UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas

January 2001

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

KUDOS FROM THE DIRECTOR. During the second and last weeks of December major arctic outbreaks invaded the region, bringing widespread freezing rain, sleet and snow to many states. The sudden change to winter-like conditions in early December was all the more noticeable coming on the heels of the record-breaking heat and drought conditions of summer and early fall, but it certainly didn't hit without advance notice. Neither did the outbreak which ushered in the New Year - both events were handled extremely well by all our offices. In some cases, extraordinary efforts were required for NWS staff members just to get to work. Others suffered through extended power outages and damage from the ice storms, but kept the flow of outstanding services going non-stop. Everyone involved can take pride in the following message we received from NWS director Jack Kelly after the first outbreak:

All over the country our citizens have been feeling the effects of bone chilling temperatures, snow, freezing rain, strong winds or all of the above. Over the past two weeks our folks have shown the nation the "no surprise weather service" in action. From NCEP extended forecasts and model guidance to WFO watches, warnings and statements, we alerted the nation in advance -- far in advance -- what was going to happen. I commend you and all your folks for a job done well. Your actions show NWS at its best.

Jack

Congratulations to everyone involved. A brief summary of last month's weather is included in CWWD's section of the Topics this month.

CLIMATE, WATER AND WEATHER DIVISION

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH

WINTER STORM IMPACTS. Several states were severely impacted by back-to-back winter storms in mid- and late December. Hardest hit were Arkansas, Oklahoma, and much of north and west Texas. Significant accumulations of snow, sleet, and freezing rain produced widespread telephone, water, and power outages, and caused major disruptions to air and ground travel.

The initial event on December 12-13 was significant with respect to the amount of ice and snow-2 inches of ice and 4 to 6 inches of snow. Fortunately no deaths were reported. Massive power outages occurred over parts of northeast Texas and southern and central Arkansas. In Arkansas alone, some 250,000 customers lost power; at the time, the largest outage in the company's history, according to the power company. Unfortunately, that newly-established record was eclipsed by the December 24-27 storm, in which as many as 300,000 customers experienced a loss of power. Outages of similar magnitudes were reported in Oklahoma and north Texas.

The Christmas storm was the most severe of the two and took the lives of 18 people. Scores of others were injured, primarily from falls experienced while navigating the slippery conditions on foot. Remarkably, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was in the heart of the storm area but escaped the brunt of the ice fall by only a degree or two. The primary impact in that area was over two inches of rain and minor icing of roads. For a time, flash flood watches and warnings were in effect for north Texas at the same time winter warnings were valid!

Ground travel was severely hampered with many of the interstates closed at various times. The most notable incident occurred just west of the Metroplex on I-20 where icy conditions on an incline known as Ranger Hill tied up of as many as 1,000 vehicles for hours along a stretch of 15-20 miles. Many motorists caught in the tie-up ended up spending the night in their vehicles. Air travelers did not fare much better because of major flight cancellations in and out of DFW airport. Other area airports such as Lubbock International, Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, and Adams Field in Little Rock were closed for extended periods.

Southern Region WFOs performed well during both events and drew the praise of media and emergency management representatives. Both episodes were well-advertised in advance of their onset, which permitted an appropriate amount of time to allow mobilization of emergency road and utility crews. WFO Little Rock reported that power companies from surrounding states placed supplemental personnel on standby based on the WFO's forecast. Lead times regarding the various winter warnings ranged from 6-15 hours, with watches posted several hours in advance of the warnings.

There were numerous media contacts during both winter weather episodes. WFOs conducted several live interviews and took part in routine emergency management briefings. Forecasters at WFO Norman participated in a live interview on the CBS "The Early Show" with Bryant Gumbel and Julie Chen. Staff members of the SRH CWWD provided daily weather briefings to Texas agencies and emergency response officials, including the National Guard. At the height of the storms the SRH Regional Operations Center (ROC) was manned around the clock.

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH

WFO Brownsville senior forecaster Paul Yura completed the fall 2000 semester of the AMS Datastreme Project. Six teachers participated; each received three hours of graduate course credit for completing this online meteorology course. This was the seventh semester that WFO Brownsville has participated in this project and plans are underway for next semester. A total of 42 area teachers have completed the course.

