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

April 15, 1996

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

MAX KOHLER AWARD.On April 11 it was my privilege to assist Dr. Joe Friday (Assistant Administrator for Weather Services) and Dr. Danny Fread (Director of the NWSH Office of Hydrology) in presenting the 1995 Max A. Kohler Award to Dave Helms (HIC, Southeast River Forecast Center in Atlanta). This prestigious award, named after former Office of Hydrology Director Max Kohler, is awarded annually to an individual who has provided “... meritorious service sustained for a period of years contributing to the fulfillment of the hydrologic forecast and warning mission of the National Weather Service.” Dave has spent 27 years in the hydrologic program of the NWS, including the last 14 years as the HIC at SERFC. Through his professionalism and efforts, Dave has been a consistent “ambassador” for the NWS hydrologic program, both within the NWS and to our outside users.

All of us in the Southern Region congratulate Dave for this well deserved honor!

A LOSS IN THE FAMILY. We are saddened to hear of the death of Cordell Hohman on April 9, 1996, of a heart attack. Cordell served as Official-in-Charge at WSO Austin from March through November 1995 during the crucial spin-down phase of the office. Cordell transferred to Elko, Nevada, as an HMT to continue his NWS career. He is survived by his wife Pat and three children. His family may be addressed at 122 Bogie Drive, San Marcos, Texas, 78666.

TRANSITION MANAGEMENT UNIT

UPCOMING SOUTHERN REGION MAR EVENTS.

May 1Planned ASOS commissionings at Abilene, Nashville, New Orleans (MSY), and San Juan

May 15 County Warning Area (from NWSFO Albuquerque) and Hydrological Service Area Transfer for NWSO El Paso

May 30County Warning Area (from WSO Victoria and NWSFO Austin/San Antonio) and Hydrological Service Area Transfer for NWSO Corpus Christi

UPDATE ON NEW WSR-88Ds RECOMMENDED BY SECRETARY'S REPORT. The site selection process for the new northern Alabama and western Arkansas/eastern Oklahoma WSR-88Ds has not yet begun due to the lack of a FY96 budget for the NWS. The process should begin as soon as a budget is passed or a continuing resolution is passed for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The NWS has requested funds in the FY97 and FY98 budgets to install the new radars. The siting process will take about four months to complete and will be followed by an environmental assessment, expanded site survey, site design, and finally construction.

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION

FT TRANSFERS. On April 3, six Southern Region NWSOs (Brownsville, Houston/Galveston, Lake Charles, Mobile, Tampa, and Melbourne) assumed Terminal Forecast (FT) service for their County Warning Area. It appears that the transfer of service went well at all sites. Again, MSD extends its thanks to the staffs at those NWSOs and their parent NWSFOs for the time and effort expended in making these transfers successful.

METAR/TAF MADE EASY. A new video produced by King Schools, Inc., a recognized name in aviation training, was recently forwarded to all regional NWSOs, NWSFOs, CWSUs, and SMG. The video, entitled “METAR/TAF Made Easy,” should be an excellent tool in educating the local user community on the upcoming implementation of the new international codes and may prove useful in enhancing our forecasters’ knowledge of the codes.

WSEO COURSE. The 1996 WSEO Training Course was held March 25-29 at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. Six WSEOs and WCMs from Southern Region offices participated in the course: Doug Crowley (Amarillo), Jim Stefkovich (Fort Worth), Jim Butch (Jackson), Pat Vesper (Lubbock), Scott Sharp (Nashville), and Richard May (San Angelo). Initial feedback from a few of our representatives indicated that the course was well-organized and extremely beneficial. Our thanks are extended to Central Region for their fine work in coordinating the course this year.

USE OF FM AND BECMG IN TAFS. A number of offices are still somewhat confused as to the proper use of the change indicators “FM” (FroM) and “BECMG” (BECoMinG) in a TAF. To clarify, remember these important points about these indicators:

FroM (FM):

1.Used when one set of prevailing conditions is expected to change significantly and essentially completely to another set of conditions (e.g., as when a front passes).

2.Comparable to a new forecast time group in an FT.

3.Will always contain wind, visibility, and cloud information.

4.Will never contain “NSW” (no significant weather), since omission of weather phenomena, by default, signifies that no significant weather is forecast.

5.All forecast elements understood to be valid from start of period until end of forecast or until next FM group.

