UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
December 1, 1998
CORE VALUES FOR THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. Core values represent the essence of an organization. They define expectations, outline shared views of what is important and provide the context to guide growth. Within the National Weather Service, we have a tradition of service, using science and technology to serve the American people. To succeed, we must build on these strengths and determine the shared (core) values to guide our transformation and establish our path into the next century. Based on input from offices representing the entire NWS organization, NWS Director Jack Kelly has announced the following set of values:
We in the National Weather Service value:
We can all share Mr. Kelly's view of the power these simple concepts represent. They provide the beacon for us to achieve our vision of being America's "no surprise weather service."
With that in mind, I think the following reflect what we can all accomplish.
COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN/UNITED WAY. Each year Southern Region offices provide outstanding support to their area Combined Federal Campaign and United Way activities. I am pleased to pass on the following from NWSO Amarillo, which typifies the spirit of giving among NWS employees. That office was honored with the 1998 Combined Federal Campaign Award by the Amarillo United Way, in recognition of their contributions to the CFC this year. The NWSO had a 40% increase in contributions, tops among area federal agencies. This is the third year in a row Amarillo has shown a significant increase in their contribution. Special thanks go to CFC Keyworker Jeff Colton. Congratulations, Jeff, and all at NWSO Amarillo. And thanks to all Southern Region employees who also contributed to their local CFCs.
AMS HONORS. I am very pleased to note that several NWSO Melbourne staff members will be honored next month at the American Meteorological Society's 79th Annual Meeting in Dallas, when they accept the AMS Award for an Exceptional Specific Prediction. MIC Bart Hagemeyer, along with David Sharp (SOO), and forecasters Scott Spratt and Tony Cristaldi were recognized for their accomplishments during the Central Florida tornado outbreak last February 22. Melbourne's preparedness activities, timely and accurate warnings, and media collaboration before and during the worst outbreak in Florida history undoubtedly saved many lives.
KUDOS FOR FLOOD ASSISTANCE. NWSFO Austin/San Antonio is located in New Braunfels, midway between the two cities. The office recently received the following letter in regard to their performance during the record-setting October floods in South Texas:
On behalf of the New Braunfels City Council, I want to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for your invaluable assistance in response to the worst flood in our community's history. The weather and river information that you shared with our Emergency Operations Center made it possible for them to have the most up-to-the-minute data available.
Please convey our deep appreciation to all the staff there who gave so generously of themselves during this catastrophic event. The expertise of the National Weather Service helped tremendously. Thank you sincerely.
(Signed) My best,
When our forecasts and warnings draw kudos such as this, we know we have achieved our goals. Congratulations to the entire staff in New Braunfels.
AWIPS SYSTEMS UPDATE. Southern Region continues to receive AWIPS systems throughout the region. Since the deliveries in October for the Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and New Braunfels (Austin/San Antonio) offices, we have been working and preparing for the continued delivery of other sites' AWIPS. This month we expect the Midland, Lubbock, Santa Teresa (El Paso), and San Angelo offices to receive their AWIPS systems.
We are also preparing for the activation of LDAD and the installation of the latest AWIPS software (Build 4.1) which will contain the initial LDAD capability. All systems being delivered now have their LDAD hardware included. Several sites are either receiving their LDAD hardware or awaiting additional software. The additional software is a variety of HP-UX 10.2 patches and commercial software upgrades.
ARCVIEW UPDATE. All Southern Region offices have been provided with ArcView GIS software (PC version). Now, you may be wondering what to do with it. For starters, we have added a short tutorial to the SR Web site (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/awips/arcview.html) which can help you get started using this tool. All of SSD's AWIPS material can be accessed on the web by selecting the AWIPS link from the SSD page. That site explains what ArcView can do and shows how to use it to edit AWIPS background maps. Ken Waters (SSD) will include ArcView training in the series of AWIPS Localization workshops which are being held at SRH. Contact him if you have questions or need more information.