WFO Little Rock participated in a tornado exercise for North Little Rock, Arkansas. The drill involved a mock tornado striking the science building at a city high school. The WFO prepared tornado warnings and statements to fit the drill. WCM John Robinson started the drill by phoning the warnings to the city=s communications center via 911. Some of the city=s emergency services knew only that there would be a drill. They were not told the date, time, or location of the exercise in order to make response times more realistic. The drill took months to plan and included more than half the city=s fire department, seven ambulances, and numerous police officers. The exercise was graded by emergency managers at the city, county, and state levels.

Weather Courses. WFO Austin/San Antonio WCM Larry Eblen, WFO Fort Worth WCM Gary Woodall, and West Gulf RFC HAS forecaster Greg Story recently taught four weather courses at the 2000 Public Service Safety Conference in Austin. This conference is provided by the non-profit Public Service Safety Association which is a collection of about 30 local, state and federal agencies. WFO Austin/San Antonio is one of the founding agencies of PSSA. The PSSA provides safety training at minimal cost to public service employees from around the Central Texas area - about 500 attended the conference this year. This was the fourth annual conference and another is planned for next November. Post-course feedback indicated the weather courses received some of the highest ratings by the attendees. Great job, Larry, Gary, and Greg.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION

WFO Shreveport WCM Bruce Burkman conducted a Winter Weather and Flash Flood Workshop in early December for Monroe, Louisiana. Nearly 100 local government officials, school administrators, nursing home administrators, and public works department heads attended, as did staff from the EOC. Bruce received a letter from Tom Malmay, director of the Ouachita Civil Defense Agency, expressing his appreciation for the training services.

A Bunch of Jims. Jim Stefkovich (MIC, WFO Jackson), Jim Butch (WCM, WFO Jackson), Jim Duke (MIC, WFO Memphis), and Jim Belles (WCM, WFO Memphis) participated in a meeting of the Civil Defense Emergency Management Association. There were 95 emergency personnel in attendance. All four Jims had a terrific opportunity to interact with emergency managers. Several main topics were discussed including NOAA Weather Radio, Web pages, radar information, and warning coordination. Also, Jim Stefkovich gave a one-hour radar familiarization presentation.

WFO Melbourne MIC Bart Hagemeyer and WCM Dennis Decker met with Walt Disney World's preparedness coordinator in December. Bart and Dennis toured Disney's emergency operations center as well as some behind-the-scenes areas which Disney officials believe are vulnerable to high winds and flooding. They also coordinated on several issues including lightning threats/safety and inland tropical cyclone winds. The facility receives warnings from NOAA Weather Radio as well as the private sector.

WFO Morristown WCM Howard Waldron attended the quarterly Tennessee Emergency Management Agency-East's meeting in Alcoa, Tennessee. He presented information concerning StormReady, Winter Awareness Week, the winter forecast, the drought situation, and discussed spotter training. Additionally, Howard assisted Alisa Lane of the DOE Oak Ridge in presenting information on the EMWIN rebroadcast site near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Most of the county EM directors from East Tennessee attended, along with the TEMA East officials.

MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT

NWS/ARRL Special Event. Many WFOs and amateur (HAM) radio operators participated in the 2nd Annual Special Event sponsored by the NWS and the Amateur Radio Relay League in December. The event commemorates the contributions which amateur radio operators make during times of threatening weather and reinforces the important relationships the NWS has developed with the amateur radio community.

During the Special Event, the HAMs made radio contacts with other HAMs and NWS offices on several radio bands. Hundreds of contacts were logged in virtually all states as well as numerous countries. Some WFOs combined tours of their office with this NWS/ARRL Special Event.

