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Fort Worth, Texas

August 1, 1999



THE MODERNIZATION IS NEARING COMPLETION, LONG LIVE THE MODERNIZATION. Two events occurred last month which highlight the success of the National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring. The first occurred on July 15, when seven Southern Region offices received forecast and long-fused watch and warning responsibility. The seven offices are El Paso, Midland, San Angelo, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Nashville, and Morristown. These offices now issue the Zone Forecast Product, Flash Flood Watches, Non-Precipitation Products, Coded City Forecasts, and Winter Weather Products for their respective County Warning and Forecast Areas. Southern Region customers will be the ultimate beneficiary as forecasters in each office concentrate on customer service for a smaller geographic area. More detailed products can be expected as a result of this transfer. On November 15, the final five spin-up offices in the Southern Region will assume forecast and long-fused watch and warning responsibility. Congratulations to each office, their former forecast office, and all those who worked so hard to make this transition a smooth one.

The second event was the AWIPS press conference at Sterling, Virginia, on July 28 which recognized the completion of the AWIPS delivery. The last AWIPS in the AWIPS Deployment Phase was successfully installed and accepted on June 10. This represents a culmination of years of hard work and dedication by many in our agency to bring about the last technological piece of National Weather Service modernization. The road has not always been easy but the end result is impressive. The WSR-88D, GOES-Next, and AWIPS have given our forecasters the means for a quantum jump to better understand atmospheric processes and provide improved products and services to the American people. This could not have been possible, however, without the most intensive NWS-wide training effort ever undertaken.

As we finalize the systems and facilities modernization, it would be understandable if we patted ourselves on the back and waited 5 to 10 years for the next massive NWS modernization effort. However, the rest of the world is not waiting. With today's changing technological world, if we wait, we will be too late.

The planned modernization may be nearly complete, but it is imperative we prepare for the future. With that in mind, the Vision 2005 Strategic Plan is complete, and we are developing regional implementation plans to meet its goals and objectives. Meetings are scheduled in September and October with Southern Region MICs and HICs to address the challenges of the future. Achieving the NWS strategic goals will not be easy, but they are essential to the future health of the National Weather Service. To help meet the strategic objective of improving severe weather warnings and short-term forecasts, a Southern Region Forecaster Symposium was held last week at which severe weather experts from around the nation shared their knowledge and experience with senior forecasters from each office in the region. We expect all participants to share what they learned with others at their offices. Budget permitting, additional Senior Forecaster Symposiums will be held each year.

As one modernization ends, we are embarked on the path to a new modernization-this time a service modernization. We will need everone's help to attain Vision 2005.

KUDOS FOLLOWING ASOS RELOCATION. Last month, following the move of the Austin, Texas, airport, the KATT ASOS site was relocated from Austin Mueller Airport to Camp Mabry. Thanks to the efforts of many individuals, all went smoothly, resulting in the following kudos from Troy Kimmel, Austin area broadcast meteorologist and University of Texas lecturer:

I would like to compliment Bill Runyon (DAPM, WFO EWX [Austin/San Antonio]) as well as Victor Murphy (SRH/SOD) for their time and commitment in seeing this transfer ... was complete and seamless to NWS customers. Thanks for the ETs at WFO EWX, Ed [Strouhal] and Terry [Hempen] for their help in getting the ASOS calibrated when it was reinstalled. In addition, a thank you note as well to Jud Ladd (SRH, Climate Focal Point) as well as Larry Peabody (senior forecaster, WFO EWX) for their work with NCDC in parsing out USAF data from the old Bergstrom Air Force Base to create a useable climatology (since 1942) for the new KAUS site (Austin-Bergstrom International Airport).

All in all, as a customer, I feel that the National Weather Service, as usual, did themselves proud in this service adjustment!

CLINE AWARDS. We have received most of the nominations from Southern Region offices for the 1999 regional-level Isaac M. Cline Awards. The Regional Partnership Council will meet later this month to determine the winners, then forward names of those individuals or teams to NWS Headquarters for determination of the national-level Cline Award winners.

The attention and significance each local office gave to this new awards program is obvious from the nominations we have received. In particular, I want to call attention to NWSFO Little Rock's Web site ( which highlights their local award winners. Congratulations to all the local recipients.


