UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
The modernization of the National Weather Service began in the Southern Region, with initial efforts in Oklahoma, so it's only fitting that we have also seen the beginning of its completion here. NWS Director Jack Kelly sent this message last week to NWSO - now officially the first WFO - Corpus Christi MIC Joe Arellano:
I just signed the document approving the commissioning of your AWIPS. It is a historic day for NWS as this action brings the Modernization to an end and signifies the beginning of a new era. Thanks for your leadership in helping make this happen. Please thank all your troops for what they do daily for our nation and their efforts in finishing the commissioning process. I am glad to be part of their team.
Reaching this momentous goal is the result of many people pulling together, at SRH and across the many offices of this region; everyone working as a team on many, many issues. The results of all the hard work have not gone unnoticed by our users. I hear from our partners, the media, and state and federal officials every day, and their satisfaction is obvious. They expect the best from us, however, so we can expect to hear from them when they feel we've come up short. I don't have to tell you that despite the advances we've made, we can never pull back. We must all work hard to stay leaders in our field. Our vigilance and efforts assure a vital public safety service to the Nation, and it also assures continuation of the long-term legacy of excellence for the Southern Region.
SEVERE WINTER WEATHER. Super Bowl Weekend saw the latest in a series of winter storms threaten the eastern half of the region, and especially the Atlanta area, where much attention was focused for obvious reasons. Southern Region offices responded to this challenge in an exceptional way. For four days we provided telephone status briefings to FEMA and many of their components across several states. I started these conference calls from my office by discussing forecast operations with the FEMA regional director, John Copenhaver, then the MSD staff briefed FEMA response and recovery groups while John and I listened. This quickly expanded to call-ins involving SRH staff and our field offices, which FEMA arranged for many components of their senior management and response and recovery teams. This approach served not only to keep our partners informed of current expectations, but also to make sure they were aware of changes and adjustments that were evolving in the forecasts, watches and warnings. We also kept the media informed with many PNSs and interviews. Significantly, following an interview I provided to USA Today, the reporter told me the NWS was "really on top of the event."
Throughout this event our WFOs did a super job providing winter weather mesoscale forecast specifics and accurate watches and warnings. The feedback I've received from FEMA has been just great; I have heard no criticism, and I believe in large part that's because the NWS was always available to explain what we were doing - and why. FEMA officials had the access they needed to vital local forecast specifics. All in all, this proves the system works as long as we prepare for such winter weather potential and we react proactively to keep our partners informed. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for a job well done.
As of the first week of this month, WFO Tulsa has joined WFO Corpus Christi as the second SR commissioned AWIPS site. Currently, Southern Region has 15 of the 54 sites nationwide which have switched to AWIPS Operations Mode (AOM), otherwise known as commissioned mode. This means that those sites are running without using AFOS, although AFOS remains in place as a backup means of communication. Four more SR sites, NWSOs Houston, Brownsville, Amarillo and Morristown, are scheduled to officially commission AWIPS this month, with at least ten more sites entering AOM this month. All but a few sites have committed to enter AOM by the end of March; we're encouraging all to do so before severe weather "season" intervenes.
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION
SPACEFLIGHT METEOROLOGY GROUP. On December 19, 1999 STS-103, the 96th Shuttle mission, lifted off for the third servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). When three of Hubble's six gyros failed last year, NASA officials decided to move forward the June 2000 Hubble servicing mission. Three gyroscopes must be working to meet the telescope's scientific observational requirements. Other mission servicing activities on the HST included the replacement of a guidance sensor, a new transmitter, the spacecraft's computer, and some degraded insulation. The mission was cut short by two days because of launch delays and possible Y2K impact.
Launch Weather. Weather at the time of launch was relatively benign with mid- and high-level cloudiness. West and northwest winds prevailed keeping the low levels dry and cloud free. A weak frontal boundary had persisted over the Florida panhandle with an associated weak low-pressure center located off of the Carolina coast. The prime Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site was Ben Guerir since weather at Banjul, The Gambia, was "NO GO" due to visibility restrictions caused by smoke and haze from a controlled burn near the airport. Weather had caused a launch scrub two days earlier, as multi-layered clouds, rain, crosswinds, turbulence, and the potential for triggered lightning caused forecasters to issue a "NO GO" forecast.