More HAMs. WFO Tampa Bay WCM Walt Zaleski and ESA George (Bud) Fislar staffed and participated in the annual HAMFEST at the Manatee County Civic Center in early December. The two-day event attracted nearly 2,500 visitors of which hundreds visited the NWS booth display. The NWS Tampa booth provided interaction with hundreds of volunteer HAM radio operators, Red Cross and emergency management personnel. Also, over 200 pencils promoting the local NWS Tampa Web site were distributed along with hundreds of tri-agency color preparedness brochures and Florida=s Hazardous Weather Awareness Week brochures. Walt provided basic and advanced spotter training to a large contingent of HAM radio operators.

WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos reports that his office was invited to participate in a time capsule ceremony at the FAA San Juan CERAP building in December. Officials opened a time capsule from 1965 when the FAA facilities were built. Israel put a prediction in the new time capsule which was sealed and will not be opened until 2025.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS. The refurbishment of New Mexico sites continue. Work was completed regarding the replacement of the Farmington, New Mexico transmitter and antenna in mid-December. Other NWR expansion has been delayed due to inclement weather in Arkansas and Texas.

NWS Melbourne/NASA NWR special restricted message agreement. On a busy day, Port Canaveral is used by hundreds of sport fisherman to access the offshore Gulf Stream fishing waters. Many of these people are not aware of NASA launch schedules and often wander into the restricted areas. This occasionally causes launch delays. At the request of NASA and the 45th Range Squadron, WFO Melbourne has begun placing a restricted area notice to mariners on their NWR transmitters. These brief messages are broadcast on half hour skip cycles beginning 36 hours prior to all space shuttle and rocket launches from the Cape. The short messages take up little time on the NWR cycle and provide needed customer service to NASA and the marine community. Here is an example of the NWR message: "...ten...nine...eight...seven...this is mission control. We are stopping the countdown for Discovery due to a launch constraint. A sport fishing vessel has wandered into the restricted down range area....we will hold the count until the area is cleared." This is a very good example of customer service.

Florida Division of Emergency Management and SRH have partnered on a project to improve public education regarding NWR placement in homes or metal structures. With Florida hazardous weather awareness week approaching in February, Florida DEM and SRH are co-developing a tri-fold pamphlet to educate mobile home and other metal building occupants involving correct NWR placement and ways to potentially improve NWR signal reception. Over 12,000 pamphlets will be distributed throughout Florida.

MSB Technical Attachment. SRH NWR program leader Tim Troutman, regional WCM Larry Vannozzi and John Fleming from Florida Division of Emergency Management have also prepared an MSB attachment titled "The Importance of Educating the Public Regarding NOAA Weather Radio Reception and Placement within a Structure." This technical attachment is geared toward NWR promotion involving spotter training and NWR public education.

CRS NEWS. The Southern Region CRS enhancement team held a meeting on December 8 with representatives from NWS Headquarters at SRH to discuss improvements to the CAFÉ formatter and the final AWIPS NWR formatter. Further discussion and plans were determined regarding the future NWR formatters and an action plan will be forthcoming to reach a standardized goal region-wide.

CLIMATE WORKSHOP. A climate workshop was held November 29, 2000 at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The workshop was sponsored by WFO New Orleans and the Southern Region Climatic Center (SRCC). The focus of the workshop was on the drought impact in Louisiana during calendar year 2000, and a review of NWS and SRCC climate-related product and services. There were over 38 representatives in attendance including local, state, and federal agencies, the media, and universities. The workshop was well received by the attendees. Thanks to Paul Trotter and his staff for helping to co-sponsor this very important and timely workshop.

DISSEMINATION ENHANCEMENT TEAM

FSL PROJECTS. Tampa Bay and Lubbock received training from FSL on GFE Suite in December, and will be training their staffs during January. They should begin using the software to produce gridded and graphical forecasts in February. Tulsa, Miami and Atlanta will get EMDS training through FSL in January. For Tulsa, this training is supplemental, as they are already using the software operationally. After training, the other two sites will mirror their EMDS web sites to the Southern Region Web Server, train their Emergency Managers, and begin operationally using the software by the first of March. Amarillo and Tallahassee will receive D3D training from FSL in January. These two sites will begin operational testing of D3D immediately after the training. San Angelo and Morristown will be getting D2D for Linux during the month of January, and begin operationally testing it immediately, without needing any formal training from FSL.

