UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
January 1, 1999
79TH ANNUAL AMS MEETING. The American Meteorological Society will hold it's 79th Annual Meeting in Dallas next week, and the NWS Southern Region will again be heavily involved. We have been asked to conduct the daily weather briefings for the anticipated 3000 plus attendees, and forecasters from several of the region's AWIPS-equipped offices will demonstrate that new technology as part of the NWS booth which will highlight NWS modernization for an international audience. The Fort Worth WFO and RFC will host a large group of visiting dignitaries to further demonstrate new NWS capabilities.
In addition, SR field offices contributed numerous papers and posters to the many conferences and workshops that comprise the annual meeting. A technical attachment this month summarizes those presentations. I want to congratulate everyone who will be involved in this worthwhile effort. Your presentations leave no doubt that Southern Region offices are leading the way to a new century of outstanding weather services.
GOLD MEDAL FOR PUBLIC SERVICE. I am extremely pleased to note the NWSO Melbourne staff has received the Department of Commerce's highest honor - the Gold Medal - in recognition of their outstanding performance during the most devastating tornado outbreak in Florida history on February 22-23, 1998. MIC Bart Hagemeyer accepted the award on behalf of his office last month. They were recognized for advancing the state-of-the-art in applying the WSR-88D and other technology to warning operations. Warnings were issued with 100 percent accuracy and lead times twice the national average, which undoubtedly saved many lives. This amounted to a quantitative validation of the NWS goal of significantly improving warnings.
In addition, next week, at the AMS Annual Meeting in Dallas, Bart will be presented with the Society's 1998 Award for an Exceptional Specific Prediction. He will accept on behalf of himself, SOO Dave Sharp, and forecasters Tony Cristaldi and Scott Spratt, for their outstanding efforts before and during the February tornado outbreak.
ADDITIONAL COMMERCE HONORS. I am both happy and sad to note that Phil Weigant, formerly of the Arkansas Basin RFC in Tulsa, shared posthumously with James Doherty (NWS Hedquarters) in a Gold Medal recognizing their exceptional achievements in developing EMWIN. Regetably, Phil passed away last year. His wife attended the ceremony in Washington and received the award.
Organizational Bronze Medals were awarded to NWSOs Tampa Bay Area, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, and the Southeast RFC in Atlanta for the exceptional hydrologic forecast services they provided during the prolonged, record-setting flood events from December 1997 through March 1998.
NWSO Nashville and NWSFO Birmingham also received Organizational Bronze Medals for their outstanding warning operations during tornado events in April 1998. An F5 tornado struck Birmingham on April 8, and on April 16 an F3 tornado, almost a mile wide, hit downtown Nashville.
Larry Eblen, WCM at NWSFO Austin/San Antonio, received the Bronze Medal for his tireless efforts that significantly advanced NWS modernization in South Texas.
Steve Rinard, MIC at NWSO Lake Charles, received the NOAA Administrator's Award as part of a team whose exceptional efforts resulted in the effective implementation of the WSR-88D into field operations. Steve was recognized for his work while at SRH as the Regional Radar Meteorologist. Other members of the team worked in similar regional and NWS Headquarters positions.
LDADS ACTIVATED IN TULSA. LDADS was activated at the Tulsa NWSFO and RFC the week before Christmas. Despite the limited functionality of the initial build, LDADS immediately proved to be a useful tool. With some configuration, it provided a nearly transparent interface to the outside world for ftp'ing data in and out of AWIPS through the local office LAN. Additionally, Oklahoma mesonet data were ingested through LDADS and plotted in D2D. Even in its initial form, it appears easy enough to ingest other sources of surface data and plot them in D2D. Other LDADS will be activated in the next several weeks across the region, as soon as the finishing touches are put on the activation procedures. Activations will likely be done by on-site personnel, with assistance from SRH.
BRAILLE PUBLICATIONS GETTING WIDE DISTRIBUTION. Recently, Southern Region field offices received copies of "Flash Floods and Floods - The Awesome Power," and "NOAA Weather Radio - The Voice of the National Weather Service," in braille. Since receiving these publications, many of our offices have found excellent ways to distribute this information so the maximum number of people will have access to it. The Albuquerque office, for instance, donated the literature to the Albuquerque Main Library. The Little Rock office is donating theirs to the Arkansas State School for the Blind. And the Norman office will be donating their braille publications to the Norman Public Library which is part of a regional library system linked with Oklahoma City.