6.Always starts on a new line indented five spaces.

BECoMinG (BECMG):

1.Used to signify a gradual change of one or more elements over an unspecified time period (e.g., as when fog gradually lifts and visibility improves).

2.Also, comparable to a new forecast time group in an FT.

3.Will contain only those elements expected to change significantly.

4.Can include “NSW” to indicate the end of significant weather in a previous FM, TEMPO, or BECMG group.

5.All elements for which a change is expected will remain valid during the time period specified in the group (e.g., for BECMG 1013, conditions are valid between 1000 UTC and 1300 UTC).

6.Does not have to start on a new line.

As an example, consider:

FM1400 13007KT 4SM BR BKN020 BECMG 1820 17015G25KT P6SM

NSW

FM2100 30015G25KT P6SM SKC=

Notice that expected changes in wind, visibility, and weather phenomenon in the BECMG group supersede those given in the FM1400 group. No change, however, in cloud cover and height is expected, and thus the BKN020 remains valid until the FM2100 group.

At 2100, a dry cold front is forecast to arrive with new associated wind and sky conditions. Visibility is not expected to change but must be included to complete the FM group. It is not necessary to carry an indication of no significant weather (i.e., NSW) in the FM group, since absence of the mention of weather is understood to mean just that.

Hopefully, this sheds some light on the use of these indicators.

NWR #123 EXPANSION IN ALABAMA. The Cullman, Alabama, NOAA Weather Radio began operating April 3, 1996. This becomes the 123rd NWR in the Southern Region (WWF-66, 162.450 MHz, 100 watts). Cullman is north of Birmingham. The Birmingham and Cullman NWRs will share a common program. Appreciation is extended to all who worked so hard to make this NWR expansion site possible. Welcome!

Coming soon—Frequency approval has been received for two additional expansion sites: (1) Lawrenceburg, Tennessee (programming from NWSO Nashville; and (2) Ocala, Florida (programming from NWSO Jacksonville).

NWR SAMEs BEING DELIVERED/INSTALLED. As of September 1995, 14 NWR Specific Area Message Encoders (SAMEs) were operational in the Southern Region. In February and March, 42 additional SAMEs have been received. Twelve have been installed (three - Lake Charles; two - New Orleans; three - Fort Worth; four - Shreveport). Ultimately, all 99 Southern Region consoles will be equipped with SAME. Information on SAME has been, or will be, distributed to all offices with NWR. Additionally, a training video is sent to each office, and training is provided immediately after installation.

SKY AWARENESS WEEK IN TEXAS. Governor George Bush has proclaimed the week of April 21-27, 1996, as "Sky Awareness Week." The official memorandum from the office of the Governor reads as follows:

Sky Awareness Week is a celebration of the sky and our atmosphere.

Sky Awareness Week provides the opportunity for Texans to turn their attention skyward in an effort to better understand the patterns of weather and atmospheric change. By reading the sky, people can learn cloud types and their associated weather patterns and how to forecast them. Texans can learn to understand sky processes, such as the water cycle, sky colors and rainbows.

During Sky Awareness Week, Texans are also encouraged to appreciate the sky's natural beauty and to recognize it as one of our most precious natural resources, which we must preserve and protect.

Information on the "Sky Awareness Week" in Texas was provided by Troy Kimmel, KTBC-TV meteorologist in Austin.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION

HSD STAR. I (Patrick Sneeringer) am very excited to be in Southern Region Headquarters for the next three months. My focus while here in HSD will be on ALERT systems. Specifically, I will be trying to identify which ALERT systems might be available for real-time data collection into the local forecast offices, whether it be by radio telemetry or dedicated phone lines. I will also be working with the newest version of Hydromet that should be released by Western Region during my tenure as a STAR appointee. My goal is to have a comprehensive plan for the entire region on how we want to pursue ALERT data collection in the coming months and which systems will be our top priority. If time and money permit, we might actually be able to start implementing some aspects of the plan. I am also looking for new ALERT systems that may have been installed within the last few years or ones that have been proposed for future installation. Please contact me if you have any information regarding ALERT systems or even rumors—especially ones about outside agencies. Many other agencies have been assisting local communities with these systems and might be good sources of information.

