and a local FAA representative attended. Workshop topics focused on terminal forecasting, in particular forecast philosophy and preparation, and customer impact. Several case studies of actual TAF issuances and their impacts were presented. Our congratulations are extended to Mike Gittinger, Joe Arellano (MIC), and the rest of the Corpus Christi staff for organizing this workshop. It should benefit the TAF program at Corpus and Brownsville.

FIRE WEATHER FORMAT IMPLEMENTATION. The regional standardized fire weather format was implemented on April 5. All WFOs in the Region are now using this format for their routine Fire Weather Forecasts (FWFs). SOO Charlie Paxton and forecaster John McMichael NWSO Tampa Bay, and David Hotz NWS Morristown developed an automated formatting software program (FIRE) and they are nearing completion of a conversion of the code from PC-based to AWIPS. They enlisted the help of NWSFO Fort Worth forecaster Jason Jordan who modified a significant portion of the code. The new AWIPS version will be ready soon. The majority of the remaining work involves improving the "Help" files and support documentation. Hats off to the four for the tremendous work they have done in moving this process along.

INCIDENT RESPONSE METEOROLOGIST TO LOUISIANA. Jim Noffsinger, IMET from NWSFO Atlanta, was dispatched to the "Backbone Fire" in the Kisatchie National Forest of central Louisiana in March. This was the first regional dispatch of the young fire season. Jim received initial support from the Louisiana NWS offices upon his arrival at the incident site. This support was very important since the ATMU and Jim's laptop had not yet arrived. The Incident Commander praised Jim's accurate forecast of the arrival of severe weather at the fire site. His timely forecast made it possible to get fire crews off the fire line in time to ensure their safety. For this, Jim was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Incident Commander. Congratulations, Jim.

SOUTHERN REGION SUPPORTS FIRE ASSESSMENT. NWSO Tallahassee MIC Paul Duval participated as a meteorological expert for a national fire assessment focusing on the upcoming fire season in the Southeast. Paul took part in a similar assessment of the situation in Florida in 1998. With the moderate to severe drought conditions across a good portion of the Southeast, this year's assessment was expanded geographically. The assessment team, led by John Robertson, a fire management official from Oregon, met in Atlanta and conducted their evaluation from March 23-28. We are currently awaiting a report of their findings.

FIRE WEATHER FIELD TRIP AT NWSO MORRISTOWN. NWSO Morristown forecasters Brian Boyd and David Hotz recently took part in a prescribed burn of about 2000 acres in the Cherokee National Forest in northeast Tennessee. They joined about 20 other fire management personnel in conducting the burn and witnessed the critical role fire weather forecasts play in planning such burns. Most critical is wind because of its effect on smoke drift. Another critical parameter is relative humidity (RH). Fire crews have difficulty starting the fire when RH is above 60%. RH at the start of the fire was around 45-50% and permitted flame lengths of about 2 ft. As the humidity fell to below 40%, the flame lengths, especially on the hill sides rose to 4-6 ft. It was explained that when the RH gets below 20%, fire crews have difficulty controlling the fire.

If the prescribed burn was not excitement enough, a wildfire broke out under some power lines on nearby Holston Mountain, which caused a temporary outage to the Tri-Cities NOAA Weather Radio transmitter. Some of the personnel assigned to the prescribed burn had to be detailed to the wildfire, creating a bit of a personnel shortage for the burn.

As a result of their experience Brian and David report that they will look at their fire weather forecasts differently in the future. Fire management personnel depend on the accuracy of our forecasts to assess fire behavior, manage smoke drift, and ensure the safety of their crews. These fire personnel had high praise for the products and services provided by Morristown and plan to visit the NWSO in the near future.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS

NWR Continues to Expand. During March transmitters were installed at Jesup and Buchanon in Georgia; Gideon Junction, Missouri; and Ozone, Texas. These will be added to the national database as soon as they come out of test mode and are accepted. Broadcast area coverage is still being determined.

Directors Partnership Award. SR Deputy Director Gary Grice presented the Southern Region Director's Partnership award to Georgia Emergency Management Assn. Director Gary McConnell at a formal dedication of the White County NWR transmitter on March 24. This recognizes the second of an estimated 14 transmitters in the Georgia NWR expansion. GEMA has provided outstanding results in locating and aiding the NWS with installation of these transmitters.

Oklahoma Operation WARN. NWSFO Norman WCM Jim Purpura reported Operation WARN has sold 7,443 NOAA Weather Radios in the Oklahoma City area during the first month of the program.

CRS Commissioning Reports. All CRS Commissioning Reports have now been completed and forwarded to NWS Headquarters. The official commissioning date is that of the Regional Director's signature.

Voice Concatenation. Doug Crowley (MSD) visited CommPower in Camarillo, California for a demonstration of the concatenated voice to be used in the watch/warning programs on the CRS. Fort Worth will be the beta test site in the Southern Region beginning in June.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION

CLIMATE DATA ONLINE. The National Climatic Data Center currently provides an online service that allows customers to extract historical precipitation data and other climate-related observational parameters from the first and second-order networks (i.e., airport and cooperative observer locations) for user-defined periods of record and stations. The online service provides an option to generate ASCII delimited files for import to other applications. The URL for this service is http://www5.ncdc.noaa.gov:7777/plclimprod/plsql/poemain.poe You can also access this site directly from NCDC's home page by clicking on "In the Spotlight" and then "NNDC Climate Data Online."

