UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
December 1, 1996
FIELD VISITS. During the week of November 12, Steven Cooper (MSD) and I continued our field visitation trips encouraging ideas from office staffs on how to improve services. Stations visited were San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville. Again, we were very encouraged by the willingness of the office staffs to consider ways of adjusting our service programs so as to optimize public benefit from modernization. NOAA Weather Radio continues to receive considerable discussion during these visits. Field personnel believe strongly about the merits of NWR and expressed their desire to further improve the program. While on the trip, Steven and I were surprised to discover the cities of Austin and Corpus Christi carry NOAA Weather Radio on a city frequency in the AM frequency band. This makes the NWR program available on all radios in these metropolitan areas. We will try to encourage that idea throughout the Southern Region.
On Friday, November 15, I participated in the dedication of our Brownsville facility. The program was very well done and strongly supported by the community. Congratulations to MIC Richard Hagan and the Brownsville staff for organizing a most successful and enjoyable event.
THE LATEST NEWS. No updates on the delivery schedule for AWIPS have been given. NWSH will not update the schedule until the Department of Commerce decides to go ahead with the deployment but is still optimistic that they will decide in early 1997. Meanwhile, site surveys continue. The next site survey is scheduled for the first week of December at NWSFO/RFC New Orleans.
OOPS! In a previous edition of Topics, I (Cyndie Abelman) stated that AWIPS deployment would begin in the summer of 1998. WRONG! With a timely DOC decision, AWIPS deployment will begin in the summer of 1997.
STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE. In this edition of Topics, we have a report from Steve Amburn, SOO at NWSO Tulsa, on their experiences with AWIPS (SOD Attachment #3). Thanks to Steve, you can get an idea of the AWIPS installation and capabilities from folks using the system.
NWSO BROWNSVILLE FACILITY DEDICATION. Congratulations to Richard Hagan and the staff of NWSO Brownsville on the superb dedication they conducted on November 15. About 100 people, including representatives from the news media and emergency management communities, attended the event. The ROTC color guard from a local high school presented the colors, and a musician and vocalists from the University of Texas at Brownsville performed the "Star Spangled Banner." Harry Hassel, Brownsville's Mayor Henry Gonzalez, two television weathercasters, a regional business leader, and a member of Congressman Solomon Ortiz's staff spoke about the many benefits this modernized office has brought to the people of Deep South Texas.
During the following day's open house, more than 200 people from as far away as Germany, Canada, and Seattle toured the office. Richard Hagan reports that the scores of beautiful photographs, charts, and diagrams that line his facility's walls helped entertain and educate everyone who visited the NWSO during those two busy days.
MODERNIZATION TRANSITION COMMITTEE MEETING. The Modernization Transition Committee (MTC) will meet in Washington, December 12, for their quarterly meeting. On their agenda is consultation on five Southern Region automation certifications and two combined consolidation/automation certifications. The automation certifications are for WSOs Waco, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Columbus, Macon, and Bristol. The combined consolidation/automation certifications are for WSOs Austin and Athens.
Many MICs are currently preparing documents for certifications to be presented to the MTC at their March 1997 meeting. The reason for the early preparation is that the proposed certifications have to be published in the Federal Register and undergo a 60-day public comment period prior to the MTC's consideration.
SMG. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group participated in Johnson Space Center's first "Inspection Day" November 13-14. Business and industry leaders from around the country were invited to Johnson Space Center to see demonstrations of NASA's technology that might have "spin-off" value for the private sector. In addition, government/private sector "partnering" arrangements were encouraged.
SMG displayed a MIDDS terminal and a WSR-88D PUP display and hosted about 400 visitors. SMG staff members gave a two-minute briefing to each group of visitors, followed by a quick demonstration of MIDDS capabilities. The focus was on the "rapid-prototyping" efforts to develop the graphical user interface (GUI) by teaming forecasters with software engineers. Also emphasized were the specialized landing site data sets and displays needed for unique space shuttle weather support. An information sheet summarizing the technology was distributed to each visitor.