HYDROLOGIC WEB SITES. The following uniform resource locators (URL) point to interesting hydro-related web sites on the Internet. Give them a try.

http://hsp.nws.noaa.gov/ OH Hydrologic Information Center http://hsp.nws.noaa.gov/hrl/ OH Hydrologic Research Lab

http://h2o.usgs.gov/public/realtime.html Real-time link to USGS Hydrologic Data

http://www.intellicast.com/weather/precip.gif Precipitation Estimate from WSI, Inc.

http://www.mother.com/uswaternews/ US Water News

http://h2o.usgs.gov/nwc/ USGS National Water Conditions

COMPUTERS ARRIVE. Eleven offices recently received computers that were purchased to support the administration of the hydrology program in each of their offices. This completes the distribution of hydro admin computers to all Southern Region offices. These computers should be installed in an area (such as a cubicle) where they would be used by the service hydrologist or hydro focal point to do such things as maintain the SHIMS database, issue routine and special river flood reports, and maintain liaison with water management agencies within his/her Hydrologic Service Area.

HSA TRANSFERS NEARING COMPLETION. NWSO Midland assumes their hydrologic service area (HSA) responsibilities April 17. NWSOs El Paso and Corpus Christi acquire their HSA responsibilities in May; NWSOs Jacksonville and Brownsville assume theirs in June; then NWSO San Angelo completes the HSA transition as they assume their area on August 1.

HYDRO WORKSHOPS. As the Hydrologic Service Areas continue to be transferred across the region, numerous offices have been conducting station hydrology workshops. Some of the offices that have recently conducted (or have scheduled) hydrology training include Shreveport, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Midland, Jacksonville, and Birmingham. The Southern Region River Forecast Centers have been very supportive of the training effort and have sent representatives to participate at most of the workshops. Included in the coordination and training is support for the spin-up of the QPF effort at all the HSA offices in the Region.

UNIX TRAINING. Staff members from LMRFC and WSFO New Orleans are attending a Basic UNIX class taught by the University of New Orleans (UNO) April 10, 12, 17, and 18. The 12-hour course was put on specifically for NWS employees. At the conclusion of this course, UNO personnel will teach another 12-hour class on UNIX system administration specifically prepared for NWS personnel.

CORPS OF ENGINEERS VISIT. On April 1 and 2, Dave Reed (HIC, LMRFC) visited the Lower Mississippi Valley Division (LMVD) and Vicksburg District (VKD) of the Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He also made a trip to the Waterways Experiment Station. Donnell Woods (NWS Liaison of the Corps of Engineers at LMVD) set up the trip and attended all the meetings. Tom Thompson (Service Hydrologist, WSFO Jackson) attended some of the sessions. As a result of the meeting, data and information exchanged between the two agencies will be expanded.

FORECASTING ON THE NET (LOCAL NET, THAT IS). LMRFC is converting all forecast operations from the mainframe computers in Suitland to a network of HP workstations running locally at LMRFC. On March 19 LMRFC began using the Interactive Forecast Program (IFP) as their main forecast tool, replacing batch runs on the mainframe. On March 20 LMRFC prepared the river summery bulletin on the HPs instead of the mainframe. (This bulletin is mailed to over 350 users.) On April 9, after establishing communications from the HP network to AFOS, LMRFC began preparing the RVF products on the network and sending them to HSAs. The next step will be to remove all but one of the AFOS consoles from the LMRFC operations area.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

COMET SATELLITE COURSE. The new generation of GOES satellites has brought tremendous capabilities that are benefiting forecasts and warnings where the data have become available for operational use. Unfortunately, the number of such offices has been limited to those with access to RAMSDIS, dedicated Internet, and the growing frame-relay networks. Eventually, of course, AWIPS will provide the data; but in the meantime (over the next couple of years) most offices will come to rely on data provided by frame-relay from the regional hub. To assist with data interpretation, COMET is developing a two-week satellite course that will be taught in Boulder. The first class will be held next month; and three forecasters from Atlanta, Tallahassee, and Tulsa (offices which are able to access the data now) will attend. Additional classes this year, which are intended to provide information for satellite focal points at other offices, are scheduled for July, September, and December.

BILLION DOLLAR DISASTERS. We recently saw a list prepared by the NCDC of the ten most recent United States weather disasters which each resulted in at least a billion dollars in damage. No surprise, perhaps; but six of the ten occurred in the Southern Region, and tropical storms were the culprit in four of those. Note, however, that flooding leads the list, and the ice storm of 1994 is third in terms of economic impact. Here is the list, ranked by dollar impact:

1.Midwest Flooding, Summer 1993. Heavy rains over the Central U.S. Estimated $15-20 billion in damages; 48 deaths.

