UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
I am sharing the following because it relates to the quality of service Southern Region employees routinely provide. Many such stories cross my desk, and I want to say "thanks" to all who dedicate themselves tirelessly day-after-day to our mission - whether providing exceptional service to our customers, or helping other NWS employees to do so.
A new IMET (Fire Weather Incident Meteorologist) trainee faces a daunting task of learning the ropes quickly at the fire site, and putting his basic training to use. He or she also needs timely and reliable weather data and a knowledge of how to use remote access equipment. Facing all that, a trainee from WFO Jackson, Kentucky, who was recently dispatched to Florida and his first fire, was stuck when the satellite comms on his ATMU failed. Switching to slower but reliable dial-in access to the Southern Region Headquarters (SRH) server, and utilizing BUFKIT software developed originally at WSFO Buffalo, he was able to obtain the critical data, but not before Dr. Bernard Meisner in the SRH Scientific Services Division talked him through the procedure. Responding within a few minutes to the trainee's late afternoon call, Bernard spent several hours on the phone with him, explaining and modifying software, describing the installation procedures, trouble-shooting, and patiently assisting him in setting up a remote workstation tailored to handling fire weather support for the Florida Panhandle fire, utilizing the SRH data server.
In a letter sent to me the next day the trainee said:
[Bernard] was able to exactly mirror the process on his PC that I was undertaking on the IMET laptop. When we tested the software for the final time...it worked like a charm. This success story is important to me and to the Incident Command Team here at the fire because it means my time and energy can go into analysis and forecasting [not searching for and downloading data]. When I briefed the crew this morning I could do so with utmost confidence. I told the Plans Chief this morning, getting this software package installed and working sent my confidence level and enthusiasm through the ceiling...He was pleased and so am I.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for Bernard's dedication and helpfulness. Although I am no longer an employee of the Southern Region, I felt like I had been treated like royalty. To my knowledge, this may well be the first time BUFKIT3 has been used on a fire. I am nearly certain that it is a first for fires in Southern Region. You and your staff have a tremendous reason to be proud.
Congratulations, Bernard. Providing this kind of support is our stock-in-trade. In this case it came from SSD, but I am proud of all Southern Region employees who every day do what it takes to ensure our mission is carried out, and that the best possible services are rendered to our customers.
SENIOR FIELD MANAGERS SELECTED. Several Senior Field Management positions have recently been filled. They are: New MIC at NWSFO Atlanta is Lans Rothfusz. Lans was previously the MIC at the Tulsa WFO. Steve Piltz is the new MIC at the Tulsa WFO. Steve was previously the WCM at Tulsa. Jim Stefkovich has been selected to become the MIC at WFO Jackson replacing the retiring Tice Wagner. Jim will assume his new duties in August. Jim is currently the WCM at NWSFO Fort Worth. Ken Graham is the new MIC at WFO Corpus Christi. Ken was previously the Marine and Public Weather Program Manager in MSD at Southern Region Headquarters. Ken replaces Joe Arellano who recently became MIC of the Austin/San Antonio WFO. David (Rusty) Billingsley has been selected to become the MIC of NWSFO Lubbock replacing Andy Anderson who retired in early July. Rusty is coming back to the Southern Region after serving as SOO at the Boise, Idaho WFO.
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION
SOUTHERN REGION WFO STATUS. As of the end of June, here are the SR offices which are now officially designated as WFOs:
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS. Hurricane-related outreach and preparedness activities continued at a rapid pace across the region. Many coastal offices participated in area-wide workshops, expos, or media campaigns. Below are a few highlights.
NWSFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos and WCM Rafael Mojica participated in the annual Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency Hurricane Workshop. Approximately 150 emergency managers from across the island attended the event. Israel presented a review of the 1999 hurricane season and an overview of Hurricane Mitch's impacts on Central America. Rafael discussed the hurricane forecast process, case studies of hurricanes Jose and Lenny, and an overview of the latest technology available for tropical cyclone forecasting.
NWSO Lake Charles partnered with the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency to host the Southeast Texas Hurricane Conference 2000 in Beaumont, Texas. The conference drew nearly 400 local decision-makers and responders. Conference presentations included a review of the SLOSH model, NHC and local office products and services, and the impacts (both rain and wind) of a major hurricane landfall in southeastern Texas. The event also attracted widespread community support, with over 20 vendors and numerous local agencies providing sponsorship support.