AWIPS. All Southern Region AWIPS sites were upgraded to at least build 4.3.3 during the month of December. Southern Region Headquarters and Morristown were test sites for build 5.0, which is expected to filter out to other sites in January and February. Morristown and Shreveport will be test sites for Valid Time Event Coding (VTEC), which requires build 5.0. Morristown has also ran some metrics on their system both before and after the build 5.0 installation. These metrics show that the new load is slightly slower than the old one. However, the site likes the new radar features available through SCAN (System for Convective Analysis and Nowcasting), which is believed to be the main cause of the slower performance. Southern Region is compiling a list of AWIPS performance tips from our sites to help combat this slow system performance.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH

RFC FLOOD FORECAST VERIFICATION TEAM MEETING. On January 10, a meeting will be held at the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC in Tulsa with the Southern Region RFC categorical flood forecast verification team members. The verification team members are:

Bill Lawrence - DOH, ABRFC
Billy Olsen - HIC, ABRFC
Bob Corby - DOH, WGRFC
Brad Gimmestad - DOH, SERFC
Bob Stucky, DOH, LMRFC
Steve Kruckenberg - Senior Service Hydrologist, WFO Norman

The morning session will focus on the technical aspects of the verification software, an overview about the software output formats and statistical calculations, and a software demonstration. The afternoon session will focus on discussion about the tasks remaining to be completed prior to implementation at all SR RFCs. We will also make presentations about this verification program at SRH and at an upcoming verification training workshop at NWS Headquarters. We plan to implement the SR RFC categorical flood forecast verification program region-wide before the end of fiscal year 2001. We also plan to work with the Office of Hydrologic Development and the Office of Services Hydrologic Services Division to integrate this RFC verification scheme into the overall national flood forecast verification program.

WFO FLOOD FORECAST VERIFICATION PROGRAM TEST AND EVALUATION. We are in the process of identifying a few WFOs in our region to test and evaluate a WFO flood forecast verification program that was developed in the Central Region. The performance measures used in this application will likely be integrated into a national WFO flood forecast verification program developed at NWS Headquarters. This spreadsheet application computes various statistics such as PODs, FARs, CSIs, and average lead times to flood stage and crest for river forecasts at or above flood stage. Our goal is to evaluate this application for possible implementation in our region and to provide feedback to both Central Region and NWS Headquarters which can be used to develop an automated national WFO flood forecast verification program.

RIVER FLOOD WATCH PROJECT. The ABRFC, in coordination with the other Southern Region RFCs, has completed software development to generate a mostly automated text-based River Flood Watch product. The product will be generated whenever QPF input to the RFC hydrologic model forecasts flooding to occur within a 48-hour timeframe from model execution. The product would be issued by the WFOs to the public. The product requirements have been coordinated among the Southern Region RFCs. These requirements and examples of the product will now be shared with the serviced WFOs, and adjacent regional offices for additional feedback. LMRFC and SERFC are working to develop an associated Web-based graphical product that will delineate the river basin reach which will be covered by the watch and the categorical flooding that may occur. Our goal is to implement this new product by April 2001.

This effort is based on a pilot project that was conducted by WGRFC and its serviced WFOs in calendar year 1999 whereby WGRFC generated a text-based River Flood Watch for its serviced WFOs and the WFOs issued the product to the public. The product was well received by customers in Texas. Thanks to everyone who has participated in this project to date.

SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK ISSUANCE DATES. Here are dates for the Spring Flood Outlooks issuances in calendar year 2001.

WFOs - February 16, March 19, April 13
RFCs - February 15, March 8, April 12

A memorandum on the subject was sent to all WFOs and RFCs. This information will also be posted on the HSB home page.