AWIPS COMMISSIONING. AWIPS build 4.2 is considered the commissioning load of AWIPS. AFOS decommissioning at each site will follow several weeks after AWIPS commissioning. The first commissioning is scheduled for January, with all sites expected to be commissioned by August, 2000. AFOS should be decommissioned nationwide by September, 2000.

Build 4.2 was installed at 12 Southern Region sites as of the end of July, however, further deployment will be delayed until some much needed hardware enhancements can be installed. The hardware upgrades will likely consist of an extra processor for the data servers and more memory for the workstations. The upgrade hardware should begin arriving at field sites by the end of this month. It is still expected that all sites will have 4.2 loaded by October.

AWIPS TECHNICAL NOTES. The first four Southern Region AWIPS Technical Notes have been posted to the SRH Web site. They are:

These tech notes can be accessed via the AWIPS link on the SRH home page, but note SR ATN 99-1 and SR ATN 99-2 require a registered DNS to access.


SENIOR FORECASTER SYMPOSIUM. Thanks to everyone who helped make the first annual Senior Forecaster Symposium a tremendous success. Senior forecasters from each of the Southern Region's 31 offices attended the symposium held in Fort Worth the last week of July. Speakers included forecasters, researchers, university professors and other meteorologists who shared information on making NWS warnings more accurate and effective. NWS Director Jack Kelly visited the group July 29, spoke about the Strategic Plan and participated in a lively question and answer session. That evening, Kelly joined the speakers and forecasters at the Ballpark in Arlington for dinner. The Warning and Short Term Forecasting Symposium was the first in what is hoped will be a series of meetings geared toward the senior forecaster. Input from this meeting will help shape future topics and will help improve the quality of information at future symposia.

WARNING IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. The Southern Region experiences more severe weather than any other region, so effectively dealing with warning decisions and situations is a vital part of our jobs. Taking the lead from the Central Region Top Gun project, SR MSD is developing a program to help improve warning operations. Tentatively called the Warning Improvement Project, this initiative will glean information from the region's leading warning offices and share their ideas with all offices. A new Web page will be the source for information and updates about the project, and will feature links to topics from the Warning Symposium, as well as other information designed to help us issue warnings that are more accurate and that make people act. Stay tuned for more information concerning the SR WIP.

GULF OF MEXICO OBSERVATION MESONET? A meeting between the Coastal Studies Institute at Louisiana State University and National Data Buoy Center is setting the stage to add additional observation sites along the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed Wave and Current Monitoring Network (WAVECIS) would consist of 10 bottom mounted instruments which use oil platforms as support. These instruments would measure wave information (height, period, direction), water level, surge, near surface current, and meteorological conditions. Real time data such as WAVECIS are instrumental in improving NWS marine forecasts. This network will be similar to the TCOON network along the Texas coast.

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

The RTA Team submitted its final report to NWS senior management calling for accelerated implementation of an "AWIPS-like" system in the CWSUs to replace the current RTA. NWS Headquarters, we understand, has recently developed a prototype system that emulates AWIPS functionality that could be implemented on a fast track, perhaps by the end of this calendar year. Tom Amis, MIC at the Memphis CWSU, has been invited to NWS Headquarters to work on a team to test the system.

Many CWSUs are participating in the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product (CCFP) project led by the Aviation Weather Center (see Web site In addition to the CWSUs and the AWC, several major air carriers, including American, Delta, Northwest, and United, as well as Federal Express and The Air Traffic Control System Command Center are participating in the project. As the project title suggests, the main objective is to develop a methodology for promoting collaborative decision-making regarding the location, timing and coverage of expected thunderstorm development. The consensus among the participants is provided in the form of a series of graphics produced by AWC.

Progress is being made concerning organization of a national CWSU conference. The general time frame and location for this conference, which will draw representatives from the nation's CWSUs, WFOs, the AWC, and select customer groups, is this coming winter in Kansas City.

The CWSUs have completed installation of the FAA's Airman Information System (AIS), the replacement to the old GS-200 system. Many of the Units have experienced initial problems with the system resulting in extended communications outages. But, it appears now that these problems have been worked out and the system is becoming reliable in providing the required service. Tom Amis has been providing input to the AIS Program Office aimed at improving the performance of the system.