Landing Weather. A weak frontal boundary over the Florida panhandle drifted southward during the day, but no weather was associated with this boundary and virtually cloudless skies prevailed at the SLF (Shuttle Landing Facility) throughout the day. Crosswinds were beyond the limits at the de-orbit decision time for the first landing opportunity. Winds subsided as the sun set and the subsequent landing opportunity was "GO" at the decision time and forecast "GO."
SMG lead meteorologist Dan Bellue worked his 86th mission and the 16th as Lead. Steve Sokol was the assistant lead and Doris Rotzoll was the techniques development unit meteorologist. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group Web site is at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/smg. NASA Space Shuttle information is available at http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/schedule/schedule.htm.
DROUGHT SUPPORT. NWSO San Angelo MIC Shirley Matejka provided a briefing to eight county judges, many mayors, representatives from utility companies, and the state legislature on the long-range climate outlook for the San Angelo CWA. Approximately 90 people attended the briefing. The meeting attracted considerable media attention, including a front-page article in the San Angelo newspaper. Even though Shirley could offer little hope for an end to the extended period of below normal precipitation, those in attendance appreciated the presentation and will utilize the information in future planning. The NWSO staff followed up with an open house specially geared for providing drought information. Over 200 people, including a number of ranchers, attended the open house.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP IN TULSA. NWSFO Tulsa, MIC Lans Rothfusz and WCM Steve Piltz hosted a four-hour workshop for emergency management staff in the NWSFO's CWA. The workshop was held at the American Red Cross facility and was attended by over 45 emergency management personnel and ten NWS staff members. Half of the 32 counties in the Tulsa CWA were represented, as were five cities. Although several topics were covered, the highlight of the workshop was a role-playing, severe weather exercise in which everyone participated. The exercise provided a great chance to experience how the "other half" operates during severe weather episodes. Both NWS and EM personnel expressed appreciation for the difficult job the other has, and both gained valuable insight as to how the overall warning and communication process might be improved. The attendees provided positive feedback regarding the workshop and plans are to make it an annual event.
SCHOOL OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. Some news and notes from around the Region:
NWSO Lake Charles has developed an "office tours" link on their Web page. Whenever a student group takes a tour of the office, the NWSO staff takes a picture of the group and posts it on their Web page. In addition to keeping a record of office tours, this also serves as subtle advertising for the Web site. The students' families typically look up their picture on the Web page that evening, and thus have the opportunity to visit and explore the NWS site as a whole.
NWSO Shreveport WCM Bruce Burkman conducted a severe weather safety conference for the Smith County School District. Over 225 teachers, bus drivers, school administrators, and maintenance personnel from across the county were in attendance. During the conference, Bruce covered hazardous weather threats and safety tips for tornadoes, flash floods, lightning, and other weather events. Bruce noted an exceptionally large number of questions were asked during the conference.
PUBLIC OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. Here are some noteworthy projects underway in the region.
The NWSO Melbourne staff completed several preparedness projects across their CWA and the state. The Winn-Dixie grocery store chain agreed to print hazardous weather safety rules in their weekly advertising circulars during February and March. The safety tips will be printed in over eight million circulars. WCM Dennis Decker and senior forecaster Tim Troutman developed a severe weather education and safety CD-ROM which will be distributed by the State of Florida to all public schools in the state. Tim and senior forecaster Tony Cristaldi developed and provided an NWS information booklet to all public libraries in Brevard County. The booklet includes a detailed explanation of NWS products and services, NWR information, Internet weather links, and safety tips. The Central Florida Library Association plans to expand this distribution to all central Florida counties. Good work, folks!
NWSFO and RFC Fort Worth/Dallas hosted a delegation from the Subdireccion General Technico (a section of the Mexico agency responsible for weather and water forecasting). The group was observing NWS operations as part of a joint program between the U.S. and Mexican weather services. The delegation spent the morning with the RFC staff and the afternoon with the WFO. The hosts provided overviews of the RFC/NWSFO operations and demonstrated the NWS forecast and warning technologies.