MARINE VERIFICATION. Included with the transfer of marine services this year will be the Marine Verification Forecast (MVF), a tabular product that will provide comparison of marine forecasts and buoy observations. For an example, call up the NEWMVF001 OR NEWMVF002 on AWIPS or AFOS. Offices which will assume marine forecasts have already provided input for MVF verification points, and PILS have been requested to establish MVFs from each office. MSD will be working to make sure feedback (verification) is sent to each office that issues the MVF. If there are any questions on MVF format or coding, please e-mail Ken Graham or call at 817-978-2367 ext. 107. NWSFOs Miami, New Orleans Area, or Austin/ San Antonio can also relate experience with the MVR, since they have issued the products for some time.
NOAA HURRICANE CONFERENCE. The annual NOAA Hurricane Conference was held December 1-4 at the TPC/NHC facility in Miami. The Southern Region was well-represented at the conference, as several MICs and WCMs joined Regional WCM Gary Woodall for the proceedings. The conference provided an opportunity to review the 1998 season and its impacts (particularly in our region), operational accomplishments and concerns, and methods to resolve any issues which developed. Our thanks to those who participated, both by attending the conference and by submitting agenda items from the past hurricane season.
EMWIN USER'S WORKSHOP. As reported in last month's issue of Topics, the first-ever EMWIN User's Workshop was held at the Harris County Appraisal District in Houston. Over 100 people, including representatives from NWS Southern, Central, Eastern, and Western Regional Headquarters attended. Also in attendance were several field office WCMs and participants from as far away as New York, Florida, and California. The workshop provided an overview of the EMWIN program, future enhancements, and practical demonstrations of software and EMWIN components. Attendees agreed this was a useful, educational experience. Jack Belich of the St. Petersburg Times and John Fleming of the Florida Division of Emergency Management agreed to co-host the next workshop in Florida next spring.
FLORIDA TORNADO SUMMIT. The first-ever Florida Tornado Summit, a joint effort on the part of the NWS and Florida International University in Miami, was held on December 7 at FIU. Representatives from the five Florida WFOs made presentations on tornado climatology, detection and forecasting of tornadoes, and tornadic waterspouts. They were joined by representatives from the State of Florida and local emergency managers, members of the media, and recovery organizations. Other presentations at the summit described preparedness, dissemination, and response activities. While the summit's primary focus was on the devastating February 1998 tornado outbreak, the concepts which were discussed are applicable to all tornado events. Participants came away from the summit with an increased knowledge of the tornado threat and how to better prepare the state.
AWARENESS WEEKS. Planning for severe/hazardous weather awareness weeks is well underway across the Southern Region. All the states below will have their awareness weeks February 21-27.
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Louisiana
So far, it should be easy coordination for those offices with multi-state CWAs!
HURRICANE TASK FORCE. NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge MIC Paul Trotter, SOO Mile Koziara, and WCM Frank Revitte represented the NWS at the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force meeting. This meeting brought together 50 representatives of the NWS, State and Parish Emergency Managers, State Police, Department of Transportation, Corps of Engineers, and other concerned agencies. The primary topic of the meeting was to review actions of the 1998 hurricane season in general, and hurricane Georges in particular. The meeting participants suggested methods for streamlining the local conference calls and weather briefings. Other topics included sheltering of individuals with special needs, opening and closing of evacuation routes, and re-entry into evacuated areas.
MEDIA OUTREACH. Some highlights from the offices...
NWSO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian provided an interview to National Public Radio regarding El Niño and La Niña. Jerry described the impacts of last year's El Niño and how that might compare to this year's anticipated La Niña. Jerry also discussed the NCEP Climate Predication Center and their role in generating long-range climate forecasts and outlooks.
NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich provided an in-depth (two hour) interview with the Discovery Channel for an upcoming episode of "Storm Warning." The interview centered on the DeSoto/Lancaster, Texas, tornado of April, 1994, and the human impact of that event. This was the last in a series of interviews Jim did with the "Storm Warning" crew. Total time of all the interviews was approximately eight hours.
NWSO Tampa Bay MIC Ira Brenner provided an interview during the Florida Tornado Summit to WAMI-TV in Miami Beach. In addition to discussing the Florida tornado threat, Ira provided information on hurricanes, climate change and long-range outlooks, and lightning. The interview also covered NWS operations including watches and warnings, and hazardous weather preparedness.