CWSU Albuquerque. The staff has established a formal program for training all Traffic Management Unit (TMU) personnel and Control Room supervisors at Albuquerque Center. The training is provided on a one-on-one basis as time permits.

CWSU Atlanta. The CWSU hosted a visit by 12 Delta Airline avionics specialists. The group was briefed on CWSU operations, use of the WSR-88D and satellite imagery, and the CCFP.

CWSU Houston. The staff conducted another training class for Continental Airlines dispatchers. This is a continuation of a series of training classes on CWSU operations that the staff has been providing for Continental.

Ron Morgan, head of the FAA Air Traffic Division, and Doug Murphy, FAA Southwest Region Air Traffic Manager, presented Houston Center with the 1998 National Customer Service Award. Both Mr. Morgan and Mr. Murphy took the opportunity, while at Houston Center, to visit the CWSU.


STEVE DRILLETTE'S FINAL FLURRIES. The last two months have seen a flurry of activity by NWSO Midland/Odessa hydro focal point, Steve Drillette. He provided hydrologic seminars, helped with a hydrologic section on the office's home page, made a near-real-time flood survey (after a midnight shift, no less), and collaborated with NWSFO Lubbock service hydrologist John Lipe to update the WHFS and SHIMS databases for Midland/Odessa, and the station hydro manual. If that wasn't enough, Steve was selected as the new WCM for NWSO Amarillo. Thanks for all the help, Steve, and good luck in your new assignment.

Forecaster James DeBerry will assume Steve Drillette's hydro focal point duties when Steve departs August 28. Welcome aboard, James!

JOINT RIVER EVALUATIONS. West Gulf RFC senior hydrologist Paul Greer and NWSFO Austin/San Antonio senior service hydrologist John Patton recently conducted site visits along portions of the Nueces, Guadalupe, and San Antonio rivers and some of their tributaries. The chief focus was on the area which experienced severe flooding in October 1998. The information gathered from the visit will be used to update and improve the West Gulf RFC's forecast model, so it will better handle such high flows in the future.

IBWC-NWS COORDINATION MEETING PLANS. Plans are being finalized for the annual Coordination meeting between the International Boundary Water Commission and the NWS. The meeting will be held at West Gulf RFC on August 16.

PERSONNEL CHANGES AT SOUTHEAST RFC. Jonathan Atwell has been selected as the new senior hydrologic forecaster at Southeast RFC. Jonathan, who is currently a Southeast RFC hydrologist, replaces Brad Gimmestad, the recently selected DOH. Christine McGehee, service hydrologist at NWSFO Fairbanks, Alaska, will fill Jonathan's position. Christine returns to Southern Region on September 27, after a five year absence, she previously worked at NWSFO Baton Rogue/New Orleans. Congratulations to Jonathan, and welcome back to Southern Region, Christine.

SOUTHEAST RFC STAFFERS RUN IN PEACHTREE ROAD RACE. Hydrologists Tom Wallace and Todd Hamill, HIC John Feldt, two of John's kids, and NWSFO Atlanta forecaster Von Woods recently ran in the Peachtree Road Race - an annual 10K event on the 4th of July which attracts over 55,000 runners. Mike Longnecker (senior hydrologist) set up a relief station at the top of the infamous hospital hill to urge the NWS runners on.

SOUTHEAST RFC COLLABORATION PRODUCES PAMPHLET. Southeast RFC staff members Reginna Garza, Rick Ullom, and Nene Robertson collaborated to produce a pamphlet entitled "What is a Hydrologist?" Illustrations were provided by students of a local elementary school. The pamphlet illustrates fundamental concepts of the science of hydrology, and highlights the duties of a National Weather Service hydrologist. Copies of the pamphlet will be distributed to area grade schools to encourage students to become interested in science and careers in hydrology.