NWSFO Miami WCM Jim Lushine and HMT Bob Ebaugh staffed a booth at the 23rd Annual Redland Natural Arts Festival. This celebration features artists, craftsmen, and outdoor people to exhibit products from tropical cultures around the world. Over 2,000 people visited the NWS booth and received brochures and information about NWS products and services.
NWSFO Austin/San Antonio WCM Larry Eblen presented a hazardous weather program at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs State Conference. Approximately 45 representatives from across the state were in attendance. Larry described the types of weather which negatively affect Texans and the way in which the NWS forecasts and issues warnings for hazardous weather. Topics included winter weather, heat stress, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, floods, and lightning. Larry also stressed the importance of NOAA Weather Radio and SAME technology.
CRS NEWS. Installation of the Console Replacement System Build 6.0 software has been completed at all but one site across the Southern Region. Special thanks to all offices for the efforts involved, and to Joel Nathan at NWS Headquarters (OSO) for help in accomplishing this upgrade so quickly.
NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS. The NWS took over operations of the NWR cooperator site in Clarksville, Tennessee on January 21. This site will cover Montgomery County in the northwest portion of Nashville's CWA.
Cleveland, Georgia began full programming on December 31, covering a large portion of Atlanta's northeast area between the Athens and Chatsworth transmitters. This site was funded with congressional money earmarked to expand coverage in north Georgia.
Crown Broadcasting, producers of the NWR transmitters, was scheduled to move from individual production to assembly line production early this month. Ten transmitters are expected to be shipped to the Southern Region sites in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas in the next two months. This will place a massive workload on personnel to bring all these site on line. For those working with potential cooperator sites production schedule is now more than six months away.
Last month, Steve Drillette (Amarillo WCM), and Doug Crowley (SRH/MSD) provided 16 emergency managers, city officials and others from the northern Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles with details on obtaining NWR coverage. Doug, who is the former Amarillo WCM and familiar with those attending, discussed information such as procedures, equipment, costs, installation, and benefits of NWR. The large turnout proved there is considerable interest, and the overall reaction was positive, but the true success of the meeting will be determined if additional transmitters become a reality.
We've just received three new NWR table top displays with five different NWR receivers for use in outreach programs. These displays come with a Midland, a Maxon, two Radio Shack models and a Bearcat handheld scanner. If you need one for an upcoming event please make arrangements with Doug Crowley.
WEATHERLINE, INC. TALLYS 1999 PHONE COUNT. An example of public/private partnership is Weatherline, which has taken the phone recording obligation from several offices. This saves government resources while providing users with NWS official forecasts. Attached to this month's Topics is a table showing the number of calls logged for each site.
SOUTHERN REGION WARNING IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. The Southern Region Warning Improvement Project Web page has been updated to include more resources and information. The project, which began last spring, is designed to provide offices with resources and information on improving the quality and effectiveness of NWS warnings and statements. Forecast offices are encouraged to submit good ideas and suggestions on effective warnings, verification practices, etc. The WIP Web page is at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/msd/html/wip.htm
WARNING VERIFICATION EVALUATION. Three Southern Region offices will be participating in an evaluation of an alternative verification scheme this spring. The system will use the warning polygons generated by WarnGen to evaluate the effectiveness of tornado warnings based not on geopolitical boundaries, but on the actual threat area laid out by the warning forecaster. The test will seek to determine how this new scheme would work and assess the value of information which can be gleaned from the verification statistics. It will include comparisons between the current county/parish-based system and the warning polygon method.
WARNING VERIFICATION STATISTICS TRACKED AT SRH. An Intranet Web site has been established to track performance measures in the Southern Region. The site currently features tornado warning statistics. It takes data from the OM verification page and customizes the data for the Southern Region. Statistics are analyzed by office, by month and by performance measure (lead time, FAR, POD). Plans call for the site to be expanded to include severe thunderstorm statistics, as well as winter weather and high wind performance measures. There are also plans to make the site available to all Southern Region offices via the Internet.
NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities in the Region's CWSU program.
CWSU Atlanta. On January 20, twelve local CWSU and WFO forecasters attended a 1-1/2 hour seminar on weather impacts on air traffic operations at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. The seminar was presented by Ed Weyer, Traffic Management Supervisor at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center. This seminar was the first of several planned steps toward enhancing coordination between the CWSU and WFO.