2.Texas/Louisiana/Mississippi Flooding, May 1995. Torrential rains and hail across the Fort Worth/Dallas area, New Orleans, and Southern Mississippi. Estimated $4.0 billion in damages; 27 deaths.

3.Southeast Ice Storm, February 1994. Intense ice storm with extensive damage across portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Estimated $3.0 billion in damages; 9 deaths.

4.California Flooding, January-March 1995. Frequent winter storms caused flooding. Estimated $3.0 billion in damages; 27 deaths.

5.Hurricane Opal, October 1995. Hurricane strikes Florida Panhandle, Alabama, Western Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, and the Western Carolinas. Estimated $2.0-$3.0 billion in damages; 27 deaths.

6.Blizzard of '96, January 1996. Very heavy snowstorm over the Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast U.S. Preliminary estimates of over $2.0 billion in damages; 100 deaths.

7.Hurricane Marilyn, September 1995. Hurricane devastates U.S. Virgin Islands. Estimated $1.5 billion in damages; 8 deaths.

8.Texas Flooding, October 1994. Heavy rains and thunderstorms produced flooding across much of Southeast Texas. Estimated $1.0 billion in damages; 19 deaths.

9.Tropical Storm Alberto, July 1994. Remnants of a slow-moving Alberto produced heavy widespread heavy rains (as much as 25 inches) across Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Estimated $1.0 billion in damages; 32 deaths.

10.California Wildfires, Fall 1993. Lack of rain resulted in numerous wildfires across Southern California. Estimated $1.0 billion in damages, 4 deaths.

NEW WEB-STAR. I'm Tim Brice, from NWSO El Paso, and I have just begun a three-month STAR assignment, working with SSD and others at SRH to develop the Southern Region web page on Internet. We want to encourage all offices to develop their own pages, and I hope to offer advice and encouragement as needed. If you need disk space, we will be able to provide it for the local pages once the SRH server is on-line later this month. As the region's frame-relay network (FRN) is completed, it will provide Internet access to all offices.

Web pages offer an excellent opportunity for NWS offices to communicate to a wide variety of users. During my assignment to SRH I will also be helping to develop guidelines for what should and should not be included in a web page. A considerable amount of work has already been done by individuals at many offices, and we want to make the best use of that while avoiding duplication of effort. If you have any questions about "the web," HTML, or the Internet, just let me know (call 817-334-2671).

AWIPS BUILD 1 USER'S FORUM. Gordon Hammons of SSD attended the AWIPS Build 1 User's Forum in Silver Spring April 2-4. During the forum, Dr. Friday emphasized that the AWIPS program was now our highest priority program, second only to warnings. The next major decision point, the AWIPS Production Decision, APD (formerly Key Decision Point 4) will occur in August. Here are the highlights of the meeting:

Pathfinder: Representatives from the Pathfinder sites gave very positive feedback. They said it was a pleasure to have the new system, although it did increase the workload on the SOO and ESA. Knowledge of UNIX is not necessary for the forecast staff to use the system and, in fact, minimal training was needed to become proficient. The system was well accepted by the staff. Some of the positive impacts to operations were:

•Satellite data availability at each workstation

•WSR-88D data availability at each workstation

•Animation and colorization of model data

•Timeliness and resolution of the GOES-8 images

Build 1: Most of the three-day meeting concentrated on issues related to the Build 1 software; this is the software that will be delivered to NWSO Tulsa and a few offices in other regions in June. Pathfinder and Build 1 are "different worlds," although the functions are similar. As with Pathfinder, Build 1 will give offices the opportunity to examine new data sets in a new way at each workstation. However, it was emphasized that the AWIPS system is very evolutionary, and Build 1 is not yet a replacement for the AFOS/PC mode of operation. Therefore, evaluations of AWIPS Build 1 are to be based upon demonstrating success in receiving and using the new data in a timely manner, and establishing confidence that AWIPS goals can be achieved in an evolutionary manner. Validating that is the essence of APD.