WCM CONFERENCE RESCHEDULED. The Southern Region Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) Conference has been tentatively rescheduled for February 10-14 in Fort Worth. Adjustments to the conference agenda, hotel accommodations, and other logistical tasks are currently being completed. Detailed information on the conference will be sent to attendees and office managers in the near future. Budget considerations may yet have an impact on our ability to hold this conference.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CONFERENCES. Representatives from several Southern Region offices have attended recent emergency management conferences. Some highlights are given below:
Barry Gooden (Peachtree City), Bob Goree (Tallahassee), and Fred Johnson (Jacksonville) represented their offices at the Emergency Management Agency of Georgia's annual conference. The WCMs staffed a booth and demonstrated the EMWIN system. All of the attendees were impressed with EMWIN's potential, and some indicated a desire to purchase downlink systems for their areas of responsibility. The WCMs also conducted a spotter training class for the emergency management directors, encouraging the directors to enhance the hazardous weather spotter activities in their areas.
MIC Jerry McDuffie, WCM Howard Waldron, and hydrologist Brian Boyd attended the quarterly Tennessee Emergency Management Agency meeting. Jerry gave a presentation on the Forth Smith, Arkansas, tornado and subsequent media coverage, plus an update on the northeastern Alabama WSR-88D. The presentation also outlined plans for the upcoming Winter Weather Awareness Week and introduced Brian to the local Emergency Managers.
TEXAS A&M JOB FAIR. Gene Hafele (NWSO Houston/Galveston WCM and AMS Chapter President) and Bill Read (MIC, NWSO Houston) participated in a job fair at Texas A&M University. They were accompanied by Dan Bellue from the Spaceflight Meteorology Group. Nearly 40 meteorology students attended the fair and found it quite rewarding. In addition to the NWS staff, representatives from three private weather firms, two air pollution meteorologists, a climatologist, and a representative from the broadcast industry were also in attendance. The fair was quite successful, and the local AMS chapter plans to have similar activities in the future.
WARNING COORDINATION/SUPPORT ACTIVITIES. An ongoing aspect of the NWS mission involves local coordination activities with city and county emergency management agencies. Some of the activities across the region are outlined below.
Frank Revitte (WCM, NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge) assisted the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency with a tabletop tornado exercise to test a revised emergency plan for Amite County, Mississippi. The exercise featured a strong tornado damaging portions of Amite County with resulting casualties. The exercise also tested the reception of and responses to NWS tornado watches and warnings. Frank reported that the exercise went very smoothly and that the NWS dissemination systems in the county were functioning to everyone's satisfaction.
Rafael Mojica (WCM, NWSFO San Juan) conducted extensive briefings to the Virgin Islands Territory Emergency Management Agency regarding NOAA Weather Radio, NWR-SAME, and the upcoming conversion to EAS. Separate briefings were conducted on each of the primary islands (St. Thomas and St. Croix). In addition, Rafael conducted interviews with local media outlets concerning NWS modernization and school preparedness initiatives for the islands.
Bruce Burkman (WCM, NWSO Shreveport) met with broadcast meteorologists in the Tyler/Longview, Texas, area to discuss the dissemination of hazardous weather information. Bruce reported that the meteorologists were satisfied with the level of services they received and that they use NWS products almost exclusively. Their only concern centered on the access of radar data through the NIDS vendors.
CWSU MEMPHIS VISIT. Jud Ladd (Regional Aviation Meteorologist) traveled to Memphis to join representatives from NWS Headquarters, FAA Headquarters, and the Aviation Weather Center in an effort to better familiarize them with CWSU operations and discuss the planned Houston "Proof of Concept" (POC) exercise. Overall, the visit proved beneficial with discussions taking on quite an encouraging tone.
Everyone, including the FAA representatives, were very impressed with the CWSU operations at the Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). They are one of the few units in the Southern Region that are physically collocated with the Traffic Management Unit (TMU), the direct user of CWSU products and services. The effective interaction between the units as a result of this operational configuration was evident.
Local FAA management at the ARTCC provided a strong vote of confidence to the CWSU program by expressing their sincere appreciation for their unit's performance over the past several years. Memphis International is recognized as "the world's busiest airport after midnight" due to the extensive Fed Ex operations base there; and consequently, the need to have our meteorologists at the Center 24 hours a day was voiced strongly by local FAA management.
Discussions involving the planned Houston POCEn Route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) personnel from the nearby Conroe Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) will be brought in to perform the CWSU functions. exercise, in which En Route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) personnel from the nearby Conroe Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) will be brought in to perform the CWSU functions, were lively and cooperative. Both the NWS and FAA pledged to work closely in planning and conducting the exercise. With the test occurring in Houston, the NWS Southern Region will play a major role.