CWSU Fort Worth. The WARP 1 test site is being moved from the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) to the Fort Worth ARTCC. Testing is scheduled to begin in May with the system going into operation in June. This move will mean significant involvement for the CWSU in the system implementation.
CWSU Houston. On January 26, MIC Vince Carreras, gave a 1-1/2 hour weather training presentation to Continental Express dispatchers. This is the same program which Vince and his staff have been providing to Continental Airlines dispatchers. The plan is for the entire staff of Continental Express dispatchers to eventually attend this training.
HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION
XSETS IMPLEMENTATION COMPLETE. On January 18, the Southeast RFC officially began to use XSETS, the river forecast generation software initially developed by ABRFC. This completes a region-wide effort to standardize the software used by all Southern Region RFCs to generate river forecast guidance for the WFOs. This implementation also provides additional consistency in Southern Region RFC river forecast guidance product content. WFOs supported by Southern Region RFCs will now benefit from having a time series of river forecast values that will enhance the WFO's ability to view forecast hydrographs in more detail using the hydrologic data viewer application of WHFS. Congratulations and thanks to all the personnel at WGRFC, ABRFC, SERFC, and LMRFC who assisted in this implementation. A special thanks to Bill Lawrence, DOH at ABRFC, for initially developing the software, modifying the software to satisfy RFC customer-requested options, and assisting the other Southern Region RFCs in implementing this software.
WFO HYDROLOGY PROGRAM MANAGEMENT RESIDENCE COURSE UPDATE. On January 10-13, representatives from the Office of Hydrology, the NWS Training Center, and four service hydrologists from the CONUS regions met to discuss the course curriculum outline, mode of training for the various subject matters (e.g., residence, teletraining, Web), and potential subject matter experts for the new WFO Hydrology Program Management residence course at the NWSTC. Dave Schwertz, senior service hydrologist from NWSO Houston, represented Southern Region at the meeting. The course will be geared for service hydrologists and hydrology focal points. The target date for the pilot course is October 2000. Subsequent courses will begin sometime in FY 2001. We will keep you posted as new information becomes available on this new residence course.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
Same story, different month. Drought conditions continued across most of the Southern Region HSAs during December. Several of the December co-op reports contained rainfall totals of less than an inch for the entire month. Some of the West Texas December precipitation totals included monthly snowfall amounts ranging from 10 to 20 inches.
A few locations saw some below normal precipitation records entered into the climatic history books. Tampa Bay recorded the sixth driest year on record, based on observed rainfall totals dating back to 1890. Lake Charles observed its fifth driest year on record and the Beaumont/Port Arthur area recorded its second driest year on record. Yearly rainfall totals at Columbus, Georgia reached only 27.8 inches which is the driest yearly total since 1954. Although 1999 rainfall totals (12.74 inches) at Midland more than doubled the 1998 yearly total of 5.15 inches, both are the driest two consecutive years on record dating back to 1930. Many reservoirs remain at or below conservation pool levels across the region.
FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM UPGRADE IN JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALABAMA. Senior service hydrologist Roger McNeil and WCM Brian Peters from the NWSFO Birmingham, and hydrologists Mike Longnecker and Tom Wallace from the Southeast RFC attended several meetings hosted by the Jefferson County, Alabama emergency management agency (EMA) in January to discuss upgrading the existing automated flood warning system in the county with additional hydrometeorological and water quality sensors, base stations, and a hydrologic model.
FEMA recently approved a Jefferson County Project Impact grant proposal requesting funds for this upgrade. Each new gauge location will have a water level and precipitation sensor. A base station will be placed at the Jefferson County EMA and at the Birmingham office.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER
USGS District Chiefs' Meeting. On January 26, Judi Bradberry, senior HAS forecaster, attended the USGS's Southeast Region District Chiefs' meeting in Norcross, Georgia. Judi gave a presentation on the functions and operations at the Southeast RFC and the use of the WSR-88D to provide real-time and spatially distributed rainfall estimates.
Flash Flood Guidance Issuance. The SERFC is now issuing their flash flood guidance products twice per day - in the late morning and during the evening at approximately 0000 UTC. Congratulations to the RFC for enhancing products and services for internal and external customers.
