UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
April 1, 1998
NEW NWS DIRECTOR VISITS SOUTHERN REGION. During his very first full week in office, John J. "Jack" Kelly, Jr., visited the Southern Region in a big way! Not only did he address all the Southern Region office managers during the annual operational MIC/HIC conference in Fort Worth, Jack also had an "all-hands" meeting for the staffs of the local WSFO, RFC, CWSU and the Southern Region Headquarters. In one long but very interesting day, staffs and managers representing one-fifth of the National Weather Service got an excellent impression of the visions, philosophy and commitment of our new national leader. Jack, as he prefers to be called, was most complimentary of the dedication, values and professionalism of the employees that make this organization the most capable Weather Service in the world.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the additional statements, answers and visions that Jack gave us during our meetings.
All in all we have an expectation that we will be in a period of some adjustment and change, particularly in the way management does things in the National Weather Service. The NWS field will have an enhanced role in many of these changes and input into the current plans, and eventually, into the vision of this organization beyond modernization. Proudly recognizing our meteorologically based organizational diversity between regions, we offer a field tradition of rededication to service while oneness for the good of the NWS mission will always be part of our goal. Nevertheless, the awareness that a meteorologically based diversity of the regions will always be an operational reality.
I ask all Southern Region managers and bargaining unit employees to work with a commitment to partnership that will prevail in everything we do. With all these thoughts and commitments, Southern Region warmly welcomes Jack Kelly.
FORTY-YEAR HONORS. The NWSO San Angelo staff celebrated 40 years of service on the part of Larry Blanchard and Jerry O'Bryant, honoring them with dinner and cake on Friday, March 13th. On behalf of all their Southern Region friends and co-workers I also want to congratulate Larry and Jerry for the many years they have dedicated to serving the nation through their National Weather Service (and Weather Bureau) careers. Well done, fellows, and thanks.
The next batch of site surveys for AWIPS is about to begin. Toward the end of April, site survey teams will begin to visit locations within the Southern Region. Offices included on the schedule are: SMG Houston, Lubbock, San Angelo, Midland/Odessa, El Paso, Albuquerque, Lake Charles, Shreveport and San Juan. Local AWIPS teams may wish to visit a site that has already had AWIPS installed or at least visit a site that has already been surveyed. This might give you a better idea of how things might go.
INTERVIEW. Recently, Charlie Paxton, SOO NWSO Tampa Bay Area, provided an interview to freelance writer and photographer, M. J. McAward. Ms. McAward is writing a story on NWS modernization and restructuring. The article will appear in the June or July issue of the national boating magazine - Soundings.
NOAA WEATHER RADIO.
NWR Information Page. The NWR information page is up and running on the Southern Region home page. The page includes links to sites including: FIPS/SAME codes and frequency listings for all counties in the U.S., explanations of SAME codes and how the SAME system works, the "official" NWR home page, an online version of the NWR brochure, and a site containing live NWR broadcasts from the El Paso NWSO.
The NWR Information Page will be periodically updated, so visit often (and point your home page customers). The URL is: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/msd/html/nwr.html
And by the way, we are presently working on a "clickable" NWR map for the Southern Region.
NWR Gaining Visibility. Thanks to the efforts of former Southern Region STAR employee, Larry Peabody, (lead forecaster, NWSFO Austin/San Antonio), CNN has placed a link to the official NWR home page on its main weather page. The phrase, "Stay informed during weather emergencies... NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazards 24 hours a day," accompanies the URL, which is http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/
The culmination of two more of Larry's efforts as a STAR employee were recently realized as well. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) has included a section on NOAA Weather Radio under its "Information You Should Know" header located on their official highway maps. The section includes a listing of the seven broadcast frequencies and an NWS Internet link. And in the 1998 Texas Travel Guide (a nearly 300 page document), page five contains an informative NOAA Weather Radio description. It is estimated that information from the highway map and the travel guide will easily reach hundreds of thousands of people, since both are free and readily available at rest stops, Tourist Information Centers, TXDOT and DPS offices, and the like. Great work, Larry!
If you learn of similar results from NWR promotional activity, please let Rick Dittmann in MSD know.