SOUTHEAST RFC COORDINATION AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. Reggina Garza, Southeast RFC senior hydrologist, visited the University of Central Florida on July 22. She gave a seminar about NWSRFS and the activities at Southeast RFC for students in a summer hydrology class, and reviewed calibration results for a COMET project entitled "Tidal Model for the NWSRFS." Southeast RFC staff recently participated in a joint NWS/COE/USGS meeting to discuss streamgage support and the hydrology/flood forecasting program; visited the NWSO Mobile to discuss hydrology issues; and prepared a heavy rainfall/flood scenario exercise for the Tropical Prediction Center to help them assess the impacts of 30+ inches of rainfall over the mountains upstream of Roanoke, Virginia, and working it downstream.

NEW WHFS CC:MAIL ADDRESS. In an effort to provide better customer service, the Office of Hydrology recently created a new WHFS cc:Mail address. The new address is "WHFS." They encourage HSA offices to send their comments, questions or concerns regarding WHFS to this new mailbox instead of individual members of the OH WHFS support team.


Wet June Recorded In Several Southern Region HSAs. The month of June brought generous rainfall totals to several HSAs across the region. Much needed rainfall occurred across west-central and southwest Florida, where monthly totals between 9 and 20 inches were recorded. Moderate to major flooding was reported in Scurry County in the Midland HSA and also in the New Orleans HSA where 150 to 200 homes were flooded in two parishes. Water levels in the flooded homes ranged from a few inches to near one foot. A late June rain dumped four to nine inches of rain over north Mississippi and caused some minor to moderate flooding in Union County.

Although San Angelo recorded only 4.70 inches of rain in June, that total makes it the 9th wettest June on record. Wet weather also continued in the Tulsa HSA with several observing sites recording 10 to near 15 inches of rainfall. A few eastern Oklahoma sites have recorded over 30 inches of rainfall during the past 3 months (April-June). A mid-June heavy rain in the Lubbock HSA brought about a 14 foot rise in 18 hours in Lake Alan Henry.


NWSO SAN ANGELO HOSTS NWA CHAPTER. On July 17 the West-Central Texas chapter of the National Weather Association (in Abilene) visited NWSO San Angelo for a tour and briefings on NWS modernized operations. MIC Shirley Matejka and her staff received kudos from Jim Walters, the chapter president, for the professional briefing they were given along with their hospitality. "They inspire a great deal of confidence in our opinion of their services," he said. Two years ago this Abilene NWA group were themselves honored by receiving the NWA's "Chapter of the Year" award. We are pleased of the recognition given by this prestigious NWA chapter to Shirley and her staff.

TRAINING WORKS! Following is not only a fine testimonial that good training works, but also kudos for the trainer. On the day following one of his teletraining lessons on convective parameterization in the NCEP models, Bernard Meisner (SSD) received this message from a former Southern Region forecaster:

Thank you for an informative and timely teletraining session! I just wanted you to know I was able to apply the training you provided immediately upon returning to the forecast desk yesterday afternoon.

The 12Z run of the Eta developed a blob of precip over western SC and extreme northeast GA between 00Z and 12Z Thursday, where the NGM and AVN did not. Upon further investigation, the Eta was advecting much higher surface dewpoints northward into the region where a cool pool persisted from a "wedge" situation. As a result of the higher dewpoints, the Eta developed a CAPE of around 1500 J/kg, which I believe triggered the convective parameterization, which in turn generated a model QPF of nearly 3/4 inch. No precip occurred.

Thanks to your informative lecture, I was able to recognize a situation where the Eta was most likely developing precipitation incorrectly. That is, since I believed the Eta forecast of increasing dewpoints (thus increasing instability) was in error, I was able to correctly surmise rain was not likely. My forecast of no precipitation verified nicely. I'm planning on writing a short note on this case to share with the staff.

Great job, Bernard. Most Southern Region offices have taken advantage of opportunities to participate in the same teletraining - one of several lectures Bernard has prepared as part of the continuing SR teletraining series.

RAINFALL DEPICTED BY IR SATELLITE IMAGERY. Greg Story (West Gulf RFC) has posted an interesting summary to his office's Web site ( which shows how infrared satellite imagery can help delineate areas of rainfall. His interest was attracted during a recent event when differences between visible and IR imagery could not be explained by cloud cover.