WFO Brownsville participated in the Brownsville Hurricane Awareness Fair 2000, co-sponsored by the Brownsville Emergency Management Agency and the Brownsville Police Department. Those making presentations at the fair included WCM Hector Guerrero, the city mayor, the chief of police, the American Red Cross, and private sector representatives. Approximately 100 people attended the fair. Alfredo Vega, Mike Castillo and Brian Miller of the WFO staffed an informational booth, answering questions and handing out literature to the fair attendees. The local CBS and ABC-TV affiliates provided coverage of the event.
WFO Austin/San Antonio MIC Joe Arellano and WCM Larry Eblen participated in the Hurricane Evacuation Workshop sponsored by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The workshop, attended by around 120 representatives from a variety of local agencies, focused on the Corpus Christi Hurricane Evacuation Study. The representatives discussed possible methods for successfully evacuating the mid-Texas Coast and the Coastal Bend area should a major hurricane threaten.
WFO Melbourne WCM Dennis Decker participated in the Martin County Hurricane Awareness Fair. The seminar was co-sponsored by the Martin County Emergency Management Agency, the Martin County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and WPBF-TV. Radio Shack also supported the fair by providing $10-off coupons for NOAA Weather Radio receivers. Approximately 200 people attended the program, which featured hurricane awareness presentations by Dennis, NHC Director Max Mayfield, and former NHC Director Bob Sheets.
NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge SOO Mike Koziara participated in the annual St. Charles Parish Hurricane Exercise. The exercise involved about 75 decision makers and responders from across the parish. Mike's role in the exercise was to present the weather scenario using the Hurrevac for Windows and SLOSH display programs. Mike presented a short weather briefing after each "advisory" was released, and used the exercise to describe forecast errors, storm surge data, and various features of the display programs.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT/SPOTTER SUPPORT. Emergency managers and storm spotters remain two of our most valuable groups of partners. From their assistance in enhancing communications to facilitating our awareness activities, they truly deserve our coordination and support. Below are some highlights in this area.
WFO Shreveport WCM Bruce Burkman reports that an EMWIN retransmission site is now on the air in Monroe, Louisiana. The broadcast frequency was provided by the Louisiana National Guard, and the antenna, tower space, and other hardware came about through the efforts of the NWS, the Louisiana and Ouachita Parish Offices of Emergency Preparedness, the Louisiana National Guard, KNOW-TV, and the Amateur Radio Emergency Services. The signal covers all or part of seven parishes in northern Louisiana. Local officials plan to make the signal available in schools, hospitals, law enforcement centers and nursing homes.
WFO Norman MIC Dennis McCarthy reports his office has obtained a 'vanity' call sign for their amateur radio spotter operations. For offices which have not obtained such a call sign but would like to, Dennis offers the following suggestions. Use FCC forms 606 and 610B, both of which can be downloaded from the FCC (www.fcc.gov) or ARRL (www.arrl.org) Web sites. Contact the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 to obtain a TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number). Place the TIN in the upper right corner of the form 610B, and send the forms to the addresses listed on them.
Although we have just passed the summer solstice, WFO Birmingham WCM Brian Peters is already getting the jump on winter weather preparedness. The Alabama Gas Corporation, which serves most of the state, has agreed to fund a portion of the state's Winter Weather Awareness Week booklet. The corporation has also agreed to host the Winter Weather Awareness Week kickoff press conference on December 4 at their facility in downtown Birmingham.
MEDIA/PUBLIC OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. Our offices have been involved in some innovative outreach projects involving the media and in direct support of our public customers. Below are summaries of a few of these activities.
WFO Key West MIC Bobby McDaniel and WCM Wayne Presnell are partnering with the "Oak Ridge Boys" to produce a series of NOAA Weather Radio public service announcements. Bobby and Wayne prepared the scripts, which were then forwarded to the group's manager. It is hoped these announcements will be ready for broadcast later this summer.
WFO Shreveport WCM Bruce Burkman provided a 10-minute interview with KLFI-TV on severe weather, spotter training and storm intercept activities. The interview was very well received and distributed in several segments over a four-week period. Portions of the interview were also aired over the Christian Broadcast Network throughout the southeast.