Inland Flooding Lecture. Southeast HAS forecaster Kent Frantz traveled to Morganton, North Carolina to present a tropical cyclone and inland flooding lecture to a group of emergency managers attending an NWS Hazardous Weather and Preparedness course. The one hour presentation included statistics on inland flooding due to Atlantic tropical cyclones and an analysis of SERFC actions during hurricane Floyd. Kent also met with NWSFO Greenville staff, giving a brief overview of SERFC actions during Floyd.
TALLAHASSEE FSU FACULTY APPOINTMENT. NWSO Tallahassee SOO, Irv Watson, has received a Courtesy Faculty Appointment with the Florida State University Meteorology Department. Congratulations, Irv. That's one more step toward ensuring the Met Department is one the Seminole football team can be proud of!
NCEP THREATS ASSESSMENT. The NCEP Climate Prediction Center is actively soliciting field office input to their weekly Threats Assessment and Drought Monitor products. This program started last fall and is intended to better serve users by enhancing awareness of potential weather-related threats. It has been well received. Provisional graphics and discussion for each are posted on the CPC Web site on Monday around noon Eastern Time. It is important for field offices to be aware of and participate in this program, thus the provisional products. Forecasters are encouraged to review the products and provide comments and suggestions regarding local effects or impacts to concerning the Threats Assessment to Russell Martin at the Climate Prediction Center. Comments and suggestions concerning the Drought Monitor should be sent to email@example.com. The Threats Assessment is released to the public on Tuesdays; the Drought Monitor on Thursdays.
The draft Threats Assessment can be found at:
The draft Drought Monitor graphic can be found at:
and the accompanying Drought Monitor discussion can be found at:
DAILY MODEL DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSIONS. This is a reminder the NCEP Hydrometeorological Prediction Center issues a Model Diagnostic Discussion twice each day. This discussion includes model trends, biases, run-to-run continuity, differences, and ultimately HPC's preference of model (for specific areas). This product can be retrieved on AFOS or AWIPS as PMDHMD. If you have any comments/feedback, please contact the HPC at any time via email or phone (301 763-8201).
AVN/MRF RESOLUTION INCREASED. The spatial resolution of the AVN/MRF system was increased to T170, effective 1200 UTC on January 24. The forecast extent for AVN will continue at 84 hours. The Global Modeling Branch plans to extend the 0000 and 1200 UTC AVN forecasts to 120 hours in the near future.
An earlier version of the T170 system was implemented in June, 1998 but had to be withdrawn because of poor performance. NCEP fixed the problems and reran the analysis and forecast system for the months of August 1998 and January-February 1999 in both the T170 mode and the T126 mode. They are satisfied with the summer and winter performance of the new T170 system. Increased resolution is expected to result in a better fit of the model initial conditions to the observations, better short-range forecasts, more intense mid-latitude and tropical storms and better resolution of jet streams. The higher resolution will take advantage of the additional computer resources made available by the transition to the Class VIII computer.
NEW COMET WEB MODULES. The COMET Program has announced the release of three new Web modules. Each is available through the MetEd Web site (http://meted.ucar.edu). They are:
Polar Satellite Products for the Operational Forecaster: Case Studies. This module, the third in the POES Series, provides two case study examples that incorporate POES derived-product imagery with data from other remote observing systems.
The first case study is a snow event in the Pacific Northwest and highlights the use of AMSU derived moisture products to supplement GOES imagery, numerical prediction model, and other in situ data in predicting the onset and duration of snowfall over eastern Washington State on February 2, 1999. The second case study examines the rainfalls associated with Hurricane Georges (1998). This example uses the SSM/I rainfall rate product to demonstrate the ability of POES microwave data to assess short-range rainfall potential for tropical cyclones.
Radiation Fog. Radiation Fog is the first instructional component released in the PDS on Forecasting Low-Altitude Clouds and Fog for Aviation Operations. This Web-based module focuses on the assessment of the processes that lead to the development, movement, and dissipation of low-altitude clouds and fog.