RFC RIVER FLOOD OUTLOOK PRODUCT TEAM. A team has been put together by the Office of Services to develop a consistent RFC River Flood Outlook product that can be integrated into a national product. The team is comprised of representatives from each region, and one representative each from the Office of Hydrologic Development and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The Southern Region representative is Kent Frantz, HAS forecaster from the SERFC. A team meeting will take place January 17-19, at NWS Headquarters to develop an initial draft proposal for the product details. One key element for this new product will be input from customers. Several customers will attend this team meeting to provide team members with some input requirements for the product. In addition, the team members will canvass customers in their office's service area prior to and after this team meeting. The impetus for this team was an action item that came from the NOAA Hurricane Conference in 1999. The goal is to operationally implement this product by September 2001. We will keep you posted on the team's efforts.

RIVER FORECAST CENTERS

SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER

Outreach Activities. On December 5, Southeast RFC HIC John Feldt met with WFO Miami MIC Rusty Pfost to discuss possible hydrologic procedure development work in South Florida. There is interest in modeling the Kissimmee River Basin since it provides inflow to Lake Okechobee. This activity could ultimately provide water supply managers with short- and long-range inflow forecasts for Lake Okechobee. Lake Okechobee is the main water supply for South Florida.

LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECAST CENTER

Drought Support. On December 11 and 19, Lower Mississippi RFC provided the Lower Ohio Mississippi River Committee with a briefing on mainstem river forecasts for the Mississippi and Lower Ohio Rivers to assist barge operators and the U.S. Coast Guard in barge traffic operations. This kind of support has tremendous economic implications especially during periods of low flow conditions. Nice job.

NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS

Many of the Southern Region Hydrologic Service Areas (HSA) received some much needed rain in November. Several heavy rain events occurred across the Deep South but only a few HSAs experienced flooding.

The most notable flooding during November was recorded on the Llano River in the San Angelo, Texas HSA. The river crested almost 20 ft above flood stage at two different forecast points. Several co-op stations in the Jackson, Mississippi HSA broke 30-year rainfall records. Although no river flooding was observed in middle Tennessee, the area received from 4 to almost 8 inches of rain , easing the fire danger in that region. WFO Mobile reported that November was the fourth wettest on record for Mobile and the 11th wettest on record for Pensacola, Florida. November was also the second wettest on record for the Dallas-Fort Worth area and third wettest on record for Waco, Texas. Several reservoirs in South Texas have seen pool increases of between 10 and 30 ft.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

NCEP MODEL REVIEW. In mid-December the "Year 2000 Review of the NCEP Production Suite" was held at NCEP. Bernard Meisner represented the Southern Region and presented a summary of related SR activities as part of the meeting. Bernard also prepared a capsule report on the review presentations and we have included that this month as a technical attachment. All forecasters are encouraged to review that summary to learn what's new at NCEP and what is planned for the coming months.

FAWN MAPS NOW AVAILABLE. A few years ago, the state of Florida, through the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) began implementing a statewide network of about 20 automated weather sites. The system is called FAWN - Florida Automated Weather Network. WFO Tampa worked with the state to locate some of those stations, and since then they and other WFOs have assisted in educational activities set up by county agents to make better use of the data. A FAWN Web site provides access to the data, but Ken Waters in SSD has augmented that by developing a program to interrogate the FAWN Internet site four times per hour and generate a synoptic look at conditions around the state. Data from all the sites are converted to a series of real-time graphics showing elements such as temperature, RH, dew point and wind. The graphics are available at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/data/fawn. We hope the new graphics will make it even easier for everyone to use the data. In addition we are redistributing the data in text form via the regional frame network using Local Data Management (LDM) software so that offices can ingest the FAWN data into AWIPS and integrate it with other data.

In conjunction with our work on local modeling, SSD is also trying to capitalize on other local data sources around the region (the DoT sites, for example) in order to increase the amount of alternative observations available to both our forecast offices as well as the general public via the Internet.

NWP TEXT. All offices have been provided with a copy of a new textbook titled, An Introduction to Numerical Weather Prediction Techniques, by T.N. Krishnamurti and L. Bounoua. The text was designed to serve as a workbook for a one-semester course in NWP methodology, aimed at the senior level undergraduate or first-year graduate level in meteorology. Dr. Krishnamurti (Krish) will be well known to many as a result of his work for many years as director of the NWS/FSU Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology at Florida State University. This text should provide a useful addition to the library of each office.