This service is free to NWS customers provided the computer used to access this information is defined in the domain name service (DNS). Additional assistance pertaining to the DNS is available on the Web site under the heading "Information Help."

NCDC plans to add the climate normals to this online service within the next year. It should be noted that if you choose the historical monthly precipitation dataset, departure from normal information is included within that dataset. An article about this online service appeared in the December 1999 issue of Earth System Monitor.

QPF IMPLEMENTATION WORKING GROUP UPDATE. The QPF Implementation Working Group convened its second meeting at NWSH March 28-30. The meeting focused on developing a strategy for conducting a formal operations test and evaluation of the modified QPF generation process, transmission of RFC and HPC gridded binary (GRIB)-encoded QPF and quantitative precipitation estimates on the AWIPS communication system to support operations at the WFOs and HPC, and standard formats for posting RFC QPF information on the Web. Further details about this meeting is available on the QPF home page at:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/qpi/qpf/iwginfo.htm

All Southern Region RFCs have installed the NMAP application onto their AWIPS which will ultimately be used by the RFCs to generate QPF for input into the NWS River Forecast System. Arkansas-Red Basin RFC and West Gulf RFC have already received NMAP training from forecasters at the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Lower Mississippi RFC and Southeast RFC will receive NMAP training next week. The formal operational test and evaluation of the modified QPF process is scheduled to begin June 1. Further information about the OT&E will be forthcoming.

WSR-88D PRECIPITATION PROCESSING SYSTEM TUTORIAL. A Web-based tutorial overview of WSR-88D PPS is nearing completion at the NWS Training Center. It should appear on a new page entitled "Topics in Meteorology" on the NWSTC Web site by the end of this month.

NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS

Despite some recent rains, drought conditions continue for portions of the Region. Many reservoirs in Texas remain at or below conservation levels. February rainfall was less than an inch at several reporting stations across the region. Many HSAs saw highly variable precipitation patterns during the month. Jackson recorded its second driest February on record with just 1.29 in of precipitation. Houston reported the six-month period from August 1999 through February 2000 is the second driest on record, and rainfall since January 1999 is between 16 and 21 in below normal. February was the also the third driest on record for the Lake Charles area and the two-month period of January and February 2000 is the driest on record. February was also the driest on record for Macon and Columbus, Georgia.

JUNE SERVICE HYDROLOGIST CONFERENCE. Senior service hydrologists Dave Schwertz and Ed Polasko worked hard putting together what should be an interesting conference for the Southern Region service hydrologists and hydro focal points in June. Several guest speakers from outside the NWS are being invited to give presentations, and as of early April, most have accepted. The final conference agenda should be available by the end of April and will be forwarded when complete. A half day has been trimmed off the conference, so instead of ending on the morning of June 23, the conference will end the afternoon of June 22.

NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS

SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER

Appointment to GTRI Board of Directors. Southeast RFC HIC John Feldt was recently appointed to the Board of Directors at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The main function of the GTRI Board of Directors is to (1) identify research and technology transfer needs and priorities for Georgia; (2) evaluate institute operations and performance on a regular basis; and (3) recommend actions for quality improvements. Congratulations John on your appointment.

Extended Streamflow Prediction (ESP) Online. The SERFC continues to expand its Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) developmental work based on customer and partner feedback for this service. During the next few months they plan to bring on line extended streamflow predictions for locations in the Flint Basin. At the Flint River at Albany, Georgia, they will develop an AHPS user-friendly interface partners can use to obtain ESP information. Congratulations on working with your customers to enhance hydrologic services in your service area.

Quantitative Precipitation Estimate Archive. On March 9, SERFC hosted a meeting with its partners to discuss the creation of an historical archive of gridded multisensor precipitation estimates. The Florida Department of Environmental Prediction (FDEP) requires these estimates to support ground water calibration/modeling for the Total Daily Maximum Loading non-point pollution concerns in Florida. Both FDEP and Florida State University are interested in collaborating with the SERFC on this project.

ARKANSAS-RED BASIN RIVER FORECAST CENTER

New Web Site. The ABRFC has posted percent of normal precipitation maps on their home page. The URL for this information is http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abrfc/. Images are available in durations of the last 10, 30, 60, 90 and 180 days. These images are also available for the current month and year as well as every month since July 1994. Additional information about this subject including the source of the observed gridded precipitation fields and the gridded precipitation climatology information is an attachment to this issue of Topics.

Congratulations to John Schmidt, senior HAS forecaster, and Bill Lawrence, development and operations hydrologist, for some innovative work in generating percent of normal maps based on gridded quantitative precipitation estimates and gridded precipitation climatology information.

LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECAST CENTER

During the past few months the LMRFC initiated new and enhanced river forecast services for 18 locations in its service area based on requests from its internal and external customers. Here is a summary of the new and enhanced river forecast services.

New River Forecast Services

NWSO Morristown Daily forecasts for Pigeon River at Newport, Tennessee.
NWSFO Jackson Flood-only forecasts for the Pearl River at Ratliff, Mississippi.
NWSO Lake Charles Daily forecasts for the Calcasieu River at Oberlin, Louisiana.
NWSFO New Orleans Area Daily forecasts for the Tangipahoa River near Amite, Louisiana.