Community Hurricane Preparedness. The first joint FEMA/NWS Web-based module, "Community Hurricane Preparedness" is the Web version of the CD-ROM released last year. The module provides emergency managers and decision makers with basic information about how hurricanes form, the hazards they pose, how the NWS forecasts hurricane behavior and how emergency managers deal with the limitations of those predictions, and the tools and guiding principles can help emergency managers prepare their communities for a hurricane
VISIT TELETRAINING. The Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) continues to offer several teletraining sessions during the month of February, including a new release on Surface Boundaries. NWS offices can register for the VISIT teletraining sessions at:
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/ecal.asp. The training sessions vary from one to two hours in duration. The sessions for February are:
All the sessions can be reviewed in advance by following the download instructions available on the VISIT Teletraining registration page: http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/ecal.asp.
AWIPS VALIDATION WEB SITE. The COMET Program has improved the AWIPS validation Web site which provides information about the COMET efforts focused on validating the ingest, calculation, and display of basic and derived model fields. The site includes reports, comparisons of GEMPAK and AWIPS displays, documentation of algorithms, and a list of the latest issues found during the validation effort. Access it via the MetEd site (http://meted.ucar.edu) from its "NEW" link or by clicking the "Resources and Links" link on the MetEd home page.
A feedback form is included under the "Comments" link on the validation page, and COMET encourages users to share their opinions about the site. To better focus their efforts, they also welcome any specific questions you might have about the display and calculation of model outputin AWIPS.
SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION
MICROSOFT CERTIFIED SYSTEMS ENGINEERING IN SOD. From the time Leon Minton arrived at Southern Region Headquarters in mid-1980, he has been involved with computers and networks. Recently he began an intense study of the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineering (MCSE) curriculum using a CBT course, using Internet resources, and reading books. Using his years of experience with NT networks and client software, coupled with many hours of evening and weekend study, Leon was able to pass the six certification exams in a three month period to satisfy the requirements for MCSE. He has already found the additional training to be of great value on the job. Congratulations, and well done, Leon.
NETSCAPE MESSAGING. In an NWS Messaging teleconference on January 19, it was learned the timetable for converting from cc:Mail to Netscape messaging will be from March through June. There will be a lot of work to do in this four month stretch and more details will be available after Leon Minton and the other Messaging focal points receive the administrative training at the new training facility at NWSH this month. The two servers that will host all Southern Region users are being set up in a clustered fail-over arrangement to maximize availability.
SOUTHERN REGION ESA/RMS/FET CONFERENCE. Southern Region has scheduled an ESA/RMS/FET conference for February 7-11, in San Antonio. The theme for the conference is "Teamwork-Together We Achieve The Extraordinary."
We anticipate full participation from all Southern Region ESAs, RMSs and FETs. Also attending will be representatives from SRH, WSH, MASC, NWSTC and the other five regions. The purpose of the conference is to provide Southern Region ESAs, RMSs, and FETs the opportunity to discuss their programs and observe how programs interrelate. The most prominent topic for discussion will be AWIPS, as the SR prepares for the final commissioning detail. A full day will be dedicated to this one very important topic. Other topics are NWR/CRS, EMRS, Administrative Support, Budget, Training and Configuration Management.
SOUTHERN REGION FRAME-RELAY UPGRADE. We are in the process of upgrading the SR frame-relay network. This upgrade will increase the available bandwidth and network reliability. In the past, each office was connected to a single port on the main Southern Region Headquarters router. In our expansion plans, the design was changed so each office connects to two ports on the main router. Previously, we have experienced outages on one of the ports which, in essence, disconnected up to 14 offices. It is important to improve the network reliability since our offices are increasingly utilizing this network to provide products to the public via the Web (Internet).
TULSA ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FAILURE. The Tulsa NWSFO/RFC emergency power transfer switch failed on January 18 during the weekly generator test. The 600 amp, 480 volt transfer switch failed to transfer all three phases because two of the contacts had fused together. The UPS protected the load (computer equipment) until the local staff manually transferred the system back to commercial power. Replacement contact units were purchased and delivered within three days.
SAN JUAN UPS FAILURE. The San Juan NWSFO UPS failed late in the afternoon on January 21 from faulty capacitors. The unit began emitting a high pitched noise and a burning odor. The local staff quickly put the unit in bypass and transferred from commercial power to the emergency generator. Southern Region dispatched Tom Kovack, FET at San Antonio to repair the system. Capacitors from Southern Region inventory were sent overnight delivery and arrived the same day.