MESOSCALE MODELING WORKSHOP IN HUNTSVILLE. A joint workshop was held June 30-July 1 at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The workshop focused on mesoscale modeling and short-term convective forecasting and was arranged by GHCC and NWSFO Birmingham, with support provided by SRH/SSD and the NWSH Office of Meteorology. The GHCC is a joint endeavor involving scientists from NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center and the Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville. The Birmingham NWS office has developed interesting collaborative activities with GHCC in the areas of the workshop, and the meeting provided an opportunity to share information with several other offices and researchers. Forecasters from NWS offices in Tallahassee, Mobile, Atlanta, Morristown (Tennessee) and Nashville participated, along with representatives from NCAR, NESDIS, NASA's Applied Meteorology Unit at Kennedy Space Center, and the Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology at Florida State University. This was another good example of how we are integrating research results directly into NWS operations, and at the same time keeping researchers (and students) apprised of activities at NWS offices.

Three overlapping themes were addressed: 1) the role of mesoscale modeling in the improvement of short-term (0-12 hr) convective forecasts, 2) convective initiation studies, and their application to short-term forecasting, and 3) the role of integrated multi-sensor (satellite, radar, lightning) data as a tool for improved short-term forecasting. Lively discussions ensued regarding future prospects and philosophies for short-term forecasts (NOWs) and QPFs, and the role which local mesoscale modeling can play in this area. A summary of the workshop and electronic versions of the presentations can be found at, on the NWSFO Birmingham Web site.

EXPLORING NEW AREAS FOR COLLABORATION. NWSFO Tulsa and the Arkansas Basin RFC recently hosted visitors from the University of Arkansas Center for Applied Spatial Technologies (CAST). CAST specializes in Graphical Information System (GIS) technologies, among other things. Dr. Fred Limp, CAST Director, and James Farley, CAST Technical Director, toured the WFO and RFC and were very impressed with modernized NWS capabilities. In a follow-on meeting involving CAST, the WFO and the RFC, all participants saw exciting opportunities for future interaction and collaboration. For example, to immediately demonstrate the utility of gridpoint forecasts generated by the AWIPS Interactive Forecast Preparation (IFP) software, CAST will be acquiring the data and incorporating them in a prototype "community information kiosk."

This is an ongoing project to design interactive software for community decision makers. Other CAST/NWS collaboration possibilities discussed included regular NWS interaction in seminars and other lecture formats, having University of Arkansas graduate students work on applied projects in conjunction with NWS staff, and tapping the CAST GIS database of low-water crossings to better include site-specific information within NWS flash flood warnings.

HURRICANE WORKSHOP. The first NWS Deep South Texas Hurricane Workshop was held in Brownsville on July 7. Participants were the NWSO Brownsville staff, four visitors from NWSO Corpus Christi, and an on-air meteorologist from CBS affiliate KGBT TV 4 in Brownsville. The workshop was planned and organized by the Brownsville SOO, Shawn Bennett. The all-day workshop consisted of nine training sessions. The morning session, led and taught by Shawn, was dedicated to classroom training, including lectures on hurricane basics, hurricane hazards, the hurricane forecast process, satellite applications in tropical weather forecasting, a lab session (case study) on Hurricane Erin in 1995, and a discussion of Dr. Bill Gray's forecast for the 1999 hurricane season. The morning session ended with home video of Hurricane Georges in Puerto Rico last year.

NWSO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan led the afternoon session, discussing hurricane preparedness and coordination issues. Topics included media relations and coordination, hurricane and tropical storm forecast warning responsibilities, emergency and warning coordination, and WFO technologies and operational procedures. All agreed the workshop was a great success and plans for next year have already begun.

GIS FORUM. The Office of Meteorology at NWS Headquarters hosted a two-day forum at the end of June to discuss applications and requirements for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the NWS. A summary of that meeting is provided as a tech attachment this month.

NWSO HOSTS AMS MEETING. The Morristown NWSO hosted the local Smoky Mountain Chapter of the American Meteorological Society on July 19. There were 26 in attendance. Jeff Craven from the NCEP Storm Prediction Center gave a presentation concerning the operations of the SPC and the many parameters involved in forecasting severe weather. There was a good discussion among the attendees. A tour of the office which highlighted the AWIPS workstations was conducted by WCM Howard Waldron, SOO Stephen Parker, and forecaster David Gaffin. Everyone was able to view how the CRS works and how information is disseminated via the NOAA Weather Radio.