Flood-only forecasts for the following locations:

1. Tangipahoa River near Osyka, Louisiana.
2. Jourdan River near Kiln, Mississippi.
3. Natalbany River near Baptist, Louisiana.

Enhanced River Forecast Services

Nine river forecast points in the Memphis HSA were changed from flood-only forecasts to daily forecasts for the following river forecast point locations:

1. Right Hand Chute Little River at Riverdale, Arkansas.
2. L'Anguille River at Palestine, Arkansas.
3. South Fork Forked Deer River near Halls, Tennessee.
4. Hatchie River at Rialto, Tennessee.
5. Little Tallahatchie River at Etta, Mississippi.
6. Yocona River near Oxford, Mississippi.
7. Skuna River at Bruce, Mississippi.
8. Yalobusha River near Calhoun City, Mississippi.
9. Tombigbee River near Fulton, Mississippi.

Two river forecast points in the New Orleans HSA were changed from flood-only forecasts to daily forecasts for the following river forecast point locations:

1. Tangipahoa River near Kentwood, Louisiana.
2. Tangipahoa River near Roberts, Louisiana.

Congratulations to all the WFOs involved and staff at the Lower Mississippi RFC for effecting these changes in river forecast services.

WEST GULF RIVER FORECAST CENTER

WGRFC recently developed a prototype graphical depiction of daily ground-based rainfall reports and a prototype Web interface to near real-time stage/discharge information for forecast and data points in their service area. The Web site for these prototypes is as follows:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wgrfc/daymap.html (Daily Rainfall Reports)
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wgrfc/stagebasin.html (Stage/Discharge Information)

To provide feedback or acquire more information about these Web sites, please contact the WGRFC DOH Bob Corby or Frank Bell, senior hydrologic forecaster.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

SPC VISITOR TO MIDLAND. On March 15-16, forecaster Jeff Craven from the NCEP/Storm Prediction Center in Norman, provided two seminars at NWSO Midland. Jeff discussed SPC operations, the philosophy behind SPC severe weather outlooks, supercell and tornado forecasting, and trends in severe weather reporting during the past 30-50 years. He also showed the proposed Watch by County changes expected during the next couple of years. Participating along with Midland staff were four visitors from NWSFO Lubbock and local TV weathercasters. Clearly, exceptional foresight led to planning Jeff's invited visit, since Midland experienced significant severe weather events just a few days later. On March 22 the NWSO issued 32 tornado warnings, 48 severe thunderstorm warnings, and 38 flash flood warnings - covering numerous severe events, including an F2/F3 tornado in two counties and record river flooding in the Colorado Basin.

Floods or Drought... Just prior to the above training, Chuck Maxwell (Albuquerque IMET forecaster) visited NWSO Midland to provide basic and advanced fire weather forecasting concepts and principles to the staff on February 29. Five staff members from NWSO San Angelo also participated. Given the prospects for extremely dry ongoing conditions in Central and West Texas, Chuck's material is expected to be very helpful for the fire weather season.

NEW SAC HARD DRIVES. Bob Rozumalski, National SOO/SAC Coordinator, recently distributed information for all offices to purchase new 9.1 Gbyte hard drives for their SACs. The primary purpose for this mass disk upgrade is to provide sufficient space for a reinstallation of the HPUX 10.20 operating system, complete with the required support patch bundles to update the OS to current patched levels. To facilitate in this upgrade, Bob will distribute copies of the HP Support Plus patch bundles on a CD-ROM.

NCEP NEWS

ETA Model Changes. Several changes were made to the Eta model on March 29. The most significant was the extension of the 0000 and 1200 UTC runs to 60 hr. (The 0600 and 1800 UTC runs were extended to 48 hr last fall.) Other changes include an improvement to the Betts-Miller-Janic convective scheme, the return to using the WSR-88D VAD winds with a new quality control code for them, and taking balloon drift into account when computing the location of radiosonde data. A summary of the changes is available at:

http://www.ncep.noaa.gov/NCO/PMB/announcements/eta60hrs.html

As of this writing, Eta model output at 3-hr increments is available on the OSO server for the 40km AWIPS 212 grid (every 25 mb from 1000 - 600 mb; every 50 mb from 600-100 mb), with a limited number of parameters on the 20km AWIPS 215 grid also available. Model output for the 80km AWIPS 211 grid appears to no longer be available. As you might expect, this increase in the spatial and temporal resolution of the model output results in some huge files (approximately 140 Mbytes for the entire 40km output). As a result, the higher resolution output has not yet been placed on the AWIPS Satellite Broadcast due to disk space concerns. Ken Waters (SSD) is working closely with the AWIPS Program Office to facilitate the satellite broadcast of the model output as soon as practicable.

SSD currently is generating GEMPAK files for all four model runs in 6-hr increments and also making available the GRIB files for the 0000, 0600 and 1200 UTC runs at 6-hr increments on the SRH model output server.

ETA Meteorogram Changes. Changes were also made to the on-line 0000 and 1200 Eta-based meteorograms (http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/mmb/meteograms/). The time axis on the plots was extended to 60 hr in accordance with the extension of the model. The range of the visibility plots was reduced to 12 miles. Two meter temperatures and dew points are plotted in Fahrenheit degrees. Precipitation is plotted in inches, with an hourly maximum of one-half inch, and dashed horizontal reference lines at 0.10 and 0.25 inches. The helicity computation now uses the Bunkers et al. dynamic method. See the draft Eta Technical Procedures Bulletin:
ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/emc/wd20er/etatpb/eta60tpb.htm

Several changes were made to the list of meteorogram stations. Stations that used the same model grid point as another station were removed, although, for the near term both stations will still appear on the clickable map.

NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis CDS. Working with the NWSH Office of Meteorology we've ordered two sets of CD-ROMs displaying NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data for all WFOs. One set is the Reanalysis Global Synoptic CD-ROM containing once-daily time series of 1000 and 500mb heights, 500mb vertical velocity, and 850 and 250mb horizontal winds on a 2.5 deg global grid for 1979-1996. It also includes a daily climatology of the same fields. The second set is the Reanalysis Monthly Mean CD-ROM, containing 41 years (1958-1998) of selected monthly mean fields from the reanalysis project. Several levels of monthly mean heights, temperatures, winds, specific humidity and vertical velocity are included, together with precipitation, surface and top of the atmosphere fluxes, and near-surface fields. A monthly climatology of these fields averaged over 1979-1998 is also included.

TROPICAL TRAINING. NWSO Key West has initiated an on-station, college-level course in tropical meteorology for members of the staff. An assistant to the county emergency manager will also participate. Dr. Ed Bracken, formerly with NOAA's Hurricane Research Division at AOML in Miami before he joined the NWS as a forecaster at Key West, will prepare the lesson plans and lead the course, along with SOO Jack Settelmaier. Classes will be scheduled each Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m., supplemented by occasional afternoon sessions on AWIPS applications, radar interpretation and other subjects related to the class. In a four week rotation everyone on station will have one class of formal instruction. The course will run through the end of the year.

NEW AMS/NWA LOCAL CHAPTER. Dr. Richard Pasch (Tropical Prediction Center/NHC) spoke at the inaugural meeting of the joint AMS/NWA "First Coast" Chapter at NWSO Jacksonville last month. Prior to the meeting, a tour of the modernized NWS office and its impressive capabilities was conducted by senior forecaster Al Sandrik. MIC Steve Letro led the meeting which established the new chapter; officers were elected, committees formed, and chapter bylaws were adopted. Attendees included meteorologists from the NWSO, NAS Jacksonville, Florida Air National Guard's Camp Blanding weather commands, and other representatives from the USAF (Moody AFB), an international consultant in meteorology, and local TV stations. Also attending was Dr. Chuck Wash of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, who was in town to discuss opportunities for cooperative local mesoscale modeling efforts between the Navy facility and NWSO Jacksonville [see the following item]. It's worth noting that as the meeting ended, all of north Florida was put under a tornado watch...rounding out a busy day at NWSO Jacksonville.

Dr. Pasch incorporated the AMS/NWA presentation into his mid-March visits to NWSOs Tallahassee and Jacksonville. He presented seminars to the staff at both offices on forecasting hurricane track, intensity, size, and wind distribution. His talk also included track error analyses from previous years which showed the westerly bias of model guidance in the Gulf of Mexico. More about this systematic error is at http://sgi76.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/emchurr/spatial/index.html. While in Tallahassee, Richard also provided two lectures to the FSU class on operational meteorology which is conducted each year by the NWSO Tallahassee MIC (Paul Duval) and SOO (Irv Watson). SSD collaborates with Paul and Irv on this unique class by helping to arrange such guest lecturers.

MESOSCALE MODELING AT NWSO JACKSONVILLE. Naval Postgraduate School personnel including Dr. Chuck Wash, Commanding Officer Cdr. Phil Renaud, his Executive Officer, LCdr. Bill Schulz, and other Navy meteorologists met last month with Dr. Pat Welsh, NWSO Jacksonville SOO, to review the workstation version of NCEP's Eta model. The mesoscale model is currently running at 10 km resolution daily at the NWSO. The NWS SOO/SAC coordinator, Dr. Bob Rozumalski, has worked closely with Pat to implement a beta test version of the model at Jacksonville. All were impressed by the model's ability to develop the thermal trough over north Florida and its associated wind shifts and sea breezes. It was easy to see how the model handled a heavy prefrontal squall line near Tallahassee, and how this forecasting tool can help solve daily convective forecast problems during the Florida summer, when mesoscale processes dominate. The group laid plans to run future comparative modeling studies at the two sites, using the Eta and the Navy COAMPS models, with the goal of improving both models. They also discussed efforts to work toward a local mesonet, and using the LDAD and LAPS from AWIPS to produce regular mesoscale analysis and continuity forecasts, a project Pat has been discussing with Dr. John McGinley of NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory.

We should also note the Workstation Eta model is also running regularly at NWSO Brownsville and NWSFO Austin/San Antonio. Mesoscale modeling work has been underway at NWSO Tallahassee with the MM5 for several years, in collaboration with FSU/CITM and the state forestry meteorologist. NWSO Morristown will soon be running the MM5. NWSFO Birmingham has been conducting operational experiments with the MM5 in conjunction with the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Other offices have carried out studies with the RAMS model, working with NOAA's Forecast Systems Lab.