Our thanks are extended to Tom Amis at the CWSU and Jim Duke and John White at NWSFO Memphis for their assistance in organizing the visit. A good time was had by all!
NWSO MORRISTOWN VISITS NASHVILLE AFSS. Jerry McDuffie (MIC, NWSO Morristown), Tod Hyslop (forecaster), and Wayne Shaffer and Susan Faust (interns) traveled to the Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) at Nashville for an arranged tour and briefing on the facility. This was the first in a series of visits to the AFSS for the "new" aviation forecasters to chat with some of their most important users.
RSO/SRSO IMAGERY. The Rapid Scan Operations (RSO)/Super RSO (SRSO) Plan was recently distributed to all NWSFOs and NWSOs. A number of questions were raised by the plan, the most frequent of which was how to access the special imagery at our regional sites once an RSO/SRSO was initiated. The data is not available through the GOES-Tap, nor is it being made available routinely through the RAMSDIS platform. We understand that you can, however, request some of the special imagery from the NESDIS server via FTP but that this would require some modification to the OS/2 CMD files. It appears that presently the only way to ensure continual receipt of the data by our sites is to install a receiver that enables direct readout from the GOES satellites.
Take heart, though. There is some work in progress in the research community to make limited RSO/SRSO imagery more readily available to RAMSDIS sites. CIRA at Colorado State University has begun placing research-quality digital rapid scan imagery on a server (the Virtual Lab Server) for access by the academic and government research communities. The data is not real-time, and thus, is not intended for operational use. Instead, it is intended for post-analysis purposes only.
Our RAMSDIS sites should be able to access this data through one of the following means:
Our thanks are extended to Steve Allen (SOO, NWSO Houston) for tracking down this information.
SPECTRAL WAVE DATA. NDBC will stop transmitting spectral wave data on AFOS around the first of April 1997. The reason for this is that Western Region has developed a program that decodes and plots the FM-65 WAVEOB messages via the Frame Relay Network. This data will be available hourly, whereas the AFOS messages are only transmitted every three hours. If your office is interested in getting a copy of this program, contact Gordon Hammons in SSD; or if you have any question about the program, contact Mario Valverde in MSD.
FORESTRY NEWS. Jerry McDuffie (MIC) and Howard Waldron (WCM) of NWSO Morristown participated in the annual Tennessee Forestry Meeting. Jerry briefed the meeting on the activities and services provided by the NWSO, including staffing, status of the WSOs, TAFs, and the new radar for northeast Alabama. Attendees expressed interest in the possibility of NWSO Morristown issuing fire weather forecasts for the area in the future.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
QPF Update. As of this writing, 29 of the 30 Southern Region WFOs are producing QPF for their servicing RFCs. The exception is San Juan where limitations in system software have been discovered. In the interim, the San Juan staff is producing QPF by hand. Talk about dedication! Hydrologic Services Division, Office of Hydrology, and others are working to resolve the software problems keeping San Juan from disseminating their QPF electronically to the SERFC. Once this fix is made, all Southern Region WFOs will be producing QPF at least once a day. Twenty-five of the offices are producing QPF twice-a-day, with only those solely providing LMRFC QPF not producing twice-a-day. The reason: LMRFC is still running eight-hour days (in nonflood operations). When the LMRFC receives their full complement of staffing (target date, spring 1997), they will be able to support two-a-day QPF issuances from their WFOs.
Working Together on the Trinity. On October 18 NWSO Houston service hydrologist Dave Schwertz met with Trinity River Authority (TRA) officials concerning establishment of the TRA's ALERT network around Lake Livingston. Dave says the meeting went well, with TRA planning to make their data available to NWSO Houston via repeater. This project is with the cooperation of the San Jacinto River Authority and the Harris County Office of Emergency Management. Great example of interagency cooperation, Dave!
Dave also reports that the USGS installed some DCPs in the Houston metropolitan area during October. The result is that all forecast points on the San Jacinto River now have DCPs reporting every 15 minutes.
Power Lunch Planned in Birmingham. NWSFO Birmingham service hydrologist Roger McNeil and forecaster Tom Bradshaw plan on holding a "power lunch" for the staff. The purpose is to cover the many changes in the office Hydrologic Operations Manuals that have occurred during the past several months. Good thinking, guys. This is a great way to communicate changes in office programs and policies, or even to present local studies.