SABBATICAL AT WFO TALLAHASSEE. Prof. Henry Fuelberg from the Florida State University meteorology department will spend a portion of his sabbatical this spring at WFO Tallahassee. Henry will be getting a full appreciation of NWS operations and staff responsibilities as he participates in shift briefings, coordination meetings and briefings, and general discussions with forecasters and others at the office. He will also work alongside the forecasters during routine operations and will have an opportunity to experience warning situations first-hand. Dr. Fuelberg is well known to FSU alums, and also to the many SOOs who participated in COMET training courses under his leadership.

AWIPS TIP. The AWIPS Program Office recommends that WFOs ingest no more than nine radars in order to improve AWIP performance. More will adversely impact the system, even if the data are not used. For better performance, limit the number of radars to be included in any radar mosaic to eight or fewer. In the Build 5.0 release this is done by limiting the number of radars included on the D2D menu. In Build 5.1 the number of radars included in a mosaic is controlled independently. Creating a radar mosaic is a resource intensive process, and thus should be used with care to avoid adding extreme overhead to a workstation. The fewer radars included, the better the performance. Reducing the number is one of the actions sites can take to immediately improve system performance.

UAP - CALL FOR APPLICATIONS. Attached to this month's Topics is the annual call for applications for the University Assignment Program. A copy has also been mailed to all offices. Note the period of study covered is the academic year (two semesters or equivalent) beginning next August or September. The deadline for submitting applications to SRH is February 23. Please contact SSD for further information.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

NETSCAPE IMAP FAILURE RESOLUTION. Due to the occasional IMAP service failures on the Netscape Messaging Server, a script was added some months ago which restarts the service every five minutes in case of failure. The script eliminates the need for manual intervention, however, there is still a short down time and the possibility that the directory service might be adversely affected by the failure. Netscape has been looking into the problem and feels there is a strong indication the failure is in some way related to log file rotations occurring in particular threshold situations on the Messaging Server. To aid in the investigation, a tabulation of the failures on the Southern Region Messaging Server were provided to NWSH. Work continues on a final resolution.

The latest Messaging VTC held December 20, 2000, covered the current status of Messaging Projects and the IMAP problem. The next Messaging VTC to be held January 17, 2001 will look at standardizing directory attributes to aid in dynamic mail list creation, and look at setting up FAQs to aid in future administration and maintenance of the systems.

LEON MINTON RETIRING. After more than 30 years of federal service and more than 20 years at SRH, Leon has decided to retire and pursue new opportunities. Leon's career at SRH has closely coincided with the introduction and propagation of the PC. PCs were used first as stand-alone devices and then as networked systems starting with SRH LAN and growing into the WAN and Internet connectivity as LANs were introduced to the field offices. While technology continues to evolve and items which were once hot stuff become antiques, the friends and coworkers Leon has known and worked with over the years will remain his most cherished memories.

AWIPS. Southern Region Headquarters was called upon to be a beta site for AWIPS Build 5.0. Steven Baker, SRH electronics program manager performed the 11 to 12-hour upgrade with few hitches, while receiving excellent support from NRC/PRC during the process. SRH also assisted in providing WSH with Build 5.0 procedural changes and recommendations after performing and analyzing the build upgrades. WFO Morristown was also a beta test site for build 5.0. The WFO ran some metrics on their system before and after the build 5.0 installation. These metrics show the new load is slightly slower than the old one. However, the site likes the new radar features available through SCAN (System for Convective Analysis and Nowcasting), which is believed to be the main cause of the slower performance. Build 5.0, is expected to filter out to other sites in January and February. All Southern Region AWIPS sites were upgraded to at least build 4.3.3 in December.

Southern Region is compiling a list of AWIPS performance enhancements tips from our sites to help combat this slow system performance. Please submit your recommendations to Matt Strahan, AWIPS program manager or Steven Baker, electronics program manager. We plan to publish a database of these recommendations soon.

