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

July 2001

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

Tropical storm Allison had a tremendous impact on the Southern Region last month. She may have lived only less than one day as a tropical storm, but the slow trek of her remnants across the region - from South Texas through North Florida and Georgia - resulted in record-breaking rainfall and flooding. There were nearly two-dozen deaths, most in the Houston metro area. NHC issued the first advisory on tropical storm Allison on the afternoon of June 5, and she was ashore over Houston and downgraded to a depression in the 4th and final advisory issued the next morning. The potential for double-digit rainfall was anticipated as forecasters quickly spotted the heavy rainfall threat from this storm as a classic stagnant or slow moving system. That prompted comparisons by forecasters to prior storms such as Claudia in 1979, which was accompanied by 40-inch rains in South Texas. As a result, the devastating floods three days later in Houston were neither unprecedented nor unforeseen, but the impact was magnified by the city-scape environment in which the rainstorm concentrated its fury.

The density of buildings, roads and paved parking areas coupled with the saturated grounds after three days of rain, made the runoff from this storm especially deadly on Friday evening through Saturday morning, when over two feet of rain fell over parts of the Houston metroplex. This tropical storm will go down as the costliest in U.S. history with estimates well over $2 billion. By way of comparison, Claudia (1979) and Alberto (1994) were each tagged with a $500 million cost.

The true challenge of an event such as this begins when a storm like Allison makes landfall. Weak though the circulation was, climatology shows nationally ranked record rainfalls from such systems, so forecasters were quick to concentrate their efforts on the heavy rain threat. Models were evaluated and the human/machine mix again proved its value to our mission delivery. Attached to this month's Topics is a figure provided by NCEP/HPC showing their composited Day-1 QPFs from the morning of June 5 until the morning of June 12 (when the remnant surface circulation was over South Carolina). Overall the guidance provided by the HPC forecasters was very good. Also attached for comparison are composited RFC precipitation estimates (QPEs) for the same period. The QPEs reflect three distinct centers of near 20-inch or greater rainfall - in the Houston area, near New Orleans, and in the vicinity of the Florida/Georgia border. The HPC QPFs caught the first two areas very well, but they under-forecast the amounts, as we typically see during such extreme Southern Region rainfalls. Nevertheless, the actual forecasts and warnings did not lose track of the heavy rain potential. Some under-forecasting of the Florida/Georgia rains was likely due to the anticipated faster motion of the circulation center and its northeastward curving track. Remarkably, it took nearly another week for Allison's remnant circulation to complete its trek up the East Coast, leaving behind more heavy rains and flooding, and a few additional deaths.

Reflecting on the entire event, the National Weather Service at the Houston/Galveston WFO, as well as the many WFOs and RFCs across the region, did an outstanding job not only in delivering their forecasts and warnings mission, but also in effectively protecting life.

(The Southeast Regional Climate Center in Columbia, South Carolina, in conjunction with the Southern RCC in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, produced an illustrative set of animated maps showing the evolution of rainfall associated with Allison's circulation. The maps can be found at http://www.dnr.state.sc.us/climate/sercc/allison/allisonmaps.html.)

IFPS

POST-NWSTC IFPS TRAINING. Southern Region has designed an IFPS course for regional focal points which will go into more depth than the two-week focal point course taught at the NWS Training Center. The first class of the 3 ˝ day course will be held at SRH the second week of July. In conjunction with the class, each focal point will take back to their office a Linux workstation to be used for the newer GFE Suite software to edit grids for IFPS. This course will build on the basic training received at the NWSTC, and take advantage of lessons learned at the WFOs since that training. It also capitalizes on the region's ability to quickly spin up a class using the latest software and deliver it to field personnel in a timely manner.

IFPS PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AT WSH. The Interactive Forecast Preparation System provides the foundation for accomplishing the NWS strategic objective of preparing and disseminating forecast products in digital form in the coming years. IFPS deployment is now at a critical stage, and considerable work is underway at WSH, the regions, and local offices to complete software development, ensure adequate hardware is in place, and accomplish the necessary training. To oversee and help coordinate all this, Bob Glahn of the NWSH Office of Science and Technology (OS&T) has been named the IFPS Program Manager. Bob Landis, NWSH Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services (OCWWS), is the Deputy IFPS Program Manager. Later this month Dr. Glahn will visit WFO/RFC Tulsa and Fort Worth, as well as SRH, to learn more about field experience so far with IFPS implementation and training.

NWS DIGITAL FORECAST DATABASE. Several NWS offices are participating in an IFPS prototype project to produce forecast grids of sensible weather elements (e.g., max temperature and PoP) and send those grids up to a central server in Silver Spring to be merged with grids from neighboring offices. The four SR WFOs involved are Tulsa, Norman, Atlanta and Morristown. The initial grid resolution will be 5 km with plans to move to 2.5 km spacing at a future date. By 2003 it is expected all WFOs and RFCs will be contributing grids to the central server to produce a National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). Graphic products (images) will be made available from the NDFD, in addition to local images posted by each office on its Web site.

GRAPHICS. Some offices are already creating experimental graphics from GFE and posting them on-line. Here are a couple of examples:

WFO Lubbock created this image by running GFE at 2.5 km resolution, taken strictly from the Eta model data without modification by the forecaster.

(http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lub/rpp/T_Official_20010627_1800.png)

An example from WFO Tulsa of a heat index graphic. Wouldn't it be nice to not ever have the Heat Index over 100 degrees like Tulsa had on this day in June?

(http://tsaweb.abrfc.noaa.gov/pub/coach/ifp_images/FCST/Img_RH_Wind/2001061612/20010616_0700.png)

Web Site. Seventeen of the 31 SR offices have installed IFPS. Only six offices have yet to complete the NWSTC focal point training. You can view the IFPS Web site at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/cwwd/msd/ifps.html

CLIMATE, WATER AND WEATHER DIVISION

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH

FLASH. Steven Cooper, the NOAA/NWS liaison for FLASH (Florida Alliance for Safe Homes) reports the organization received the Public Education/Public Information "Award," at the May 2001 Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference. Leslie Chapman-Henderson, the executive director of FLASH, received the award on behalf of the organization.

NOAA and the NWS have been partners with FLASH since 1999. During that time, FLASH Cards have been produced providing information on wind storms, tornadoes, lightning, floods, wildfires and NWR. These cards are available free to the public. Additionally, organizations across the state reproduce the cards and distribute them. One of the first FLASH public service announcements included NWR. The Florida WFOs were provided 1,000 NWR FLASH cards for distribution during Severe Weather Awareness Week this year. The SRH staff has been instrumental in providing safety tips and other information for FLASH.

