Fort Worth, Texas

April 1, 1996



SECOND MANAGERS' MEETING HELD. The second of two regional managers' meetings was held the week of March 18. As with the first meeting, excellent information was exchanged. We again appreciated the involvement of a number of representatives from outside the Southern Region. It was timely to have held the meeting that week, since during the week we received an amended budget which would not have allowed the meeting to be supported. In the amended budget, nearly 4 million dollars have been stripped from our FY 95 benchmark position. With only half a year left, it is now apparent some rather drastic measures will need to be considered. Final determination on the course of action will await the discussions which are to be held at the Regional Directors' meeting scheduled for the week of April 8. Unfortunately, due to the need for students to be informed about summer employment opportunities in the Southern Region, it became necessary to announce we will not be able to support a summer employment program.

END OF A SERVICE ERA. On April 1 the Southern Region Agricultural program will end.


STAR UPDATE. I (Dedric Walker) have been very busy during the last few weeks of my assignment in the STAR program. Activities in TMU included attending a teleconference on activities surrounding the site selection for the new NEXRAD radars to be located in Western Arkansas and Northern Alabama. Participants in the conference included Buddy McIntyre and Chris Smith from TMU, Julie Scanlon and Barry Reichenbaugh of NWSH, and representatives of SRI, contractors involved with the site selections. Also in attendance were Jerry McDuffie (MIC, NWSO Knoxville/Tri-Cities) and Donald Devore (MIC, NWSO Tulsa). Items discussed included prospective site visitations which are tentatively scheduled (depending on the outcome of the NWS budget) sometime in early to mid-June for Northern Alabama, and sometime in mid-July for Western Arkansas. The site selections for both locations should be made by October 15. Also discussed was the tentative equipment delivery dates which will be in February of 1998 for both Northern Alabama and Western Arkansas, but is contingent upon funding provided by Congress.

Over the past few weeks in SOD, I have worked with Victor Murphy and John Cannon on a ROML which addresses back-up procedures for ASOS sites with SAWRS-II cooperators. I have also been working on a procedure which addresses the quality control of ASOS observations from both staffed and unstaffed sites. I had the opportunity to accompany Victor on a pre-commissioning trip to the ASOS site in Savannah where I met Fred Miller and other NWS employees at the spin-down office. Lloyd Hill (ASOS ET, NWSFO Peachtree City) was also in town for maintenance on the ASOS. During our trip to Savannah, Victor, Fred Miller, and I met with the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower manager and air traffic controllers at the airport and discussed their concerns about the use of the OID, as well as other issues dealing with ASOS.

Over the past few weeks, I was also able to meet several MICs in our region who were in town for the MIC/HIC Conferences. Opportunities like these have made my experience in the STAR program very rewarding and enlightening. I would like to thank the following people for giving me the opportunity to participate in the STAR program: Harry Hassel, Steven Cooper, Tom Grayson, Suzanne Nichols, Victor Murphy, Buddy McIntyre, everyone in SOD and TMU, and everyone else at Southern Region Headquarters. If anyone is interested in the STAR program, I encourage you to apply. If you have any questions, call me at NWSFO Jackson, MS at (601) 965-4639.

AUTOMATION CERTIFICATIONS. MICs have been busy with consolidation certifications the past year and will soon embark upon automation certifications. The certifications are made to Congress that consolidation and automation actions will not result in any degradation of services. Consolidating a field office occurs after a WSR-88D is commissioned and county warning area and other service transfers to the future WFO have been made. Automating a field office occurs after ASOS equipment is installed and commissioned. Criteria for automation certifications is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register in April for public comment. After the public comment period closes, consultation on the criteria will occur with the NRC's Modernization Committee and with the Modernization Transition Committee. The first automation certifications could begin this summer.

NOAA WEATHER/CLIMATE WEB SITES. With so many sources of weather information now on the Internet, you may want to know which NOAA offices maintain home pages. Barry Reichenbaugh of NWS Headquarters Public Affairs has compiled a table of NOAA sources of weather information that are now on the World Wide Web. The attachment to this Topics is reportedly comprehensive and valid for March 26, 1996. Check it out. Even the most experienced net surfers may see a few sources that are new to them.