Future Plans: Future plans depend on the AWIPS Production Decision in early August. If the decision is positive, AWIPS will evolve as a system with updates every six months or so. Hence, we will be essentially in an Operational Test and Evaluation mode for the foreseeable future. Although AWIPS is now almost here, full functionality (such as Interactive Computer Worded Forecasts, access and display of hourly surface observations, etc.) will not be achieved immediately. However, deployment of Build 1 will finally give us the means (a platform and communications) to move fully into the modernized era.

PROFESSOR GRAY PREDICTS ANOTHER ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASON. Professor William Gray's early forecast for the 1996 hurricane season calls for 11 named storms, including seven hurricanes, two of which he predicts will be major storms (Category 3 or greater). Last April, Dr. Gray predicted 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, two of which would be major. The actual 1995 hurricane season, which was one of the worst on record, had 19 named storms, including 11 hurricanes, of which five were major storms. Dr. Gray will revise his 1996 forecast in June and again in August. The storm names for the Atlantic 1996 hurricane season are: Arthur, Bertha, Cesar, Dolly, Edouard, Fran, Gustav, Hortense, Isidore, Josephine, Kyle, Lili, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS. Here is an update on relevant conferences planned for the coming months:

5th NWS National Heavy Precipitation Workshop. September 9-13, State College, Pennsylvania. Deadline for abstracts is April 30. See the call for papers that was attached to the March 1, 1996, issue of Topics.

NWA 21st Annual Meeting. December 1-6, 1996, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Woven into the theme of the meeting will be a 50th anniversary observance of The Thunderstorm Project, carried out nearby in 1946 and in Ohio during the summer of 1947. Deadline for abstracts is August 1. More information will be provided in future Topics.

The following will be part of the AMS 77th Annual Meeting to be held next February 2-7 in Long Beach, California. The deadline for abstracts for each of the conferences is July 1, 1996:

7th Conference on Aviation Weather Systems.
6th Symposium on Education.
Conference on Hydrology.

Check the "Meetings" section of any recent issue of the AMS Bulletin for more information about the above.

SOO NEWS. SOOs Pat Welsh (NWSO Jacksonville) and Jeff Medlin (NWSO Mobile) recently assisted Tallahassee MIC Paul Duval with the "Operational Meteorology" class he teaches at Florida State University. Jeff and Pat, both of whom are experienced teachers, handled several classes each; and they provided Paul's students with insight into NWS severe weather operations and use of computer analysis techniques such as PCGRIDDS. They also presented case studies of events of local interest to the students.

Pat Welsh also coordinated a hydrologic services workshop at NWSO Jackson last week, involving visitors from other Florida NWS offices, the Southeast RFC in Atlanta, and the Lower Mississippi RFC in Slidell. Representatives from the Suwannee and St. Johns River Water Management Districts were unable to attend due to unfortunate last minute circumstances; nevertheless, attendees were treated to excellent presentations and discussion of North Florida hydrology, RFC and service hydrologist operations, QPF preparation and flood operations in general. Thanks to the NWSH Office of Meteorology which provided funding to help support this collaborative effort.

Another outstanding seminar was arranged last week by Rusty Pfost (SOO, NWSFO Jackson) and faculty at Jackson State University. Rusty arranged, and JSU hosted, a visit by Dr. James Moore from St. Louis University, who discussed isentropic analysis and related topics. The seminar was attended by more than 30 individuals from surrounding NWS offices (New Orleans Area, Birmingham, Memphis, and Mobile), the local NWSFO, as well as JSU faculty and students. It's clear to see why Dr. Moore is such a popular guest lecturer at NWSTC and COMET classes.

NWSTC REMOTE MODULES. The NWS Training Center has developed a new form for requesting remote training modules that are required for some of the NWSTC in-residence courses. A copy of the new form is attached. Mail or fax this form to the NWSTC to request the RTMs, or send your request via e:mail. Contact the Training Center for more information.

COMET OUTREACH PROGRAM NEWS. We are pleased to note that two new COMET Partners proposals were recently approved, linking forecasters at Southern Region offices with university faculty. Of particular significance is that both of these efforts involve NWS offices and universities that are not collocated. The projects are:

"Karst Stream Loss Modeling for the NWS River Forecast System," involving Dr. Warren Campbell at the University of Alabama in Huntsville with staff at the Southeast River Forecast Center in Peachtree City (Atlanta), Georgia.

"Fluctuations in Squall Line Intensity and Coherence in the Vicinity of the Balcones Escarpment in Central Texas," involving Dr. Kevin Kloesel at Florida State University and forecasters at NWSFO Austin/San Antonio.