AWIPS APPLICATIONS WORKING GROUP. Ken Waters is also the Southern Region representative on a new working group that has been formed by NWS Headquarters to address AWIPS local applications development. This group will be involved in approving local applications for wider dissemination, sharing useful AWIPS development information, and assisting developers to solve problems. Similar groups have existed since the earliest days of AFOS. Questions related to these areas should be directed to Ken. We want to provide as much encouragement and support as possible to developers at field offices, since experience shows that is how we will get the most out of AWIPS. Experience also shows that careful management will avoid unnecessary problems.
AWIPS TECHNICAL NOTES. With the assistance of the Western Region SSD, we have made their AWIPS Technical Notes available on the SRH Web site. These short notes address localization and customization topics which may be very useful at Southern Region offices. Find them at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/awips/wrh-ta.htm. These are the same files found on the Western Region's home page, but that site is restricted to DNS "noaa.gov" access, which site designation not all Southern Region offices have.
EMWIN PROMOTION. The National Weather Service EMWIN - Emergency Manager's Weather Information Network - was demonstrated and promoted by the NWS Southern Region at the National Weather Association (NWA) annual meeting in Oklahoma City, October 19-23. EMWIN allows customers with limited budgets, such as community emergency managers, to receive timely weather information from the NWS, including watches and warnings, as well as satellite images and graphical products. A poster and live EMWIN demo was on display at the NWA registration table, and booklets describing the system were distributed.
The EMWIN display at the NWA meeting was the work of three NWS employees, Jim Purpura and Ken Brown from the forecast office in Norman, and Gary Woodall from MSD. Much positive reaction was received from NWA meeting attendees, many of whom were not aware of the EMWIN system. Over 50 booklets were given away, and flyers were distributed promoting the first EMWIN Users Workshop to be held in Houston later this month. A discussion of EMWIN as a satellite data stream is also scheduled for a workshop in conjunction with the American Meteorological Society 79th Annual Meeting in Dallas next month.
STORMWISE PROGRAM INITIATED. StormWise, a pilot project for accrediting the severe weather preparedness program of a city or county, has been launched by the Tulsa NWSFO. The purpose of StormWise is to improve the severe weather preparedness activities of local emergency managers throughout the Tulsa area of responsibility. This is accomplished by clearly defining what constitutes a well-prepared community and listing those items as criteria for accreditation by the NWS. So far, the emergency management community at local, state, and national levels has responded enthusiastically to the program, and we recently received word that the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) has officially recognized StormWise in its newest Community Rating System program. The Community Rating System is used by the insurance industry to set insurance premiums. The more points a community can acquire, the lower the insurance rates. Since StormWise is now recognized by the ISO, a community can gain additional points if they achieve accreditation, and this in turn will give communities a financial incentive to participate in the program. Additional information about StormWise can be found in a technical attachment accompanying this issue of Topics, or at www.nwstulsa.noaa.gov/stormwise.html.
PROJECT IMPACT IN TULSA. Steve Piltz (WCM) and Lans Rothfusz (MIC) of the Tulsa NWSFO participated in a ceremony at which private- and public-sector officials signed on as partners in Tulsa's Project Impact. Project Impact is a program established by FEMA to promote disaster resistant communities. Tulsa was one of 57 cities selected nationally to participate. The guest speaker at the ceremony was James Lee Witt, director of FEMA. The ceremony festivities culminated in the signing of a document pledging partnership (in other words, resources) in supporting Tulsa's hazard mitigation plans. The document will be included in a proposal to FEMA for "seed" money. The Tulsa NWS office has been a major player in Tulsa's Project Impact activities, and signed as a partner in future efforts. In fact, the NWSFO's newly-unveiled StormWise Program (see above) served as the template for the hazardous weather component of Tulsa's application to FEMA.
OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. Larry Peabody (NWSFO Austin/San Antonio) recently learned of another of his NOAA Weather Radio outreach projects coming to fruition. The weather page in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, whose weather package is prepared by a private firm, will now routinely include: (1) a section on NWS-programmed NOAA Weather Radio locations and frequencies for Austin and San Antonio, (2) the NWSFO home page address, and (3) the public telephone number for NWSFO Austin/San Antonio.
While it has taken a year for his efforts to be realized, we feel the wait was worth it. Way to go, Larry!
NOAA WEATHER RADIO ATTACHMENT. Included in this edition of Topics is a NOAA Weather Radio brochure prepared by Larry Peabody and his colleagues at the NWSFO in New Braunfels. The brochure includes safety information, a coverage map, explanations of NOAA Weather Radio and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), and a comprehensive listing of all NWR transmitters, call signs, frequencies and service counties for Texas.
LITTLE ROCK NOAA WEATHER RADIO EFFORTS. On November 11, the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services and NWSFO Little Rock staged a media event highlighting the distribution of 330 NOAA Weather Radio/SAME receivers to every school superintendent and each education cooperative in Arkansas. The event was covered by all three local television network affiliates and the top-rated news radio station.
The event was held at Little Rock School District's Forest Park Elementary School where the routine Wednesday NOAA Weather Radio alarm test was used as a practice tornado drill. Thanks to a "dry run" a week before, the official test went smoothly, resulting in some great video shots for the local newscasts.
The success of the event was attributed to excellent inter-agency coordination and fantastic support from NWSFO Little Rock MIC Renee Fair and WCM John Robinson.
DONATED NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTER. A form CD-210 has been sent to the Office of the Secretary of Commerce detailing the donation of a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter to the National Weather Service. The donating cooperator, the Marion County, Arkansas, Office of Emergency Management has agreed to donate the Yellville, Arkansas, NWR transmitter to the NWS as per a Memorandum of Agreement signed in 1997. Consequently, the NWS will maintain the system as one of its own.
UPDATE ON EXPANSION NOAA WEATHER RADIO SITES. Testing of two new Southern Region NWR transmitters began in late November. Sites at Naples, Florida, and Junction, Texas, were purchased by cooperators. Upon acceptance by the NWS, the cooperators have agreed to donate the systems to the NWS. The Junction and Naples NWRs should begin routine NOAA Weather Radio programming within the next several weeks.
CLICKABLE NOAA WEATHER RADIO MAP COMING SOON. It's been a long time coming, but work has begun on the creation of a "clickable" NOAA Weather Radio map that will be part of the ever-expanding Southern Region home page (www.srh.noaa.gov). It will include all Southern Region NWR transmitter sites, their frequencies, call signs, power outputs and counties covered. NWSO El Paso forecaster, Tim Brice, a past Southern Region S.T.A.R. employee, has taken the lead on this project which may be near completion by the New Year.
ONE STOP SHOPPING. The Eastern, Southern, and Central regions' hydrologic services divisions have agreed to form an NWS team comprising six members (one RFC and one WFO representative from each region) to coordinate with users and recommend approaches for providing a clearinghouse location for hydrologic information. Southern Region's representatives are NWSFO Memphis service hydrologist, Buzz Merchlewitz, and Lower Mississippi RFC hydrologist, Ethan Jolly. This team was formed to satisfy customer service requests for a clearinghouse location to acquire river forecast information along the mainstem Mississippi River. It is envisioned that this central repository of information will be updated periodically to satisfy other customer requests for hydrologic information.
SR/FEMA MEETING. On November 24, SRH Deputy Chief Ben Weiger and Warning Coordination Meteorologist Gary Woodall from MSD met with Project IMPACT officials from the FEMA's Region VI office in Denton, Texas. This meeting was used as an opportunity to foster a stronger partnership between the Southern Region and Region VI of FEMA. Among the topics discussed were available preparedness and dissemination technologies that could help areas selected as Project IMPACT communities with their hazard mitigation strategies. FEMA's regional office conducts training sessions for community officials involved with Project IMPACT. We agreed to play a more significant role at the field and regional level to support Project IMPACT community activities. We also agreed to conduct SR/FEMA Region VI meetings on a routine basis to discuss items of mutual interest, and we hope to expand these efforts to include FEMA Region IV (located in Atlanta) in the near future. Further information about Project IMPACT is available on FEMA's home page at http://www.fema.gov/.