FLASH (http://www.flash.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging family and home safety/mitigation. FLASH "strives to bring together the best minds, the latest research and the most practical techniques to help Floridians make their homes safer from natural disasters."

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DECISION SYSTEM. WFO Miami MIC Rusty Pfost attended a Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center staff meeting and gave a 30-minute presentation on the Emergency Management Decision System to about 16 EOC employees. Rusty hooked his laptop to a phone line and showed them the display in real-time. Bill Johnson, the deputy director of the Miami-Dade EOC, was enthusiastic about the software, especially when he saw the Miami and Key West radars, a complete suite of NCEP/TPC products, and all the watches and warnings available for WFOs Tampa Bay Area, Melbourne, Miami, and Key West.

The EMDS is one of several special projects being evaluated and tested at Southern Region WFOs this year. It is designed to provide emergency managers with detailed weather information, including radar and text products. In the near future, gridded and graphical forecasts will also be a common feature on the EMDS. WFO Tulsa will likely begin displaying GFE grids via EMDS very soon. The new system is also being evaluated at WFO Atlanta.

The NOAA Forecast Systems Lab Web site has more information concerning LDAD and the EMDS: http://jailbird.fsl.noaa.gov/~ldad/

REGIONAL OPERATIONS CENTER OPPORTUNITY. The call for applicants for the next round of ROC duty officer opportunities has been sent to all SR WFOs, RFCs and CWSUs. The closing date for applications is July 23. The SRH Regional Operations Center continues to provide support to field offices during hazardous weather, and to provide briefings and information to state and federal emergency management officials and the media.

During tropical storm Allison and the catastrophic flooding in southeast Texas, the ROC was active in conducting twice-daily conference calls with state and county officials (in conjunction with affected RFCs and WFOs), and in assisting the Houston WFO with the onslaught of media requests. ROC and SRH personnel handled several national and international media interviews, including two live appearances on a British morning television program.

The ROC duty officer program is a great way to gain valuable experience at regional headquarters and to assist with this important work. Applications for the September 2001 - March 2002 period are now being accepted. If you have questions concerning the program, contact Rick Smith, CWWD performance and evaluation meteorologist.

FAA ACADEMY. Following is a summary of recent activities by the NWS Training staff at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City.

PWB Certification Program. The NWS staff assumed full responsibility for the Pilot Weather Briefer program effective May 15. Much coordination occurred with the FAA initially, with regular mail, email, memos and internet information to provide guidance on new procedures to follow when requesting oral examinations for PWB certification. Pilots Marco Bohorquez and John Jarboe are the primary evaluators who conduct the oral exams, but another staff member (Doug Streu) is also preparing to help out when required. Feedback from the FAA has been positive, even from offices where a student has failed his/her oral examination. All oral exams are recorded, reviewed and graded, then the examiner calls and discusses the results with the supervisor and the student. This procedure would also be used for any required NWS certifications.

Flight Watch Class. FAA Academy senior instructors Robert Prentice and Jon Osterberg (Oklahoma University contract employee and retired NWS employee, respectively) recently welcomed students to the Enroute Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) class which started on June 15. This 18-day weather-intensive course is designed for the FAA flight watch specialists, facility training specialists, and first-line supervisors at flight watch facilities. Training consists of classroom instruction and laboratory exercises on the flight watch position in an automated flight service station (AFSS), and an in-depth study of weather causes, effects, hazards, and the weather products available. The NWS provides students with instruction on the demands for EFAS, and emphasis on the importance of the flight watch position. Through introduction of a scenario with adverse weather conditions leading to a fatal crash, students are shown how important it is for flight watch specialists to be on top of the weather.

Air Traffic Basics Level 1 Class. Michael Bender, an NWS senior instructor who recently transferred from WFO Corpus Christi to the FAA Academy, taught the Air Traffics Basics Level 1 4-day course last week. This short course provides fundamentals of weather, interpretation of forecasts and advisories, and impacts of hazardous weather on aircraft for air traffic controllers who attend the FAA Academy for a month and a half.

Tower Visibility Certificate Program. Aside from her normal administrative duties, ASA Teresa DeLand has become involved in administering and grading tower visibility examinations for FAA tower personnel, and she also issues certificates as required. Administering this program can take as much as 12-16 hours per week. Her administration of this program has been extremely helpful and has quickly made her an essential member of the FAA Academy staff.

FIRE WEATHER SUPPORT HELPS SAVE 100 YEAR OLD CHURCH. Fire weather support provided by WFO Jacksonville saved a 100 year old church from destruction during the recent Arabia Bay wildfire. Atkinson County Emergency Management director Diane May reported in a letter of thanks to Jacksonville MIC Steve Letro:

Having up to the minute weather information for the Arabia Bay wildfire, saved a home and a 100 year old church. The fire operations officer knew what vital steps to take to save the structures, equipment and possibly lives, because of the accurate and timely spot forecast provided by your office. When the afternoon wind forecast was given, the operations officer directed a fire fighting helicopter to lay a water line within a safe distance of the threatened structures. When the predicted winds arrived, the fire blazed and burned an additional 800 acres. But when the fire reached the water line, the blaze slowed allowing the firefighters to react and control the wildfire. Another spot forecast that same day, called for a change in wind speed and direction. This accurate forecast allowed strike teams to pullback from the fire line and reduce personal injuries.

Emergency management officials also praised WFO Jacksonville's severe weather forecasting skills. Diane May stated, "...When I receive a call [from the WFO], I contact the schools, local law enforcement and public works. Being prepared is vital when dealing with severe weather." Congratulations to the Jacksonville staff, and thanks for a job well done.

MARINE

MAST. A Marine Assessment and Support Team has been established for Southern Region, which comprises seven marine focal points:

Paul Yura WFO Brownsville
Tim Erickson WFO Lake Charles
Eric Esbenson WFO Mobile
Scott Stripling WFO San Juan
Pete Mohlin WFO Key West
Dan Sobien WFO Tampa
John Metz WFO Corpus Christi
Melinda Bailey SRH

Duties of the team members will include helping make marine-related decisions, fielding questions from customers, establishing marine projects and programs, and developing marine graphics. Team members will be happy to discuss any marine-related concerns.

VOLCANIC ASH PROGRAM

VAMP Team. The Alaska Region has been working with NWSH and the other regions (called the VAMP Team - Volcanic Ash Marine-Public team) on public and marine volcanic ash products. As we develop a new program in SR to deal with volcanic ash, one of the first steps is establishing a regional team to help make decisions about volcanic ash products, establishing a volcanic ash operating plan, and helping develop ways to educate forecasters on volcanic ash. This new program is in the initial stages, and only recently has a request for team members been sent out.