WFO Melbourne WCM Dennis Decker and senior forecaster Tim Troutman completed a lightning and hurricane preparedness campaign with Florida Power and Light, the electric company which services much of the state. FP&L will distribute hurricane and lightning safety information flyers in their monthly billings. This campaign will reach an estimated 3-4 million customers across the state during the next two months.
NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge forecaster Fred Zeigler represented the NWS at a preparedness fair held at a bookstore in Gulfport, Mississippi. Nearly 700 residents of the Mississippi coast visited the fair to collect literature from the NWS, the Hurricane Hunters, local emergency management agencies, and approximately 20 other organizations. Fred answered numerous questions about hurricanes and Mississippi weather, and passed out hundreds of preparedness brochures.
NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS. Another busy month has come and gone in the NWR program. We continue to work through phone problems with our transmitter installations. Naples, Florida, was upgraded to a dual 1K system the last week of June, and Thomaston, Georgia, was installed but is waiting for the phone circuit to be resolved. Brasstown Bald, Georgia, still has noise on their circuit as well.
Three new MOA's have been processed for Arkansas. These are in the counties of Polk, White and Conway. Boykin and Eastman, in Georgia, have been put under lease with installations to follow soon.
Two big projects are nearing completion. A complete update of the old 1994 NWR expansion plans was requested by NWS Headquarters and is being redone for each WFO. Thanks to everyone who provided timely input to aid us in meeting the deadlines. In addition, T.L. Farrow and Doug Crowley (SRH) have been doing background work with Texas officials in developing a state-wide expansion plan. This is ongoing and those affected will be kept in the loop.
NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities in the region's CWSU program.
The RTA replacement effort is gaining some momentum. Reportedly, the FAA has purchased, or is in the process of purchasing, the required hardware. Also, CWSUs are beginning to receive calls to coordinate installation of the T1 communications lines.
CWSU Atlanta. Forecasters at the CWSU took part in two training opportunities at NWSFO Atlanta. On June 15, forecasters Paul Denault, Howard Bookman and Melvin Murrell attended a 2-1/2 hour severe weather seminar presented by the Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Mike Vescio. On June 29, Paul Denault took part in a VISIT teletraining session at NWSFO Atlanta. (See SSD's section of this Topics.) The two-hour session covered the use of mesoscale tools to detect severe thunderstorms.
CWSU Memphis. MIC Tom Amis recently completed the NWS Response to the "Decision-Based Weather Needs for the Air Route Traffic Control Center Traffic Management Unit." The document has been forwarded to the FAA who will then begin drafting weather requirements. Subsequently, the FAA will begin building teams to address how the specific requirements will be fulfilled.
On June 20, NWSFO Memphis WCM John White and Tom Amis provided a four-hour aviation weather and safety presentation at the University of Memphis Aviation Symposium. The symposium comprised educators from mid-south schools and is a vehicle for continuing education for the teachers. The attendees visit and receive training from aviation-related industries such as Federal Express, the FAA, USAF and the Navy, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and Kennedy Space Center. At each location the educators are introduced to science and technology specific to these fields. The teachers then take this information and training back to their schools to share in the classroom. These efforts guide students toward careers in science.
HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION
MODIFIED QPF PROCESS UPDATE. The West Gulf and Arkansas-Red Basin RFCs are currently conducting their formal operations, test, and evaluations (OT&E) of the modified QPF process. To date, their OT&Es are running smoothly. The Lower Mississippi RFC and Southeast RFC will begin their formal OTE on July 13. RFC personnel are filling out daily shift logs during their OTE to help the QPF Implementation Working Group (IWG) evaluate the modified QPF process. At the end of July, the QPF IWG will make a decision on the operational implementation of the modified QPF process. We will keep you posted.
On a related note, an AWIPS QPF patch will soon be available that will allow display of the RFC HAS-modified QPF grids on the RFC and WFO AWIPS D2D. Matt Strahan (SOD) and Ben Weiger (HSD) will coordinate with the offices on this subject once the patch is available.