ASOS INSPECTIONS. SRH regional systems specialist Charlie Lake and WFO Tampa Bay regional maintenance specialist Van Jester made a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Croix to perform inspections on the ASOS equipment in those areas. This trip not only involved quality control inspections of the particular system but also included the analysis of the wind tower bases. Two years ago new galvanized bases were installed to evaluate how they would hold up in this region's harsh weather environment. The results were outstanding and the recommendation by the inspectors is to continue to use the galvanizing process in those areas where rust and deterioration are a problem.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

KEY WEST MODERNIZATION. On December 13, Guidry Beazly Architects hosted a preliminary design conference at the WFO in Key West. Present were teams from NWS Southern Region led by John Duxbury, National Ocean Service (NOS) led by Billy Causey, NOAA Office of Finance and Administration led by Don Rainor, and the Central Administrative Support Center, led by Ed Mische. Guidry Architects, in response to a Scott Gudes request, are tasked to develop three design options to co-locate NOS and NWS on the NOAA owned property in the Truman Annex. The group focused only on the technical and operational requirements associated with colocation of NWS and NOS.

Discussions included utilization of the existing structures on site, building code, life safety issues, height limitations, parking, site access, perimeter security and NWS upper air operations. Each were discussed in detail with life safety, perimeter security, and upper air operations being the greatest concerns. NOAA interagency relationship and operational governance were briefly discussed with many issues unresolved.

The three proposed design options were scheduled to be completed and ready for review by January 8. A second design conference will be held in Key West at that time.

SAFETY PROCEDURES REVIEW. The final version of the EHB-15 safety procedures have been received and are being reviewed for changes from previous versions. Extensive record-keeping associated with most of the 32 procedures will cause an increased workload for the environmental and safety focal points at the WFOs, as well as the region, plus manpower allocation issues associated with procedure 2 and working alone will most likely impact management of field operations.

NATIONAL SAFETY NETWORK. The Southern Region safety coordinator has proposed a periodic national safety networking in the form of a conference call between regional safety coordinators and OPS15. This would take the form of a monthly conference call with a prearranged agenda submitted in advance by the participants, similar to what is being done now by the electronics program, SOD chiefs, and others. Implementation of EHB-15 will no doubt raise many issues which should be dealt with uniformly across the regions, and the proposed conference call also has the advantage for wide dissemination of safety information on issues not addressed in EHB-15.

Another opportunity for safety networking recommended to OSO-15 and NWS safety coordinators is the Federal Safety Council, an organization of military and civilian federal agencies which promote safety awareness through training classes, seminars, guest speakers, and an annual convention. These safety councils exist in most metropolitan areas and meet on a monthly basis.

LOUISIANA WASTEWATER ANALYSIS REPORTS. Annual reports to Louisiana for wastewater discharge analyses are being prepared. The state requires reports of biological oxygen demand, fecal coliform, pH, and total suspended solids for WFO Shreveport, WFO Lake Charles , and WFO/RFC New Orleans. All analysis parameters are within tolerance based on written and verbal reports by sampling laboratories, however, the use of a drain cleaner at one site dropped the pH of the effluent to the lower limit of 6.0. Dade County, Florida is the only other site which requires sewage monitoring by measuring total flow in gallons per day from the TPC to the sewage main.

INTERNET-ROSA. Internet ROSA was demonstrated to most of the SRH division chiefs and senior program staff on December 21. This software package will allow the volunteer observers to submit near real-time cooperative program data directly to the Southern Region NWS offices using Internet technology. Advantages to this system include automated quality control of the data and increased dissemination speed. The ease of the operation should also promote supplemental reports being provided by the volunteers. It is hoped this new technology will be available for the Cooperative Program observer shortly after the first of the year.

THE NEW CSSA. The new CSSA will begin OT&E January 8-19. The Southern Region WFOs Lake Charles and Austin/San Antonio have been designated as the test sites. If the OT&E is successful, the software package will be made available to all offices in February. This is a major step forward in the modernization of the Cooperative Observer Program.