AMS RADAR CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS. Last month, Irv Watson (SOO, NWSO Tallahassee) and Keith Stellman (hydrologist, Lower Mississippi RFC, Slidell) participated in the AMS 29th Radar Meteorology Conference in Montreal, Canada. Their presentations were:

Local Applications of the WSR-88D Hourly Digital Precipitation Product, by Andrew (Irv) Watson, Keith Stellman, Ken Gould (NWSO Tallahassee) and Peter Dodge (NOAA/AOML Hurricane Research Division, Miami).

Utilizing Radar Data to Improve Steamflow Forecasting, by Keith Stellman, Henry Fuelberg (Florida State University/CITM), and Reggina Garza and Mary Mullusky (Southeast RFC, Atlanta).

While at the conference Irv also used the opportunity to coordinate with Dr. Peter Zwack (University of Quebec) on potential future research into enhanced applications of numerical models in local forecast operations. A preliminary version of Keith's paper was attached to the April, 1999, issue of Southern Topics.

LIGHTNING CLIMATOLOGY. Todd Lericos, a meteorology graduate student at Florida State University and SCEP employee at NWSO Tallahassee, has been working with Prof. Henry Fuelberg in the Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology to develop lightning climatologies which will assist forecasters. Results are posted on his Web site at The study area covers the entire Florida peninsula and includes a composite nocturnal lightning map which shows nighttime convection off the coast. Lightning flashes are stratified by wind direction. Java script animations clearly show diurnal cycles in location and flash density. The data may take awhile to load but the displays are worth the wait. From Todd's main page follow the links to "Research" and then to "Large Domain." Feedback from forecasters is welcome.

INTEGRATED SENSOR TRAINING. VISIT (Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training) is a cooperative undertaking on the part of the NWS and NESDIS, the goal of which is to provide forecasters with training related to satellite and other remote sensing data and techniques. More information about the Professional Development Series related to Integrated Sensor Training can be found on the meted Web site at

In the coming weeks VISIT will offer teletraining sessions on three topics. NWS offices can register for one or more of these sessions at The training sessions will be approximately one hour long and will cover the following topics:

1) Detecting Low-Level Thunderstorm Outflow (LTO) Boundaries at Night.

2) The Enhanced-V Cloud Top Signature: A Satellite Severe Weather Signature.

3) GOES Enhancement Color Tables in AWIPS.

More information about the content of the individual sessions, and related prerequisites for each, can be found on the VISIT Web site at

GOES SOUNDER ASSESSMENT. The GOES Sounder Assessment is now in full swing and will continue until August 30. It is an evaluation of the utility of several satellite sounder products, including Lifted Index (LI), Total Precipitable Water (TPW), Convective Inhibition (CINH), Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and Skin Temperature (ST). At least seven Southern Region offices are participating (Albuquerque, Birmingham, Austin/San Antonio, Tallahassee, Miami, Amarillo, and Key West). Offices participating in the study can look at the data via their AWIPS and LDAD if they are properly configured to ingest and display the imagery, or by using the Internet. For more information, see

NCEP VISITOR. Mike Davison, Chief of the NCEP/HPC International Desks, completed a 49-day tour of active USAF duty at the end of July, during which time he made NWSFO San Juan his base of operations. Mike volunteered for duty during the U.S. intervention in Yugoslavia and other contingencies, and was assigned to Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, in support of the U.S. Army Southern Command. While at the NWSFO he and an assistant (a sergeant) interacted with the NWS staff by participating in office weather discussions and sharing expertise in model guidance and tropical waves. Mike worked one-on-one with most of the forecasters to provide training on the use of model guidance and PC-GRIDDS. He also assisted the ESA in upgrading the STAR FOUR System hardware and software to Y2K compliance. Such expertise is always welcome, and we appreciate Mike's efforts to maintain the strong operational links between San Juan and NCEP.