Volcanic Ash Products. Most of us are aware of the effects of volcanic ash on air transportation, but the VAMP Team wants to establish public and marine products related to volcanic ash. Currently only products already in existence (NPW and MWS) will be used to inform the public of volcanic ash. Volcanic ash affects much more than air transport: it impacts commerce on land as well as at sea, endangers people from toxic emissions, causes corrosion of exposed surfaces, destroys diesel turbine engines on ships, is highly abrasive and destroys communications and computer equipment, and mixes with water to become extremely slick and hazardous on road surfaces. Moreover, proximal hazards associated with the eruption itself include lahars, mudflows, pyroclastic flows, volcanic bombs, lava, landslides, and the blast force. Finally, sulfur dioxide mixes with water vapor to form sulfuric acid, which settles on surfaces and immediately begins corrosion.

PUBLIC

C-11 Revision. The long project of publishing a new C-11 chapter for the WSOM is now a reality. The effective date of C-11 implementation is September 5, 2001. The new chapter will be distributed soon.

CWWD WEB SITE. Have you seen the new look of the Climate, Water and Weather Division Web site? Dennis Cain (WFO Fort Worth) working with SRH staff on implementation of our Web design, has developed a new look and added many new sections. Visit the page often, for frequent additions, at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/cwwd/cwwd.htm

And the Winners are... The 2001 NWS Texas Challenge Trophy was decided last month on the field of battle - at the Lampasas (Texas) golf course. We are please to note the SRH team of Joe Villescaz, John Duxbury, Charlie Lake and Greg Waller was victorious. Team SRH edged Team San Angelo (Les Hiesler, Tim Hendricks and Carl Wright) by a single stroke. Team Austin/San Antonio was a distant third, thanks to erratic play by Dale Lininger, Nezette Rydell, Pat McDonald and Larry Peabody (sorry, folks). The three teams share one victory apiece. Hopefully, more offices will join the competition next year.

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH

Hurricane Season. June 1 marked the beginning of the 2001 hurricane season. Southern Region offices with hurricane-prone CWAs were busy participating in season kickoff activities, including the following.

WFO San Juan. WCM Rafael Mojica and senior forecaster Miguel Sierra participated in live radio interviews discussing the season's outlook and preparedness. They also answered questions from listeners. Rafael then traveled to St. Thomas for a live TV program with emergency managers regarding the start of the season. MIC Israel Matos conducted two hurricane hazards presentations for 25 emergency managers and 40 local astronomy club members. On June 1, Israel and Rafael briefed the media and discussed preparedness efforts. Rafael participated in a live five-minute interview on the local television station's morning news, while Israel participated in talk shows at radio stations.

SOO Rachel Gross participated in the annual FEMA Region II Interagency Steering Committee meetings held in St. Thomas and San Juan. She presented a review of the 2000 hurricane season and the outlook for 2001 to emergency managers from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Senior forecaster Scott Stripling addressed the Southern States Boating Law Administrators on "Boating in the Caribbean and the associated Hurricane Perils" during their annual convention. Scott also went to St. Croix to participate in their annual hurricane awareness forum. He discussed the NOAA hurricane outlook and NWS operations with 80 emergency management personnel. Finally, Israel gave a presentation on hurricane climatology and preparedness to about 180 people attending the Caribbean Urban Forestry Conference.

WFO Brownsville. MIC Richard Hagan and WCM Hector Guerrero participated with the State of Texas Wind Insurance in a hurricane season press conference. The agenda also included the director of emergency management for Texas, the acting director of FEMA Region VI, and the Texas Commissioner of Insurance. WFO Houston/Galveston participated in a press conference with the same individuals earlier that day in Galveston. The Valley Morning Star teamed with a local Brownsville TV station and developed a hurricane supplement in the paper. The supplement used extensive information which was provided by WFO Brownsville. Also, MIC Richard Hagan participated in a day-long training session sponsored by Cameron County (Brownsville) and the University of Texas at Brownsville. About 150 people heard his presentation about specific preparedness issues for the area and the outlook for the season.

WFO New Orleans. MIC Paul Trotter spoke to 150 people at the St. Bernard Parish Council meeting, highlighting hurricane hazards, Louisiana's geography, and the Southeast Louisiana Task Force findings. Other topics discussed by the various state and local agencies included preparedness for the 2001 season, sheltering, and problems related to tropical storm Allison. In another event, Paul shared a stage with other officials and preparedness experts in New Orleans. He discussed the usefulness of the Southern Region and WFO New Orleans Web pages, then presented information on the impact of tropical storm Allison, climatology, and the hurricane season outlook. About 120 people from the business and medical communities attended this meeting.

South Louisiana. The Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness conducted a day-long table top hurricane exercise in Baton Rouge. About 100 officials from federal, state, and local agencies participated in the exercise. Representing the NWS were WFO New Orleans MIC Paul Trotter, SOO Mike Koziara, and WCM Frank Revitte. MIC Steve Rinard represented WFO Lake Charles and HAS forecaster Jeff Graeschal represented the Lower Mississippi RFC. The NWS contingent prepared a hurricane scenario for the exercise to enable parish and state agencies to review their hurricane procedures and pre-landfall decisions. They conducted three weather briefings during the exercise and demonstrated the SLOSH model and HurrEvac2000. Paul and Steve discussed the importance of hurricane preparedness during interviews with two Baton Rouge TV stations. The exercise was an excellent forum for federal, state, and parish agencies to discuss pre-landfall hurricane decisions. It also gave the NWS offices serving south Louisiana an opportunity to interact and coordinate with these agencies.

WFOs New Orleans and Jackson. Both offices were represented at the initial Mississippi Hurricane Conference. WFO New Orleans MIC Paul Trotter and WCM Frank Revitte, along with WFO Jackson MIC Jim Stefkovich and WCM Jim Butch, attended this first-time conference of 150 officials from county, state, and federal agencies plus the private sector. Jim Butch gave a presentation on the StormReady program. Frank made a presentation about the newly-renamed Inland Hurricane Wind Watch/Warning.

More from WFO Jackson. Forecaster Clay Morgan spoke to about 100 people at the Mississippi Manufacturer's Association Environmental Conference. Clay's presentation dealt with the recent drought conditions across the state, past rainfall conditions, and the hurricane season outlook. A few days later, MIC Jim Stefkovich appeared with Mississippi emergency management director Robert Lathum on a 30-minute call-in show on Mississippi educational television. Topics included NWR, preparedness, and hurricanes.