BOGM. For the last few years, Joe Arellano (MIC WFO Corpus Christi) has served on the American Meteorological Society Board of Operational Government Meteorologists (BOGM). His term of appointment expires next January 2001. NWSO Tallahassee MIC Paul Duval will replace Joe at that time as the SR representative on the BOGM. The Board's mission statement reads as follows:

To serve operational meteorologists at all levels of government, including Federal, Military, State, and Local levels. To stimulate communication, education, and other activities promoting operations in meteorology, hydrology, and other environmental sciences consistent with the Society's objectives. To evaluate and recommend candidates for the Society's Reichelderfer Award. To promote and keep abreast in meteorological, hydrological, and environmental advancements and techniques in order to support services provided by operation meteorologists.

A primary objective of the BOGM is to leverage the resources of the AMS to help operational government meteorologists better perform their jobs. No doubt Joe, for the remainder of his term, or Paul would appreciate hearing from others with questions or comments about this important AMS body.

ARKANSAS DROUGHT IMPACT. As a result of the recent NOAA national press conference on drought potential for the coming months, NWSFO Little Rock service hydrologist Steve Bays and SOO George Wilken were invited to speak on the subject to the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission last month. They heard other speakers describe drastic declines in some of the Arkansas aquifers and plans for relieving further drawdown. Other conservation measures and possible projects were also brought to the commission. Steve presented data on river levels across the state and the historic deficits, which brought a noticeable gasp from the audience. His talk tied in well with previous concern by other speakers on water usage and current deficits. George briefly explained El Niño and La Niña effects. He then showed the latest NCEP/CPC maps and forecasts, which illustrated the potential for below normal rainfall for Arkansas well into and through the summer months. To add credibility, George also showed the 1997 forecast from CPC, which very accurately described the events up to the present time.

The combined presentation stimulated several questions from the commission and other members of the audience, essentially wondering when the current pattern might abate. It was explained that although short term rains may briefly provide some relief, current deficits have produced a very serious situation which may not right itself until much later this year.

SCIENCE FAIR PARTICIPATION. NWSFO Little Rock SOO, George Wilken, participated in judging at three science fairs in March in various parts of Arkansas. This is part of a continuing office outreach to interest and encourage students in the science of meteorology. The Arkansas Chapter of the AMS/NWA provides two awards, a complimentary one-year membership in the chapter and a year's subscription to Weatherwise for the top two atmospheric science projects at each fair. George noted a noticeable increase in both quality and difficulty of this year's entries, and it was encouraging to see the increased interest in meteorology as a career. Projects recognized this year included an in-depth look at hurricanes, effects of acid rain, and a statistically based project on global warming. Of the six students receiving awards, three indicated a strong interest in meteorology. The office will try to maintain contact with those three.

LOCAL APPLICATIONS DATABASE. This month we will unveil a new online database for local applications that will be run out of the Techniques Development Laboratory. It will allow developers to upload their programs, documentation, bug reports, and future upgrades. Also, users will be able to browse or search the database for applications. Prospective developers can look and see what has been written already. A "beta" version of this database has been online for a month and has been well-received by the regional representatives of the Local Applications Working Group. More information will be forthcoming shortly.

GOES RAPID SCAN OPERATIONS. Rapid Scan Operation, or RSO, is the rescheduling of GOES imagery such that images arrive at a higher frequency over the Satellite Broadcast Network. This generally means images will be broadcast about every seven minutes. This can be very useful during situations of rapidly developing weather. Since January, automatic triggers have been set up whereby an RSO is declared anytime the NCEP/Storm Prediction Center issues a moderate or greater risk of severe weather for the current day (Day 1).

There may be other times when an office may want to request RSO. Southern Region offices wishing to request RSO should first try to contact SSD to coordinate the request. Outside routine office hours use the pager numbers which have been distributed. Please contact SSD is you need those numbers.

SRH INTERNET DATA FILES. We continue to deliver text products generated by our AWIPS up to the Web. Please send any requests or comments about these files to SSD, specifically Ken Waters. We will continue to improve on this setup and want to ensure Webmasters can access the data they need. We are working on a couple of major enhancements to this setup. Most notably, a backup system that will allow products to continue to flow to the Web server in the event of a local AWIPS outage at SRH. Also, we are now testing a system on AWIPS to deliver the products without using triggers and the Informix database. This method appears to be more reliable, faster, and puts less stress on the AWIPS system.

WSR-88D TRAINING. Congratulations to all the enrolleees who last month completed the latest distance-learning WSR-88D courses provided by the OSF Operations Training Branch. All newly hired (intern) meteorologists and hydrologists, as well as any individuals new to forecast positions who have not previously completed either in-residence or DL versions of the OTB radar operations course, are required to complete the DLOC. In addition, all HMTs and DAPMs must complete the DL HMT course. Current plans indicate the next offering of the DLOC will be early in the coming fiscal year (next fall). At this time there are no plans for repeating the HMT Course, since indications are all HMTs and DAPMs have met the indicated training requirement.

What about follow-on radar training? Most forecasters and hydrologists attended the intensive in-residence course conducted at the OSF two or more years ago, preceding AWIPS. There have been many developments and changes since then, much of which has been incorporated into the DLOC course. To update and maintain their radar skills, it's important that everyone take full advantage of on-line training materials posted by the OSF/OTB on their Web site at http://www.osf.noaa.gov/otb/otb.htm. The OTB has also provided an AWIPS Radar Proficiency Checklist on that site under "What's New?" It can be used as-is, or modified to for local needs. Copies of the check list (with answers) were mailed to SOOs, DOHs and CWSU MICs.