THE YEAR OF SERVICE TRANSFER. In the Southern Region, 1999 will be known as the year of service transfer. Shadow forecasting, with NWSOs providing "draft" forecasts to NWSFO Austin/San Antonio, continues at Brownsville, Corpus Christi, and Houston/Galveston in preparation for the transfer of forecast responsibility to the NWSOs. Shadow forecasting has started at NWSOs Lake Charles and Melbourne, and other offices are ready to begin. Feedback from the Texas coastal offices has been positive. Taken from the Public and Marine Transfer Implementation Plan (PMTIP), here are the dates forecast responsibilities will be transferred to the Southern Region NWSOs:
Houston/Galveston, Melbourne, Corpus Christi, Brownsville
El Paso, Midland/Odessa, San Angelo, Shreveport, Lake Charles
Morristown, Nashville, Tampa Bay Area, Mobile, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Key West
NEW TIDE GAUGE. Following the "Storm of the Century" in 1993, a busy tropical season, and numerous El Niño Gulf of Mexico storms last year, it was clear that an additional tide gauge was necessary on the Florida Gulf coast north of Tampa. Thanks to the efforts of NWSO Tampa Bay Area and the National Ocean Service (NOS), a tide gauge will be added to the C-MAN station at Cedar Key. NOS plans to install a state-of-the-art tide gauge this spring. With real-time tide data, the Tampa Bay office will be better able to provide life and property saving tidal information to the residents of coastal Levy and Dixie counties. We appreciate the support of NOS in helping us respond to this need.
MELVIN C. DUNAGIN. On December 23, Melvin Dunagin passed away in Austin, Texas at the age of 71. Melvin was a retired NWS meteorologist who served a distinguished 32 years at several locations. Melvin was on duty during the historic Lubbock tornado on the evening of May 11, 1970. An F3 tornado hit Lubbock causing 26 deaths and threatening the forecasters on duty. He spent 25 years in Austin, much of which time he worked at the Austin NWS office. Those who worked with Melvin remember how dedicated he was to the NWS mission and to the residents of Austin. Others remember his outstanding voice on NWR. Melvin is survived by his wife of 49 years, LaRue Dunagin. Should friends and former co-workers desire, memorials may be made to the Hillcrest Baptist Church (Austin) Senior Van Fund.
PERFORMANCE AND EVALUATIONS METEOROLOGIST. Richard Smith, a forecaster at NWSFO Tulsa, has been selected for this new position in MSD. Richard has worked on several verification schemes at Tulsa and in his previous position at NWSFO Memphis. Helping the region respond to the increased emphasis the NWS is now placing on performance measures and verification will keep Rick quite busy after his arrival in mid-February. We're looking forward to having a new member on the MSD team. Congratulations, Rick.
NWS/COE/USGS MEETING ON STREAM GAUGING PROGRAM. On December 8, Ben Weiger, Deputy Chief of HSD, attended a tri-agency meeting among the NWS, Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Geological Survey to discuss the federal cooperative stream gauging program in the Mississippi River Basin. The meeting was attended by field and regional representatives from the three agencies. The discussion focused primarily on the outlook of the federal cooperative stream gauging program in light of continued budget cuts for COE operations. The following actions were recommended by the attendees:
A copy of the minutes of the meeting will be forwarded to each agency's headquarters.
PROJECT DEDICATION. Dave Smith, senior service hydrologist at NWSFO New Orleans Area, attended the Walkiah Bluff Diversion Project dedication in Pearl River County, Mississippi, on December 21. Dave, along with a group of dignitaries that included congressman Gene Taylor, took a boat tour of the project which is expected to provide long-lasting benefits to the people of that county.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
River Gauge Leveling Instructions Now Available. John Lipe, senior service hydrologist at Lubbock, Texas, has completed instructions on how to survey (level) a river gauge. The Word Perfect document is available on the Southern Region home page in the Hydrologic Services Division section. John welcomes any suggestions or questions you may have concerning the instructions or surveying in a river gauge. Excellent work, John!