HFS Updates from Tulsa. NWSFO Tulsa service hydrologist Alvin Hong began sending critiques of the Hydrologic Forecast System as part of his regular monthly activities reports. In his initial report, Alvin reported that RiverPro was not used to generate the one flood warning issued by the Tulsa NWSFO during October because of a number of problems. However, with the help of Jamie Frederick and Greg Patrick, the problems have been resolved, and RiverPro is ready for operational use at the office. Look for future issues of Topics to include some of Alvin's comments on the HFS.
SOO NEWS. Lubbock SOO Loren Phillips and the staff arranged a winter weather seminar last week at the NWSFO. The 28 participants included staff from the NWSFO and nearby NWSOs Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, and San Angelo, as well as faculty and students from Texas Tech University. Dr. Tim Doggett, a COMET post-doc scientist working at the NWSFO, discussed the theory and application of equivalent potential vorticity to forecast operations. Dr. John Cortinas, from NSSL's Mesoscale Applications Group (MAG), described his work on winter weather forecast techniques in conjunction with the NCEP/Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman.
One of the SPC's missions will be to provide guidance to WFOs on winter weather hazards--not just severe thunderstorms and tornadoes--and the NSSL/MAG is working closely with the SPC on related applied research, as well as techniques development. John also presented findings from a freezing rain climatology which has been developed and techniques for forecasting heavy snow and other hazardous winter weather.
Congratulations to Steven Hunter (SOO, NWSO Morristown) whose paper "WSR-88D Radar Rainfall Estimation: Capabilities, Limitations and Potential Improvements," was published in the latest (June 1996) issue of the National Weather Digest. Steve's paper provides excellent reading; and if memory serves, it is also the first NWA Digest paper published with color figures.
NWSO Morristown also held a heavy rain seminar recently at which Steve, forecaster David Hotz, and service hydrologist Brian Boyd made presentations ranging from the new WSR-88D Build 9.0 software load, to radar climatology, and to recognition of patterns which can lead to significant precipitation in the NWSO's county warning area.
THE THUNDERSTORM PROJECT. The above note regarding radar rainfall estimation provides a convenient link to this topic: When do you think the first attempt at radar rainfall estimation occurred? Our guess is it was during the Thunderstorm Project in the late 1940s. Horace Byers and collaborators published what was probably the first paper on the subject in Transactions of the AGU in 1948--just one of many "firsts" accomplished as part of this historic field project that was carried out under the leadership of the Weather Bureau in Florida (1946) and Ohio (1947). SSD is pleased to have been involved in organizing a reunion of many of the original participants as part of the NWA's Annual Meeting in Cocoa Beach, Florida, this week.
COMET SYMPOSIUM IN ST. LOUIS. NWSFO Little Rock forecaster John Lewis participated in a COMET symposium on severe storms at St. Louis University in mid-November. The symposium was developed by NWSFO St. Louis SOO, Ron Przybylinski, and Prof. Jim Moore at the university. John presented "The Derecho of June 7-8, 1994," the paper that he and forecaster Chuck Rickard published in Southern Topics as tech attachment SR/SSD 96-18 (April 15, 1996). This particular case is interesting in that it showed the ability of a gravity wave to sustain convection in an otherwise stable atmosphere. John utilized the presentation software ASTOUND which produced rave reviews at the symposium. Chuck Rickard will also present a poster based on the same study at the NWA Annual Meeting in December.
OZONE OBSERVATIONS RETURN. In 1963, researchers at Florida State University's Meteorology Department began what has become one of the longest records of Dobson spectrophotometer ozone observations at such a low latitude, and the only one in the Southeast. In 1991, FSU observations had to be terminated; but they were resumed when the Dobson was moved to nearby NWSO Tallahassee. The observation program is a cooperative undertaking with NOAA's Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Lab in Boulder, Colorado; and the NWSO staff was happy to keep the long-term record intact.
With the pending move of the NWSO to a new (temporary) facility in the airport terminal building, it became necessary (and possible) to move the observations back on-campus. The move has been completed, and the FSU meteorologists have now resumed these valuable observations after a five-year hiatus. Prof. Paul Ruscher also noted that NOAA's Web site http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/dobson/ provides more information about how the Dobson observations are being used.