NEXT GOES. Latest plans are to launch the next in the series of geostationary satellites (GOES-L) next month on May 3. There has been a change in the planned location; the satellite is now scheduled to be launched to a position above the equator at 104 W instead of 90 W. GOES-L will become GOES-11 after checkout. There will be an extensive science test period prior to the satellite being placed into on-orbit storage.

AWIPS APPLICATIONS COURSE. In response to field office needs, the first AWIPS Applications Course was held April 4-7 at the NWSTC. It was designed by a team of developers largely consisting of field personnel, who taught about 70% of the course. The team included Scott Plischke, NWSO Amarillo; Jason Burks, WR/SSD; Jamie Frederick, NWSFO Tulsa; and from SRH Matt Strahan (SOD) and Ken Waters (SSD). The primary instructor from NWSTC was David Rowell. The course will be repeated several more times this year and next. Topics covered are relevant to developers of applications software for AWIPS, including Perl, Tcl/Tk, data locations and formats, scheduling local apps, distributing products, application guidelines, triggers, and LDAD. Course labs showed various ways to interface local apps to read data sets available on AWIPS. The new Local Applications Database application that is being implemented at the Techniques Development Laboratory was also demonstrated.

Developers were very pleased with the positive responses to the course, including "... it was conducted very well ... there was a lot of information that I could use," and "... certainly one of the most worthwhile courses that I have attended at NWSTC."

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

AWIPS. Progress continues in using AWIPS as our operational system. A major milestone was reached on March 15 when NWSFO Little Rock and NWSFO Lubbock switched over to AWIPS Operations Mode. This means that every site in Southern Region is now using AWIPS as their primary means of data dissemination and collection, including local warning operations.

Now that all sites are operating on AWIPS we are finding a few more glitches. Some are minor but a few are significant. For example, Southern Region placed a short hold on commissioning of AWIPS until the radar alert problem could be resolved. Another area we are concerned with has to do with operations at the Storm Prediction Center. SPC is working on an automatic way to transmit their products onto the AWIPS WAN, in case of an AWIPS SBN failure. Without this procedure in place valuable time will be lost while the data are reentered into SPC's AWIPS.

Pacific Region requested our assistance in providing set up and configuration training for their LDAD. We were able to send Bruce Marshak, SRH Regional Systems Analyst, to spend a week in Hawaii working with them. Bruce not only helped them with LDAD issues, but also provided them with our localization training materials.

Additionally, AWIPS Build 4.3.1 will contain an alert interface with a properly functioning SAVE button. The build will be installed at all Southern Region offices this month. A fairly rapid upgrade schedule can be expected after that, because Build 4.3.3 must be installed by June. Build 4.3.3 contains software which distributes radar data after the NIDS contracts are expected to expire in June.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO. Two new NWR transmitters came online this month. A new 1000 watt Crown transmitter was installed at Gideon Junction, Missouri. This site will be programed by NWSFO Memphis. The test period has started and we should be taking over this system from M&A Electric COOP just after the first part of April. In Georgia a new 1000 watt Crown transmitter was installed in Buchanan, Georgia. This site will be programed by NWSFO Atlanta.

MCAFEE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE. Instructions for obtaining and configuring the latest McAfee VirusScan software have been sent via cc:Mail to all Southern Region employees. With the increasing incidents of virus attacks throughout NOAA, it is critical that all use the latest McAfee AntiVirus software versions and the latest virus configuration (dat) files. SOD has placed the latest software and dat files on the SRH LAN/FTP server for those in Southern Region who have access over the frame relay, or locally in SRH. Contact Leon Minton for more information.

NETSCAPE MESSAGING. In the February issue of Southern Topics, based on input from the NWS Messaging Teleconference held January 19, we reported the timetable for converting from cc:Mail to Netscape Messaging would be from March through June. However, March has passed and after some prodding the official word on the status of Netscape Messaging is as follows:

All NWS Primary Administrators...

I know you all are anxious to get moving, but there has been no directive to begin migration or integration of Tier 3 sites. The NOAA policy and guidelines for implementation and operations has yet to be completed and all integration activities are FROZEN until they are complete as stated in a previous email. If you are proceeding without coordinating with or receiving specific guidance from NWS Headquarters, STOP! Guidance will be delivered when (and only when) it is ready. Please be advised that all prior activities, setups, configurations may be subject to being done over. You should have nothing more than a pilot at best for your own testing purposes!

We will proceed in an orderly fashion when it's time to proceed. Until then, please be patient.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

ASSET MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. On April 17, Datastream Systems, Inc. will begin the installation of the new computerized Facilities Asset Management System. Datastream installation will upgrade, at no cost to the Government, our MP2 software purchased last year with their premier MP5 system. Tim Janhsen has been compiling an initial facility asset list in Microsoft Excel for the entire region. Once the MP5 software is installed the 6000+ asset records will be imported into the database. Soon all facilities work requests will be submitted and tracked through this system.

SECURITY INSPECTIONS. In the next few weeks a Department of Commerce, Office of Security (OSY) agent will begin scheduling visits to Amarillo, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Jackson, Melbourne, and Tampa Bay facilities in order to conduct a spot check on the security upgrades installed over the past two years. They will determine if the facility meets the minimum requirements for a Level II, DOC facility. The minimum requirements for a Level II facility are an access control system and an emergency lighting system.

The Office of Security will evaluate the access control system and determine if it is being used properly, and if it is working properly. They will inspect the cameras, the recording devices, and the tapes being used for videotaping the site.