HAZARDOUS WORKING CONDITION SURVEY. All Southern Region field offices were asked to identify known hazardous working conditions which may qualify for hazardous duty pay or require more than one person. The responses from the field will be compiled and forwarded to NWSH when complete.
DOD UCP RELOCATION TO NWS WFOs. Work continues on transferring NEXRAD Unit Control Position (UCP) functionality from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the NWS. Kudos to NWSO Lake Charles for assuming UCP functionality over the Ft. Polk WSR-88D. This functionality has already transferred from Altus AFB to NWSFO Norman, and Moody AFB to NWSO Jacksonville. The process continues at the 11 remaining NWS sites and their adjacent DOD WSR-88Ds. So far, local coordination/planning efforts with DOD personnel has gone smoothly.
LEVEL II SUCCESSES. Congratulations to NWSFOs Jackson, and Little Rock, and NWSO Lake Charles. For the period from January 1 thru October 30, 1999, each of these offices achieved a WSR-88D Archive-II recording rate of 88% or higher. These data are very important for NWS local applications and the development of new algorithms by the research community.
ASOS SOFTWARE VERSION 2.6 INSTALLATION. ETs from the various WFOs are wrapping up the ASOS Software Version 2.6 installation at both non-commissioned and un-staffed ASOS sites across the Region.
Pending notification from the appropriate FAA regional air traffic personnel, installation has also begun at a few FAA staffed locations. Southern Region has implemented an agreement with FAA Southern and Southwest Regions that once the local Air Traffic Controllers have completed their required training/briefing on the changes with V2.6, the FAA region will notify SRH. In turn, we will then notify the appropriate WFO, that electronics and operational personnel can install the V2.6 software at a certain FAA staffed location. Thus far, this process has worked very well at sites in the FAA Southwest Region.
VENICE, LOUISIANA ASOS RELOCATED. The ASOS located at Venice has been successfully relocated to Boothville, Louisiana. Abandonment of the property in Venice where the ASOS was located forced the move. The ASOS was moved to the site of the old Boothville WSO due to a no-cost lease implemented with Plaquemines Parish. Observations from this site along the mouth of the Mississippi River are available under the NEWMTRBVE identifier. Congratulations to the staff of NWSFO New Orleans Area for all their hard work.
NEW NEXRAD Z/R RELATIONSHIPS AUTHORIZED. The OSF and Adaptable Parameter Working Group (APWG) have authorized WSR-88D Unit Radar Committees to use three additional
Precipitation Processing Subsystem (PPS) Z/R relationships to improve radar rainfall estimates during stratiform rain events. Including the new relationships, the OSF and APWG are now encouraging sites to optimize the performance of the PPS by selecting from a total of five Z/R relationships, based on season, geographic locations, and weather type.
The OSF APWG recommends that the Marshall-Palmer relationship (Z=200R1.6) be used to provide the best PPS estimates during general stratiform rainfall events. However, field studies have shown that the best Z/R relationship during cool season stratiform rainfall depends partly on geographic location. Based on these studies, the APWG is authorizing sites to select from two cool season stratiform relationships: (Z=130R2.0) for sites east of the continental divide, and (Z=75R2.0) for sites west of the continental divide. Additional details were mailed to all offices.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
NWSO Corpus Christi WCM Terry Huber and forecaster Mark Lenz participated in Driscoll Middle School's Career Fair. Minorities compose most of the school's student population. In addition to the NWS, over local businesses and agencies in the Corpus Christi metro area participated in the event. Terry and Mark presented an overview of the NWS and meteorology as a career. During their 30 minute presentation, they covered such topics as educational requirements, job duties, job outlook, salary ranges, related careers, rewards of the career, helpful skills and aptitudes, and tools meteorologists use in their work. Mark brought a radiosonde, balloon, and parachute along for the students to examine during his overview of our upper-air program.
NWSO TALLAHASSEE. This office remained pro-active in hosting many FSU meteorology and area high school students. They included Todd Lericos and Tammy Green who are employed in the SCEP program, and Brad McFarlan who worked for course credit. All performed operational duties. Eric Anderson and Angel Montanez volunteered on office projects while enhancing their meteorological skills. Two high school seniors, Kimberly Sexton, who is in the Gifted EXTERN Program, and Michael Hasper volunteered to assist NWS staff while learning about meteorology as a career. Kimberly contributed an article for the upcoming "Florida Hazardous Weather Guide" to be published by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
MIC Paul Duval, senior forecaster Ron Block, and service hydrologist Joel Lanier staffed an NWS booth at FSU career day. It was visited by more than 1,000 students.