WFO Melbourne. WCM Dennis Decker gave a hurricane preparedness program to the Walt Disney Feature Animation staff. These are the people who produce the Disney full-length animated movies. About 100 people attended the program. Rumor is that Dennis gave a very animated presentation!

Lightning Awareness Week. The first national awareness week for this weather killer occurred the week of June 18. The national press conference held June 19 was a big success (for details, see http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/multimedia.htm). Two lightning safety posters were introduced at the conference, featuring professional golfers Rocco Mediate and Vijay Singh. NOAA Public Affairs reports copies of both posters will be sent to field offices later this month. Many local offices distributed Public Information Statements, posted lightning safety information on their Web sites, and conducted interviews.

Warnings for the Hearing-Impaired. WFO Norman WCM Jim Purpura has assisted NSSL's Vincent "Bim" Wood in making hazardous weather warnings more easily accessible by the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) community. Bim and Jim developed the Special-Needs NOAA Weather Radio Web site (http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/NWR/) which details the weather-alerting needs of the D/HH community as well as the features of the special-needs NWR. When an alert is broadcast on NWR, this system sends a signal which then activates one of the following accessories: pillow vibrator (wakes individuals from sleep), strobe light (alerts individuals during waking hours), and bed shaker (shakes a bed to wake individuals). Publicity for this effort is picking up steam. On June 19, the USA Today Web site featured an article including a link to the Special-Needs NWR Web site. http://www.nssl.noaa.govAlso, Oklahoma is hosting a media conference for a pilot pager project involving the Oklahoma School for the Deaf on July 2, featuring Lt. Governor Mary Fallin, along with several others including Bim and Jim. Although other weather alert paging systems exist, this is believed to be the only one which directly relays NWS alerts via pagers to people with hearing impairments. Excellent work, guys!

Serving the Armed Forces. WFO Shreveport forecaster Bill Parker represented the NWS at a Safety Day presented by Barksdale Air Force Base. He presented information to more than 3000 Airmen on severe weather safety and NOAA Weather Radio. Bill reports the NWS is highly requested to participate in this event by the airmen each year.

Severe Weather Awareness for NASA. NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group staff member Wayne Baggett conducted two 2-hour severe weather awareness sessions for a group of NASA personnel who travel around the country publicizing the International Space Station (ISS). The presentation was requested because one of the ISS personnel had previously been injured by lightning while he was atop their mobile display trailer. Wayne's presentation was such a big success that Johnson Space Center staff requested a copy be posted on their Web site as part of their on-going safety program.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION

StormReady Update.

In another StormReady development, Southern Region WCM Larry Vannozzi will soon meet with the rest of the national StormReady Advisory Board to discuss program enhancements. Based on input from local offices, Larry will push for changing from the present two-year renewal cycle to a three-year cycle. Other topics will include how to handle re-certifications (one of which has already occurred in the WFO Tulsa area) and issues related to state-level recognitions. Please continue sending your suggestions to Larry in CWWD.

Proclamation in Puerto Rico. WFO San Juan WCM Rafael Mojica participated in the kick-off activities leading to the Governor's proclamation of Emergency Management Week. Officials from FEMA, Puerto Rico State Department, and local emergency managers were present and lauded NWS for its vital contributions. This year the Emergency Management Week coincided with NWS Hurricane Awareness Week. As part of the week activities, MIC Israel Matos and service hydrologist Eloy Colon joined Rafael in a series of conferences and workshops dealing with tropical cyclone forecasting uncertainties, flash flooding, and coordination issues. The conference was attended by around 500 people.

MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT

WFO Mobile Workshop. WFO Mobile hosted a workshop for the media and selected partners

on June 21, then repeated the workshop for their emergency managers that afternoon. MIC Randy McKee discussed severe weather and local research projects, while WCM Gary Beeler covered EMWIN and other sources of NWS information, along with rip currents and hurricane information. SOO Jeff Medlin gave an overview of IFPS and its capabilities. Randy reports they received good reviews from the attendees.

International Conference on Disaster Management. SRH MSB chief Jud Ladd and WCM Larry Vannozzi, along with WFO Fort Worth senior forecaster Al Moller and WFO Norman MIC Mike Foster, are helping develop the tornado program for this week-long conference. This is a new conference, formed by the same individuals responsible for the national hurricane conference, and it is scheduled for August 6-10 in Orlando. Many thanks go to the people who have agreed to make presentations. The conference features week-long "tracks" for other topics including floods, earthquakes, terrorism, hazardous materials, and wildfires.

Congressional Briefing. Congresswoman Anibal Acevedo-Vila visited WFO San Juan. MIC Israel Matos provided a briefing on WFO programs and operations, demonstrated AWIPS, and discussed the local government coordination calls. The congresswoman was very impressed with the NWS.

Spotter TV Interview. WFO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian was interviewed by the Nashville CBS affiliate about the SKYWARN spotter program in middle Tennessee. Jerry explained why spotters are important to the NWS. Two ham radio operators gave their perspective on being spotters and members of the amateur radio community. The interview helped to increase attendance at the Murfreesboro spotter class the following week.

NWR News. Two new transmitters are up and running in Georgia. Thomaston in Uptown County and Brasstown Bald in Towns County. The transmitter in Orlando, Florida, was relocated. Three new sites have been surveyed with final negotiations taking place in Georgia for Troup, Fannin and Rabun counties.

The expansion and upgrade of the NWR program for the Southern Region has been completed and forwarded to NWS Headquarters. As of July 1, we were programming 157 transmitters and identified 104 potential new sites after removal of duplication from adjacent WFOs. Each office will receive a copy of their plan during August. Many thanks for all the help in completing the project on time.

CRS News. Doug Crowley went to MCI in July to meet with the NWSTC on the development of a CRS network operations course. This course will be targeted to newer CRS focal points, and the first class is scheduled to begin in the fall of this year.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH

DRY RIVER. As most of those in the western third of the Southern Region know, that's not an oxymoron. Arroyos are common out West, but when big rivers run dry, that's news. WFO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan recently shared the following AP news story.

The once-mighty Rio Grande is so tapped out it doesn't even reach the Gulf of Mexico anymore. Nine years of drought, a proliferation of choking river weeds and the drawing off of water by farms and municipalities have taken their toll on the nation's second-longest river, which serves as the boundary between Mexico and the United States. Once a navigable waterway that swelled under bridges and made fertile an otherwise dry coastal plain, the river becomes a mere trickle before it gets to the Gulf of Mexico, disappearing about 300 feet short of its destination in a big expanse of sand. The actual U.S.-Mexico border is now marked by a few sticks in that sand.