CRS JOB SHEETS. A set of job sheets to help with operational CRS training will soon be made available to WFO staff. The job sheets will help augment the Site User's Manual (with accompanying CD-ROM), the Administrator's Guide and the on-site training that are also available.
FISHING 101. Karl Loeper, Dan Sobien, and Russ Henes of NWSO Tampa Bay Area recently attended the Bradenton Herald Fishing College held at the Manatee County Convention Center. There were approximately 10,000 boaters and fishermen in attendance at this annual event.
The NWS was one of a number of agencies and private vendors that operated information booths at the event. About 1,500 attendees dropped by the NWS booth for answers to pressing marine questions. The primary goal of the NWS presence was to educate the marine customers to forthcoming changes in NWS marine products and services. Also, attendees were asked to complete a locally-prepared "marine survey" soliciting comments regarding their likes and dislikes of NWS products and what they would like to see changed.
A NOAA Weather Radio and three rain gauges were "raffled off" to lucky participants. Apparently, it was a very successful event and a good time was had by all. Great work, guys!
MARINE CHANGE. Speaking of marine changes, Wednesday, April 29, 1998 remains as the date to transfer Coastal Flood Watch and Warning responsibility to NWSOs within the Southern Region. Affected offices are issuing periodic Public Information Statements to notify marine customers of the impending change.
VOS SURVEY. Recently, a survey addressing the Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) program was sent to all coastal offices. The survey consisted of six questions and a comment section. Several offices have already completed the survey and e-mailed the results to the Acting Regional Marine Program Manager. If your office has not yet submitted a completed survey, please do so by April 8, so that the results can be forwarded to W/OM14.
NESDIS FAQ. NESDIS continues work on a new satellite Web site. The site is expected to provide general satellite information, as well as a section on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Perhaps your office has ideas as to some questions that should be included in this section. If so, please forward them via e-mail to the Regional Satellite Program Manager.
ACTIVE MONTH ACROSS MUCH OF SR. There has been seen a significant amount of activity across much of the Southern Region the past month. Widespread heavy rains and flooding impacted forecast offices and RFCs, necessitating many long hours. As usual, the level of service provided has been excellent. Congratulations to all!
PALMER DROUGHT INDEX. Most recent Palmer Drought Index values indicate nearly all of the Southern Region states are experiencing wetter than normal soil moisture conditions. The exceptions (where near normal conditions exist) are southern New Mexico, southwest and deep South Texas, and portions of Tennessee and Arkansas. The areas with the greatest spring flood potential (based only on antecedent soil moisture conditions) include large portions of Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
NEW HYDROLOGIC PROGRAM MANAGER FOR SR HSD. Bob Carle, senior service hydrologist at NWSO Tallahassee, has been selected as the new Hydrologic Program Manager in Southern Region's HSD. His new duties will include regional HYDROMET and WHFS focal point. He will report to HSD on April 28, 1998. Please join us in welcoming Bob to SR HSD.
WHFS TRAINING. The first AWIPS WHFS Workshop was conducted at the NWS Training Center during the week of February 24. WHFS stands for WFO Hydrologic Forecast System, part of AWIPS, and the workshop is designed to familiarize the Service Hydrologist and hydrology focal point at each office with the HydroBase, HydroView, and RiverPro applications that comprise WHFS. The course accommodates eight students at the NWSTC AWIPS consoles. Students will return to their offices and help other members of the staff learn to use WHFS operationally. The WHFS training dates for the next 19 sites to receive AWIPS have been finalized. The dates for SR WFOs and RFCs are as follows:
Training Date Office AWIPS Delivery Date
14 JUL-17 JUL 98 Houston WFO 7/98
28 JUL-31 JUL 98 Southeast RFC 7/98
Atlanta, GA WFO 7/98
Melbourne, FL WFO 8/98
Miami, FL WFO 8/98
25 AUG-28 AUG 98 Arkansas/Red RFC 8/98
Amarillo WFO 8/98
More information about this training and the prerequisites for the class are contained on the SR HSD home page at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/hsd/html/whfs.html.
We will send additional information to the affected sites soon.