UNIDATA LDM TRAINING. Ken Waters and Bernard Meisner (SSD) joined colleagues from Eastern, Western, Pacific and Alaska regions, the NOAA Forecast Systems and National Severe Storm Laboratories and the National Climatic Data Center at UCAR in Boulder, Colorado, for two days of training on use of the Unidata Local Data Manager (LDM) system. The LDM is a software system developed to select, capture, process and distribute data products over a wide area network. Universities throughout North America have been using the LDM to distribute meteorological data and imagery via the Internet for several years. The NWS regions are beginning to use LDM to distribute experimental data and imagery over the regional Frame Relay Networks for display on AWIPS. The FSL is considering incorporating LDM in a future AWIPS software build. Ken and Bernard will be sharing their newly acquired expertise with others throughout the Southern Region.

FIRE MANAGEMENT NOTES PAPER. "Classification of Fire Simulation Systems" is the title of a paper by Dorothy Albright (USDA Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management, Mather, California) and Bernard Meisner (SSD) appearing in the Spring 1999 issue of Fire Management Notes ( With their graphical user interfaces, linkages to digital terrain and vegetation maps, and colorful outputs of spatial fire patterns, today's numerical fire simulation systems can be valuable tools for wildland fire managers. Dorothy and Bernard review the various components of a fire simulation system (fire prediction model, fire simulation techniques, required inputs, outputs and computer platform), and apply their suggested classification scheme to currently available systems to enable fire managers and planners to compare the various systems and decide which might best suit their needs.

DISTANCE LEARNING ACROSS REGIONS. Bernard Meisner completed his distance learning course on teletraining by delivering sample teletraining sessions on Convective Parameterization in the NCEP Models to offices in the Central, Eastern and Southern Regions, NCEP's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center and Central Region Headquarters. The distance learning course was offered through the SOO Forum Web site ( This very effective and efficient distance learning included annotated slide shows on developing and delivering teletraining, and an interactive discussion group where Bernard would provide answers to posted questions, and the sample teletraining sessions.

ADDITION TO FSL'S ACARS WEB PAGE. The NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory's MAPS/RUC/RAOBS soundings page (, now allows users to load ACARS soundings from individual airports just as they load MAPS, RUC2 and RAOB soundings. (Only those computers granted access to the ACARS real-time page may view the ACARS soundings.) Soundings from airports world-wide may be accessed from this Web page. Note the airport IDs are those used by the airlines, which are not always the same as METAR site names. Refer to for a list of airports and their IDs. Data remain online for 31 days.

WEBCAST SELF-PACED TRAINING MODULE. The COMET Program has developed a new self-paced training module entitled "Derived Motion Fields from the GOES Satellites." Don Gray (NESDIS) is the subject matter expert and the module is based on his presentation to the Satellite Meteorology symposium . This second Webcast module uses streaming audio synchronized with Web page text and graphics. (The first Webcast module, Predicting Supercell Motion Using Hodograph Techniques ( was released earlier this summer.) The RealPlayer browser plug-in, available through a link on the module Web page, must be installed prior to viewing these modules. The new module is available through the MetEd Integrated Sensor Training page (



VIRUS SIGNATURE UPDATES. With the increased hacker attacks against government computers, the need for keeping the Network Associates/McAfee AntiVirus software updated with the latest Virus Signature DAT files has become even more crucial. To facilitate the automated update process, the compressed Virus Signature file is being made available on each LAN Server in Southern Region. The VirusScan software on each PC hooked to the LAN is then configured to check this shared file daily to update from these DAT files if they are newer than those existing on the PC. This will ensure all PCs have the latest protection against computer viruses.

NETSCAPE MIGRATION STATUS. A video teleconference for NWS messaging focal points was held July 28. During this conference, some new information was provided regarding proposed dates for certain milestones. The Core Messaging Team hopes to meet the week of August 23 to create a Master Project Plan. Message and Directory Server Administrative Training will hopefully be held the week of August 30. The Messaging Server 4.1 software for the NT platform should be available in late August. The method for dealing with cc:Mail archives should be known after testing some products and finalizing the Master Plan. The Directory Replication testing of the NOAA Pilot system should be finished by September 30 with a report due by October 8. Continue to monitor the URL at with your favorite Web browser for additional information.

FTS2000/FIMA NUMBERS. Several questions have been asked concerning the FTS2000 or FIMA order numbers on the 37-1 forms sent to field offices. Here is the information in a nutshell.