AWARENESS WEEK ACTIVITIES. Most of the offices in the Southern Region have completed their Severe Weather Awareness Week education and coordination activities. During the weeks, literally thousands of brochures (both the tri-logo color brochures and locally-produced information packages) were distributed to emergency managers, schools, and the public. Many offices conducted tornado drills, allowing all concerned agencies and individuals to test their hazardous weather procedures. The WCMs and office staffs gave dozens of media interviews during the weeks, taking our hazardous weather preparedness message to a widespread audience. Congratulations to all the Southern Region offices for an excellent severe weather campaign!

BASIC SPOTTER TRAINING MATERIALS. At long last, the basic severe storm spotter training slides are in production. NWSH is handling the mass duplication of the slides, and SRH will distribute the slide sets when they are received. This set should not be viewed as a “finalized” set, as we will encourage offices to substitute and add to the set with slides from their local area. In addition, work is already under way on an additional subset containing examples from the eastern and southeastern parts of the country.

After several months on the back burner, preparations are beginning again for a basic spotter’s guide to accompany the new slide set. Newton Skiles (NWSFO Little Rock) and Gary Woodall (SRH MSD) prepared a draft version of the guide last summer. Several field offices participated in a review of the first and second drafts of the guide. NWSH has indicated a willingness to print the guide in FY 1997, so we hope to have the guide ready for printing by late summer.

PARADOX STORM DATA SOFTWARE. By now, most of the WCMs and/or Storm Data Focal Points (SDFP) at the future WFOs should have loaded the new Paradox software for the composition of Storm Data. This software is an improvement over the original Paradox run-time module distributed in 1994. The Paradox program represents a fundamentally different method in which Storm Data is composed, and it likely will take some time for everyone to become comfortable with it. While there are some awkward aspects of the program, we must remember that it is the official means by which NWSH will calculate severe weather verification statistics and document severe or unusual weather occurrences.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK. Many offices in the Southern Region have begun issuing a Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO), either on a routine or an as-needed basis. The HWO is a preliminary outlook product, issued early on a day in which hazardous weather is expected, describing when, where, and why the weather hazard will develop. Most officesrecognize the value of the HWO in a “classic” severe weather situation. However, we have recently seen a number of innovative HWOs describing heavy rain, coastal flooding, and winter weather events. We applaud and encourage the creativity shown in incorporating this product into your operations.

EARLY WARNING PAYS OFF. Jim Duke of NWSFO Memphis relayed a story his office received from a farmer near Smithville in Lawrence County, Arkansas. The farmer said he saw a tornado warning for Lawrence County on a local TV station, with Smithville specifically mentioned as being in the tornado’s path. He then listened to NOAA Weather Radio to confirm the warning. At that point, he alerted all of the farm hands on the property to take shelter. Everyone took shelter in the farmer’s basement. He estimated that 10 minutes passed from the time he heard the warning until the tornado struck. Eight buildings on the farm were destroyed and the farmer’s son’s house received roof and window damage. The farmer said that the TV station and the NWS saved their lives, as they likely would have been in the farm buildings when the storm struck.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER PAMPHLET. Walt Zaleski and Ira Brenner (NWSO Tampa Bay Area) coordinated with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) to develop and print an “All Hazards Guide.” The TBRPC is a six-county association of emergency management and other county officials from the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. The All Hazards Guide is a preparedness guide providing information and photography on meteorological phenomena and associated hazards, ranging from hurricanes to tornadoes to flash floods to lightning. The guide will include a segment on NWR and a fold-out map detailing shelters, storm surge information, and evacuation routes of the particular county in which the guide was distributed. In the Tampa metro area, a total of 800,000 copies are expected to be printed and distributed.