FUNDS FOR HYDROLOGIC-RELATED TRAINING. The Office of Meteorology provided the NWS hydrology program funds for hydrology-related training in FY 98. The typical use of these funds has been to send individuals to single hydrology-related courses at local universities. Textbook costs are also supported by the account. These funds have been used to pay for correspondence courses such as the University of Oklahoma hydrology course and INFORMIX training. If you are interested in using these funds to take hydrology-related courses during the remainder of this fiscal year, please submit a request to SR HSD.
HIHO HIHO TO LCH WE GO. NWSFO Lake Charles has agreed to help the Southern Region HSD evaluate the Central Region's "Helpful Information for Hydrologic Operations" (HIHO) manual. The LCH staff will review parts of the manual, and determine its applicability and usefulness to the LCH hydrologic program needs, as well as those of the Southern Region. Hopefully the material in the manual will eventually form a nucleus for a similar manual for the Southern Region HSA offices.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
TAMPA TORRENTS CONTINUE. NWSO Tampa Bay Area service hydrologist, Frank Alsheimer, reports another record setting month of rainfall over west-central Florida. February produced rain amounts of 12.15 in in St. Petersburg, 11.66 in at New Port Richey and 11.08 in at the NWSO. Three-month rainfall totals (December through February) include 31.67 in at New Port Richey, 31.03 in at Tampa International Airport and 30.36 in at St. Petersburg/Clearwater. Normal for the three winter months is around seven inches! All rivers in the Tampa HSA were above flood stage at some time during February, and all of the rivers set stage records for the month.
The bad news? Climatologically, March is the wettest month in west-central Florida during El Niño winters.
MORE FLORIDA FLOODING. In the Jacksonville HSA, hydrologic focal point Kent Kuyper reveals record February rainfall amounts of 11.12 in at the NWSO and 14.10 in at the Gainesville Agricultural Center. Normals for the area are near four inches. All river forecast points were above flood stage during the month. Crests at several forecast points along the Suwannee and Sante Fe rivers were the fourth highest recorded in history.
MEMPHIS NEWS. NWSFO Memphis service hydrologist, Buzz Merchlewitz, gathered information and interviewed several area residents to adjust the flood stage on Luxapalilla Creek near Columbus, Mississippi. During February, Buzz also recruited a new cooperative observer to supplement the rain and river information his office receives at Steens, Mississippi.
THE STAGE IS SET. Little Rock service hydrologist, Steve Bays, says that Corps of Engineer-operated lakes in Arkansas are near to above conservation pool levels. With saturated grounds, above normal (and possibly even normal) spring rains will likely result in mainstem river flooding in the state.
INFORMATIVE FIELD TRIP. NWSO Amarillo hydrologic focal point, Lance Goehring, visited a few sites of hydrologic interest in his HSA. He found that the Bluff Creek, which originates about 15 miles northwest of Miami, Texas, carves out an impressive valley as it meanders off the Caprock down to where it meets the Red Deer Creek on the northwest side of Miami. He discovered Texas FM 282 parallels Bluff Creek for about 10 miles west of Miami where no fewer than five low water crossings exist. Lance also observed a stock pond with a dam nearly a quarter mile wide that can hold a considerable amount of water. In the case of a breach, the water would flow down Bluff Creek into northwest Miami. The information derived from Lance's field trip will help forecasters at NWSO Amarillo better inform their customers as heavy rains occur in and around that area.
VERIFYING EL NIÑO FORECASTS. Like every other office across the Southern Region MIC, Charlie Liles and the NWSFO Albuquerque staff have been quite busy over the last several months conducting media interviews regarding El Niño. During the last four months of 1997, the staff provided 325 media interviews involving El Niño questions. Of course, "How much precipitation will we have?" was a common query.