RFC VERIFICATION PROGRAM STATUS. A prototype SR RFC verification Web site, developed by Arkansas-Red Basin RFC, is currently undergoing some modification based on feedback from the regional staff and our regional RFC verification team. A technical memorandum has also been drafted about the flood forecast verification program by West Gulf RFC and is currently in the review process. Our target date for posting the first set of RFC quarterly performance metrics to this Web site is July 2001. We will provide you with the universal resource locator for this site once it becomes available and keep you posted on further developments.

RIVER FLOOD WATCH PROJECT STATUS. We continue to make progress on our efforts to implement a River Flood Watch (RFW) text and associated graphical product. During June, we conducted a conference call with the RFCs to review the project implementation timelines, including training for RFC personnel on the RFW text and graphic creation software. Mike Boehmke, HAS forecaster at ABRFC and developer of the RFW text creation software, already provided text creation software training to Lower Mississippi RFC. He will provide on site training to WGRFC and SERFC by mid-July. LMRFC HAS forecaster Keith Stellman and SERFC senior hydrologic forecaster Jonathan Atwell, developers of the RFW RFC and WFO RFW graphics, met the in June to make adjustments to the RFW graphics based on regional and customer feedback. We drafted a ROML and Public Information Statement for internal CWWD review, and plan to implement the River Flood Watch product by September 2001.

EAP EXERCISE. On June 12 WFO Nashville MIC Derrel Martin attended an Emergency Action Plan exercise design course sponsored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Derrel gave a presentation about the NWS flash flood watch/warning program and the products that are issued in the event of a potential or imminent dam failure. He also emphasized the importance of including the NWS high on the list of the dam's emergency action plan notification flowchart. Derrel's presentation was well received and many questions ensued. Thanks for participating at this very important training session, Derrel.

FX-CONNECT OPERATIONAL. Fx-Connect is operational between the SERFC and the Florida Emergency Operations Center. Fx-Connect will be used to provide routine weekly interactive hydrometeorological outlook briefings and emergency unscheduled briefings to the Florida EOC. SERFC plans to provide the weekly briefings this month. Thanks to SERFC HAS forecaster Jack Bushong and CWWD HSB Bob Carle for helping with this implementation.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

ARCIMS GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM. Southern Region Headquarters SSD, along with the West Gulf River Forecast Center, recently set up a demonstration at SRH of serving hydrometeorologic data maps to the Internet using GIS Web software. Based on the success of the demo, SSD will obtain one copy of the ArcIMS software from ESRI and begin developing applications to serve dynamic hydrometeorologic data to the Internet.

COMET FLOAT TRAINING. In July COMET will offer several sessions of a new distance learning course called FLOAT (Flash Flood Operations and Awareness Teletraining). The course will comprise a single one-hour session for each participating office, and sessions will be delivered between July 9 and July 31. This course is based heavily on material from the COMET in-residence hydrometeorology courses held during the past two years, as well as the COMAP SOO symposia this year. This material will focus on warm-season convective events which result in flash flooding. Two versions of the DL course will be offered. They will be almost identical, but the case studies used in Version I will focus on flash flood events which did not involve significant orographic influences, while Version II will use examples from the Rockies and Appalachians. There will be a total of 15 sessions with a maximum of eight offices per session (and only one session per office).

For more information about the course, including registration instructions, go to http://www.comet.ucar.edu/class/FLOAT_2001/index.htm.

NEW COMET CASE STUDY. As if to reinforce the idea that heavy rains are hardly uncommon in the region - and certainly not in South Texas, COMET has announced the availability of Case Study No. 35 - the San Antonio Flood of October 16-18, 1998. During that weekend heavy rains fell over south and southeast Texas. Low-level moisture was transported into the area from the Gulf while hurricane Madeline off the Pacific coast of Mexico provided mid-level moisture into southern Texas. Rains of 20 to 30 inches fell in the San Antonio area, with surrounding areas receiving 10 to 20 inches. The result was flash flooding from San Antonio to Austin, followed by record-breaking river flooding along several South Texas rivers in the following days. Thirty-one drowned in the floods. The case study is designed to help forecasters recognize important considerations for issuing QPFs for such events.

Data for this case are available in netCDF, AWIPS-compatible format when ordered as a complete dataset through the CODIAC WWW system. This is the 17th case made available in this format. To order, go to:

http://www.joss.ucar.edu/cgi-bin/codiac/projs?COMET_CASE_035.

A detailed description of case study 035 and other training support documentation can be found at http://www.comet.ucar.edu/resources/cases/c35_17oct98/.

MEXICAN UPPER AIR SOUNDINGS. The possibility exists for additional upper air data from Mexico next year, with more sites taking soundings twice per day. We were asked by NWSH to comment on which sites would be most useful for Southern Region forecasters. Comments and suggestions from WFOs and RFCs in response to that question were forwarded to NWSH last month.

LIGHTNING REFERENCES. A couple of weeks ago, with the onset of summer, a major NOAA public awareness campaign called attention to the importance of lightning safety ("Lightning Kills, Play it Safe"). The campaign was designed to lower lightning death and injury rates and America's vulnerability to one of nature's deadliest hazards. Forecasters are well aware the Southern Region experiences by far the greatest frequency of cloud-to-ground lightning in the nation. Several studies in the May 2001 issue of Monthly Weather Review drive home that point. We call attention to those studies:

"Cloud to Ground Lightning Activity in the Contiguous United States from
1995 to 1999," by Bard Zajac and Steven Rutledge (Colorado State Univ.).

"Cloud-to-Ground Lightning in Linear Mesoscale Convective Systems," by
Matthew Parker, Steven Rutledge, and Richard Johnson (Colorado State Univ.).

"Cloud-to-Ground Lightning in the United States: NLDN Results in the First
Decade, 1989-1999," by Richard Orville and Gary Huffines (Texas A&M Univ.).

The Texas A&M paper describes continuing lightning studies by Prof. Orville and his students, which are part of NWS-sponsored activities at the Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies (CIAMS). Another CIAMS paper, "Enhancement of Cloud-to-Ground Lightning over Houston, Texas," including among the co-authors WFO Houston MIC Bill Read and SOO Steve Allen, has just been published in Geophysical Research Letters (Vol. 28 , No. 13). That study reveals the Houston area has the highest amount of ground flashes in Texas, and is second only to the Tampa Bay area of Florida. The Houston area experienced over 7 million flashes during the summer months from 1989-1999!