PREPAREDNESS NEWS. With the arrival of April, we are entering our peak time for severe weather preparedness activities. Listed below are some of the highlights from across the region:

Media/EMC Coordination

Mike Koziara and Frank Revitte (NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge) provided a WSR-88D workshop for six staff members of Baton Rouge TV station WAFB. Included were two of the staff meteorologists, three reporters, and an electronics technician. The presentation included an office tour, an overview of the WSR-88D system, and a review of two severe weather events from the Baton Rouge area. Archived data from a recent severe weather case were loaded and replayed for the attendees. During the workshop, the TV crew took video of the WSR-88D and filmed an interview with Mike and Frank to be aired in an upcoming hurricane preparedness special. The workshop was highly successful and seemed to go a long way toward convincing the visitors that the NWSFO could provide radar coverage and weather services for the Baton Rouge area.

Howard Waldron and John Pescatore (NWSO Knoxville/Tri Cities) gave a presentation to the East Tennessee Emergency Managers’ Conference. The presentation emphasized severe weather preparedness, the need for storm spotter training, and the need for coordination among allagencies during flood events. The emergency managers gave a critique of the NWSO’s performance during the winter months, with unanimous high praise for the services provided by the NWSO staff.

Jim Stefkovich (NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas) gave a 30-minute interview to a staff member of Tandy Broadcast Media Relations. Topics discussed during the interview included watches and warnings, how to receive weather information, SAME, EAS, safety tips, and NOAA and the Internet. Footage was shot of the NWSFO’s operations area, the WSR-88D, and the NWR consoles. Plans are under way to make the interview into a national news story about NWR, and hopefully to send a tape to every TV station in the nation. Jim also provided the staff member with literature on SAME, EAS, NWR, and severe weather preparedness.

Public Outreach Activities

NWSO Melbourne staffed a booth at the 1996 TICO Warbird Air Show at the Titusville/Cocoa Airport. The booth was shared with the Brevard County Emergency Management Agency and the P-3 air crew from the Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa. Approximately 30,000 people attended the air show, with several hundred people stopping by the booth. The staff provided preparedness pamphlets, demonstrated NWR, and answered numerous questions regarding hurricane preparedness and other weather topics.

Mike McAllister, Kent Kuyper, and Pablo Santos (NWSO Jacksonville) staffed a booth at the Marion County Emergency Management Expo Fair. Roughly 7,000 people attended the event, which included guest appearances from Smokey the Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog. Demonstrations were performed by the Marion County Bomb Squad, the State Forestry Division’s fire fighting helicopter, and the Ocala and Marion County K-9 teams. Mike, Kent, and Pablo passed out more than 500 brochures and answered numerous questions from Marion County residents on severe weather, hurricane preparedness, and NWR.

Larry Eblen (NWSFO Austin/San Antonio) has been working with the staff at the Austin Children’s Museum to enhance the museum’s weather section. This has proven to be an extremely popular area of the museum. The staff is finishing work on a tornado display, which will be a complement to the downburst display which is already in operation. The downburst display sets up a model tree, then blows air through the display, knocking the tree over. The downburst display was activated over 5,000 times during the first month.

Lance Goehring and Doug Crowley (NWSO Amarillo) spearheaded an effort to acquire space for a severe weather booth in WestGate Mall in Amarillo. This was the NWSO’s first success in this area after many previous attempts to obtain booth space. Over 250 shoppers stopped at the booth, picked up preparedness literature, and visited with the NWSO staff members. Several school contacts were made at the booth, and the staff gave away a NOAA Weather Radio at the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, 100 miles to the south, NWSFO Lubbock staffed their annual severe weather booth at South Plains Mall in Lubbock. The booth consisted of the NWSFO’s tabletop display and a TV/VCR for showing videotapes. The booth was set up near the mall’s main entrance, but ina relatively low traffic area. Nevertheless, over 1,300 shoppers stopped to view tornado videos, ask questions of the NWSFO staff, and pick up severe weather preparedness information.