Local studies were utilized to forecast a high probability of above normal late fall and spring precipitation for the 1997-98 season. Autumn precipitation was not too unusual at 134% of normal statewide, but much of that came in December as the state was battered with frequent storms. After a dry January and a normal February, March precipitation, as promised, was quite high. In fact, the NWSFO recorded 2.34 in, making this the wettest March on record (dating back to 1893). The previous record of 2.18 in was established in 1973... also a significant El Niño year.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER
SERFC Operations During the March Floods. Widespread moderate and major flooding affected the SERFC service area during the month of March. During the most recent flooding in March, the SERFC worked extended periods of 24-hour operations to provide updated river forecasts to their supporting WFOs. They participated in numerous internal and external coordination calls prior and during the flood events with their supporting WFOs, NCEP, and the regions, and with the emergency management community and other external users. During these calls, they discussed various subject matters including the hydrometeorological situation and associated hydrologic conditions and contingency river forecast information. They also provided national ABC News with information about the flooding in the Southeast. Some of this information was used on the national media's Web site, ABCNEWS ONLINE. The SERFC received positive feedback from many of their users for their internal and external coordination efforts and the river forecasts that they generated for their supporting WFOs. Congratulations on a job well done!
Weekly Hydrometeorological Outlook. The SERFC began issuing this new product in early March using the "HMD" AFOS product category. The product is issued every Monday and will provide users with advance notice of hydrometeorologic information and related hydrologic conditions that could occur during the week ahead.
Training Project. Reggina Garza, senior hydrologist, will make a trip to Mexico the week of April 27, 1998 to assist the Office of Hydrology in training Mexican hydrologists in the operational use of the NWS River Forecast System (NWSRFS). This effort, under the leadership of the Office of Hydrology, is part of a U.S./Mexican project to transfer NWSRFS to select basins in Mexico with an eventual outcome of a fully operational NWSRFS for the entire country.
ARKANSAS RED BASIN RIVER FORECAST CENTER
ABRFC Operations During March Floods. The ABRFC was open for 24-hour operations during the period of March 15-20, 1998, due to heavy rains that fell in its service area. This is the longest continuous period of ABRFC operations since 1995. At one point during this period, ABRFC had more than 70 of its river forecast points at or near flood stage. Even though ABRFC was short-staffed during this significant flood event, they received very positive feedback from their users for the long-lead time provided by their flood forecasts. Congratulations on a job well done!
Open House. The ABRFC participated in a joint RFC/WFO open house on Sunday and Monday, March 22nd and 23rd with more than 350 people in attendance. ABRFC personnel demonstrated the hydrologic applications used in river forecasting and answered questions about their operations. The recent flooding in ABRFC's service area raised many questions from the public. ABRFC personnel advertised their Internet home page and also requested feedback from the public for any additional products they might like to see on the home page. This was a very positive experience for both RFC staff and the public.
LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECAST CENTER
LMRFC/NWSFO New Orleans Hydrology/QPF Workshop. The LMRFC and the NWSFO participated in a joint Hydrology/QPF workshop at the RFC/NWSFO facility March 9-10. The event included an evening dinner meeting and presentations by Brian McCallum, USGS Water Resources Division Baton Rogue, Louisiana, and Mark Wingate, COE New Orleans District Planning Division. RFC hydrologists, service hydrologists, and hydrologic focal points from NWS offices served by LMRFC also provided presentations on hydrologic program issues and operations at their offices. Thanks to Dave Reed, HIC LMRFC, and Paul Trotter, (MIC) and Dave Smith, (senior service hydrologist) NWSFO New Orleans for their hospitality.
LMRFC Coordination Workshop. The LMRFC plans to hold a workshop during this fiscal year for all the HSA offices in its service area. The workshop will primarily focus on increased services and support from LMRFC to its HSA offices due to AWIPS and increased staffing and enhanced coordination and technical support for QPF and WHFS operations.
Chinese Visit LMRFC. On March 17, ten representatives from the Water Resources Information Center in the Peoples Republic of China visited the LMRFC. Bob Stucky (DOH) and Marty Pope (Sr. Hydrologist) briefed the visitors on LMRFC operations, flash flood guidance, and prediction of storm surge heights. Mike Koziara (SOO at NWSFO New Orleans) provided the group a briefing on hurricane storm surge problems in the New Orleans area.
Training on Rating Curves. The USGS in Jackson, Mississippi, held a workshop on development and use of rating curves on March 24 and 25. Marty Pope (Sr. Hydrologist) represented the LMRFC at this training session. This is an outgrowth of the USGS/NWS working group established to increase coordination and cooperation between the two agencies.