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS. SSD (Ken Waters) is working with the West Gulf RFC on innovative and potentially very useful GIS applications. The regional director and others were briefed at SRH last week on new techniques for serving hydrologic and meteorological data maps to the Internet using GIS Web software. This work is innovative and explores new applications of GIS technology. To my knowledge this work is not being tried elsewhere, and I've authorized SSD to pursue obtaining the necessary ArcIMS software and begin working on developing specific applications to serve dynamic data to the Internet. This will integrate very well with our work on IFPS applications development and training for the WFOs and RFCs.

WARNING ENVIRONMENT SIMULATOR/DISPLACED REAL-TIME AWIPS. All WFOs, RFCs and the Spaceflight Meteorology Group have received the initial delivery of their Warning Environment Simulator/Displaced Real-Time (WES/DRT) AWIPS computers. A second monitor and Informix users licenses (two per machine) will be delivered by the end of July. SSD has been working closely with the Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) to beta-test the WES software and installation procedures. We identified some bugs which will be fixed before the software and initial case study are distributed to the field offices by the National SOO-SAC Coordinator in late July/early August.

To support the development of local case studies, we plan to maintain a 30-day archive of all AWIPS data at SRH. We will distribute the data to the field offices on CD-ROMs--eventually on DVD-ROMs--on request. Field offices need only archive their radar data using the AWIPS local application software which will be distributed with the WES/DRT software. The primary support for the WES/DRT machines will be provided by SSD (Bernard Meisner), with secondary support provided by the National SOO-SAC Coordinator and the WDTB. Paul Kirkwood (SOD) will maintain the AWIPS data archive. SSD will start training field office staff on the configuration and use of the WES/DRT AWIPS workstations in August.

GOES RAPID-SCAN. Rapid-scan operations (RSO) reschedules GOES visible imagery such that images arrive at a higher frequency over the Satellite Broadcast Network and AWIPS. This generally means images will be broadcast about every seven minutes. RSO can be very useful during situations of rapidly developing weather. Last year the regions, working with NWSH and NESDIS, determined that RSO would be automatically triggered whenever the NCEP Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate or greater risk of severe weather for the current day (Day 1). "Automatically" means the SPC forecaster should initiate the RSO call at the same time the outlook is made.

A WFO or RFC may also request rapid-scan operations by means of a call to SSD. The call need only indicate which GOES satellite, and the requested start/end times for RSO. Since RSO affects only daytime satellite operations, chances are high that requests will originate during normal working hours. Outside those hours SSD personnel can be reached by using the pager numbers or home phone numbers listed in the Southern Region telephone directory. We suggest each office place this information in a location handy to the forecast operations area. In order to avoid multiple and conflicting RSO requests to NESDIS, it is necessary that a single office in each region be designated to place the call which initiates RSO. This procedure was also established last year and it appears to be working well.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

AWIPS. Build 5.1.1 is still on hold and a big concern to all. We do believe great progress has been made to resolve the problems which prompted this hold. Our beta sites are now installing this new version, and everything should be ready for the 5.1.1 release by mid-July.

All hardware upgrades have been installed on Data Server 1 (DS1) throughout Southern Region, with most sites seeing an improvement in the performance of the DS1. The workstations continue to have problems when using SCAN and FFMP, however.

The Gridded Forecast Editor (GFE) for Linux is moving along in Southern Region. All scripts have been written and tested using the latest version of the GFE software. We have approved the lease of new PCs for this project and the IP requests have been approved by NWS Headquarters. The Linux version of AWIPS is also moving along very well. SRH will be testing the Linux data server preprocessor later this summer. We hope to do this in advance of putting it into one of our WFOs to insure there are no negative impacts of this critical component of AWIPS.

IT. Please join us in welcoming Gary Petroski to Southern Region Headquarters. Gary will be filling in behind Leon Minton, and will be the primary e-mail administrator and IT security officer for the region. Gary is coming from the NCEP Storm Prediction Center, where he was a computer specialist and e-mail administrator. He will be reporting for duty on July 17. His phone number will be (817) 978-7777x117, fax (817) 978-2020 and pager (888) 569-9054.

Southern Region ITO positions are being filled by individuals with a wide variety of experience and background. Below is a list of our current ITOs in the region, where they came from, and their past position. We will be featuring a short biography on each of these folks in Southern Topics in the coming months.

Name ITO Position Previous Office and Position
Michael Davis Nashville Nashville, ET
Rod Heckel El Paso El Paso, ESA
James Lane Corpus Christi CLL, ESA
Greg Machala Birmingham Birmingham, forecaster
Scott Plischke Amarillo Amarillo, lead forecaster
James Raley Brownsville SRH, computer specialist
Patricia Schmidt Key West ERH, computer specialist
Dan Koch Little Rock MLD, lead forecaster
Greg Jackson Midland San Angelo, SOO

ASOS. SRH technicians assisted WFO San Juan with an intermittent RF comms failure at St. Croix, U.S. VI. At the suggestion of Al Wissman, NWSH ASOS program manager, they de-configured the ACU/DCP to one CPU. They then reconfigured the RF system by going directly from radio to the antenna, thus eliminating the RF coax switch and one RF radio. After a week in this configuration no RF comms failures had been noted. When the ET from WFO San Juan returns to St. Croix, he'll put either the ACU or DCP back to original configuration and observe the comms. If no failures, then he'll return to St. Croix and place the other unit back to original configuration. We would like to thank Al Wissman for his efforts in getting this system back in service.

UPPER AIR. WFO Atlanta was out of action for three days last month awaiting a replacement pylon. Lightning strikes at WFO Albuquerque and WFO Jacksonville did extensive damage to the upper air systems and caused both sites to miss some flights. We completed the testing of the modified RF assembly at WFO Little Rock. The unit was removed and returned to NRC for evaluation. The RF oscillator circuit was updated with more modern components. No problems were noted during the evaluation.

OPEN RPG UPDATE. The Initial Beta Testing (IBT) for the Open RPG (ORPG) has begun at WFO Norman. If all goes well, the ORPG will next be installed at two beta test sites: WFO Topeka, Kansas, and WFO Atlanta. The WFO Atlanta beta test is currently slated to begin on August 23. If all goes well at these two sites, full scale installation and deployment will begin in late September at WFO Memphis with one to two Southern Region sites being slated for installation per week until completed in early 2002. A table of the installation dates has been provided to all SR WFOs.

Open RPG Operator training will have three components:

1) Computer Based Training (CBT) on CD-ROM. Training covers all aspects of operator interactions with the ORPG human computer interface. This CBT assumes the operator is familiar with the legacy Unit Control Position (UCP). This has already been completed at WFO Norman. Two copies of this CD-ROM will be sent to all offices in September. Of course, special provisions will be needed at WFOs Atlanta and Memphis due to the timetable.