The Space Shuttle Columbia landed at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at 1358 UTC (8:58 a.m. EST) on Saturday, March 9, 1996, after a 16-day mission. Columbia launched from KSC’s Pad 39B at 2018 UTC (3:18 p.m. EST) with an international crew of seven on a 14-day mission. The nominal End Of Mission (EOM) was scheduled for Thursday, March 7. The mission was extended one day due to weather concerns and one day to gather extra scientific data. This was the 19th flight for Columbia, the 75th shuttle mission, the third longest shuttle mission on record, and the seventh consecutive KSC shuttle landing.

STS-75 included two major payloads—the Italian Tethered Satellite System (TSS) and the United States Microgravity Payload (USMP). This was the second flight of the TSS. When the TSS was deployed out to 12 of the 15 planned miles, the tether broke. While direct tether-line data gathering was lost, remote data gathering methods did gain much new information about generating electricity using the earth’s magnetic field. This was the third flight of the USMP, and it was extremely successful with all five of the experiments obtaining nearly 100 percent of their test objectives.

On-orbit weather support consisted of daily Mission Management Team (MMT) briefings. Four days prior to the planned March 7 landing, the MMT decided to extend the mission one day to gather additional scientific data. Weather concerns for March 8 included post cold front low cloudiness, rain showers, and strong and gusty winds. However, the forecast also included improved weather conditions for the following day, March 9.

The low clouds covered the SLF for the first opportunity on Friday, March 8, causing a “wave-off.” The overcast became scattered to broken over central Florida for the second opportunity, but the situation was too volatile to give a “go” forecast. Spaceflight Meteorology Group’s forecast for Saturday was for improved weather conditions; thus, the MMT decided to try for a KSC landing on Saturday, March 9, rather than land at Edwards AFB on March 8.

Clouds covered the SLF on the initial planned landing on March 9, causing a “wave-off.” However, a large break in the clouds developed and SMG gave a “go” forecast for landing with only 1 minute and 43 seconds before the critical de-orbit decision. NASA Flight Director Richard Jackson ordered the de-orbit burn, and one hour later Shuttle Commander Andy Allen made a “picture perfect” landing at KSC at 1358 UTC. This extended the consecutive KSC landing record to seven in a row—one straight year of KSC landings.

Lead Meteorologist for STS-75 was Karl A. Silverman, working his 13th mission, second as Lead. Steve Sokol was Assistant Lead, and Doris Rotzoll worked as the Lead Techniques Development Unit (TDU) Meteorologist. Cara Heist trained as a TDU Meteorologist.


FLOOD PREPAREDNESS MEETING HELD. On March 12, Paul Trotter (MIC/AM, WSFO New Orleans), Frank Revitte (WCM, WSFO New Orleans), Dave Reed (HIC, LMRFC), Brian Jarvinen (TPC), and Max Mayfield (TPC) attended a meeting with the Louisiana State Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOEP) in Baton Rouge. The meeting was held to discuss preparedness plans for the upcoming hurricane tour and the spring flood season. Faculty from the Louisiana State University and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) were also in attendance.

ITALIAN BRIEFING. On March 22, Paul Trotter (MIC/AM, WSFO New Orleans) and Dave Reed (HIC, LMRFC) briefed two Italian scientists on NWS weather and flood forecast activities. The briefing was held at the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD). The scientists represented the Centro sperimentale per l' Idrologia and Meteorologia (their version of the NWS) of the Venento Province in Italy. Officials from the Louisiana DOTD, Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOEP), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) also made presentations.

LMRFC HAS TRAVELS. Eric Jones (HAS Forecaster, LMRFC) recently participated in a training effort at WSO Shreveport. Eric presented LMRFC hydrologic operations and HAS operations planned for this year. Following Eric's presentation, training was provided to the Shreveport staff on severe weather.

IFLOWS MEETING AT NWSO MORRISTOWN. An IFLOWS coordination meeting for eastern Tennessee was held at the NWSO Morristown office on March 20. In attendance were representatives from the NWS, TVA, USGS, State of Virginia DES, and the IFLOWS contractor. An update on the progress of the east Tennessee IFLOWS project was given, as well as TVA’s progress in providing the communications network. The USGS also expressed an interest in receiving the IFLOWS data.