TALLAHASSEE CONSTRUCTION. The following is the official schedule for the construction of the new Tallahassee Weather Forecast Office, soon to be collocated on the campus of Florida State University adjacent to the Department of Meteorology.

Advertisement 2/16/00
Pre-bid conference 3/14/00
Open bids 3/28/00
Award contract 4/27/00
Pre-con conference 5/10/00
Substantial completion 7/10/01
Final completion 8/09/01
NWS Occupancy 1/15/02

A ground breaking will be scheduled sometime after the award of the construction contract.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE & SAFETY TRAINING. A three-day course for new focal points is being conducted this week at NWSTC, and a two-day refresher course will be held the following week for first-year focal points. Nine Southern Region personnel from the electronics staff were provided OSHA-required climbing training in March at OSF. The remaining ETs and FETs will be trained at NWSTC when the training is shifted there, beginning in late April or early May, depending on construction completion of training towers. A separate safety course is being designed that will incorporate comments generated for the 32 draft NWS Safety Procedures, and the schedule for this course is undetermined at this time.

ASSUMING UCP CONTROL AT DOD RADAR SITES. Twelve of the 14 Southern Region WFOs which are slated to assume UCP control over nearby DOD WSR-88D sites have already done so. The transition has been smooth thus far. It is anticipated the remaining two will be done within two to four weeks.

NEW SURFACE OBSERVATION TESTS AVAILABLE. We have forwarded to all WFOs copies of the new Series 2000 surface observation test for prospective observers to use if they wish to become certified to take surface aviation observations. These new tests are to replace the previous ones in use.

ADDITIONAL FAA SPONSORED ASOS SITES TO BE INSTALLED. Due to additional/new FAA requirements, site surveys have been completed for the installation of two new FAA sponsored ASOS sites in Southern Region. One will be in Naples, Florida and the other in Sugarland, Texas. Both will be used in support of surface aviation observations at the airport in these locations. Air traffic controllers at each site will have Operator Interface Devices (OIDs) to use for interfacing with the ASOS. NWS electronics technicians will maintain both systems, as per the national agreement with the FAA.

AUTOMATED LIGHTNING DETECTION UPPER CORE RANGING SYSTEM. Many FAA sponsored ASOS sites across the region are having the Automated Lightning Detection and Ranging System (ALDARS) activated. This is occurring mainly at unstaffed ASOS locations, and at airports where air traffic control services are contracted out. The ALDARS is a system which relays to the ASOS at the site the location of cloud to ground lightning strikes, based on information gathered by the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). The NLDN data are the same as available on AWIPS. More information is included as a technical attachment this month.

ZERO MISSING CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA. Several SR offices have gone over a year with zero missing climatological data. NWS offices at Lake Charles, Morristown, Nashville, Slidell, San Angelo, Shreveport, Tallahassee and Tulsa were able to collect and forward 100% of the B91/92/83a forms (CD) to NCDC in time for publication each month. The offices at Birmingham, Melbourne and Norman had only one missing form each for the past year. The regional missing CD percentage is 1.3%. Congratulations to all for this excellent accomplishment.

ZERO MISSING HOURLY PRECIPITATION DATA. Over this same period the offices at Amarillo, Birmingham, Corpus Christi, Lake Charles, Little Rock, Morristown, Slidell, San Angelo, Shreveport, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay and Tulsa were able to collect and forward 100% of the hourly precipitation data (HPD) to NCDC in time for publication each month. The offices at El Paso and Melbourne completed the year with only one missing HPD. The regional missing HPD percentage is 2.0%.

NWS COOPERATIVE OBSERVER. An NWS cooperative observer home page is available at NWS Headquarters. This page has many interesting links and is a valuable resource for the management of the program. The URL for the site is: http://www.coop.nws.noaa.gov/.

UPPER AIR. Information on the Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS) and monthly performance statistics are available on the Internet. The URL for this information is: http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/. This information source is kept as current as possible and all upper air offices should access this information on a routine basis.

UPPER AIR PERFORMANCE STATISTICS. Performance statistics for the month of February revealed an excellent performance record by several of the Southern Region offices. The rankings revealed the Top 3 ranked offices, and 5 of the Top 10, are part of the Southern Region team. These offices are El Paso (#1), Corpus Christi, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, and Nashville. Details on the ranking system and a listing of all stations is available at http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/stn-rank.htm

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

NWSO MORRISTOWN. Forecaster Terry Getz and service hydrologist Brian Boyd traveled to Greeneville Middle School in Tennessee and presented three sessions on weather and the NWS to the seventh grade class. There were approximately 165 students in attendance, with the majority being female.

A group of 13 high school physics and chemistry students from the Kings Academy in Seymour, near Knoxville, visited the office. They were given a tour and briefing concerning office operations, equipment, and information about being a meteorologist. Also, a group of fifth graders from Kings Academy visited the office and was given a tour and briefing. In total there were 18 females and 15 males.

A group of five students from the Walters State Community College in Morristown visited the office. They were part of a Science Club and wanted to know more about the field of meteorology and the equipment in the office.

Mr. Tony Zacha of Knoxville paid another visit to the office. Tony is a weather spotter for Channel 6 TV and an avid weather person. Tony is a quadriplegic who gets around fairly well, even though he must communicate through a large keyboard on his wheelchair. He loves weather and really enjoys coming to the office to see and hear about all of the new equipment.