Major Flooding Visits NWSO Houston Again. Another widespread heavy rain episode brought more flooding to the Houston hydrologic service area (HSA) in November. Large areas of the HSA recorded 7 to 9 inch rainfall totals in less than 24 hours. Over 200 hundred homes were flooded along Cypress and Spring Creeks and the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. Several homes were flooded along the East Fork San Jacinto River, and two major roads into the community of Plum Grove were closed for more than 24 hours. Some forecast points crested over 10 feet above flood stage.
Monthly E5 and E3 Reports. It has come to the attention of HSD that a few Southern Region offices have been lax in sending out the monthly E5 and E3 reports. These reports are not optional but mandatory. It is the responsibility of the service hydrologist or hydro focal point to see that these reports are completed each month in a timely manner and distributed to our customers. Remember, if no flooding has occurred, only a short E5 is needed describing any significant hydrologic events which may have occurred in the HSA. In addition to sending these reports in a cc:mail message to HSD, they must also be addressed to the Office of Hydrology at NWS Headquarters (Hydrologic Information Center - cc:mail address "HIC"). WordPerfect E5 and E3 templates are available from HSD.
TECHNICAL ATTACHMENTS. Included this month are the following:
COASTAL LIGHTNING CLIMATOLOGY. A stratified lightning climatology has been developed for the NWSO Mobile area as part of Prof. Henry Fuelberg's COMET Cooperative Project between the NWS and Florida State University, and also in cooperation with the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Todd Lericos, an undergraduate meteorology student who is working with Prof. Fuelberg and NWSO Tallahassee SOO, Irv Watson, divided nine years of cloud-to-ground lightning data according to various low-level wind regimes. Results can be found through the Research/Data link at http://bertha.met.fsu.edu/~tlericos/. Future work will fine tune the flow directions as well as divide the data by hour of the day. This climatology is a first to examine the small-scale lightning characteristics along the central Gulf coast.
CITM TELETRAINING. Professor Paul Ruscher (Florida State/CITM) has completed his sabbatical semester at NWSO Tallahassee. Aside from learning first-hand about NWS operations, Paul contributed much during his three months at the office. In addition, in mid-December he delivered four teletraining sessions entitled, "The Practical Atmospheric Boundary Layer: Importance in Forecasting," to about two dozen Southern Region field offices and Central Region Headquarters.
SUPPORTING AND ENHANCING CWSU SERVICES. The CWSU Houston can now access the Southern Region model output and teletraining servers, using a high speed connection to a server that was installed last summer to support the IMETS (on-site meteorologists) during the Florida wildfires. CWSU Albuquerque PDW and audiographics equipment has also been reconfigured and the CWSU participated in Prof. Paul Ruscher's teletraining sessions (see above).
Tailored gridded model output (PC-GRIDDS) files have been provided for CWSUs Albuquerque and Houston to download from the SRH server.
SSD worked with Fort Worth CWSU MIC, Tom Hicks, to preprocess hourly RUC-2 files on the SRH model output server so the new files will contain all the information he needs, yet be sufficiently small that he can download them to his machine. Tom then prepares FOUS-like text files for major airports around the region.
The training module is based on work by Larry Dunn (SOO, Salt Lake City), who created a series of case study drills for his office using example HTML files from COMET. The template includes two of Larry's drills to serve as examples. In addition, the module includes easy to use templates for creating your own drills. The module ends with an example that takes existing materials from a COMET Case Study and uses the templates to create a radar drill.
The "Web-based Case Study Template Training Module" can be accessed from the Software Resource Library on the SOO/SAC Software Page (www.comet.ucar.edu/sac/srl/data/ casestudy/index.htm), or directly from the /usr1/tar_files subdirectory on the Southern Region model output server.
DATA DELAYS AND LOSSES. On the morning of December 23 an upgrade to the OSO server at NWS Headquarters resulted in the lack of numerical model output on the SRH server. Model output was available on AFOS and AWIPS, however. With freezing rain that day stretching from Texas to Tennessee, Bernard Meisner in SSD was able to fill the temporary void by manually ftp'ing model output files for the 1200 UTC runs from the Western Region server. Luckily, the OSO server was back in service in time for the 0000 UTC runs.
The next day, December 24th, due to a loss of power at Wallops Island, Virginia, no satellite data (imagery or soundings) were available from either GOES spacecraft from approximately 0830 to 1400 UTC. All NWS sites were affected by the outage, and we had no work-arounds for that loss.