Attached to this week's Topics is a draft copy of the COMET Outreach Program 1996 Request for Proposals. We do not expect significant changes in the final version of this letter, which will be mailed directly by COMET to interested universities.

COMET CBLS. The first of COMET's CD-ROM modules for the new Professional Development Workstations is at the publishers and is expected to be distributed within the next few weeks. It is "Convective Storm Matrix" and will not require modifications to the PDW in order to run. JAKARTA cards for the PDWs have been ordered and should arrive at field offices in June. Installing these will allow the PDWs to be used for subsequent CBLs, including "Satellite Meteorology I" and "Hydrology for Meteorologists," which should be distributed during the summer.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

WELCOME ABOARD. We welcome Thad Lindsey to the Systems Integration Branch. Thad is a Computer Specialist who came from the AWSC in Stoneville. He will be working on the Southern Region Frame Relay Network as well as the FAAsend upgrade.

FRAME RELAY UPDATE. SIB has been advised that GSA has completed the order for the rest of the Frame Relay routers. Cisco now has the order and is building the equipment to our specifications. We expect delivery in another month. Bruce Marshak is scheduling the training for each of our ESAs. The training will be for two sessions in Fort Worth. One session will be in late spring and the other in early summer. We hope to have the entire network up and running by July.

METAR UPGRADE. With the change in the Surface Observation Code in July, SIB must rewrite the FAAsend software that is used by contract offices in the FAA Southwest Region. The different functions have been completed. We are now in the testing and integration phaseof development. We plan to work with the FAA for implementation in early June. Hub McNett has the lead in the software development.

HAWK REPLACEMENT PLANS AT SPIN-UP NWSOs AND SMG. Testing is still under way on the new Hawk replacement for spin-up offices. The test site was NWSO Kansas City. Apparently the test team ran into some difficulties with the BIOS and the floppy disk drives and the ability to read the backup data which will require some further analysis at NWSH. In any case, implementation is still scheduled for this summer.

NCF. Here is another acronym for you—NCF. This one stands for Network Control Facility, and it (the NCF) will play a vital role in monitoring the operations of the AWIPS Communications Network (ACN) from satellite to telephone lines. From their location in Silver Spring (SSMC2), the NCF will be able to use their equipment to monitor the communication lines between NWS Telecommunications Gateway (NWSTG), where they will receive graphic and alphanumeric information, and NESDIS for satellite data. The NCF will serve as the hub for the ground and satellite communications for AWIPS. The NCF Operational Concept is still evolving, but it does include the following explanation of its activities:

The NCF will monitor the ACN functions; identify, diagnose, and correct system outages; and provide backup and replenishment data sources for the field sites. This facility will have a limited set of AWIPS equipment, and it will be closely linked to each AWIPS site nationwide, both physically and operationally. This system will archive all incoming graphics, grid point, and alphanumeric data as it arrives, and it will also allow monitoring of the quality of the imagery data.

The NCF will be the operational support center for AWIPS. For all (except locally developed) software, they will provide the first level of operational support and maintenance. The NCF will be able to monitor the system performance at each site and react quickly to any failures. Some problems they will be able to solve remotely; but when this is not possible, they will contact the appropriate offices.

SOD/MSD VOICE MAIL. The voice mail systems for MSD and SOD have been working almost flawlessly since early March. In an effort to make it even better, here are some “nice to know” things we have found.

When the system voice answers your call you can:

1. Press an extension number for the party you are calling.
2. Press the # key for the directory.
3. Press 0 key for the operator.

After reaching the party’s line you can:
1. Listen to their voice greeting and leave them a message.
2. Press # key to exit that particular mailbox and access the directory.
3. Press 0 key to exit and access the operator.

Note: If you are using a telephone that does not have touchtone you may stay on the line and your call will automatically be transferred to an operator.