TRAINING COMPUTERS TO MAKE QPF FORECASTS. Tony Hall (HAS Forecaster, WGRFC) has been working on a method of generating areal-average QPF utilizing Neural Networks and computer-based, artificial intelligence software. This system is an enhancement to a software program originally developed by Mike Gillespie during the time he spent at NWSFO Lubbock. Tony’s program is the subject of the latest Hydrologic Technical Attachment included with this issue of the Topics.


NEW ROML: ATTENDING SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS. Southern Region ROML S-5-96 (Participation in Professional, Technical and Scientific Meetings) was recently distributed to all offices. This ROML updates earlier policies, and it provides new guidelines for procedures and funding associated with such participation.

AMS ANNUAL MEETING. Attached this week is a list of presentations made by Southern Region participants in the conferences that were part of the American Meteorological Society's 76th Annual Meeting in Atlanta last January. Once again, there was a tremendous response to this opportunity to demonstrate the role NWS forecasters play in advancing the science. Note in particular the special session on forecasting for the Summer Olympics.

SOO NEWS. Ken Falk (SOO) and Eric Jones (RFC Slidell) conducted two seminars at Shreveport recently. Several NWSO staff members were involved, as well as a representative from nearby Barksdale AFB (an associated PUP user). Eric discussed WINQPF and covered topics such as the type of QPF products forecasters will be issuing and how the RFC's river forecast models will use QPF input. Ken's seminar was on warning guidelines for the WSR-88D, including tornado and severe thunderstorm warning criteria. He also discussed new warning techniques for microbursts and non-supercell tornadoes.

In the latest in a continuing series of such visits by Southern Region forecasters and SOOs, Rusty Pfost (SOO, NWSFO Jackson) participated last week in a monthly meeting of the NWS/Texas A&M Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies (CIAMS). Rusty briefed faculty and students on last winter's damaging ice storm in Mississippi, including a discussion of forecasts and warnings, and applications of new technology such as mesoscale model output and WSR-88D data. Such seminars are very helpful in acquainting our university partners (and future employees) with NWS operations, as well as new tools and techniques that are part of MAR.

NWSFO Jackson forecaster Jim Butch provided a brief summary, which he and Rusty developed, that describes the significant ice storm which affected north and central Mississippi last February 1-2. We have included that as a technical attachment this week. Based on experience with a similar storm in 1994, forecasters were able to diagnose events and provide good warnings.

HURRICANE SEASON RECAP. We understand Profs. T.N. Krishnamurti and Peter Ray at Florida State University are planning a special issue of Monthly Weather Review to focus on the remarkable 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. "Krish" is Director of the NWS/FSU Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology, and Peter is Chairman of FSU's Department of Meteorology (and also editor of the MWR). A "Call for Papers" for this special issue is scheduled for the June issue of MWR. Deadline for submission of papers will be August 31, 1996. Given the impact many of the 1995 storms had on the Southern Region, we hope several offices are able to respond to this call. SSD will assist in any way possible.

UAP APPLICATIONS. Several applications were submitted for the University Assignment Program. After review at Southern Region Headquarters, these will be forwarded to NWS Headquarters for final review and approval. Applicants should expect to hear results in several weeks.

COMET GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP. We were pleased to hear that Curtis Marshall, Jr., has been awarded a COMET/NWS Graduate Fellowship for the coming year. Curtis is a student at the University of Oklahoma, and he will be working with the staff at NWSFO Norman on operational research projects related to forecasting the onset, location, duration, and characteristics of deep convection. His research advisor is Dr. Ken Crawford, now with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and OU, but formerly MIC at the NWSFO.

Curtis joins two COMET-sponsored post-doctoral researchers also working at Southern Region Offices: Dr. Chris Herbster at NWSO Tallahassee (FSU) and Dr. Tim Doggett, IV, at NWSFO Lubbock (Texas Tech).

COMET CBLS. Attached to this week's Topics is a recent summary of the status and plans for COMET computer-based learning (PDW) modules. This summary was provided to the MICs and HICs at the recent SRH managers meetings, but please note that we learned of a few changes between the two meetings! Those who attended the first meeting should replace the page they received with the one attached here.