CONVECTIVE PARAMETERIZATION SEMINAR. While visiting family in Pittsburgh the week before Christmas, Bernard Meisner presented a seminar on Convective Parameterization in the NCEP Models to the staff at NWSFO Pittsburgh. This training augments some of the numerical weather prediction materials under development at COMET. He expects to create two teletraining lessons and a Web page on this topic for Southern Region offices in February and March. (Once again, Bernard demonstrated that he doesn't know how to relax during a vacation!)
NCEP PRODUCTION SUITE REVIEW. Bernard Meisner represented Southern Region at the annual NCEP production suite review held at the NOAA Science Center in Washington the week of December 7th. Representatives from each NWS region and NCEP made presentations during the meeting. Delivery of the new IBM SP6000 Class VIII computer is scheduled for early March and NCEP will be transferring the numerical model runs to it throughout the coming spring and early summer. During the meeting the partnership among NCEP, the regions and the various training groups was renewed. The NCEP modelers indicated that they plan to work closely with the producers of the NWP Professional Development Series as they develop NWP training materials.
John Hart at the NCEP Storm Prediction Center has developed a new version of NSHARP (v3.01). The functionality is very similar to NSHARP 3.0, but this distribution includes the source code. The software is available on the contrib/ directory in the files nsharp301.tar.Z and nsharp.README, and contains the source and an HPUX 10.X binary. You are free to build NSHARP on Linux, but note that you will need the Linux versions of the GEMPAK libraries.
HMT COURSE COMPLETIONS. Congratulations to all the Southern Region HMTs who successfully completed the first OSF distance-learning radar course. Many others will be completing the final phases of this required training over the next few weeks.
The HMT radar course will be repeated, starting this month, for any individuals who were unable to enroll last year. The distance-learning version of the WSR-88D operations course (DLOC) for forecasters, interns and hydrologists is also being repeated. Since materials have already been developed, the courses are expected to be more compressed than the initial offerings, and students should be able to complete the courses by April. Enrollee names were provided to the OSF last month.
RECENT PAPERS. The October 1998 issue of the Bulletin of the AMS contains two particularly relevant papers which we recommend to all forecasters:
Application of GOES-8/9 Soundings to Weather Forecasting and Nowcasting, by W. Paul Menzel (NESDIS), et al.
Nowcasting Thunderstorms: A Status Report, by James Wilson, et al. (NCAR).
The content of the papers can be inferred from the titles, and both are very well written. Also note the AMS Policy Statement on Weather Analysis and Forecasting in the same issue of BAMS.
Congratulations to the following Southern Region authors, whose papers comprise a major part of the latest (June 1998) issue of the National Weather Digest:
Operational Observations of Extreme Reflectivity Values in Convective Cells, by Alan Gerard (NWSFO Jackson).
East Central Florida Rip Current Program, by Randy Lascody (NWSO Melbourne).
WSR-88D Doppler Radar Adaptable Parameter Optimization of the Meso/TVS Algorithm, by David Matson (NWSO Morristown, formerly NWSFO Little Rock).
UPCOMING TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
The OSF Operations Training Branch will conduct three Warning Decision Making Workshops at COMET during the coming months. Dates are February 9-12, February 23-26, and April 6-9. All Southern Region WFOs have sent at least one participant to previous WDM workshops. The goal of this next generation of WDM II workshops will be to provide training for additional forecasters on the decision making process as it pertains to the NWS warning environment. The workshops will incorporate the same theme as the previous series and will build upon some of the concepts of situational awareness in a warning environment as well as team decision making. There will be a focus on using AWIPS in the warning environment and in-class scenarios that will use the AWIPS workstations.
COMET will conduct two Satellite Meteorology Courses in Boulder, March 1-11 and April 19-29. These courses have also been offered in the past, with the intent of training at least one individual from each office who can return home and use the course materials to train others. Slots in the upcoming classes will provide additional opportunities to ensure that there is one "focal point" at each office who has received training in the latest concepts of satellite image and data interpretation.
Nominations are being solicited from all offices for the above courses and workshops. Contact SSD for more information.
Training for Quality Control. The NWS Training Center has made available a Web-based module that describes quality assurance and quality control concepts from a conceptual perspective. The module also provides examples of how these concepts can be used in a typical NWS office. Employees can receive credit for completing the module by passing a written test. The module is on the NWSTC home page (www.nwstc.kc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/HMD_WEB.HTML), but note that during the center's move this month to a new facility, this Web page may be "off-line" for several days.