Listed below are the MSD and SOD names and extensions:

SOD/MSD VOICE MAIL EXTENSION LIST

(02/12/96)

Systems Operations Division

Ableman, Cyndie 124
Asmus, Mike 133
Blevins, Don 138
Brisbin, Terry 139
Brown, Norma 135
Cannon, John 131
Crowe, Heiko 127
DiCarlo, Vince 112
Duxbury, John 143
Garcia, Martin 137
Grayson, Tom 111
Lindsey, Thad 308
Marshak, Bruce 146
Mathis, Renee 126
McNett, Hub 115
Minton, Leon 114
Murphy, Victor 130
Nichols, Suzanne 113
Pena, Robert 301
Reeve, Lawauna 141
Rinard, Steve 132
Robledo, Robert 186
Rodriguez, Ric 300
Saenz, Stan 171
Sams, Robert 170
Sandoval, Lori 125
(STAR) Wiley, Scott 128
Tevis, Cecil 142
Witsman, Gene 129
Wolfe, Jerry 134

Meteorological Services Division

Cooper, Steven 105
Dyer, Camille 110
Ladd, Jud 109
McLaughlin, Mac 104
Perales, Missy 117
Valverde, Mario 107
White, Max 108
Woodall, Gary 106

GUIDANCE FOR COMMUNICATIONS SPIN-DOWN. By popular demand, we are again furnishing guidance for changes in communications at the spin-down WSOs. See the attachment to this week's Topics. Contact Gene Witsman at (817) 978-4967 if there are any questions.

SOUTHERN REGION HEADQUARTERS' INTERNET. All 68 computers on the Southern Region Headquarter’s LAN now have the TCP/IP protocol installed on the Windows 95 operating system and have access to the Internet using the Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 software (or other Web Browser of choice). The Southern Region Web page is being developed and will be advertised at the end of April.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

RADAR STATUS. WSR-74C radars at Columbus, Lubbock, and Macon were decommissioned on April 3. Sixty-three percent (31 of 49) of the Southern Region's conventional radars have now been decommissioned. Shreveport and Montgomery are presently undergoing their final decommissioning procedures. San Angelo accepted its WSR-88D on March 29.

SPRING THRU SUMMER CLEANING. Southern Region RDA sites have been notified of upcoming depot-level cleaning and maintenance of the radome, pedestal, antenna assemblies, shelters, and tower. Previous inspections of selected locations have verified the need for such preventive maintenance.

A NEW MEMBER JOINS THE RCPS TEAM. With the closing of the AWSC at College Station, comes help for the Cooperative Program at Southern Region Headquarters. Blanca (Elena) Aregullin was a computer assistant at the AWSC until it closed at the end of March. She joined the RCPS staff on April 2, and we welcome her aboard.

Elena started her federal career with the Department of Agriculture in 1979 and transferred to the National Weather Service in 1982. She worked at the College Station AWSC for 14 years. She says, “I am delighted to be working for the Cooperative Program and will try to adjust as quickly as possible to my new position.” Elena also adds, “On a more personal level, I’d like to add that I am married to a very supportive husband and have three beautiful children, ages 17, 15, and 12. Unfortunately, they were not able to move with me and will remain in College Station, at least for awhile.”

I sincerely hope that each of you will work closely with Elena. It will take a short while for her to learn everything she needs to know about our great program, so please be patient. I am certain she will be a great addition to the team.

BIG CHANGES FOR CSSA. As of March 21, the new CSSA (Cooperative Station Service Accountability) continues on track; the final review of the new manual has been completed, and the software is going through the last phase of testing. We still hope to have the software at Southern Region Headquarters in mid-May. Regional programs and functions will then be attached to the software. If everything stays on course, we should have everything to the field offices by mid-June and hope to have everyone start using the new version the first of July. Please remember that the old version of the CSSA is not compatible with the soon to be released new version. Be ready for the change by getting your current database as up-to-date as you can.

It is critical that each DAPM/HMT team review all B44s for their CWA to be certain that the information in the Station Management Section (Screen 3) is accurate. It will take a great deal of coordination and cooperation to get this major change completed with minimal disruption to the Cooperative Program.

MISSING COOPERATIVE PROGRAM REPORTS. Jerry Wolfe (CPQAS) has compiled these reports for 1995. The results are given in the Climatological Data attachment to these Topics. You will note that the Southern Region has been below the national average (that is good) for the last six months. There is still room for improvement by a few DAPM/HMT teams, but by far the Southern Region is doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

NWSO SHREVEPORT. Mike Waddell (AES) and Randy Mitte and Brian Read (ETs) gave a tour of the office to students of the Caddo Career Center and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. They explained all areas of electronics, including computer skills and data communications and electronic systems, associated with the NWS.