DAM CATALOG INFORMATION. The Office of Hydrology (OH) recently upgraded the PC version of the dam catalog with the 1994 Inventory of Dams data. The regions and OH are working together to make these catalogs available electronically so field offices can obtain the catalogs to support their operations. We will provide the procedures to acquire the updated dam catalogs shortly.
DAM EMERGENCY ACTIVATION PLANS. Southern Region HSD is coordinating with Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Association for State Dam Safety Officials to acquire point-of-contact information for federal and state dams located within the Southern Region's area of responsibility. In the near future, HSD will send all WFOs and RFCs copies of directories to assist offices in contacting individual dam owners to ensure that the dam emergency activation plans have an NWS point-of-contact for notification of potential or imminent dam failures. We will also distribute a FEMA document entitled "Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety: Emergency Action Planning for Dam Owners."
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
Heavy Rainfall across the Amarillo HSA. October rainfall totals averaged two to six inches above normal across the Amarillo HSA. Many rivers recorded significant rises but remained below their flood stages according to Lance Goehring, hydro focal point. Lance has been doing one-on-one WHFS training with the NWSO Amarillo forecast staff. He has trained about half of the staff on using Hydroview and Riverpro functions of the software.
Major Flooding in the Tulsa HSA. A couple of potent storm systems brought very heavy rainfall to the Tulsa HSA in early October. Rainfall totals exceeded six inches in 48 hours at several reporting locations in eastern Oklahoma. According to service hydrologist Al Hong, the town of Miami received the worst flooding with over 30 homes being damaged by water depths of one to three feet inside the dwellings. Several rivers in the HSA crested at least five feet above flood stage and many emergency rescues were also completed in response to the flash flooding that occurred.
Hurricane Georges Flooding Report Completed by NWSO Mobile. Keith Williams, hydro focal point at Mobile, put together an excellent report detailing the devastating flooding associated with hurricane Georges that took place in the Mobile HSA. In Okaloosa County in the Florida Panhandle, 54 homes were destroyed with 100 receiving major damage from river flooding. In Escambia County, Florida, 30 to 40 homes and businesses sustained major damage. Several co-op observers in south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle reported storm total rainfall measurements between 15 and 25 inches! Record crests were recorded on Big Escambia Creek and the Yellow and Shoal Rivers.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Florida Visitors. During the week of November 16, the Southeast RFC staff met separately with officials from the St. Johns Water Management District (SJWMD) and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to discuss ways to improve river forecast services in the state of Florida. St. Johns Water Management District is requesting assistance from the Southeast RFC in establishing new river forecast points within their service area. Discussions with the SWFWMD officials also focused on data coordination and exchange issues to support daily NWS hydrologic forecast operations and the operation of the SWFWMD structures that affect forecast operations at the Southeast RFC.
Weather Channel Training. The Southeast RFC provided hydrometeorologic training to The Weather Channel (TWC) on November 4 and 5. Each session was two hours in length and covered an overview of NWS operations and an introduction to the HAS function and hydrologic forecasting. Both on- and off-air meteorologists from TWC attended the training.
ARKANSAS-RED BASIN RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Record Flooding. Heavy rainfall in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas in late October and early November produced record flooding in the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC service area. Two and a half day storm total precipitation ranged from five to eleven inches. The rain fell on very moist soil and as a result, floods of record were established at eleven river forecast point locations.