THE NATIONAL COOPERATIVE PROGRAM MANAGER. The National Cooperative Program Manager will be working as a field CPM for one week at the end of February. Andy Horvitz, NCPM, will be working alongside the WFO Shreveport data acquisition group so he can get a better feel for the duties of this team. This should be an excellent learning opportunity for both the NCPM and the staff at the WFO.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

WFO BROWNSVILLE. Senior forecaster Paul Yura completed the fall 2000 semester of the Datastreme project. Six teachers participated this semester receiving three hours of graduate course credit for completing the online meteorology course. This was the seventh semester the office has participated. Including this group, a total of 42 area teachers have completed the course. Paul is currently recruiting for the spring 2001 semester.

MIC Richard Hagan spoke to 100 college physics students at South Texas Community College. His PowerPoint talk was entitled, "Is Valley Weather Changing?"

DAPM Jim Campbell gave a tour to eight students from Gladys Porter High School. These were geography students and one of the students told Jim that she could not wait to work in the National Weather Service.

In addition, Jim, HMT Fred Vega, and WCM Hector Guerrero participated in a Career Day for Vermillion Elementary. The three put on a comedy act for approximately 400, 3rd-5th grade students in hopes of motivating these children to begin dreaming about their future. They gave stickers to the kids. The kids laughed and learned about the importance of going after their dreams. You're never too young or old to follow your dreams like those of us who work for the National Weather Service.

Jim Campbell, HMT Sam Martinez and Hector Guerrero gave a tour to ten students from Ed Couch-Elsa High School. These physics students were interested in designing homes resistant to high winds.

Hector Guerrero participated in a live talk show in Spanish with a local radio station in Brownsville. Hector provided information about the National Weather Service and its staff. He talked about the NWS customers and partners and gave the winter weather outlook. He also fielded questions from callers.

WFO MIDLAND. Senior forecaster Perry Martin has done superb work in developing a Spanish Web page, as well as completing Spanish (as a second language) college courses.

Michael Young, employment program manager for Persons with Disabilities attended the Big Spring State Hospital course for Deaf Culture. Michael has also started an EEO/Diversity section in the station library.

WFO SHREVEPORT. MIC Lee Harrison was awarded the NOAA Best Practices Award at a presentation in Norfolk on December 11. Lee's nomination was submitted by members of his staff for "outstanding team leadership and providing a harmonious work environment." Lee's staff summed it up by saying:

Mr. Harrison is a true team leader. He values the employees and respects their individuality. He does everything within his power to allow employees to perform at their best ability, giving direction but without micro managing. It is a pleasure to work with and for Mr. Harrison. Together in Shreveport, the mission of the Weather Service is carried out as harmonious as we believe possible, due to his leadership...and we appreciate him for that.

Congratulations, Lee.

WFO TALLAHASSEE. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block prepared an outreach section for the office home page. It is filled with many resources which can help strengthen NWS outreach activities as well as aid students and teachers. Everyone is encouraged to utilize it. Ron also presented a lecture on dealing with winter weather at the Florida State University International Friends Program. The talk was particularly relevant since many in the audience hailed from Latin America and Asia where cold weather is absent. He also responded to a request on careers in science from the Junior Women's Club and the Leon County Association of Science Teachers. Ron spoke on careers in weather, with an emphasis on minority programs at the city of Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Community Outreach Program. Forecasters Mike Edmonston and Tim Barry discussed NWS programs with an emphasis on agriculture to various farming interests at a workshop in Mariana, Florida.

SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS

DECEMBER 1-31, 2000

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Joseph Wanja WFO BRO Retirement Forecaster, GS-12
Jerry O'Bryant WSO ABI Retirement WCO, GS-11
Mark Tew WFO SJT Promotion to NWSH Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Christine Lopez WFO AMA Resignation HMT, GS-11

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Thomas Tarlton WFO EYW Promotion from PR DAPM, GS-12

Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Martin Mayeaux WFO LCH Promotion from LZK Forecaster, GS-9
Gregory Waller RFC FWR Reassignment from SJT Hydrologist, GS-12
Michael Castillo WFO BRO Promotion from BRO Forecaster, GS-9
Matthew Moreland WFO HGX Promotion from HGX Forecaster, GS-9
Stan Holland CWSU ZMA Promotion from ZMA MIC, GS-13

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