Ron also judged various exhibits at Tallahassee's Nims Middle School science fair. He also lectured on careers in meteorology at the Martin Luther King Day lecture series on expanding career opportunities for minorities held at Godby High School. Students received copies of a meteorology career primer that Ron developed. Using the Internet, Ron responded to varied weather questions from several area and outlying primary schools.
Service hydrologist Joel Lanier, taught a mini-course on hydrometeorology to hydrology and engineering students from Florida A&M University. Joel and Ron initiated fruitful discussions with faculty from this traditionally African-American university with the goal of expanding NWS-university programs and interaction.
NWSO SHREVEPORT. MIC Lee Harrison and HMT Steve Griffin helped set up a co-op observing station at Midway Middle School, a predominantly black school in the Shreveport area. Most of the equipment was acquired through a grant from the Caddo Public Education Foundation and some private donations. The staff at the NWSO has provided some equipment, but mostly time, to the program. They go often to the school to help students read the instruments.
Senior forecaster Glen Carrin assisted a high school student with a science project concerning El Niño and La Niña. Bill Murrell, met intern, gave a talk to 120 fourth graders from Herndon Magnet School located in Belcher, Louisiana. Discussions centered around the operations of the NWS, modernization, and the different kinds of instruments the NWS uses.
NWSO MIDLAND. Sixth grade students from Crane Elementary School received an office tour and information concerning Doppler weather radar. The students were doing a report on weather forecast and warning improvements associated with the new radars. MIC Ray Fagen worked with several elementary school students on weather-related science fair projects. He also taught a class for the weather merit badge to ten Boy Scouts.
CWSU ATLANTA. Forecaster Melvin Murrell devoted his January talk to Atkinson Elementary fifth graders to a discussion of the development of winter weather and dealing with the impacts of winter weather. The hour-long talk was timely since a wintery mix was occurring in a bordering state.
HOUSTON AREA EMPLOYEES VISIT MAGNET SCHOOL. Five Houston area NWS employees visited the High School for Meteorology and Space Sciences in conjunction with the Houston AMS Chapter on January 20. Vince Carreras, MIC, and Dedric Walker, forecaster, from CWSU Houston; Wayne Baggett, lead forecaster, and Doris Rotzoll, forecaster, from SMG; and Jon Zeitler, senior forecaster from NWSO Houston, gave presentations on government careers in meteorology--specifically the NWS.
The High School for Meteorology and Space Sciences is a magnet program for excelling students in the Houston Independent School District. Houston area NWS employees have routinely given presentations and general assistance to the program since its inception. The majority of the students in the program are from economically disadvantaged, African-American, or Hispanic families.
SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS
JANUARY 1 - 31, 2000
|Southern Region Losses|
|Name||From (Office)||Action/Transfer||From Title/Grade|
|Don Ocker||WFO BRO||Retirement||WCM, GS-13|
|Louis Whitted||WFO FFC||Retirement||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Jack Gross||WFO MFL||Resignation||SOO, GS-14|
|Southern Region Gains|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Seth Nagle||WFO CRP||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|John Park||WFO EPZ||New Hire||Forecaster, GS-11|
|Hector Guerrero||WFO BRO||Reas from WR||WCM, GS-13|
|Carolyn Levert||WFO HGX||Conv from SCEP (HGX)||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Patrick Burke||WFO ABQ||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Christopher Smallcomb||WFO MAF||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Douglas Butts||WFO MOB||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Mickey McGuire||WFO TSA||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Alana McCants||WFO JAN||New Hire||SCEP, GS-7|
|Within Region Transfers/Actions|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Patricia Hart||WFO BMX||Reas from TSA||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Steven Taylor||WFO LUB||Reas from HGX||Forecaster, GS-9|
|Brad McGavock||WFO MAF||Reas from ABQ||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Johnny Wallace||WFO LUB||Prom from LUB||DAPM, GS-12|
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