For the eleven locations setting a flood of record, the average lead time between Arkansas-Red Basin RFC forecast issuance for above flood stage level and actual flood stage level was 18 hours. The average lead time for forecasting floods of record at these 11 locations was 16 hours. The value of using QPF in river forecasts was demonstrated very effectively in producing these lead times. Congratulations on a job well done!
LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Mississippi River Coordination Meeting. On November 4, The Lower Mississippi RFC hosted an NWS meeting to discuss hydrologic forecast and coordination activities on the mainstem Mississippi River. Attendees included hydrologists from the North Central RFC, Ohio RFC, Arkansas-Red Basin RFC, and Lower Mississippi RFC, and regional hydrologic service division staff from the NWS Southern and Eastern Regions. One of the main actions to come out of this meeting was the need to provide enhanced products and services to satisfy user requests for additional forecast point locations and longer duration forecasts for river forecast points along the mainstem Mississippi River. Other action items focused on mainstem Mississippi River forecast operations and coordination activities to support the generation and issuance of Lower Mississippi RFC river forecasts for the lower mainstem Mississippi River.
CIAMS SEMINAR. [The technical attachment associated with this item was inadvertently omitted from the November Topics, so we are repeating this introduction - and the attachment - this month.] David Wally, Eric Zappe and Tim Ericson from NWSO Lake Charles participated last October in Ron Przybylinski's (SOO, NWSFO St. Louis) seminar at Texas A&M/CIAMS on the subject of forecasting damaging wind events in the mid-Mississippi Valley. Included as a technical attachment this month is David's summary of the seminar. In addition to this summary, David also provided the Lake Charles staff with a copy of Ron's short paper on the same subject (noted as a reference in the tech attachment), and he is working on developing case studies to apply Ron's ideas closer to home. Too often, warnings for damaging winds are based on reflectivity signatures that indicate a strong downburst is already occurring (e.g., a LEWP or bow echo). Ron's work points out what might be a useful indicator prior to the onset of damaging winds.
CHANGE TO ETA MODEL ANALYSIS SCHEME. NCEP has recently made some corrections to the Eta model's three dimensional variational analysis scheme (3DVAR). The 3DVAR was erroneously excluding almost all surface data and even some near-surface observations. From this set of corrections to the 3DVAR, forecasters should expect to see improved Eta surface and low-level analyses which better reflect the observations. In terms of impact on forecasts, these will be generally minor. The impacts NCEP saw from tests, for example, were smaller in magnitude than the impact on the aviation model (AVN) going from a resolution of T170 back to T126 (all of which were good, by the way).
LOCAL TRAINING FOR WSR-88D BUILD 10. In mid-November, NWSFO Little Rock SOO, George Wilken, provided seminars on the WSR-88D Build 10 software changes for the NWSFO staff and representatives from the Little Rock Air Force Base weather unit. Including the USAF personnel in such sessions is a continuing outreach effort by the Little Rock NWS office, and in this case the topics covered were pertinent to weather applications for military aircraft operations. George incorporated into his seminar the teletraining graphics provided by the OSF Operations Training Branch, from their recent "train-the-trainer" teletraining effort on Build 10.
Also last month, NWSFO New Orleans Area SOO, Mike Koziara, provided a similar Build 10 seminar - using the teletraining "slides" - for the NWSFO forecasters and HMTs, and staff from the New Orleans Naval Air Station (dedicated PUP). Included were Build 9/10 algorithm comparisons, TVS/TDA performance statistics, and Build 9 versus Build 10 RPG, PUP Incompatibility issues, and Build 10 enhancements and bug fixes.
On the same subject, we have included as a technical attachment this month a brief summary prepared by John Distefano (NWSO Wilmington, Ohio) of the extensive Build 10 training documentation. John's intent was to highlight important elements in a few handy reference pages. We think he did a great job.
RAMSDIS TRAINING AT NWSO NASHVILLE. When NWSFO Atlanta received their AWIPS equipment they sent their RAMSDIS machine to NWSO Nashville. Carol Vaughn, a research associate who is part of the NOAA-CIRA Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology team, provided RAMSDIS training at the NWSO in mid-November. That was a great help for the NWSO staff to get up to speed quickly with the system.