WEST GULF RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Guest Lecturer at FSU. Tony Hall, HAS Forecaster at the West Gulf RFC in Fort Worth, was invited to visit Florida State University recently, where he presented a seminar to students and faculty in the meteorology department. Prof. Richard Pfeffer extended the invitation and thanked Tony for the support he provided to one of his graduate students who is working on the application of neural networks to QPF in the eastern half of the U.S. Tony has had excellent success with such a technique in generating QPFs for the WGRFC area of responsibility, and he had much to share with the researchers. Congratulations and good work, Tony.
While in Tallahassee, Tony also provided seminars on his neural network technique and RFC operations to the local NWSO staff. Interactions with the staff were lively and robust, especially in regard to the RFC quality control of rainfall observations.
RADAR THESIS. Eric Lenning, a Florida State (CITM) graduate student, recently completed a thesis titled, An Evaluation of WSR-88D Severe Hail Algorithms Along the Northeastern Gulf Coast. The work reflects Eric's interaction with many in the NWS, including NWSO Mobile SOO Jeff Medlin, NWSO Tallahassee MIC Paul Duval and SOO Irv Watson (who served on Eric's committee), as well as Mike Eilts and Arthur Witt at NSSL. Mark Fresch at the OSF reviewed Eric's thesis and noted it is impressive and useful. The manuscript has been submitted to Weather and Forecasting. Eric's work under Prof. Henry Fuelberg was supported as part of COMET's Cooperative Program.
TEACHING NWS OPERATIONS. The FSU class in NWS operations (MET 4159) conducted this semester by NWSO Tallahassee MIC Paul Duval and SOO Irv Watson has been facilitated by other visiting NWS experts. Paul and Irv want to use this Topics note to thank those who took the time to present important aspects of the course. Rusty Pfost (SOO NWSFO Jackson) spent two class periods discussing winter weather climatology in the South, and problems associated with forecasting winter precipitation type and amount. Pat Welsh (SOO NWSO Jacksonville) discussed the basics of mesoscale modeling and model applications in an NWS forecast office. Richard Pasch (NCEP/NHC) spent several days discussing tropical cyclone track and intensity prediction. Very apropos of the recent flooding in Alabama, Georgia and north Florida, John Feldt (HIC SERFC) is scheduled to visit and familiarize students with the world of river forecasting. SSD was pleased to assist in arranging this excellent learning experience.
SEVERE WEATHER SEMINARS. The NWSO San Angelo staff recently conducted two station seminars on the subject of severe weather. On the agenda were:
Both seminars were well attended, with participants from television stations in San Angelo and Abilene, and staff members from NWSO Midland.
WEATHER DERIVATIVES. Weather is big business in more ways than one. Note the technical attachment to this week's Topics which describes "weather derivatives." A weather derivative is a financial instrument that allows a firm to particularly or fully hedge weather-related revenue or profit risk. If a company depends on a certain weather condition occurring - a ski resort - it might purchase an instrument that would pay off if warmer than normal weather occurred. NWS observations (not to say long-range forecasts) figure to play a major role in the weather derivative industry.
LIGHTNING SEMINAR AT CORPUS CHRISTI. In mid-March Prof. Richard Orville from Texas A&M (CIAMS) visited NWSO Corpus Christi to present a lightning seminar. He provided detailed information on lightning physics, along with information on the National Lightning Detection Network. Mike Coyne, an intern at the NWSO and Texas A&M graduate student, presented preliminary results from his Masters thesis, Lightning Frequency in Tropical Cyclones. The seminar was well attended and included a forecaster from NWSFO Austin/San Antonio.
AVIATION ICING TRAINING. COMET has completed the first Web-based component of the Aviation Professional Development Series (PDS) training module. It can be accessed via the MetEd Web site: http://meted.ucar.edu. Forecasting Aviation Icing: Icing Type and Severity presents the microphysical processes and mesoscale environments that combine to create hazardous icing conditions. The hazards associated with aircraft icing are illustrated and discussed. The module also includes recent research findings in the area of supercooled large drop (SLD) clear icing, and a supplementary section introduces some forecast methods and tools for diagnosing SLD clear icing conditions.
The module is intended to provide all aviation forecasters with an understanding of basic factors that influence type and severity of icing. The subject matter expert is NCAR/RAP Research Scientist, Dr. Marcia Politovich. She contributed her expertise from past and ongoing research in aviation icing hazards, diagnosis and forecasting.