AEV POLICY DURING MAR. As NWS modernization progresses, it has become essential to update the AFOS-Era Verification (AEV) program for future WFOs. The goal is a national verification network comprising at least one forecast site associated with each WFO. Additional sites in the national verification network will include those sites that have historically been part of the national AEV network, but which do not become a WFO or a verification site associated with a WFO. We will clarify this by a memo shortly, including an office-by-office list of sites to be verified.

UPDATE OF THE WISE PROGRAM. The Warning and Interactive Statement Editor (WISE) has been updated by Greg Jackson of NWSO San Angelo. This program provides a user friendly interface for writing a wide variety of NWS products including statements and warnings. Each location can customize a list of routinely issued statements, warnings, and advisories. WISE provides for call to action statements. This is a major rewrite of the program, and those using previous versions should update to this version upon receipt for this severe weather season.

Diskettes containing the program and documentation have been prepared by SSD, and MSD has formally approved use of this program for issuing warnings in the Southern Region. All WCMs should be alert to the receipt of this program which was released last week. Offices not receiving the program should contact Gordon Hammons in SSD or Gary Woodall in MSD.



LINES COMMUNICATIONS RACKS. Southern Region has given approval for FAA to install a standard communications rack in each of its offices. This rack should be placed near the communications room. Our facilities technicians will provide power from the UPS before FAA installs the telephone line. FAA and MCI are still required to coordinate installation of the circuits with Southern Region and the local MIC. If any problems develop, please call Vince Dicarlo at (817) 334-2367.

WSR-88D PMI SCHEDULE UPDATE. Preliminary testing on a substitute paint has been completed, and further tests are being scheduled. Therefore, there will be no painting of radomes until that issue is resolved. Sites that have been identified for radome repainting have beendelayed several months to allow the paint issue to be resolved. More information will be disseminated as it is received. Thank you for your indulgence. And now for the revised listing:


Miami, FL                   04/01/96  / 04/07/96
Tampa Bay, FL 04/08/96 / 04/14/96
Tallahassee, FL 04/15/96 / 04/21/96
Atlanta, GA 04/22/96 / 04/28/96
Lubbock, TX 05/06/96 / 05/12/96
Austin/San Antonio, TX 05/13/96 / 05/19/96
Lake Charles, LA 05/20/96 / 05/26/96
New Orleans, LA 05/27/96 / 06/02/96
Birmingham, AL 06/03/96 / 06/09/96
Morristown, TN 06/10/96 / 06/16/96
Nashville, TN 06/17/96 / 06/23/96
Memphis, TN 06/24/96 / 06/30/96
Jackson, MS 07/01/96 / 07/07/96
Houston, TX 07/08/96 / 07/14/96
Amarillo, TX 07/15/96 / 07/21/96
Albuquerque, NM 07/22/96 / 07/28/96
Mobile, AL 09/02/96 / 09/08/96
Shreveport, LA 09/09/96 / 09/15/96
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX 09/16/96 / 09/22/96
Tulsa, OK 09/23/96 / 09/29/96
Little Rock, AR 09/02/96 / 09/08/96

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to call Cecil Tevis at (817) 978-2644 Ext. 142.

FRAME RELAY NETWORK STATUS. The long awaited Frame Relay Network is no longer in the planning stage. The first three sites—New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Tampa Bay Area, and Jacksonville—are on line to Southern Region Headquarters. Cisco now has the order from GSA for the remaining routers and should deliver them to SRH in six to ten weeks. All lines have been ordered.

The final phase of development is a training plan. This will be complete in early April. As soon as we have a final delivery date, we plan to bring all ESAs who are getting a Frame Relay to Fort Worth. The training will include programming the individual routers for the office. The routers will then be repacked and shipped to the office by the ESA.