The DataStreme program was started in east Tennessee. Stephen Parker (SOO), and forecasters Rich Pollman and David Gaffin have become involved in this program of helping local teachers better understand the field of meteorology.

NWSO SHREVEPORT. Forecaster Bill Parker and intern Bill Murrell judged the Northwest Louisiana Regional Science Fair in the "Earth and Space Science" category.

Bill also visited Grambling University, a Historically Black College in Grambling, Louisiana. The Career Counseling Office was made aware of the opportunities in the NOAA Graduate Scientist Program which was recently advertised on the NOAA vacancy Web page. Bill met with several students with backgrounds in biology, computer science, and engineering. He briefed them on the Graduate Scientist Program, as well as the STEP and SCEP programs, and offered tips on the application process.

Bill also met with Dr. Connie Walter, the Dean of Science and Technology and was briefed on the different science programs Grambling offers. Dr. Walter was appreciative of his visit and thanked Bill for enlightening them on the opportunities in NOAA. Bill then met with the Chairman of the Biology Department, Dr. Benny Miles, who also teaches the Environmental Science class at Grambling. Dr. Miles invited Bill to be a guest instructor on occasion, and teach the meteorology section in his Environmental Science class. Bill accepted the offer.

On March 31, the NWSO Shreveport participated in an activity celebrating Women's History Month. Ms. Wilda Arnold, the Assistant Director for the Providence House, a local non-profit organization supporting homeless families, was a speaker. Ms. Arnold spoke on the assistance that the Providence House provides, the diversity of the families it takes into the program, and how each family works to help each other through teamwork. This led to a lively discussion on diversity and teamwork in the office, and creating an environment in which all of the employees can work. The Shreveport staff also provided a basket of goods for the shelter to use.

NWSO TALLAHASSEE. During March, NWSO Tallahassee's Outreach Program focused on Women's History Month. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block dispensed NWS literature and career tips at several related activities in Tallahassee. The first emphasized the contributions of women in science at a workshop called "Honoring Outstanding Women: Past, Present and Future," held at Tallahassee Community College. The second event entitled "Women and Civil Rights" occurred at Florida State University. At the Tallahassee Senior Citizens Center, his presentation focused on special impacts of weather on the elderly.

MIC Paul Duval discussed weather safety, the NWS, and careers in meteorology with Homereach, a local home school group (67% female); with the Leon County, Florida, 4-H Club (58% female); with the North Florida Christian Scout Troop; and with members of the Tallahassee Civil Air Patrol. WCM Bob Goree discussed similar topics with students and school officials in Dougherty and Mitchell counties in Georgia, as well as with various area Girl Scout Troops. Careers in science were also discussed at the local Girl Scouts 88th birthday celebration.

NWSFO TULSA. On Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, SOO Steve Amburn provided two, 3-hr weather merit badge workshops for Boy Scouts from the Tulsa area. Twenty-eight Scouts, about 90% African-American or Native American, participated in a program called "Partnership and Character Building," sponsored by the Indian Nations Council of the local Boy Scouts of America and the Tulsa Police Department. The boys were inspired by the presentation Steve gave.

NWSFO LITTLE ROCK. MIC Renee Fair and WCM John Robinson attended a kick-off event for Project Impact at Monroe, Louisiana. Project Impact will focus on flood control and mitigation. While participating at this event, they met the president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe (formerly Northeastern Louisiana University), who invited Renee and John to visit the campus. He also introduced them to Dr. Eric Pani, Head of the Department of Geosciences which houses the atmospheric science program. Renee reported several possible candidates for the SCEP program.

CWSU ATLANTA. Melvin Murrell attended a Black History Month celebration at FAA Southern Region Headquarters in Atlanta. The 2-hr event focused on Bessie Coleman, the first African-American licensed pilot of record.

NWSFO NORMAN. Senior forecaster Wayne Ruff was honored on March 2 with a Heart of Oklahoma Hero Award. Wayne was one of 15 recipients at the event sponsored by the Heart of Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross which covers Cleveland, McClain, and Garvin counties.

Wayne was also the Cleveland County recipient of the Mentor/Role Model Hero Award. He was recognized for spending most of his leisure time with youth. He organizes an annual youth mission trip to Mexico with McFarlin United Methodist Church, and invests many hours in the Norman youth Christian Adventure Club and "Get Real," a McFarlin boys Bible study group. Wayne has helped organize service projects for programs such as Food and Shelter for Friends, the Cleveland County Christmas Store, and May 3 Tornado relief. He has also been instrumental in organizing "Youth Bikes," a cycling program for young people. Congratulations, Wayne, for all these outstanding achievements.

SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS

MARCH 1 - 31, 2000

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Marion Marino WFO MLB Retirement ASA, GS-7
William Cooper WFO EPZ Retirement DAPM, GS-12
Michael Thompson WFO LZK Retirement Lead Forecaster, GS-13
Al Dreumont WFO EWX Retirement MIC, GS-15

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Stephen Rubin WFO SJT CLG from WR Forecaster, GS-12
Sarah Taylor WFO TSA Reas from CR Forecaster, GS-9
Angela Broyles WFO JAX New Hire SCEP, GS-4
Richard Brandt WSO LUB New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Robert Darby WFO TSA Reas from LCH Forecaster, GS-12

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