This Web module has been tested in both Netscape (4.0) and Internet Explorer (4.03) and may be accessed by any multimedia PC connected to the Internet. The module will not run properly using the 3.0 versions of either browser due to the use of Java Applets. It is recommended that the latest version of either browser be installed prior to running the module. Following directions from the Help link on the MetEd Web site, you can easily download the latest versions. The developers of the module, Richard Cianflone and Dwight Owens, welcome user comments. Use the "Send Your Comments" link from the Forecasting Aviation Icing home page, or contact them at COMET (email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Work has begun at COMET on another in the aviation series; the subject will be cloud forecasting.
MISSISSIPPI SCIENCE FAIR. NWSFO Jackson senior forecasters Lynn Burse, Greg Garrett, and SOO Rusty Pfost were volunteer judges for the Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair Region II held in mid-March at Jackson State University. JSU meteorology faculty Drs. Paul Croft, Pat Fitzpatrick, and Suseela Reddy participated as well. A combined group of NWS staff and JSU faculty and students also participated in a career fair held concurrently with the science fair.
Elementary and middle/senior high school overall winners in the meteorology/hydrology/ oceanography disciplines received prizes from the Jackson local AMS chapter that included cash awards. Kristen A. Ellis of South Park Elementary School in Vicksburg won for her project on tornadoes, and Anne Marie Smith of Chastain Middle School in Jackson won for her project on weather instruments and observations.
FILLING NEW POSITIONS. We are interested in recent actions to fill the lead forecaster positions at WFOs because of the training implications related to several new employees arriving at an office more or less at the same time. Here is a summary gleaned from the actions reported so far.
Southern Region employees selected: 69
SR forecasters moving to other SR offices: 18
SR forecasters moving to other regions: 21
SR forecasters selected on-site: 30
New positions filled so far at SR offices: 65
Within the region, more than half of the new positions will be filled by individuals from other offices; there is about an even split between coming from another SR office and another region. About a third of those selected for new positions will leave the region.
SOUTHERN REGION OFFICES TO PARTICIPATE IN NASA FIELD EXPERIMENT. As part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) seeks to determine the distribution of latent heating across the tropics. Such knowledge is needed for a better understanding of the ocean-atmosphere system and for climate and global modeling efforts. To aid in this endeavor, the TRMM satellite with radiometers, a lightning detection sensor, and the first precipitation weather radar in space was launched on Thanksgiving Day 1997. The data from these instruments will be used to measure the vertical structure of the cloud systems and to estimate rainfall which is related to the vertically integrated latent heating.
Cloud-scale numerical models will be coupled with observations collected during special field campaigns to link the vertical cloud structure and estimated rainfall to the vertical profile of latent heating. The first such field campaign, the Texas-Florida Underflight (TEFLUN) experiment will be conducted in Texas April 8 - May 8, 1998. Professors Edward Zipser and Michael Biggerstaff of the Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies are the principal scientists for the Texas portion of TEFLUN.
The TEFLUN experiment will use the high-altitude NASA ER-2 aircraft along with a Lear Jet cloud physics aircraft to fly within and over the precipitation region of large mesoscale convective systems during the time that the TRMM satellite flies over the experimental region (southeast Texas and the northern Gulf of Mexico). The aircraft data, coupled with a surface-based polarimetric research radar and a dual-frequency wind profiler, will provide crucial information concerning the microphysical structure of the cloud systems.
Atmospheric soundings are needed to document the environmental inflow into the mesoscale convective systems for model initialization and to aid in forecasting during the experimental period. Mobile sounding platforms based at Texas A&M University and NWSO Houston will be operated during the experiment. In addition to the mobile platforms, supplemental soundings will be released from NWSFO Fort Worth, NWSO Corpus Christi and NWSO Lake Charles.
HURRICANE AND MARINE METEOROLOGY TRAINING AT TPC. Seven meteorologists from Southern Region coastal offices joined their colleagues from the Eastern, Western and Pacific regions for workshops on tropical cyclone forecasting and warning, and marine and ocean waves at the Tropical Prediction Center in Miami the first week of March.