RFC CATEGORICAL FLOOD FORECAST VERIFICATION. Arkansas-Red Basin RFC and West Gulf RFC are developing an RFC categorical flood forecast verification application that will ultimately be used by all SR RFCs. This verification software is based on a categorical, event oriented, flood forecast verification system former HSD chief Dave Morris documented in a NOAA technical memorandum, NWS HYDRO 43, in June 1988. Prior to his recent retirement Dave assisted the ABRFC and WGRFC with the verification system design specifications. All SR WFO HSAs will be responsible for defining flood category levels for all river forecast points in their WFO hydrologic database by the end of the year based on correspondence previously sent on this subject. These flood category levels will be used to generate the categorical flood forecast verification statistics at the SR RFCs.
ANNUAL NWS/IBWC MEETING. The annual International Boundary and Water Commission/NWS Coordination meeting was held at IBWC headquarters in El Paso on June 7. This year's meeting was especially significant because discussion items included an update on the operation and installation of satellite data collection platforms in Mexico, and progress on the establishment of a hydrologic forecast facility in Monterrey, Mexico.
In addition to the representatives from NWS offices who interface with the IBWC, attendees included Steve Ragone (NWSH Office of Hydrology), Mark Woodbury (Riverside Technologies), who is spearheading the software and hardware at the Mexican hydrologic forecast facility, and seven officials from the CILA (Mexican IBWC counterpart), and the Mexican Water Commission, the CNA.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Outreach Activity. HAS forecaster Jack Bushong participated in a meeting at WFO Raleigh, with representatives of the North Carolina Emergency Management Agency. He assisted them in the development of a "North Carolina River & Flood Weather Information" Web page which resides on the EMA server. This can be viewed by going to www.ncem.org and clicking on River and Weather Information. Nice work, Jack.
LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Riverwatch Update. Senior hydrologic forecaster Ethan Jolly recently updated the one-stop Web site which contains daily river forecasts for the Mississippi drainage. Based on customer feedback received via the Riverwatch home page, daily river forecasts for the Arkansas River Basin were added to this site.Thanks for satisfying our customer requests, Ethan.
WEST GULF RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Procedure Development Activities. Hydrologic forecaster Mike Shultz attended the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority meeting in Seguin, Texas on May 24. Mike outlined the status of the initiative on developing a hydraulic flood wave routing model on the lower Guadalupe River. Nice work, Mike.
LIGHTNING STUDY. The latest (June 2000) issue of Monthly Weather Review contains the paper, "Cloud-to-Ground Lightning throughout the Lifetime of a Severe Storm System in Oklahoma," by Mark Shafer, Don MacGorman and Fred Carr. This is an interesting analysis of lightning polarity, flash density and flash rates as the storm system evolved through several distinct phases - two distinct lines of storms, a supercell and then an MCS. It offers new insight on how lightning may be associated with storm structure and we encourage all forecasters to review the paper.
JACKSONVILLE STUDY: LOCAL MODELING. The latest (September 1999) issue of National Weather Digest contains the paper "A Study of Sea Breeze Convective Interactions using Mesoscale Numerical Modeling," by Pat Welsh (NWSO Jacksonville) and Pablo Santos (WFO Miami), and Chris Herbster (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach). Their study compares an observed sea breeze circulation with experimental results from the MM5 mesoscale model. Data were obtained during the 1995 Jacksonville Area Sea Breeze Experiment (JASBEX), a joint undertaking on the part of the NWSO, Navy Jacksonville, the Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonville University and Florida State University. In the authors' words,
[Mesoscale] modeling has shown itself to be worth the effort ... The bottom line, based on our study, is that a separate, locally customized numerical model initialized using gridded fields of the NCEP models and local data, provides the basis for substantially improved forecasts and is worth the effort even at the level of the individual forecast office.
Many Southern Region offices (including Jacksonville) are now experimenting with NCEP's workstation Eta model, and results were discussed at the SR SOO meeting last month.
The same issue of NWA Digest contains a brief summary by senior forecaster Larry Peabody at WFO Austin/San Antonio titled "Summer's Silent Killer," which we've included as an attachment this month.
Reorganization. As part of the restructuring of NWS Headquarters, the Operations Training Branch at the WSR-88D Operational Support Facility (OSF) will become the Warning Decision Training Branch, and it will be part of the new Climate, Water and Weather Services Office at NWSH. The new name reflects the primary focus of training to be undertaken by the group, which will remain collocated with the OSF in Norman. That same NWSH Office will also have oversight of the NWS Training Center in Kansas City, as well as operations and activities at COMET in Boulder. This "consolidation" of the NWS training centers will facilitate interactions among the three groups and streamline the overall process of responding most efficiently to training needs. The reorganization should be accomplished in the near future.