Marion Kuykendall (DAPM), Craig Ross (Hydrologist), Mark Murphy (Forecaster), and Tim Doyle and Bill Parker (Met Interns) gave tours to Pelican Elementary School, Booker T. Washington High School, and Platt Elementary School.

NWSO CORPUS CHRISTI. On March 13 NWSO Corpus Christi participated in a "shadowing" program for a young lady from a Carroll High School science class in Corpus Christi. Kim Allen "shadowed" MIC Joe Arellano for the first part of the day. During the afternoon she "shadowed" Mark Lenz (forecaster), Dave Davenport (DAPM), and Dave Kjar (HMT). Kim wrote, "At first I didn't think I would have any fun shadowing a meteorologist, but you all were really interesting . . . . Next year I'm hoping to get a closer study into meteorology."

March 18-21 a total of 300 students from the Rockport Intermediate School were given a tour of the office at the rate of 75 students per day. John Metz, Robert Luna, Steve Pfaff, and Tawna Parke conducted the tours.

NWSFO NEW ORLEANS AREA. A group of senior citizens from Calvary Baptist Church toured NWSFO New Orleans and the LMRFC. The tour was conducted by Pat Johnson (forecaster) and Eric Jones (LMRFC HAS Forecaster). The 12 seniors were very appreciative of the tour, although some of the new technology overwhelmed them. It took them a little more time to get around, but it was well worth it, according to Pat and Eric.

NWSO HOUSTON. As usual, NWSO Houston has been very busy reaching out. On March 7 Brian Kyle talked to 4th graders at Hyde Elementary School about basic meteorology. On March 12 Greg Waller hosted an office tour for 12 Fort Bend Christian Home School students. On March 14 Greg also provided a basic meteorology training session for 22 students at Morgan Elementary School. On March 27 three selected students from Creekside Elementary School participated in "Career Day" by visiting the weather office.

On March 28 Gene Hafele (Warning Coordination Meteorologist), Steve Allen (Science and Operations Officer), and Robert Van Hoven (Asian-American Employment Program Manager) visited the Houston Independent School District's Magnet School for Meteorology and Space Sciences which is Madison High School. Robert talked to Dr. Jan Spuck (Magnet coordinator) about student programs available in the National Weather Service.

On April 2 Greg Waller and Jim Maxwell visited Prairie View A&M College in Waller County. This is one of the few colleges in Texas having a predominant African-American student population. They talked to 15 honor students from the Department of Geography about global warming.

NWSO MIDLAND. SOO Brian Francis has been working on a thunderstorm climatology project with a 10th grade student from Midland High School. Numerous office tours and safety talks were given to over 360 students from January through March!

NWSFO ALBUQUERQUE. The Albuquerque Human Rights Board annually recognizes people who were involved in, or may have contributed in a specific situation or instance, to promoting and supporting human rights and human dignity, equal opportunity, equal access, and the elimination of discrimination. On March 14 the Board presented a certificate of recognition to Matthew Calabaza in recognition of his time and faithful dedication as a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Multi-Cultural Celebration Committee.

NWSO AMARILLO. MIC Jose Garcia, along with forecasters Lance Goehring and Steven Cobb, participated in a Computer Fair at Bowie Middle School in Amarillo. The Computer Fair attracted more than 20 exhibitors and hundreds of middle school students. NWSO Amarillo participated by setting up their laptop computer, along with an additional monitor, to show students how computers are used in forecast and warning programs. Students were encouraged to sit at the computer and compose Short Term Forecasts using the PC-NOW program developed by Forecaster Scott Plischke. The forecasts written were quite interesting, but by far the most interesting was "Sunny with a chance of rain and the wind always blowing." Not a bad bet for Amarillo!

SOUTHERN REGION HEADQUARTERS AND NWSFO FORT WORTH. Meteorologist Ronald Nuņez (NWSFO Fort Worth), Victor Murphy and Martin Garcia (Systems Operations Division), and Sam Balandran (Administrative Management Division) participated in the first Career Day at North Hi-Mount Elementary School. The Career Day attracted 25 federal agencies and 15 private companies. Another Career Day is being planned for next year.

A PROMOTION. Sam Balandran (Regional EEO Manager) was recently elected president of the Mexican American College Education Fund, Inc., Board of Directors. He has been a member since 1985, and now is responsible for administering $50K in yearly scholarships to students in the Fort Worth area.

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