WEB HELP. Forecaster David Faciane at NWSO Tallahassee has received considerable (and well deserved) praise for his excellent work on developing Web pages for Internet. Recently, he visited the Tropical Predication Center/NHC in Miami and the collocated NWSFO and provided valuable input concerning the content and design of the TPC Web site. TPC Director Bob Burpee noted that Dave helped develop a prototype front page for the site that should make it more efficient, while also providing a means for emphasizing current weather events. Considering the number of requests the TPC/NHC page processes during the tropical season, there's no doubt Dave's input will be appreciated by many outside the TPC as well. Good work, Dave.
TECHNICAL ATTACHMENTS. We're catching up on the large number of manuscripts that have been sent to SSD in recent weeks; and in the interest of providing interesting reading--just in time for the holidays--we've included several local studies as technical attachments in this issue of Topics. They are:
Model Performance During a South Texas Heavy Rain Event, by Andrew Patrick and Steven Pfaff (NWSO Corpus Christi)
The Collapse of a Gulf MCS, by Melinda Bailey and Patrick Herald (NWSFO Austin/San Antonio)
The Operational Utility of the NMCGPH94Q Product, by Tony Hall (WGRFC Fort Worth)
Linking the WSFO Tropical Forecaster with the National Centers: Report of Trips to NCEP's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center and Tropical Prediction Center, by Ron Block and Scott Stripling (NWSFO San Juan).
PC APPLICATION PROGRAM UPDATES. SCDGen is an application that enables the user to generate the new Supplementary Climatological Observations (SCDs) and Supplementary Data Observations (SDOs) required by the FMH-7. It is a Windows-based application and thus allows the observer to generate observations with a simple point-and-click interface. The application transmits observations to AFOS via a serial communications port. SCDGen also creates a database containing all observations generated and transmitted. Observations from the current day, as well as previous days, can be displayed and printed.
You may download your copy of this latest version from the Southern Region Headquarters Server via either the dial-up applications menu (select option #8) or ftp (from the /ext1/download directory). Simply download and run the self-extracting distribution module, scdgv160.exe, in a temporary subdirectory, then run setup.exe to install.
Recently Received Western Region PC Applications Programs.
WRH recently provided us with the program files and documentation for several PC programs written in their region. These programs include:
CLIXXX. This program takes CLIMAT data from output provided by the CLI program (WRCP#58) and converts it to a text form suitable to be read over NOAA Weather Radio.
UNSTBL. Can be used to monitor lifted condensation levels and surface-based lifted indices using hourly data from METAR collectives.
PWW. The Paperless Weather Wire program offers a unique way to view products on a computer screen as opposed to making hard copies. The PC display permits backwards scrolling, text searching, and archiving.
WAVEOBD, SPECWV. NWSFO Seattle staff members have created three programs--get_buoy, WAVEOBD, and SPECWV to decode, retrieve, and display high resolution nondirectional and directional wave spectra from NOAA buoys on an hourly basis. The National Data Buoy Center will stop transmitting three-hourly spectral wave data on AFOS on or about April 7, 1997. The new method of distributing spectral wave data involves using this software to acquire, decode, and plot messages from the Frame Relay Network.
AFOS APPLICATION PROGRAM STATUS. CHKSFCOBS Survey Results. The Techniques Development Laboratory (TDL) recently conducted a survey of the usage of the CHKSFCOBS program and requested the offices to give the program a rating. This program was designed to flag missing data elements in ASOS observations to assist in the quality control effort.
The survey results were somewhat disappointing since only about half of the offices surveyed responded. However, in the Southern Region, half of the people that gave the program a rating (on a 1-5 scale) gave it a "5" (highest). Of those that installed the program, all gave it at least a "3" (average) rating.
This survey indicates that the program was worthwhile to those that took the trouble to load and try it; we encourage others who did not load the program to at least give it a try. We are not in the habit of "mandating" programs; but given that testing was successful at many offices, we think the remaining offices should be willing to give the program another look.
SOUTHERN REGION VERIFICATION DATA/STATISTICS. The Techniques Development Laboratory (TDL), as part of the AFOS Era Verification program, generates monthly data inventories for quality control purposes and seasonal verification results. You may access this information directly from the SSD Web page.
The inventory contains a list of erroneous data (such as the local minimum temperature exceeding the maximum, large differences between MOS and local data, etc.) for each station. Successive pages contain the data inventory for each station, followed by the appropriate regional and national inventories. The data inventory is based only on information that has been stored in TDLs archive and has passed a gross error check.
TDL plans to add seasonal verification statistics at a future time. Links to that information will be added to the SSD Web page as they become available. A key to the planned data file structure is already available.