Operations Training Branch Notes. Don Burgess, after five years of leadership of the OTB, and nine years at the OSF, has accepted a new position across the street at NSSL. He is the new chief of the Stormscale Research and Analysis Division (SRAD). Don and the OTB staff have done an outstanding job developing and conducting WSR-88D based training, and they can take pride in contributing directly to improved warnings. The scientists at NSSL have always been strong contributors to the knowledge base which has made the OTB training so effective. Even though we will miss Don's personal involvement in the training program, no doubt he will continue to play a role in that area. Congratulations, Don, and thanks for all your hard work.
Liz Quoetone, OTB instructor, participated in the National WCM Conference last month. The OTB prepared a poster on the transition of OTB to the Warning Decision Training Branch for presentation during the evening session. The conference was effective at conveying all the issues related to the warning environment, including the operational and logistical aspects which provide the framework within which severe weather events are worked. Discussing these issues first-hand with the WCMs will be helpful for OTB staff as they develop training material pertaining to the warning environment.
SSD Teletraining. Prof. Jim Elsner (FSU/CITM) and his student Ethan Gibney will be offering a teletraining seminar entitled, "A Hurricane Vulnerability Study Using a Geographic Information System" on the morning of Thursday July 13. Interested Southern Region offices are invited to "attend" this seminar; please contact either Susan Beckwith or Bernard Meisner to sign-up. The time is 10:00 - 11:00 am CDT.
Teletraining materials will be available for downloading from the regional teletraining server.
In addition, Bernard Meisner will provide teletraining seminars on "Recent Changes to the NHC Track and Intensity Guidance Models" at the end of this month. All offices are invited to "attend" one of the scheduled sessions. They will be given on:
Thursday, July 27 10:00 - 11:00 am, repeated at 2:00 - 3:00 pm CDT
Monday, July 31 10:00 - 11:00 am, repeated at 2:30 - 3:30 pm CDT
If you are interested in participating, please contact Susan Beckwith or Bernard to sign-up for one of the sessions. Teletraining materials should be available for downloading from the regional teletraining server by July 13.
Integrated Sensor Training. Below is a summary of teletraining which is being provided this month as part of the Integrated Sensor Training Professional Development Series. Offices can register for the ISTPDS sessions at: http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/ecal.asp. Detailed instructions are provided to participating offices when they sign up.
The sessions currently scheduled are:
Applying Mesoscale Tools and Techniques to Predict/ ...... July 6
Detect Severe Thunderstorm Development
Diagnosing Elevated Mesoscale Ascent ............................. July 10
Natural Disaster Information Cards ..................................... July 11, 27
Convective Initiation by Low-Level Boundaries (NEW) .... July 13, 25
The Enhanced-V: A Satellite Severe Storm Signature ........ July 17
Using GOES Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) Imagery in ..... July 19
Using AWIPS to Detect Surface Boundaries ...................... July 20
All the sessions can be reviewed in advance by following the download instructions available off the sign up page noted above. Note the new session on Convective Initiation by Low-Level Boundaries. The session covers:
Using AWIPS tools to objectively analyze and assess relevant boundary characteristics which influence initiation of deep moist convection,
Along with the above, incorporating forecasts of convection initiation in short-term forecasts.
For technical information on what is needed to run these teletraining sessions, see the VISITview QuickStart page at: http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/visitview/quickstart.html.
SHORT-RANGE ENSEMBLE FORECASTS. The NCEP Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) has been developing a Short Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) system. That system is now in place and running routinely for test and evaluation purposes. Routinely here means twice daily (0000 and 1200 UTC) to 60 hours, but lags real time (i.e., availability of Eta) by about nine hours. Further background information, references, and forecast products are available at: http://lnx48.wwb.noaa.gov/SREF/SREF.html.