The tropical cyclone workshop was organized by hurricane specialist Max Mayfield, and included a brief overview of tropical cyclones, a review of the observing tools used to observe tropical circulation systems, a discussion of the techniques and limitations of predicting the track, intensity and size of tropical cyclones, applications of the SLOSH model, and the preparation of the NHC advisory package. Most of the NHC hurricane specialists served as instructors for the workshop.
The marine and ocean waves workshop was organized by Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch chief Steve Lyons, and included presentations by Joe Sienkiewicz of the Marine Prediction Center, Steve Lyons and Vince Cardone from Ocean Weather Inc. Both workshops included many hands-on exercises which gave the participants an appreciation of the operations of the TPC and MPC as well as an understanding of how the two centers complement and support WFO operations.
CC:MAIL RELEASE 6 CLIENTS. With a deadline of April 30 for the full implementation of the Release 6 Clients, about one third of the offices completed the upgrades before the end of March. Thanks to feedback from several offices, a problem with the installation and operation of the new client has been resolved. This information has been distributed to all offices.
The next and final phase involves migrating the cc:Mail database to the DB8 format which is POP3 compliant, allowing maintenance to be performed without disconnecting users from the network or mail system. At Southern Region Headquarters, the cc:Web software has been implemented following the upgrade to the DB8 format. The cc:Web allows a person to use a Web Browser to access their cc:Mail, and do most of the tasks that they would be able to do if they were back at the office on their computer. This is very handy if you are on travel and have access to a computer with an Internet connection but don't have your laptop with you.
MCAFEE SECURECAST. Information has been sent to the ESAs concerning the new method for receiving upgrades to the VirusScan Security Suite from McAfee called SecureCast. The VirusScan Suite includes ten products with VirusScan being the most critical since it provides virus detection and removal. For the Windows NT servers that control our administrative networks, there is a product called NetShield that protects the server from viruses. This is critical since the server provides shared information for the entire network.
XNOW. The new Xnow program has been released. Xnow is a multi-platform product generation program that replaces the older PC-NOW application. Both programs were written by Scott Plischke at NWSO Amarillo. Xnow runs under Windows 95, HP-UX and Linux. You can download the compressed file from the Xnow home page at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama/xnow/default.htm. Complete documentation is available on the Web site. Note: Some offices have ported this program to AWIPS.
CRS. Congratulations to the offices in Corpus Christi, Austin/San Antonio, Albuquerque, Shreveport, Atlanta and Jackson. All of these sites have their NWR Console Replacement System setup and are now working on the site acceptance tests. The offices are doing a very good job on this program.
NWSO CORPUS CHRISTI GETS CRS. The first CRS production unit delivered in the Southern Region has been installed at NWSO Corpus Christi. The system was installed during the first week of March. The installation process went fairly well, however, some minor problems did arise. This is just a brief overview of how the installation progressed.
The pre-installation checklist was completed and a plan of action had been formulated prior to the system's arrival. After un-crating and removing the equipment from the boxes, a careful inventory assured the ET staff that all the parts were available to begin the installation. After setting up the racks and furniture in the designated positions, the equipment components were installed. Next, the cabling and wiring was inspected before being laid. Careful consideration was given to color-coding the wire bundles for reference and, if necessary, troubleshooting. After laying the wire bundles between the operations area and the equipment room, the individual components, e.g., MPs, FEPs, etc., were connected according to the installation procedures. A final verification of the cables connections was done before applying power. Power was applied to the system according to written procedures, and the CRS booted to the LOG-IN prompt on both main processors (MPs). Each front-end processor (FEP) booted successfully. All system components indicated successful power-up sequences.
The Site Acceptance Test (SAT) was subsequently run on the system. The SAT, if successfully completed, ensures that the CRS has been properly installed and is ready for operational use. Each site will accomplish the SAT as part of its installation process. The CRS team at Corpus Christi involved in the SAT included staff members from the Operations and the Electronic Programs. During the acceptance, it was noted that certain tests failed. In conversation with the CRS Program office at NWSH, it was determined that Software Build 4.3 would correct the minor problems that caused the failures. The Corpus Christi CRS installed software is Build 4.1. The updated software was to be shipped to sites by March 31, and the failed tests will be re-run to verify the operational condition of the system.