HOUSTON...ERR, NCF, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. On Wednesday, November 25, data stopped flowing over the NOAAPORT Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN) from 1535 UTC until approximately 1700 UTC. The SBN supplies most of the data to all AWIPS sites and, through the SRH NOAAPORT Receive System, it is also the source of satellite imagery provided to all non-AWIPS offices in our region. The AWIPS Network Control Facility (NCF) was alerted of the outage by NWSFO Fort Worth and SSD. Service was restored shortly after the NCF was notified. The cause of the outage is not known.
UPDATE ON AMS ON-LINE JOURNALS. Starting January 1, NWS field offices will have on-line access to Monthly Weather Review and Weather and Forecasting only, not all the AMS journals as we reported last month. Offices will continue to receive the hard copy versions of these journals. Access to the on-line journals will be available to authenticated NOAA/NWS users on the Web via the NOAA Seattle Regional Library Information Server (www.wrclib.noaa.gov) under Journal Literature Searching. NWS field offices may request copies of articles from other journals through the NOAA Central Library (www.lib.noaa.gov). SSD will also assist as needed in obtaining references.
NEW TECH MEMO. NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-199, Coastal Flooding Along the West-Central Coast of Florida, has been distributed. This study provides an excellent historic overview of past coastal flood events, and it will be a valuable resource in anticipating future flood problems in the area. It will be useful for forecasters, as well as community managers, emergency preparedness authorities, researchers, and the media. The authors are Kennard Kasper, Charlie Paxton (SOO), and forecasters Dan Sobien and Ron Morales from NWSO Tampa Bay Area. The lead author, Kennard, was a high school student and volunteer summer assistant at the NWS office.
COMET OUTREACH PROGRAM RFP. The request for proposals for COMET Outreach Cooperative grants is attached to this month's Topics. For more information contact Vickie Johnson at COMET.
COMET TRAINING UPDATE
Training for Forecasting Aviation Icing. COMET is delivering several Web-based and CD-ROM modules that provide training for forecasters on aircraft icing. All of these come under the "Forecasting Aviation Icing" PDF, or Professional Development Series (see www.meted.ucar.edu/icing/). The latest Web-based module is "Icing Assessment Using Soundings and Wind Profiles." This module makes use of a rich data set contained on a CD-ROM, "Forecasting Aviation Icing: The Icing Event of 6 March 1996," which was sent to all offices last month. An additional CD-ROM module, "GOES IR Imagery Including Winter and Icing Applications" should arrive at offices shortly. This module combines some existing satellite and remote sensing module content with new case materials. It was developed in part to meet USAF requirements for a more focused treatment of GOES Imager data. A technical attachment this month provides more details.
Case Studies and Data On-line. Everyone should be aware of the COMET case studies that are available on-line. The number of cases in the archive continues to increase, along with the users. SOOs, forecasters, university faculty and students, and others are finding these cases a valuable source for training and research. A quarterly report from COMET which describes this aspect of their program is included as a technical attachment this month.
COMET also initiated an archive in November 1996 from which data can be provided via anonymous FTP to SOOs in support of local training, research, and case study development. Requests should be sent to Dolores Kiessling or Liz Page at firstname.lastname@example.org. The archive contains model gridded data in grib format, NIDS NOWRAD data, GOES imagery, and surface, upper air and model grids in GEMPAK format. Most requests are usually filled within a day, depending on the size of the order.