The EMC strongly encourages NWS field office personnel to regularly examine and assess the SREF products and provide feedback on their skill, utility, as well as any suggestions or recommendations on the design and content of the product suite. (The EMC expects to add meteograms and clusters in the near future.) Please direct your comments and questions to: Steve Tracton (Steve.Tracton@noaa.gov; 301-763-8000 X7222) and Jun Du (Jun.Du@noaa.gov; 301 763-8000 X7277)
NCEP PLANS FOR 22 KM ETA & USE OF RADIANCES IN 3DVAR. The NCEP has announced plans to increase to both the horizontal and vertical resolution of all runs of the Eta model from 32 km/45 levels to 22 km/50 levels, and include the direct use of satellite (geostationary and polar orbiting) radiances in the Three-Dimensional Variational (3DVAR) analysis later this year. They also plan an increase in the size of the Eta domain (mostly by extending the western boundary)and implement minor changes to the grid-scale cloud and sub-grid-scale convection algorithms.
There are NO changes planned for the resolution of the AWIPS grids (except in Alaska where they will receive over the OCONUS SBN channel a 22.5 km grid set equivalent to what the CONUS users get on grid #215). Similarly, there will be NO change to the WMO headers. Expected implementation of these changes, pending CAFTI approval, is August 2000.
The real-time 22 km parallel runs are being produced daily from a 22 km EDAS cycle with forecasts to 60 hours made twice daily. Eric Rogers has established a site where they can be viewed at: http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/ETAPLL/. For the most current run, this Web site provides four panel displays of the 32 km Eta (upper left), AVN (upper right), 22 km Eta (labeled ETAX in the lower left) and the NGM (on the lower right). Displays are available every six hours of the forecast for 1000-500 thickness + MSL pressure, QPF, 850 z & T, 700 z & RH, 500 z & vorticity, 250 z & isotachs. Because the expected impact of resolution change may be greatest near the surface, Eric has also created another site where surface variables are displayed at higher resolution (~20 km via grid #215) for limited domains at: http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/ETAPLL_SFC/. A 14-day period in January-February 2000 is being rerun with the 22 km test system. This period contains the 25 January blizzard along the east coast.
Anticipated impact on forecasts. Overall, the increases in resolution will provide an incremental improvement in skill (or reduction in error depending on your point of view). The use of satellite radiances will make the forecasts more consistent from run to run as the uncertainty in the eastern Pacific will be reduced and a more uniform quality of analysis should be achieved. The cloud scheme changes should reduce very light precipitation over the eastern Pacific and raise the overall level of RH fields forecast from the operational Eta.
In addition to the Web pages listed above, output grids from the real-time parallel runs are also available for anonymous ftp from ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/emc/eta22.t00z/ and from ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/emc/eta22.t12z/ in which AWIP20xx files contain grid #215, AWIP3Dxx files contain #212, AWIPAKxx files contain Alaska grid #216 and AWP217 files contain the new 22.5 km Alaska grid #217 (identical domain coverage as #216 but double resolution) where xx in all of the above file names is the forecast hour. The BUFR soundings are in the directory bufrsnd.
AWIPS VALIDATION EFFORT. The AWIPS Validation Effort (AVE) Web page has been updated with the latest variables that have been validated. Users may note the discrepancy found with potential vorticity (PV) and equivalent PV in a layer (see the Latest Issue page for specifics). Also, there is a page describing equivalent PV and how it relates to conditional symmetric instability (CSI). References to journal articles and a COMET Web module regarding CSI and equivalent PV can also be found on that page at: http://meted.ucar.edu/awips/validate/index.htm.
SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION
NETSCAPE MIGRATION NEARLY COMPLETE. The Southern Region has made great progress in completing the electronic mail migration from cc:Mail to Netscape. The transition was made possible by the team effort of Leon Minton, Don Pham and James Raley at Southern Region Headquarters, coupled with the extended team of electronic systems analysts at the 31 field offices running cc:Mail post offices. By the end of June, 28 of the 31 field cc:Mail post office users, and all 45 of the SRH cc:Mail users had been migrated to Netscape Messaging. This totals 871 out of 925 users, or a full 94% of the region. The remaining three field offices are scheduled to migrate this week. This will complete the project for Southern Region.
LDAD. Southern Region Headquarters now has a server for sharing LDAD collected data among offices. Field offices may store any locally collected data on this server. Neighboring offices can then request the data for ingest and display them on their own systems. Data available on the server include Texas coastal sensors and fire weather sensors in New Mexico. Future additions will soon include non-federal AWOS dialed by local office LDADs. SRH is also working with other regions to share the data among regions. Information about the LDAD data exchange is available at http://srhawips.srh.noaa.gov/LDAD/LDADXchng.html. Contact Matt Strahan to set up sharing of locally ingested data.