2) ORPG Teletraining. This two-hour training session will expand on key areas covered in the CD-ROM, adding examples and discussions of the impacts of critical operations. The teletraining will be offered several times each month from September 2001 through the summer of 2002. Offices will be able to enroll in sessions that fall in the month prior to deployment. The teletraining will be accompanied by a printed student guide for every forecaster, mailed to the office at the time of enrollment.

3) Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS). The ORPG EPSS is a Web-based system providing the user with "just in time" task and problem-based help selections. The EPSS includes step-by-step instructions for common operator functions. The EPSS stands alone with no direct links to the ORPG software, and can therefore be updated and improved as needed.

WARP INSTALLATION. The FAA Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) has now been installed at every Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) for operational use by the NWS Center Weather Support Unit (CWSU) at each of these ARTCCs. Starting in about one to two years, it is likely data from WSR-88Ds will be used operationally by air traffic controllers at the ARTCCs as their primary source of weather radar reflectivity information. This represents a quantum leap forward with regard to visibility and use of NEXRAD data by a sister agency.

It is important WFOs who have operational control of WSR-88Ds begin the process of communicating WSR-88D outages both scheduled and unscheduled with the ARTCCs and/or the CWSUs. The best vehicle for this will be through the use of the Free Text Message (FTM) product.

PUP DECOMMISSIONING. Legacy PUPs from three Southern Region RFCs have already been formally decommissioned and the property has been disposed of. This has also been done from one CWSU. Supplemental PUPs are starting to be decommissioned as well.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

EMERGENCY-ONLY CELL PHONES. Cell phones for emergency-only communications have been sent to all WFOs/RFCs in the Southern Region along with instructions for the phone's use. These cell phones are intended for field personnel who may be engaged in potentially hazardous work activities such as tower climbing, high voltage, river gage inspections and repair, extreme temperatures, and remote areas. Each phone is to be maintained on a shared basis by WFO/RFC employees and is intended for emergencies only and not normal business communications.

RDA COOLING UNITS NEARING REPLACEMENT. Recent HVAC component repairs at the Southern Region RDA sites at Key West, Albuquerque and Huntsville may be a precursor to future replacement of both Bard units at those locations and others. During the summer the RDA usually will not be able to maintain adequate cooling with only one operational Bard unit. The manufacturer has said the typical life span of units running on a near-continuous basis such as those in the region may be only ten years, and could be as little as five years for tropical or warm weather areas. One complete Bard unit has already been replaced at the Houston and San Angelo RDAs with used units from the Radar Operations Center. The same model number now in use is still in production at Bard Corporation in Ohio.

KEY WEST PROGRAM ENGINEERING STUDY. A meeting was held at SRH last month with architects Guidry, Beazley and Eskew along with representatives from NWSH, SRH, and CASC to review project requirements. Program engineers will review the 30 percent completed design study on August 1 in Key West. A preliminary meeting will be held the end of July with representatives from the city of Key West architectural review board to provide informal input to conceptual designs for the inland White Street property.

PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR FY01. The Southern Region offices have provided excellent support to the Cooperative Observer Program. As we approach the end of the third quarter the following performance numbers reflect the attention given to this program.

There have been 2844 site visits reported, which is 86 percent of the required visits for the year. The missing data percentages are low with only 1.05 percent of the climatological data reported as missing and 1.73 percent of the hourly precipitation data to National Climatic Data Center for publication missing. There are an estimated 25,335 person hours dedicated to program support and 257,855 miles driven to accomplish program management and perform equipment maintenance.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

NEW IT JOB SERIES. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has created a new job classification to cover information technology workers. The Information Technology Management Series, GS-2200, replaces the Computer Specialist Series, GS-0334, which will be discontinued. All employees classified as computer specialists will be reclassified as IT specialists. How this change will be implemented in NWS has not yet been determined. To see OPM's guidance on the new series, go to www.opm.gov.

(The above appeared verbatim in the June 22 issue of the on-line NWS newsletter, NWS Focus.)

DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

DIVERSITY SPECTRUM AWARD. Congratulations to Dave Reed, HIC at RFC Slidell, one of this year's winners of the NOAA Diversity Spectrum Achievement Award. This award is given to those managers or employees who have made significant, substantive, and ascertainable contributions to managing diversity in NOAA. According to Dave's staff who nominated him for this award, "The working environment at the Lower Mississippi RFC is greatly enhanced by the presence of this ever-evolving manager who is aware of actions and practices needed to fully incorporate diversity into the everyday work life for the benefit of the staff members. The staff is truly honored to work with such a well-rounded individual who places managing diversity at the top of his list."

WFO BROWNSVILLE. Forecaster Brian Miller has a unique second job. He is a meteorology officer in the Naval Reserve. Having originally received his meteorology training in the active duty Navy, Brian continued to work in the reserves when he left the Navy for the National Weather Service.

As part of his reserve commitment, Brian is required to do two weeks of annual training a year. Luckily for him, his NWS experience goes hand in glove with his Navy job. For the last three springs, Brian has traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, to lead the Atlantic Fleet's annual hurricane preparedness exercise from the Atlantic Fleet headquarters. This exercise provides training for all Atlantic Fleet afloat units and shore establishments, from Puerto Rico to Maine and the Gulf of Mexico.

This year, three simulated hurricanes were spun up by the Navy's meteorology center in Norfolk during a two-week period. They resembled the tracks of historically significant tropical storms, and tested the warning and sortie procedures of every Atlantic and Gulf port vulnerable to tropical storms. Brian essentially ran the exercise on behalf of the commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet, making sure Navy assets were playing correctly, and that the required training was being achieved.

In a real hurricane situation, the Navy and the NWS coordinate via regular conference calls. In addition, meteorological information from Navy assets can be very valuable for assessing tropical storm position, movement, and intensity. Since Brian works in Brownsville, the experience he gets from the hurricane exercises makes him just that much more prepared for a real tropical storm which might threaten the area.

A new partnership has been forged between the NWS and Televisa in Matamoros. This Spanish TV station coverage area includes a large part of the lower Rio Grande Valley. Televisa featured the NWS in Brownsville operations on their morning show. WCM Hector Guerrero provided a Spanish interview and discussed the inland flooding dangers as well as the other hazards associated with hurricanes.

MIC Richard Hagan, Hector Guerrero, and the staff were featured on KRGV Channel 5. The NWS in Brownsville has been featured lately on this TV station as the "Weather Experts."

Hector Guerrero provided a hurricane talk to emergency officials and residents of Port Isabel. About 30 were in attendance. Forecaster Mick McGuire also was present and helped pass out information.