University Assignment Program. The annual announcement for UAP applications is expected soon from NWS Headquarters. This will cover full- and part-time university assignments for the academic year beginning with the coming fall term. Details of the application procedures are not expected to change significantly from last year. For more information, contact SSD or refer to last year's announcement.
NEW PARTNERS PROJECTS. COMET has awarded two new Partners Projects in the Southern Region. Dr. James St. John at Georgia Tech will work with NWSFO Atlanta to study possible surface roughness correlations with tornado touchdown frequencies in Georgia. Dr. Arthur Doggett at Texas Tech is working in conjunction with NWSFO Lubbock to host the South Plains Severe Weather Workshop next month, and the COMET grant will provide partial support. For more information about the workshop, check the NWSFO's Web site at http://cra.nws.noaa.gov/nwslbb/index.html.
Y2K MONTHLY INVENTORY REPORTS. A WordPerfect v.8 form provided by NWS Headquarters was filled in for each office by Leon Minton using the latest Y2K inventory information on file. The goal was to ease the burden of monthly reporting by all WFOs and RFCs, along with the Y2K Certification sign-off memorandum being required of each MIC and HIC. In addition, Leon Minton will be attending a Y2K meeting at NWSH on January 26-27 to communicate and coordinate all NWS efforts for a smooth transition into the year 2000.
THE AREA CODE EXPLOSION. New area codes have become a fact of life. In fact, they've almost become an epidemic. For an organization as dependent on communications as the NWS, changes cause more problems than simply requiring us to update our phone book.
Currently there are 195 area codes nationwide that cover approximately 1.5 billion numbers, according to a report by Lee Selwyn, president of the Boston research firm Economics and Technology. The report also pointed out that over the past four years (1995 to present) 77 new area codes have been introduced, compared to 13 from 1961 to 1994.
Where have all the area codes gone? Perhaps part of the area code expansion problem is the influx of business telephone lines, fax lines, modems, and cellular phones. But as Selwyn reports, the main reason for the area code explosion is from carrier mismanagement. Outdated policies that cut specific geographic lines into local calling areas are part of the mismanagement. As it is now, a carrier is handed a block of 10,000 numbers per area code; so if an area only uses 500 numbers that means 9,500 numbers go to waste.
The Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee and the International Communications Association support Selwyn's report and went as far as to ask local carriers and the Federal Communications Commission to review the numbering system. Bellcore, a New Jersey research and consulting firm, is the keeper of the numbers, so to speak. The company administers area codes to the United States, Canada, Bermuda and 15 Caribbean islands and determines whether an area needs a new area code.
Selwyn suggested four possible fixes to the situation. First, local carriers should implement number pooling, where exchanges are broken into blocks of 1,000s to assign to different carriers to reduce the number of wasted numbers. Second, local carriers should also consolidate rating areas. Those charging local tolls by the mile should revise tariffs to recoup revenue from other places. The third option would have the FCC dropping a 1995 policy prohibiting the use of special area codes from mobile wireless services. Finally, carriers should conduct aggressive number utilization audits and penalize offenders for number hoarding. Number pooling and elimination of the FCC's 1995 policy seem to be the best answer so far. Either plan may not solve the problem completely, but at least make it manageable once again.
SUPPORT FOR AMS DATASTREME PROJECT
Many offices across the region are becoming involved in the American Meteorological Society (AMS) DataStreme Project. For those who aren't familiar, DataStreme is a program in which elementary and secondary school teachers take a semester-long course in basic meteorology. Professional meteorologists serve as mentors for these "student" teachers. The course is taught through workbooks, online activities and materials, weekly activities, and periodic meetings. Our thanks to the many in the region who have volunteered their time for this cause, some for several years.
At Southern Region Headquarters Gary Woodall, MSD, and Bernard Meisner, SSD, serve as members of a Local Implementation Team for DataStreme. Each of them mentors several K-12 teachers each semester. The teachers receive their training materials through the Internet and fax their weekly assignments to Bernard and Gary for grading and comments. They also meet with the teachers three times each semester.