STATION IDENTIFIER CHANGE FOR APALACHICOLA ASOS. The three-letter station identifier (SID) for the commissioned National Weather Service sponsored ASOS at Apalachicola, Florida was changed on June 28, from AQQ to AAF. This is due to the fact that the ASOS is located at the Apalachicola Municipal Airport, and is considered an aviation related Service Level D ASOS site by the FAA.
The new AFOS PILs and WMO headers reflecting this change can be accessed at the System Operations Center Change Notice Web site: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/notices/notices.shtml under the entry labeled "2000/06/28 1230Z."
WSR-88D WEB DISPLAY PROJECT UPDATE.The project to display current NWS radar products on the Web using a consistent NWS-wide approach remains on track for an October 1 operational unveiling. An implementation team was formed at the beginning of June and met at SRH June 13-14. The team, consisting primarily of Web- and systems-management experts from each regional headquarters and appropriate NWS Headquarters offices, finalized the Web page designs (national and local) and developed detailed planning implementation specifications. The mockup Web page designs may now be viewed at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/sod/radar/. These are mockups, so some of the links do not function. Dennis Cain, forecaster at NWSFO Fort Worth, is the primary Web designer for the project.
Successful testing of software to convert NEXRAD formatted images to Web displayable GIF images was recently conducted by the NWSH Office of Systems Development (David Kitzmiller) with the assistance of NCEP's Computing Development Branch (Mary Desjardins). This critical software will produce four products in real-time: Base Reflectivity, Composite Reflectivity, One- Hour Rainfall and Storm-Total Rainfall. The products will be generated every scan for 154 radars.
Two IBM H80 systems for executing the conversion software operationally were ordered by NWSH last week and should be delivered by the vendor in four to six weeks. Testing will begin shortly to transmit the WSR-88D Web pages and GIF images for each local radar to the respective regional Web servers. Once that is accomplished, individual Web site managers will be able to modify their existing links to access the new NWS radar pages.
UPGRADED MODEMS COMING FOR DOD WSR-88DS. By July 31, the OSF will send upgraded 33.6kbps modems to DOD WSR-88D NEXRAD sites for installation on the RPG. Corresponding to this, upgraded modems will also be installed on AWIPS for WFOs associated to those DOD radars. This will allow WFOs to increase their RPS list from the existing maximum of 31 products to a new maximum of 50 products.
WEATHER AND RADAR PROCESSOR TESTING UNDERWAY. NWS WSR-88D sites located inside the airspace of Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and Fort Worth ARTCC have been interfaced via narrowband communication circuits with the FAA Weather and Radar Processor system located at the Houston and Fort Worth ARTCCs. Once the system is fielded and implemented nationally, the FAA controllers located in the ARTCC and NWS CWSU personnel will use the WARP data operationally. Narrowband communications issues being discovered during the testing are being diagnosed by the OSF.
AUTOMATED LIGHTNING DETECTION AND RANGING SYSTEM. All commissioned part-time and unstaffed FAA ASOS sites in the region now have the Automated Lightning Detection and Ranging System (ALDARS) activated. ALDARS relays to the ASOS at the site the location of cloud to ground lightning strikes based on information gathered by the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), which is the same vendor the NWS uses for lightning graphics on AWIPS.http://www.osf.noaa.gov/otb/workshop/wdmii/nexrad.htm
TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT. Terry Brisbin has assumed the temporary assignment of facility program manager for 90 days. John Duxbury will be on travel and assuming more SOD Chief responsibilities while Tom Grayson is on a special project for NWS Headquarters. Please work with Terry on all facilities-related issues throughout the end of the fiscal year. John will remain available for support on facilities issues as needed.