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SAC...ELECTRONICALLY! Material from this training class is being converted into HTML documents. There are topics for general users and also for system administrators. Look for the Getting to Know Your SAC link on the SSD Web page. New material will be added each month.
SATELLITE IMAGERY VIRTUAL LAB ONLINE. RAMM/CIRA has begun placing research quality digital rapid scan imagery on a server for access by academic and government research communities. The first case on the "Virtual Lab Server" contains 30-second interval GOES-8 imagery from May 31, 1996, a day on which tornado activity occurred in Kansas and Colorado. The initial data set is for a one-hour period, with all five GOES-8 channels at their full resolution. After a few weeks, data from other hours on that day will replace the initial data set. The data are in McIDAS data format--anyone with RAMSDIS, RAMSDIS-X, GARP or UNIDATA McIDAS capability should be able to display this imagery. One can access the data via anonymous ftp to canopus.cira.colostate.edu or via the World Wide Web (URL http://canopus.cira.colostate.edu). The data are in the 152_1min directory. The RAMM Team also has tutorials that address GOES-8 and the 3.9 micron channel imagery. Their Web page is easily accessed through the CIRA home page (http://www.cira.colostate.edu/).
WATADS USER SURVEY RESULTS. The WSR-88D Operational Support Facility participated in the recent SOO SAC Survey by submitting several survey questions to assess NWS user perceptions of the WSR-88D Algorithm Testing And Display System (WATADS) software. Basically, the results indicate WATADS is being used by a majority of the NWS forecast offices (58 percent of those responding) for the primary purpose of doing case studies and viewing archived Level II data. A summary of the survey results was distributed to the watads and soo_sac mailing lists. Charts illustrating the complete results of the WATADS portion of the survey will soon be included on the WATADS Web page (URL http://www.nssl.uoknor.edu/~watads). The Build 9 version of WATADS is scheduled for a February release.
CAFTI UPDATE. Greg Mandt, the new OM Science Division Chief, is also the new chairman of the Committee on Analysis and Forecasting Technique Implementation (CAFTI). At its October 24 meeting the committee noted that significant progress has been made in reducing the backlog of Technical Procedures Bulletins. The committee also discussed the status of the conversion of NCEP computer programs from the HDF front end machine to the Cray. Since not all the AFOS product-generating codes will be converted before the December 31 deadline, field offices have been asked to prioritize the list of products awaiting conversion.
NEW DATA FTP SCRIPTS AVAILABLE. David Eversole (NWSO, Mobile) has contributed some new scripts for acquiring GEMPAK model output grids from the SRH server and producing graphical metafiles from them. The scripts are in the MobileScripts.tar file in the /ext2/sacdata/metdat/SCRIPTS subdirectory.
UPPER AIR STATISTICS. The "Upper Air Statistics for September" table (SIB Attachment #1) is a revision. On the "Upper Air Statistics for October" table (SIB Attachment #2), you will notice some new numbers on the monthly statistics. In the number of soundings column (# OBS), the number after the slant indicates the number of special soundings taken for the month. In the multiple release column (MLTPL REL), the first number indicates the number of second releases; the next number indicates the number of third releases; and the last number indicates the number of unsuccessful releases. For informational purposes, the 500mb missed column (500MB MISD) is expressed as a percentage and not as the number of soundings missed. Please note that this percentage is derived from a sampling of soundings within that month. The stations marked with an asterisk (*) have RMS values that are out of date. If you have any questions or suggestions, please call Gene Witsman at (817) 978-4967.
cc:MAIL OVER THE FRAME. NWSFO Fort Worth became the second Southern Region office with a cc:Mail post office to establish a connection with the regional cc:Mail routing post office over the frame relay. ESA Tom Crosson used their existing FTP Software Inc. TCP/IP stack on a Windows 95 computer that also handles dial-in remote cc:Mail users. After coordinating the final details with Leon Minton, the messages began to flow over the frame, thereby eliminating the hourly phone calls to the W-SR-HUB post office at Southern Region Headquarters.
BACKING UP YOUR HARD DRIVE. All too often we become painfully aware of the need to back up our hard drive after it has crashed and we have lost all of our data. This becomes most critical when the hard drive is on the LAN Server, and it is the only source for all the cc:Mail post office configuration and messages. At the very least, the whole directory containing the cc:Mail database and configuration (usually c:\ccmail\ccdata) on the LAN Server should be copied daily to another hard drive. Then, if the LAN Server hard drive crashes, the files can be put on a stand-alone PC to be used as a cc:Mail router that everyone can dial into until the LAN Server is fixed.