CD Version of Meted Web Site. All offices should have received from COMET an August 1998, "MetEd Archive CD." This CD is a copy of the MetEd Web site (http://meted.ucar.edu). It includes online training from the Professional Development Series (PDS) "Forecasting Aviation Icing" and "Forecasting Severe Convection," in addition to topics covering hydrology, ASOS algorithms, and the GOES sounder. Although, unlike the Web version, the material on the CD is "frozen," it provides more rapid display and interaction, without having to cope with sometimes slow Internet access. COMET expects to release subsequent "snapshot" CDs at 6-9 month intervals. As with the Web site, the MetEd Archive requires a Web browser (Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer). Some minor modifications were made to the files on the CD to preserve the basic navigation features of the MetEd Web site, but note that without Internet access the links from HTML pages are inactive.
OSF/OTB TRAINING UPDATE
Distance-Learning Radar Courses Repeated. Starting next month and continuing until April, the OSF Operations Training Branch will again provide distance-learning versions of the WSR-88D Operations Course for interns, forecasters and hydrologists, and the HMT Radar Course. The two courses will be conducted simultaneously this time, and they will be compressed to just a few months. They will be similar to the previous versions, but will be modified for Build 10. Additional details and course descriptions are available at http://www.osf.noaa.gov/otb/otb.htm, which can also be found through the OSF link on the Southern Region home page.
All forecasters, hydrologists and interns involved in radar operations who have not yet completed the OSF/OTB training - either in-residence or by distance-learning - must enroll in the upcoming version. The HMT distance-learning course provides required training for all HMTs who were not enrolled in the initial version.
New On-Line Training Module. The OSF/OTB has released a Web training module based on the Hall/White County, Georgia, tornado case of March 20, 1998. The module resulted from coordination with the Southern Region service assessment team for that event, NWSH, NSSL, and a number of field forecasters. It is intended that this will be the first in a series of short on-line training tutorials for significant or difficult severe weather cases. The module is at: http://www.osf.noaa.gov/otb/tngmat/tutorials/mar20/intro.htm.
This is an excellent example of NWS personnel from the operations and the research applications sides of the house working closely together to enhance the capability and use of our newest technology. The module can also be linked to from the Training and Professional Development page of the SRH Web site (www.srh.noaa.gov). While there, explore all the other useful T&PD links that are also available.
PASSING OF TED FUJITA. Tetsuya Theodore (Ted) Fujita passed away on November 19. Through his research, Dr. Fujita literally changed the way we look at meteorology on the smallest scales. In fact, the very terminology associated with mesoscale meteorology is attributed to Ted's pioneering studies. His detailed investigations of tornadoes and meticulous analyses of their impact led to the "Fujita (F-) Scale" for ranking tornado intensity. He also discovered and documented the microburst. There is no doubt the results of his studies will remain a major part of the foundation of storm scale meteorology for years to come.
NOVEMBER 1998 EMAIL CONFERENCE. The November 1998 Email Conference held at NWSH was a success. After three intense days of demonstrations, reviews, and discussions, the group representing a broad spectrum of NWS came to a consensus. The recommendation is to go forward with a single solution offered by Netscape called SuiteSpot, and that NWS participate fully in a NOAA-wide messaging solution based on the Netscape SuiteSpot product, assuming certain conditions are met. Netscape SuiteSpot is based on open standards and provides an "all-inclusive" solution to the many diverse operating systems in use throughout NWS including UNIX. The single solution approach provides many benefits compared to a decentralized approach.
A draft "recommendation" document is being reviewed by the participants at the conference. An "executive summary" to brief upper management is being prepared by the Information Systems Section (W/MB33) of the NWSH Management and Budget Office.
REGIONAL AWIPS FOCAL POINT MEETING. Highlights of the meeting of the Regional AWIPS Focal Points at NWS Headquarters last month are summarized in an attachment to the Topics this month.
OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH
MIAMI TOPS IN LEVEL II DATA RECEIPT. We all know the WSR-88D Level II archive tapes are sent to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) for storage and safekeeping, as well as for copying and distribution to researchers. However, a little known fact is that NCDC also provides a site by site summary of Level II data receipt.