SAFETY & ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES. Recent safety activities have involved fall protection training at NWSTC for ETs, FETs and a few hydro personnel. This training is required by OSHA for those who climb and descend structures as part of their normal job duties. Included in the training are rescue procedures designed to assist a climber who may have become incapacitated due to injury or illness. This implies that the climber will have a trained safety observer present who will either summon an emergency rescue team or perform the rescue if the local emergency responders are not trained and equipped or cannot arrive within 30 minutes. However, the equipment needed to lower the incapacitated climber to the ground is not yet available to NWS climbers, and not all local governments are capable of providing this service. It is expected that a national contract for the pulley system used for rescue will be placed when the funds become available to the NWSH safety office. Personnel who attended the training before the rescue portion was added will be sent back to a separate class for this specialty only.
Environmental focal points may have noticed that Safety Kleen Corporation, our primary waste disposal service provider, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize debts. A form letter received from the local office in Fort Worth stated that Safety Kleen is still in business without any restrictions to their customers.
UPS TESTING AND INSTALLATIONS. The Southern Region has scheduled the replacement of the UPS systems for the Little Rock, Mobile, Birmingham, San Juan, El Paso, Tallahassee, San Angelo and Tulsa forecast offices. Installations will be completed by the end of September.
CSSA MODERNIZATION. The new CSSA (Cooperative Station Service Accountability) software will reside on an Oracle server and updates to the database will be accomplished using a Web browser. The structure of the new database has been finalized. The timetable for this project calls for testing on the new system to start late summer and be available for use by early 2001.
RADIOSONDE REPLACEMENT SYSTEM. Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS) and monthly performance statistics are available on the Internet. The URL for this information is: http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/. This information source is kept as current as possible and all upper air offices should access this information on a routine basis.
WSOH 10 is being distributed following the final sign-off by the NWS Director. At the same time,FMH #3 is also being distributed. This completes the upgrade to the manuals related to the upper air program.
RETURN OF THE WRITTEN TEST. The return of the written test for upper air certification is upon us. With the distribution of the new WSOH 10 and FMH #3, there are now written tests that must be passed for an individual to be certified to take upper air observations. Two different tests will be distributed, one for sites using the Viasala sondes and another test for the sites using the VIZ sondes. Observers must still demonstrate ability to take an upper air observation before they can take the written test.
PERFORMANCE MEASURE RANKINGS. The performance measure rankings for May were recently posted at: http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/dataqc.htm. The Southern Region data acquisition teams continue to be rated very high, with six of the top 11 offices being part of the Southern Region.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
WFO ATLANTA. Recently retired MIC Carlos Garza, Jr., hosted the Director General of the Nicaraguan National Service, Inc. Claudio Gutierrez Huete, along with several others at the office to explain NWS operations and relationships with private enterprise, such as The Weather Channel.
SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS
June 1-30, 2000
|Southern Region Losses|
|Name||From (Office)||Action/Transfer||From Title/Grade|
|Stella Pasahow||WFO CRP||Retirement||ASA, GS-7|
|Stan Hobbs||WSO AQQ||Retirement||WCO, GS-11|
|William Schaub||WFO FFC||Promotion to CR||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Pilar Trevino||WFO EYW||Reassignment to CR||El Tech,, GS-11|
|Seth Nagle||WFO CRP||Promotion to ER||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Maxie Brown||WSO MEI||Retirement||OIC, GS-12|
|Stephen Hubbert||WFO LCH||Transfer to FAA||HMT, GS-10|
|Jennifer Hill||WFO ABQ||Promotion to NWSH||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Patrick Burke||WFO ABQ||Resignation||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Southern Region Gains|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Lance Pyle||WFO LZK||Promotion from CR||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Laura Finlon||WFO EYW||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Donna McCown||WSO HSV||New Hire||Met Tech, GS-8|
|Christopher Jakub||WFO JAN||New Hire from SCEP||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Bruce Sherbon||WFO SHV||New Hire from SCEP||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Within Region Transfers/Actions|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Eric Zappe||WFO JAX||Reassignment from LCH||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Samuel Herron||WFO OHX||Reassignment from MEG||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Joe Arellano||WFO EWX||Promotion from CRP||MIC, GS-15|
|Pablo Santos||WFO MFL||Promotion from JAX||SOO, GS-13|
|Matthew Zibura||WFO JAX||Reassignment from BMX||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Harold Mashburn||WFO EYW||Reassignment from ABQ||El Tech, GS-11|
|Alton Abernathy||SRH SOD||Reassignment from EYW||Obs Program Manager, GS-12|
|Ken Graham||WFO CRP||Promotion from SRH||MIC, GS-14|
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