DAPM Jim Campbell gave a presentation to 50 residents of the Golden Palms Retirement and Health Center in Harlingen at a "Women's Day Out" brunch. Jim spoke about the history of the National Weather Service in Brownsville, the current modernization of the weather service, as well as the history of hurricanes along the lower Texas coast and the outlook for the current hurricane season. Hurricane brochures and tracking maps were made available.

Interestingly, one of the residents and attendees, Virginia Cowen, worked at the Brownsville Weather Bureau office in 1943 and recounted some of her experiences. She was particularly fond of upper air while employed at the Brownsville office. Several women told of their memories of the great hurricane of 1933, which was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the lower Texas coast.

Forecaster Mike Castillo gave three presentations about weather to three groups of Girl Scouts at a Girl Scout Jamboree at the Brownsville Elks Lodge. Mike spent thirty minutes with each group presenting information on preparing for hurricanes, with video material and literature. He also discussed and emphasized the importance of NOAA Weather Radio, as well as giving a general presentation of the National Weather Service and the job of a "weatherman."

There were 15 to 20 scouts per group ranging from first grade to sixth grade. All three groups were mostly Hispanic. The scouts asked many questions about hurricanes and thunderstorms. They related very good stories about their recent weather experiences as well.

Mike used a "tornado in the bottle" prop which was very popular with the scouts. Each scout also received a copy of the booklet "Billy and Maria Visit the National Weather Service," as well as an "I'm not scared...I'm prepared" sticker.

WFO NEW ORLEANS. MIC Paul Trotter participated in an event sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce. Other participants included members of the New Orleans American Red Cross, Plaquemine and Jefferson Parishes Offices of Emergency Preparedness, members of the business and medical community, and the media.

Paul presented information concerning where weather information could be found on the Southern Region and WFO New Orleans Web pages; tropical storm Allison and related economics, resources, and impact on life and property; climatology; Dr. Gray's and NWS forecast and forecast techniques; and preparedness information. The WFO's two ORISE students, Darius Glover from Xavier University, and Jessica Mellieone from Florida A&M, were very instrumental in sharing and finding related storm information for the presentation.

WFO SAN JUAN. WCM Rafael Mojica represented NOAA and NWS at the OPM Job Fair held at the Sacred Heart University in San Juan, a minority serving institution. Representatives from DOC Office of Civil Rights, NIST, and Census Bureau also participated. Rafael helped brief university counselors on career opportunities within NOAA/NWS. Over one thousand students visited the job fair.

A group of four students and two science teachers from the U.S. Virgin Islands St. Croix Central High School Globe Club toured the WFO as part of a five-day excursion to Puerto Rico. Globe is a worldwide work group of students and teachers who work together with scientists to monitor the planet through careful measurements. The visitors had the opportunity to talk about NWS operational issues with all staff members on duty. During July, this group will be participating in the NWS Skywarn seminar on St. Croix.

MIC Israel Matos conducted an evening tour for participants of the DOC Science and Technology Fellowship Program discussing NWS and WFO operations. The group was also able to see the upper air balloon release. This tour was part of a one week visit to Puerto Rico coordinated by Cynthia Lynn, program coordinator. ASA Lucy Monett assisted with local visits and schedule arrangements.

Brian Seeley, senior forecaster conducted a two-hour weather training for Fort Buchanan Brownie Troop 116. The 14 girls visited the WFO as part of the weather patch requirements for moving up to junior girl scouts.

DAPM Francisco Balleste, senior forecasters Miguel Sierra and Scott Stripling each conducted office tours for groups of science teachers from north central Puerto Rico and from the greater San Juan area. All groups were part of the University of Puerto Rico Center for Engineering Studies, Statewide System Initiative.

MIC Israel Matos met with members of the Puerto Rico Federal Executives Association to discuss the draft of the emergency contingency plan for federal agencies in Puerto Rico. Israel conducted a presentation on hurricane preparedness followed by an in-depth discussion of the plan. Approximately 55 persons attended the meeting.

RFC TULSA. In recognition and celebration of the contributions that persons of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage have made to our diverse American society, the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC held a diversity seminar for Asian/Pacific Islander month. Barbara Moore and Ralph Morita, representatives of the Asian-American Community Service Association of Tulsa, gave a presentation on the role of Asians in American society and provided background information about their Tulsa organization. About 20 employees from the Tulsa RFC and WFO attended.

The ABRFC and the NWSFO Tulsa joined forces to compete in the sixteenth annual Tulsa Corporate Challenge. As the nation's largest community-based corporate athletic competition, this event hosts over 25,000 participants from 350 corporate teams. The competition promotes fitness and a healthy lifestyle across the community by offering challenges for all persons regardless of their fitness level, age, or sex. Activities ranged from individual age-grouped running and biking competitions to co-ed team events such as tug-of-war, relay races, volleyball, golf and bowling. Events are designed to emphasize participation over athletic ability with events like the 1.5-mile fitness walk, where the team score is based solely on the percentage of your employees completing the walk.

This was the second year the combined RFC/WFO team competed in this competition. Last year the team placed fourth in our division, and this year we were proud to take home the 1st place trophy. In addition to our first place trophy, several employees placed in the top three in their competition:

This competition consisted of numerous events over a two-month period. Last year, approximately 65% of our office participated in some event and this year we increased our involvement to over 80%. This activity took a great deal of teamwork (especially for group activities such as bowling, golf, fun walk, tug-of-war, and volleyball) and several individuals adjusted their work schedules to allow team members to participate in the events. In addition, several employees came to events during their days off to cheer their fellow coworkers to victory. Overall, this was a great team building experience for both the RFC and the WFO and we look forward to competing again next year.

SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS

June 1-30, 2001

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Michael Ford WFO ABQ Retirement Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Skip Ely WFO FWD Retirement MIC, GS-15
Daniel Melendez WFO SJU Reassignment to NWSH Forecaster, GS-12
William Thompson WFO JAN Retirement Service Hydrologist, GS-13
Gene Barry WFO MAF Retirement El Tech, GS-11

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Amy Hausmann WFO ABQ New Hire from SCEP Met Intern, GS-5
Angela Broyles WFO BMX New Hire from SCEP Met Intern, GS-7

Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Matthew Bishop CWSU ZHU Reassignment from BMX Meteorologist, GS-12
Daniel Koch WFO LZK Reassignment from MAF IT Officer, GS-13
Joe Villescaz SRH SOD Promotion from EWX Reg. Systems Specialist, GS-12
David Manning WFO TSA Promotion from TSA Forecaster, GS-11
Lance Goehring WFO AMA Promotion from AMA Senior Forecaster, GS-13

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