From November 1, 1997 thru September 30, 1998, NWSFO Miami was the top-ranked site in the country among all WSR-88D sites (NWS, DoD and FAA) with regard to data receipt at NCDC. Statistics indicate that 95.7% of all possible Level II data was received. Kudos to NWSFO Miami and their electronics staff for achieving this excellent result. Keep up the great work!
WEATHER SERVICE OBSERVING HANDBOOK No. 9. National Weather Service Headquarters has just issued Weather Service Observing Handbook No. 9, Doppler Weather Radar Observations. All NWS WSR-88D sites should receive their copy before the end of this month. If your office has not received a copy by the end of December, extra copies are available at SRH SOD by contacting Victor Murphy at 817-978-2655 ext. 130.
NEXRAD BUILD 10. In early November the OSF approved the national release of NEXRAD Software Build 10 for all WSR-88D sites. The software is being shipped to the electronics staff of each office for installation. Each office should make members of their Unit Radar Committee (URC) aware of this change, as well as review the highlights of the improvements in Build 10. See the SSD technical attachment this month on the same subject.
ASOS COMMISSIONINGS. On October 28 the following ASOS sites were commissioned in the Southern Region. The AFOS PILs are shown in parentheses.
Little Rock (LITMTRLIT)
Atlanta Fulton County Airport (ATLMTRFTY)
We anticipate the unstaffed ASOS sites at Guymon, Oklahoma (OKCMTRGUY) and Odessa, Texas (LBBMTRODO) to be commissioned early this month.
ASOS SOFTWARE VERSION 2.5 IMPLEMENTATION. On November 5, the official ICAO identifier for ice pellets in the United States changed from "PE" to "PL." SRH electronics technicians had to upgrade the ASOS software at 38 Service Level A and Service Level B sites in Southern Region on or before that date. There was no room for failure. We congratulate the ETs who responded in their usual fine manner, with 100 percent of all sites having the Version 2.5 software upgrade installed prior to November 5. Field offices now face the daunting task of educating users on this change.
ASOS SOFTWARE VERSION 2.6. HMT Mike Reid, NWSO Lake Charles, spent the week of November 16 at the NWSH Testing Facility in Sterling, Virginia. His mission? To participate in the ASOS software Version 2.6 systems acceptance testing. It is anticipated that the National Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) for this future software load will take place in the first quarter of the coming calendar year (1999), prior to a national implementation in the second and third quarter of FY 99.
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
NWSFO FORT WORTH. Roland Nunez gave a two hour school talk for 109 students and teachers at Worth Heights Elementary School in Fort Worth. Ninety-nine percent of the students were Hispanic.
Also, Krista Villarreal provided an office tour for five female students and two teachers from a home school in Arlington.
Jim Stefkovich gave an office tour to 11 students and five teachers from an Arlington Home Growth School. Nine of the students were females. Jim also gave a presentation on El Niño, La Niña, and climate to 250 people attending the International Mobile Air Conditioning Association (IMACA) conference in Fort Worth. Those in attendance were from all over the U.S. and from seven different countries. It is interesting to note that Jim learned the first automotive air conditioners were built in Fort Worth. And not a day too soon!
Also, MIC Skip Ely gave an office tour for a Christian Academy in Fort Worth. There were 35 students and eight teachers. Half of the students were minorities.
NWSO SHREVEPORT. Meteorologist Bill Parker gave an office tour to 15 Rita Folds Home school students. He also gave a talk to Summer Grove Elementary school with 60 gifted second and third graders in attendance. Operations of the NWS, safety precautions, and modernization were discussed. Bill also gave a career talk on excelling and being successful in reaching career goals to Lincoln Alternative School and to the Texas Women's Juvenile Boot Camp in Texarkana, Texas. A total of 40 students were in attendance, with 34 minorities.
Craig Ross, service hydrologist, Christian Stapleton, HMT, and Mary Keiser, SCEP, gave an office tour and described the functions of the NWS to two different groups of cub scouts from Shreveport, Louisiana.
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