We continue to learn many things about networks as this project progresses. In the not so distant future, actual IP address assignments will be made for the rest of the Frame Relay network. If your office has planned to be a participant in the network, you will shortly have AT&T, under the FTS 2000 contract, install a T-1 line, a TxPORT 3001 DSU/CSU with a V-35 female cable, and a modem connected to the DSU/CSU in your office. Make sure the modem is included in the installation. It is for AT&T’s use in remote troubleshooting. During the first threeinstallations, we had to utilize the modems to correct problems. Also, please make sure that the cable that runs from the Smart Jack to the DSU/CSU is at least 50 ft long and is Plenum-Rated. We have asked for these items as part of our installation to give us the required flexibility. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Bruce Marshak or Gene Witsman.

WHAT IS NOAAPORT? This may be another acronym that has been kicking around the NWS Modernization, but what is NOAAPORT? That is easy enough! NOAAPORT is the Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN) that the NWS will use to distribute its satellite and datastreams to the future WFO. Your office will not have to wait for AWIPS to have access to the NOAAPORT information, as it will be available to our offices shortly. The NOAAPORT Receive System (NRS) consists of a 3.7 meter satellite antenna and receive system which will be installed at NWSFO Dallas/Fort Worth the first week of April. The datastream will then be piped into the Southern Region Frame Relay and distributed to field offices.


ASOS CONTRACT TRANSFERS AND ACTIONS. During April and May, almost half of the ASOS augmentation and back-up contracts will be transferred from the NWS Southern Region to the Southern and Southwest Regions of the FAA. This will allow the FAA to assume responsibility for contract administration and maintenance once the contract transfer has occurred. In this changing role, the FAA will receive contractor invoices for services provided, will be responsible for any contract modifications, and will oversee the quality control of the ASOS observations at these targeted sites once the transfer has been completed. Three sites are slated for contract cancellation by the FAA effective May 1, 1996. At Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach, and Knoxville, the FAA tower personnel will become totally responsible for the augmentation and back-up for their respective ASOS systems.

Dates Of Site(s) Transfer

04/01     Tampa, Dallas/Fort Worth, Waco, Fort Smith, Baton Rouge
05/01     Montgomery, Columbus, Atlanta, Augusta, Meridian, Tri-Cities-Bristol,
          Chattanooga, San Antonio, El Paso, Lubbock, Beaumont/Port Arthur
06/01     Athens, Macon, Oklahoma City, Tulsa
08/01     New Orleans Moissant
09/01     Houston Inter-Continental, Austin, Nashville
10/01     Savannah

In other contract actions, we have received a contract award for Athens, Georgia. Weather One will be the contractor responsible for 24-hour ASOS augmentation and back-up at Athens. The contract initiation packages for Victoria, Texas, and Savannah, Georgia, have been sent to MASC; and final changes are being completed to the bid package to send to the potentialbidders. These two sites are slated for a June 1, 1996, start date. In other action, the contract initiation package for Abilene, Texas, will be sent to MASC late this week for an ASOS contract beginning August 1, 1996.

REMOVAL OF UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS AT NWS FACILITIES. Each NWS facility requiring continuous, uninterrupted service during periods of possible electric utility outages has been equipped with a standby generator. These generators are powered with diesel, gasoline, propane, or natural gas and vary in size from 15 KW to 300 KW. Most of these units procured prior to Modernization were diesel-powered and had their fuel tanks installed underground as most automobile service stations do.

Many of the tanks installed at service stations prior to the 1980s were made of steel which could corrode and develop leaks, possibly contaminating local water supplies. Fiberglass reinforced plastic tanks could develop leaks as well. Environmental regulatory bodies began holding owners of underground storage tanks (USTs) liable for damages to the environment and mandated that all USTs be removed or converted to double-containment configuration with leak detection capability.

In the National Weather Service we are equipping the modernized sites with above ground concrete fuel tanks and removing the USTs at the older sites where the new building occupants may be taking over the abandoned facility and do not wish to assume ownership responsibility for the UST. The removal process requires a state licensed contractor to flush and clean the tank prior to disposal at a metal recycling facility and to analyze soil samples to determine what, if any, remediation procedures need to be implemented to eliminate local contamination.

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