At NWSFO Little Rock, WCM John Robinson participated in the DataStreme program during the past school semester. One of the teachers John mentored was an African-American teacher at a magnet junior high school. This teacher also runs a HAM radio club at his school. In addition to his AMS activities, the teacher brought 25 of his students to the office for a tour. These students, mostly African-American and women, were selected based on their ability to answer weather questions. After the tour, John talked to them about careers in meteorology. He is also setting up a spotter training session for the students at their school.
NWSFO Albuquerque has completed its first semester participating in the DataStreme Project. Staff members Mark Fettig, Deirdre Kann and Kerry Jones, along with a local broadcast meteorologist served as mentors for eight Albuquerque-area teachers who took the 13-week course. Another semester of DataStreme starts this month and interest remains high. Jim Smith, Moriarty High School, serves as the leader of our Local Implementation Team.
Nelson DeVilliers of NWSFO Little Rock provided a tornado safety presentation to the Spanish-speaking workers at a large poultry plant in Danville, Arkansas. Nelson's talk, entirely in Spanish, focused on the traditional tornado/thunderstorm hazards and safety tips. Interestingly, Nelson found that many of the workers were from Central America and some in the audience did not know what a tornado was. Thus, the Little Rock staff have identified a new at-risk segment of their customers, and will be working to improve their hazardous weather preparedness in the future.
Keith Hayes, Deirdre Kann, Faith Borden, and Chuck Jones of NWSFO Albuquerque staffed a booth with NOAA Public Affairs representatives at the National Science Teachers Association convention in Albuquerque. They provided hazardous weather brochures and answered questions on NWS operations, products and services, and access to weather information. Approximately 3,000 high school science teachers from across the country attended the convention.
At NWSFO Atlanta WCM Barry Gooden tallied up the number of tours for the Atlanta (Peachtree City) NWSFO from January through October of last year and came up with some pretty impressive numbers--52 tours and over 1100 people! At an average of five tours and over 100 people per month, that is quite a feat. This does not include the many times Barry and others in the office gave presentations to the community. Barry alone has reached another 1,000 people in over 24 talks. Kudos to Barry and the Peachtree City office for their continuing successful outreach effort.
Bernard Meisner (SRH/Scientific Services Division) gave a talk on careers in meteorology at the 8th Grade Career Fair at W. J. Sellers Middle School in Garland. He made three presentations, with about 20 students in each session. Dan Smith (SSD) spoke to about 50 5th grade students and their teachers in Azle, Texas.
Buddy McIntyre, WCM NWSO San Angelo, gave a school safety talk to Miss Garcia's 5th grade class at Blackshear Elementary School in San Angelo. Of the 24 students approximately 50 percent were Hispanic and 25 percent were African American.
NWSO Midland MIC Ray Fagen and his staff have been quite busy over the last three months with talks and tours. Ray hosted 19 4th graders from nearby Lamar Elementary School. The students toured the operations area, discussed weather and weather safety, and watched the evening weather balloon launch. Forecaster Doug Cain and Ray hosted the aviation class at Midland College and the climatology class from the University of Texas Permian Basin on different occasions. Aviation weather and climatology were discussed using videos and PowerPoint presentations. Both groups toured the operations area and viewed the evening weather balloon launch.
Ray also attended several meetings with the local chapter of the American Red Cross where the discussions were on the improvements taking place in the chapter's current capabilities to provide service delivery in the event of a weather related disaster. Ray was re-elected to the chapter's Board of Directors for the fourth consecutive year.
Midland forecaster Robert Boyd was presented a certificate of appreciation at the West Texas Amateur Radio Club holiday awards dinner for his contributions to the HAM club during 1998.
NWSO Morristown WCM Howard Waldron and SOO Stephen Parker attended Career Day in Hamblen County. Over 2000 students were in attendance. Howard also gave a presentation to about 80 students at Manley Elementary School. About half were female and 10 were minorities. Forecaster David Gaffin presented weather information at two elementary schools in the area to approximately 135 students--over half the students were females and minorities.
Ken Falk, NWSO Shreveport SOO, and student employee Mary Keiser gave an office tour to nine Boy Scouts from Shreveport. They watched a balloon release, and learned about the operations of the NWS.
NWSFO New Orleans service hydrologist David Smith attended the annual FEB Equal Opportunity Advisory Council Awards Luncheon on December 14 . David received a certificate of appreciation for his work with the coordinating committee for the Diversity Training Conference held last August, at which he was a facilitator. Over 400 people attended the conference.
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