These numbers are assigned by the Designated Agency Representative (DAR) for FTS2000 (soon to be FTS2001). They are used to track orders within the FTS/GSA billing system and to create a document for charging communications services. Copies of the original 37-1 form are forwarded to field offices for reference purposes and sometimes prove useful when trouble occurs with the service installation or when the service fails.

MASC has called Gene Witsman (SOD) several times when the FTS2000 or FIMA number(s) is/are used to certify telephone bills. All billing for services under these orders is done through centralized billing so your local office will not receive any direct billings for FTS2000 or FTS2001 service.

The FTS/FIMA numbers cannot be used by field offices to certify telephone bills or any other type of communications costs. If you have any questions, please contact Gene Witsman, SRH Telecommunications Manager, at (817) 978-2367, ext. 129.

FTS2001 TRANSITION PERIOD. The Department of Commerce has selected MCI as the FTS2001 carrier for long distance services, data services, and other communications services which fall under the purview of the FTS2001 contract. Some of the first things which will be transferred to MCI will be telephone calling cards, long distance service, and 800 service. The transition to MCI will require a lot of preparatory work.

All field offices should start getting together a complete inventory of all communications at their office and have an updated calling card list for personnel at each office. Required information for the transition inventory will be forthcoming by a separate message. However, as a heads up, information to be included in the communications inventory will include such things as:

Telephone number/Circuit number Amendments and date of amendment to order
Billing number from telco bill Telephone company
Order number Installation date
Date of order Accounting codes

Keep in mind more or less information may be required so keep your database flexible.

STRANGE TELEPHONE BILLS. Many offices have received telephone bills from Sprint, MCI, and AT&T over the past few months. The major culprit for these bills is the Telecommunications Act of 1996. One part of the Act allows the local telephone company to start charging "no PIC" for lines with no long distance carrier designated. These charges run from $2.75 to over $9 per line in some areas.

Another part of the Act allows the long distance companies to charge a minimum use fee on those numbers where no long distance calls were made or the calling time fell below the minimum threshold. These charges are generally between $3 and $5. There are several other reasons for bills to suddenly appear but these are the two major ones.

If you start getting bills from a long distance provider on a telephone number where there previously were no charges, you are probably a victim of the above, or you have been "slammed." If you have any questions, please contact Gene Witsman at (817) 978-2367x129.

NEW AWIPS TRAINING COURSE AT THE NWSTC. Bruce Marshak, SOD regional systems analyst, Brian Burgess, ESA, NWSFO Atlanta, and Carl Hill, ESA, NWSFO Lubbock attended a training development meeting at the NWS Training Center in July. The purpose of the meeting was to design a new AWIPS Systems Manager course.

The field perspective these individuals provided was very beneficial. They were influential in establishing a twelve-day course as apposed to an earlier plans to cover material in eight days. Because of their knowledge and ability to present the requirements for such a course in a professional manner, the AWIPS program office agreed to fund the additional four days. More details about the course will be provided soon. The intended students will be ESAs.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTER INSTALLATIONS. A new dual Intec 100 watt NWR transmitter was installed in Tesuqe Peak (Santa Fe), New Mexico on July 7. Plans are to replace all NWR transmitters in the state of New Mexico.

The Southern Region has 100 ROAMS now installed on NWR transmitters throughout the region.

SOUTHERN REGION PARTICIPATION IN THE AWIPS BUILD 5 PROCESS. Matt Strahan and Bruce Marshak (SOD), and Carl Hill (ESA, NWSFO Lubbock) attended a meeting during the week of July 19 at NWS Headquarters dealing with the next AWIPS build requirements. Build 5 is tentatively scheduled to be fielded during June, 2000. The Southern Region representatives took the opportunity to review the entire AWIPS system structure to ensure field requirements were taken into account. Other representatives attending the meeting were from the Eastern, Western, Central, and Pacific regions along with NCEP, FSL, and WSH.


ASOS SYSTEM RELOCATIONS. Several SR ASOS systems have been or are in the process of being relocated: Venice, Louisiana (7R1), Austin, Texas (ATT), and Bartlesville, Oklahoma (BVO).