MANAGEMENT UTILIZATION REPORTING SYSTEM (MURS). The MURS system, used to track personnel actions in Southern Region and to keep the organizational roster database up to date, is undergoing a transformation. Leon Minton is converting it from the Paradox 4.0 based system with C Program front ends to a Microsoft Access-based system with Visual Basic front ends. This will alleviate locking problems that occurred when using the old DOS-BASED system on the new Windows NT/95-based network. It will also make better use of the Windows environment.
AUTOMATION BUZZWORDS. Like the National Weather Service, the FAA has some rather extensive automation plans. They have been working with NASA to define the man-machine mix as more and more functions are delegated to the computer. Three terms were defined in a study that may apply to our offices as we move into the AWIPS era:
The study recognized that the controller and pilot must maintain the control and the responsibility for the operation. However, NASA studies show that humans do not monitor automated systems very well and are slow to make critical transitions or intervene during automation failure. The first real test for some of these concepts in the National Weather Service will probably come with the installation of CRS. It should be an interesting experiment.
SAWRS/LAWRS TESTS. We have received a new set of tests for SAWRS and LAWRS observers. These tests will be reviewed and then forwarded to the DAPM/HMT teams to replace the previous versions.
STATION INSPECTIONS. The inspection of all surface observing sites continues to be a major workload for the DAPM/HMT teams. The SOD STAR, Johnny Baxter, is updating the Southern Region Headquarters' files and will provide each DAPM/HMT team with updated information and inspection guides. The new checklists are in the review process, and station files are being updated.
WSOH #8. A copy of the new observing handbook was distributed to the Southern Region DAPM/HMT teams via cc:Mail. Paper copies of the manual are in production and will be distributed soon. Please make use of the electronically transferred version until the paper copy arrives.
NEAR REAL-TIME COLLECTION AND DISSEMINATION OF COOPERATIVE OBSERVER DATA. This plan, implemented this past October, is designed to promote the use of data provided by the cooperative observers in a more real-time fashion. Please make every attempt to increase the availability of the volunteer observer data through the Touch-Tone system. While one of the main points of the plan is supplementing snowfall/snowdepth information for the LCD, the plan promotes the use of all cooperative data from all cooperative stations.
JEFFERSON AND HOLM AWARD NOMINATIONS. The 1997 Jefferson and Holm Award nomination packages need to be submitted to the RCPS by the end of January. With this in mind, DAPM/HMT teams should begin preparing the nomination packages now to improve the chances of your observer being selected for one of these prestigious awards. As in the past, the national committee will review the nominations, make the selections, and notify the region of the award winners. The awards will be presented next fall.
PC-ROSA UPDATE. The Black-Box DTMF-ASCII converters are still being tested to determine a cause for frequent failures. A representative from Black Box Corporation is being sent to Kansas City to work with the NWS system in an attempt to find a cause for the converter failures. We are confident that the cause will be found and corrected in time for the installation to begin in January and be completed by early summer.
A test system has been set up at Southern Region Headquarters, and we are making headway to get the computer configured to reflect the Southern Region cooperative program. The test PC-ROSA has not been linked to AFOS but will accept telephone calls and coded data. The problem in configuring the multiplexers must be resolved before the system is linked to the AFOS serial port.
NWSFO ATLANTA. Reggina and Carlos Garza recently visited Fayetteville (Georgia) Elementary School. Seventy fourth-grade students and their teachers had recently completed lessons on the hydrologic cycle, so it was an opportune time for their visit. Carlos talked about severe storms and flooding and their effects on life and property. Reggina continued with a discussion of the water cycle and concluded with weather safety tips. One of the teachers was so impressed with the presentation that she summoned the principal and described how the topics were so timely for the students. Pictures of Reggina and Carlos talking with the students were taken for the school's "Year Book."
NWSFO Atlanta has hosted a student, usually a high school senior, in support of the Gwinnett County Public Schools' Quest Student Intern Program, for the past three years. Sara White, from the Quest Program, recently brought a student who is interested in meteorology for an office visit. Carlos gave the student a tour and arranged for him to talk with one of the NWSFO's interns. The student will visit the office once a week during the semester and will write a report on his activities.
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