The functionality of switching from the CRS system to the Digital Recorders and back to the CRS was tested and operated correctly.
A diligent effort on the part of the staff members at NWSO Corpus Christi, coupled with professional attitude, teamwork and a dedicated ET workforce resulted in the installation and implementation of a major NWS system.
For more information on the CRS, see the CRS information page at address: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/oso1/oso12/crs.htm
WSR-88D RADOME PMIs FOR APRIL. Four Southern Region sites have radome Preventive Maintenance Inspections (PMIs) scheduled for the month of April 1998. The PMI includes inspection of the tower for loose or corroded bolts, leveling the radar pedestal, inspection of the radome bolts for tightness and corrosion, and inspection of the radome surface for leaks, caulking, etc. Each of the four sites will have its radomes re-coated during this inspection, which involves washing, sanding, caulking, and painting the radome. Various other inspections are conducted at this time, also. The sites due inspection are:
ATLANTA, GA March 30-April 8 Due radome re-coating and PMI.
MORRISTOWN, TN April 9-April 17 Due radome re-coating and PMI.
MEMPHIS, TN April 20-April 29 Due radome re-coating and PMI.
NASHVILLE,TN April 30-May 12 Due radome re-coating and PMI; replace panel in the radome prior to re-coating.
OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH
HOLM AND JEFFERSON AWARD NOMINATIONS. The Holm and Jefferson Award nominations were due at SRH by the end of March. In 1997, seven volunteers were nominated for the Thomas Jefferson Award and 23 were nominated for the John Campanious Holm Award. For 1998, only a very limited number of observers were nominated for these awards - five for the Jefferson and six for the Holm.
COOPERATIVE PROGRAM MODERNIZATION. A great deal of effort is being focused on modernizing the cooperative program. This program has been operated in the same fashion for many years but as the need for data in a more timely manner becomes increasingly evident, research is proceeding into methods to move the cooperative program forward into the 21st Century.
The first step in this process was actually completed many years ago with the CRS and Max/Min thermometers being replaced with the Max/Min Temperature Sensor (MMTS). In that same period, the Fisher-Porter gauges replaced the universal recording gauge at many locations. These were positive steps toward modernizing this program.
The plans for the next steps are in development and include upgrades to the current MMTS to eliminate the need for a cable connecting the sensor with the display unit. The Fisher-Porter will be upgraded to replace the paper tape with an electronic data logger.
A computer program is being developed which will replace the paper B-91/92/83a currently used by the volunteer observers. While this will not eliminate the paper forms completely, it will allow many observers an alternative, and also allow the data to be transferred to the WFO and to NCDC in an electronic format.
There are great plans for this volunteer program. As the NWS moves into the 21st Century, the cooperative program is becoming more important than ever before.
SURFACE OBSERVATION PROGRAM
DIGIQUARTZ CALIBRATION. The digiquartz unit, which each office currently uses for barometer comparisons, must be calibrated annually by NWSH. The date of the last calibration is noted on a yellow tag attached to the face of the unit. Please verify that your unit has been calibrated in the last year. Turn-around time for the calibration is normally less than a week, if coordinated with NWSH in advance. This annual calibration requirement also applies to the digiquartz provided to the contract upper air locations at Del Rio and Key West.
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
NWSO SHREVEPORT. Meteorologist Intern Bill Parker, gave a talk at Turner Middle School in Shreveport, which is a predominantly minority school. Mr. Parker explained the modernization and operations of the NWS, and how to set up a weather station at the school. Service hydrologist Craig Ross, gave a tour of the office to six home schoolers.
PROJECT TWISTER. Training was completed over several weekends in March for this student outreach program at SRH. Twenty-one local high school students, about half of whom are females and minorities, learned about severe weather forecasting and will get actual hands-on experience during April preparing warnings in a simulated NWS warning office. TWISTER is in its fourth year and is led by staff members from MSD and SSD. It is a great way to stimulate student interest in science and demonstrate to them how science relates to daily life. Some TWISTER graduates have gone on to pursue a study of meteorology in college, largely as a result of their participation in the project. TWISTER graduates may be found in the meteorology departments at Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma.