UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
July 1, 1999
OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR HONORS NWSFO NORMAN STAFF. Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and First Lady Cathy Keating presented a Humanitarian Award on June 23, to the National Weather Service Forecast Office at Norman. Dennis McCarthy, Meteorologist in Charge, accepted the award on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion on behalf of the entire NWSFO staff. The award was given for "meritorious service for ....the May 3, 1999 Oklahoma tornadoes." According to Governor Keating, "..these individuals represent the kindness and courage of all Oklahomans who helped." The selection was made by representatives of the Governor's Office, the Office of Civil Emergency Management, and the Oklahoma Municipal League.
It is my pleasure to extend our profound congratulations and express our pride for the absolutely vital role the Norman forecast office played in saving so many lives with their timely warnings during this awesome event.
MCINTYRE RECEIVES MODERNIZATION AWARD. Ernest L. (Buddy) McIntyre, II, currently the WCM at NWSO San Angelo, was recognized for his outstanding leadership while serving as the Regional Transition Manager at SRH. Buddy was a key player during the entire transition process from the installation and commissioning of the ASOS and WSR-88D systems through the spin-up and spin-down of a number of Southern Region offices and regionally led the effort for about 5 years. He spearheaded the certification process and was an invaluable asset to the field managers as they worked through the extensive notification procedures associated with that process. In addition, he ably represented the Southern Region before the Modernization Transition Committee as the various certifications were brought before the Committee, and he has continued to assist the Regional Headquarters with vital transition activities after his reassignment to the San Angelo office. The entire region congratulates Buddy in this long overdue but well deserved recognition.
CLINE AWARDS. I hope the process is well along at all offices to recognize appropriate individuals for these new NWS awards. Full details were attached to last month's Topics. Documentation for local award recipients (CD-326s) should be forwarded to SRH by August 7 to be considered for Regional Cline Awards.
ENHANCED SATELLITE IMAGERY FOR TROPICAL OPERATIONS. SSD is working with the Eastern Region SSD and the AWIPS vendor PRC to configure the SRH AWIPS to display the GOES-8 PR National and PR Regional sectors. This will provide SRH with the medium-to-high resolution imagery necessary to support operations during what is expected to be an active hurricane season. Results of this effort will be fully documented and shared with all our field offices. This work will also ensure the upcoming AWIPS Build 4.2 load will be optimized for forecast and warning operations at San Juan when it is delivered in the near future. See the following item for more information.
AWIPS TECHNICAL NOTE 99-2. Southern Region AWIPS Technical Note 99-2, "Configuring AWIPS to Ingest Alternate Satellite Imagery" has been completed. It documents the work described above and includes the steps involved in configuring a Build 4.2 AWIPS site to acquire and display all satellite imagery transmitted over the SBN. An online copy of this document can be found in the AWIPS section of the Southern Region Web site, http://www.srh.noaa.gov. Please note that access to this document is restricted to noaa.gov machines. For more information, or for alternate access to the document, contact Ken Waters in SSD at (817) 978-2671.
SENIOR FORECASTER SYMPOSIUM. Senior forecasters from across the Southern Region will meet in Fort Worth at the end of July to discuss ways to improve our severe weather warnings and short term forecasts. Some of the top severe weather experts in the country are scheduled to speak on topics related to severe weather detection and warnings at the region's first Senior Forecaster Severe Weather Warning and Short Term Forecasting Symposium. Forecasters who attend the symposium will share information with the staffs at their respective offices when they return. We have included the tentative agenda as an attachment in this month's Topics.
PRODUCT OF THE MONTH. June was a very active month across the Southern Region, and selecting products to be highlighted as "Product of the Month" was very difficult. This time we will look at a couple of products issued by Florida offices. The first is a short term forecast issued by NWSO Melbourne.
STRONG LIGHTNING STORMS WILL MOVE NORTH ALONG COASTAL BREVARD AND INTERIOR VOLUSIA COUNTIES AS WELL AS ADJACENT ATLANTIC WATERS THROUGH 1 AM. LIGHTNING DETECTION EQUIPMENT SHOWS FREQUENT LIGHTNING FROM MERRITT ISLAND NORTH TO TITUSVILLE AND OVER VOLUSIA COUNTY. STORMS WILL MOVE SLOWLY NORTH TO NORTHEAST PRODUCING BRIEF HEAVY RAIN FROM MELBOURNE TO COCOA AND TITUSVILLE ALONG INTERSTATE 95. AN ADDITIONAL INCH TO TWO INCHES OF RAIN IS POSSIBLE WITH WIND GUSTS TO 35 MPH.
Short term forecasters should use all available data to provide information on current and expected weather, including radar, surface observations, satellite and lightning detection systems. This NOW from Melbourne highlights the main threat from the storms - lightning - and pinpoints locations which will be most affected by the lightning storms.
The second highlighted product is a short term forecast issued by NWSFO Miami.
THUNDERSTORMS WILL BEGIN TO INTENSIFY OVER THE WESTERN SUBURBS OF BROWARD... MIAMI-DADE AND PALM BEACH COUNTIES BETWEEN 1 AND 2 PM. THE BEST CHANCE OF RAIN THROUGH 3 PM WILL BE FROM THE CAROL CITY/ MIAMI SPRINGS AREA NORTH THROUGH DAVIE AND WESTON TO WEST OF WEST PALM BEACH. BY 130 PM THESE THUNDERSTORMS WILL PRODUCE FREQUENT LIGHTNING...WIND GUSTS TO 40 MPH AND HEAVY RAIN. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD DEVELOP OVER SOUTHERN MIAMI-DADE BETWEEN 2 AND 3 PM.
This short term forecast is just that - a specific forecast for the next one to three hours. The forecaster has detailed the what-when-where concerning thunderstorms over south Florida and has provided some excellent information about the timing and expected threats. Mentioning specific locations (cities, towns, interstates, parks, etc) is much more effective and meaningful than using generic, hard-to-understand terms such as "the area," "the region," etc. Also, remember to use specific times rather than confusing phrases such as: "within the next hour," " during the next 30 minutes."
EMWIN NEWS. Gary Woodall, SRH WCM, and NWSFO Norman WCM Jim Purpura represented the Southern Region at the EMWIN Summit Meeting held in Fort Collins, Colorado last month. This meeting was the first of its kind, enabling all regional EMWIN focal points, NWS field experts, and NWSH program managers to discuss EMWIN's status. As a result of this meeting, we should see more structure and visibility for EMWIN in the near future. SRH was given the lead in developing informational videotapes describing the system. Work is underway on two videos, with the first video scheduled for completion later this month.
Bruce Burkman, NWSO Shreveport WCM, reports the city of Nacogdoches, Texas has modernized their warning dissemination program. Using EMWIN as the backbone, NWS watch and warning information is available in the local area via e-mail and/or pager. Customers using the system have noted the information is available in a timely manner, sometimes even before it is broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio.
WARNING LOCATIONS...CUSTOMER FEEDBACK. WSOM Chapter C-40 states we should reference the location of the threat in our severe weather warnings, to well-known towns or geographic features. While this may seem an unnecessary addition, feedback from our customers indicates otherwise. Below is an excerpt from a letter we recently received.
"We have on several occasions had this experience: We're several states away from home, driving on an Interstate highway or boating in unfamiliar inland waters, paying close attention to the weather radio. We begin to hear watches being placed in effect for such-and-such county, but we haven't a clue what county we're in! We could pull over and search a map, I suppose, but on an Interstate, that constitutes a hazard in and of itself.
"Or perhaps the name of a small town is given. Unless it happens to be very close to us, it's difficult to figure out if we should take cover.
"One would expect a traveler to know where he is in relation to a fairly good-sized city...but (small towns) or (counties) would mean nothing to us."
Bear in mind many radio stations fail to inform listeners where their station is located. All the more reason to remember, when composing warnings, to include those well-known towns and geographic features whenever possible.
STORMREADY UPDATE. Over the past several months, NWSO Tulsa has developed a hazardous weather accreditation program for the cities and counties in their CWA. The program, called "StormReady," defines population-based minimum criteria for the number of warning systems, data reception systems, spotter training programs, and community preparedness activities which must be met before a community is so designated. To date, there are four accredited jurisdictions in the Tulsa CWA: Wilburton/Latimer County, Claremore/Rogers County, and Tulsa/Tulsa County, in Oklahoma, and Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Plans are underway to expand StormReady to a regional, and eventually, a national program.
SEVERE WEATHER ACTIVITIES. Jim Stefkovich, NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM, gave a spotter training presentation at the annual HAMCOM amateur radio convention in Arlington, Texas. The program included fundamental storm formation concepts, safety rules, and storm structure and identification. Approximately 150 people from Texas and surrounding states attended, with most of those attending such training for the first time.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS. As we complete the first month of the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season, Southern Region offices continue their outstanding efforts in hurricane preparedness. Below are a few highlights.
NWSO Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness hosted the Southwest Louisiana/Southeast Texas Hurricane Workshop. The workshop featured presentations from John Guiney (NHC), MIC Steve Rinard and WCM Roger Erickson from NWSO Lake Charles, Clay Kennelly (Texas Dept. of Public Safety), and Will Shaffer (Techniques Development Lab, NWSH). The workshop drew over 300 people, including representatives from every county/parish in the NWSO's CWA. Television stations from Beaumont, Lake Charles, and Lafayette covered the event. Presentation topics ranged from NWS hurricane operations, to freshwater flooding, to evacuation before and after a tropical cyclone threat.
Rusty Pfost NWSFO Miami MIC and WCM Jim Lushine attended the South Florida Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale. The conference attracted several hundred people and featured Joe Myers, Director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management. Many south Florida emergency managers attended. Rusty gave a one-hour presentation to the group on south Florida's hurricane climatology and the outlook for the 1999 hurricane season.
Paul Trotter NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge MIC and senior forecaster Robert Ricks participated in a hurricane press conference sponsored by the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross. Representatives from the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Red Cross also participated. The event was covered by all four television network affiliates. Topics discussed included La Niña and the 1999 season outlook, evacuation challenges in southeast Louisiana, and changes at the NWSFO as they use AWIPS in the forecast process.
Richard Hagan NWSO Brownsville MIC and WCM Don Ocker provided items for a display case at the Harlingen, Texas, Public Library. The display, dedicated to hurricane preparedness, included a number of photographs of damage from storms which struck the lower Texas coast. Among these were the October 1867, September 1933, September 1967 (Beulah) and August 1980 (Allen) storms. The display proved so popular the library extended the display a week past the time it was to be replaced.
The CWSU in Miami hosted a hurricane conference for the Regional FAA supervisors, administrators, and staff members. CWSU Meteorologist Angela Downing, NWSFO MIC Rusty Pfost, and NWSFO WCM Jim Lushine conducted the program, discussing tropical cyclone threats to south Florida and how to prepare for their impact. This was the first such conference in many years and was well attended by the FAA staff.
The NWS was well-represented at the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference in Tampa. All of the offices serving Florida collaborated with Max Mayfield and Brian Jarvinen of NHC in a day-long tropical meteorology training seminar. The conference's main session featured presentations by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, FEMA Director James Lee Witt, and NHC Director Jerry Jarrell.
Paul Trotter, NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge MIC, WCM Frank Revitte, and forecaster Dana Griffin participated in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Hurricane Conference. The conference was co-sponsored by the Mississippi EMA, FEMA's Project IMPACT, WLOX-TV, and many area businesses. Over 100 people attended. The theme of this year's conference was a remembrance of the 30-year anniversary of Hurricane Camille. Several anecdotal presentations were made regarding Camille's impact, evacuation, response, and recovery from the storm. The NWS presentation featured hurricane forecasting, NWS modernization, storm surge modeling, and the outlook for the 1999 hurricane season
SEAS TRAINING FOR THE PMO. Jim Nelson, the Houston Port Meteorological Officer (PMO), will host SEAS training sessions for PMOs around the country. SEAS is a computer program which ships use to send weather observations to the NWS. The PMOs will learn how to use the program, and how to install the program on domestic and international ships. Captains from around the world have expressed their desire to use the SEAS program. Marine forecasters use these critical marine observations to issue a wide range of marine products. Larry Cain (PMO Jacksonville), Bob Drummond (PMO Miami), and Jack Wallerman (PMO New Orleans) will attend Jim's SEAS training session in Houston.
LAKE CHARLES SHIP VISITS. Jim Nelson also provided NWSO Lake Charles staff with training for ship visits. A ship officer recently contacted the Lake Charles office to request additional supplies. Superior customer service was achieved as a member of the Lake Charles staff visited the ship while in port. Another visit is scheduled in the near future. NWSOs Corpus Christi and Key West are other offices without a PMO which arrange to visit ships while in port. This is a great collaboration between the forecast offices, area PMOs, and marine customers. Nice work everyone.
SERVICE TRANSFER NEWS. On July 15, NWSOs El Paso, Midland, San Angelo, Lake Charles, Shreveport, Nashville, and Morristown will receive long-fuse watch, warning, and forecast responsibility. There have been a number of outstanding efforts to help ease the pains of service transfer. Staff from the San Angelo office visited each county in their CWA, presenting a color brochure summarizing what their customers can expect following service transfer. During the March 15 transfer, NWSO Houston held a media workshop to educate local broadcasters. Each office involved in these service transfers is sending a PNS to their customers. NWSFO Memphis placed transfer information in their zone forecasts. NWSO Morristown has been in contact with local and state officials in preparation for their office spin-up. The more information we can get to our customers, the easier this transition will be. Be sure to share your ideas and success stories; they could help other offices in the final transfer which is scheduled for November 15.
TAMPA BAY PUBLIC AND MARINE FORECAST SEMINAR. NWSO Tampa Bay Area hosted a Public and Marine Forecast seminar. This seminar was organized by Tampa Bay Public and Marine focal points John McMichael and Dan Sobien, along with SOO Charlie Paxton. The training session prepared the staff for marine and public service transfer on November 15. Guest speakers were Wayne Colin, senior forecaster at NWSFO Miami, and Professor Mark Luther of the University of South Florida Department of Marine Science. Great training!
NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities in the region's Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) program.
The report of the RTA Team is in the final stages of preparation and the review process will follow. In the document, the team will recommend an initial-stage replacement and end-stage upgrade to the RTA. The target date for the report is July 15.
Many CWSUs are participating in the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product (CCFP) project led by the Aviation Weather Center (see Web site http://ccfp.kc.noaa.gov). In addition to the CWSUs and the AWC, several major air carriers, including American, Delta, Northwest, and United, as well as Federal Express and The Air Traffic Control System Command Center are participating in the project. As the project title suggests, the main objective is to develop a methodology for promoting collaborative decision-making regarding the location, timing and coverage of expected thunderstorm development. The consensus among the participants is provided in a series of graphics produced by AWC.
CWSU Atlanta. The CWSU has been quite active in outreach. CWSU staff provided briefings on Unit forecast operations to students of Southwest Christian Academy and avionic specialists from Delta Airlines.
Forecaster Melvin Murrell delivered a presentation on the recent tornado outbreak in Oklahoma and Kansas at his monthly visit to Atkinson Elementary School in Griffin, Georgia. He also accompanied Atkinson students on a field trip to the NWSFO Atlanta.
CWSU Fort Worth. The CWSU recently gained access to the Traffic Management Unit's Traffic Situation Display (TSD). The system, which can be configured to the needs of the CWSU, assists the meteorologists in visualizing and anticipating air traffic demands.
CWSU Houston. The staff conducted two more training classes for Continental Airlines dispatchers. This is a continuation of a series of training classes on CWSU operations which the staff has been providing for Continental.
FIRE WEATHER COORDINATION AT MORRISTOWN. In preparation for the office's July 15 fire weather spin-up, the staff hosted a forestry/fire weather meeting on June 16. Representatives from the Cherokee National Forest and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Natchez Trace National Parkway and Department of Forestry in Tennessee were in attendance. Judd Ladd, the regional Fire Weather Program Manager, also attended. A tour of the Morristown office preceded the meeting.
The objective of the meeting was to finalize plans for the July 15 assumption of fire weather services at NWSO Morristown. Jerry McDuffie (MIC), David Hotz (Fire Weather Program Leader), and David Gaffin (Assistant Fire Weather Program Leader) presented briefings on the service transfer process, specific areas of responsibility, accessing fire weather information on the Internet (especially the Morristown Web page), the long-range fire outlook for Tennessee and North Carolina, and the plan of operations for the Morristown office. It was an excellent meeting and further raised the comfort level of the customers regarding NWS fire weather services.
HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION
NEW DOH AT SERFC. Brad Gimmestad, senior hydrologist at the Southeast RFC in Atlanta has been selected as the new DOH. He replaces Jerry Curnutt, who recently retired. Brad has been at the SERFC for 18 years, where he served as a journeyman and senior hydrologic forecaster. Prior to this he worked as a forecaster and WPM at NWSFO Atlanta. While at the SERFC he has been quite involved with the flash flood program and data-related issues. Congratulations and good luck on your new assignment, Brad.
SERFC DROUGHT OUTREACH. As of early June, drought conditions continued over much of the Southeast RFC area. The SERFC has initiated a pro-active response program to address the situation. Using long-term summer rainfall estimates developed by the HAS staff, the RFC will run the Extended Streamflow Prediction software, and use the results as input to a drought summary message. The messages will be repeated on approximately a 10-day cycle.
AWIPS DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSITION PLANS BEING FORMULATED. Recent staff meetings at both Arkansas-Red Basin RFC and Southeast RFC have focused on the transition of operational forecast activities from the current small workstation networks to the AWIPS platforms. Issues being addressed include staff and local software readiness, and specific task plans. Both offices expect to be operational on AWIPS within the next few months.
ALBUQUERQUE PRECIPITATION STUDY. Ed Polasko, NWSFO Albuquerque senior service hydrologist, and SOO Deirdre Kann collaborated on a study of a stratiform precipitation episode and the resultant poor rainfall estimates from the Albuquerque WSR-88D. Results were presented at the WSR-88D Intermountain Workshop in Reno, Nevada, on June 11.
MEMPHIS SERVICE HYDROLOGIST TRAINING AND WHFS STATUS. Buzz Merchlewitz, NWSFO Memphis service hydrologist, attended the WHFS workshop May 3-7, followed by the COMET Hydrometeorology Course in late June. Following Buzz's return to the office, the NWSFO is expected to be ready to go operational with WHFS about mid-July.
WGRFC SERVICE HYDROLOGIST/HYDRO FOCAL POINT WORKSHOP. The West Gulf RFC in Fort Worth held a three-day workshop for service hydrologists and hydrologic focal points in its service area in late June. Participants discussed a variety of topics and issues, and had the opportunity to interact with the WGRFC staff and their colleagues. Thanks to WGRFC HIC Dave Morris, DOH Bobby Corby, and senior HAS forecaster Cyndie Abelman for the preparations and for hosting the workshop.
WGRFC HYDROLOGIST COMET INSTRUCTOR. Chris Bovitz, West Gulf RFC hydrologist, participated in mid-June as a guest lecturer at the COMET Hydromet Course. He provided instruction in the utilization of the HAS-QPF and WinQPF software.
LMRFC REPRESENTED AT TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE. On June 8, the Greater Slidell Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a technology conference to assist small businesses with using new technology. Ethan Jolly, Lower Mississippi RFC hydrologist, teamed up with a local professional in Web page design to teach Web page development to over 60 people. Hydrologist E. J. Leche and HIC Dave Reed also attended.
NEW LMRFC STAFF MEMBER. Keith Stellman recently transferred from NWSO Tallahassee to Lower Mississippi RFC. On June 24, Keith defended his thesis and completed all the requirements for his Master of Science degree in meteorology from Florida State University. Congratulations Keith!
HYDROLOGY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIES. The Hydrology Professional Development Series (PDS) team, comprised of representatives from the OH, WFOs, RFCs, regional HSDs, COMET, and the NWS Training Center, completed formal meetings to draft the PDSs for the NWS Hydrology program. Ben Weiger, deputy chief HSD, Dave Schwertz, senior service hydrologist NWSO Houston, and Dave Reed, HIC Lower Mississippi RFC, represented Southern Region on this team. Larry Lowe, HAS forecaster from Arkansas-Red Basin RFC, attended the last meeting which focused on drafting the "Assimilating Hydrometeorological Data" PDS.
These PDSs are comprised of professional competency units and instructional components associated with daily and retrospective hydrologic/hydrometeorological operations at the WFOs and RFCs. Seven PDSs were identified for the NWS Hydrology program:
1. Hydrologic Forecasting
2. Model Calibration and Hydrologic Procedure Development
3. Extended-Range Hydrologic Forecasting
4. Assimilating Hydrometeorological Data
5. Assessing Near-Term Hydrologic Guidance and Issuing Public Forecasts
6. Managing the Hydrology Program
7. Forecasting Flash Flood Events
Each PDS includes training components (e.g., residence courses, computer-based modules, Web-based modules, correspondence courses, workshops, etc.) to provide personnel supporting the NWS Hydrology program with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform their job duties and responsibilities. Some training components already exist; others will be developed based on the training needs identified in the hydrology PDSs. It should be noted these PDSs will continue to evolve and be updated to reflect changes in hydrologic science applications and technology, hydrologic operations, and associated products and services.
In FY 2000, the NWS Office of Hydrology, in collaboration with the regional HSDs and the NWS Training Center, plan to develop a new residence course which will focus on hydrologic program management at the WFOs. Web-based hydrology training modules will be developed in FY 2000 to serve as instructional components in the Hydrology Forecasting PDS. The hydrology PDS team agreed initial Web-based module development should focus on unit hydrograph science and application. Further information on the hydrology PDSs and hydrologic training plans for FY 2000 will be forthcoming.
Thanks to all Southern Region representatives on the team who contributed towards the initial development of the hydrology PDSs.
HYDROLOGY BASELINE PROFICIENCY STANDARD TEAM. Dave Reed, HIC at the Lower Mississippi RFC, will be one of the representatives on the WFO/RFC Hydrology Baseline Proficiency Standard (BPS) team. This team will meet several times during the next few months to develop hydrology BPSs. These standards will specify required skills and abilities needed to ensure a consistent level of operational hydrologic products and data required to achieve NWS performance goals. These BPSs will apply to all job series and positions at WFOs and RFCs supporting the NWS Hydrology program. The draft hydrology BPSs will be shared with all field offices for review and approval.
WSOM/ROML UPDATE. All WFOs and RFCs should receive a copy of WSOM chapters E-21 (WFO Hydrologic Operations) and E-11 (RFC Operations) in the mail. If you do not receive a copy by mid-July, please let us know.
Southern Region HSD is currently drafting several ROMLs:
1. RFC River Forecasts
2. WFO Hydrologic Operations
3. Hydrologic Reports from Weather Forecast Offices
4. Stream Gage Closures and Hydrologic Services
The first two ROMLs will soon be available for field review.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
ARKANSAS-RED BASIN RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Red Cross Meeting on Children's Safety During Weather Disasters. Jim Purpura, WCM at NWSFO Norman and Janet McCormick, hydrologic forecaster at the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC in Tulsa participated in a two-day workshop on children's safety during weather disasters held in Oklahoma City, June 16-17, 1999. The workshop was sponsored by the American Red Cross and is part of a three-year project funded by The Allstate Foundation. Partners in this project include the NWS, FEMA, U.S.G.S., the National Fire Protection Association, the Weather Channel, and selected school teachers. The material developed from this and subsequent workshops will be pilot tested by local Red Cross Chapters and schools. The goal is to integrate disaster preparedness into the school curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grades nationwide.
SOUTHERN REGION TELETRAINING SEMINARS. Recently, Mark Rose and Tim Troutman, forecasters at NWSO Nashville and NWSO Melbourne, respectively, prepared and conducted two teletraining seminars on springtime derechos for Southern Region field offices. The training examined several events which Mark and Tim experienced while both were working at Nashville. Their personal experience with the events made their presentation very relevant to operations. The teletraining format allowed Mark and Tim to jointly make the presentation, even though they are now separated by hundreds of miles. It was a great learning experience and generated much discussion among the participating offices.
In late May, Pat Welsh (SOO, NWSO Jacksonville) delivered teletraining seminars on tropical cyclone induced tornados. Despite having his PDW hard drive crash the day before the first session, Pat showed offices from Brownsville to San Juan the radar signatures which Florida offices have seen during recent events.
Bernard Meisner (SSD) is currently sharing his teletraining techniques and secrets through a mini-course on the SOO Training Resources Forum (http://www.meted.ucar.edu/resource/soo/forum.htm). In what might be called, "The Making of Convective Parameterization: the Teletraining," Bernard demonstrates the tools and techniques he uses to develop his teletraining materials, and shares his recommended guidelines on preparing and delivering teletraining. The online course consists of three annotated slide shows and a threaded discussion which allows participants to ask Bernard questions and offer comments. Bernard will conclude the mini-course with two teletraining sessions later this month.
DLOC AND HMT RADAR COURSE COMPLETION. This is a reminder that all who are enrolled in the OSF Distance-Learning Operations Course (DLOC) or HMT Radar course must complete all the necessary exams by July 16. After that date the Operations Training Branch at OSF will begin the registration process for enrolling students in the next versions of both courses, which are expected to start in September.
TROPICAL STORM RESEARCH. Kwan-yin Kong and Prof. James Elsner at the NOAA/NWS Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology (CITM) at Florida State have completed a brief study detailing the baroclinic structure of hurricane Danny (1997) at landfall over Mobile Bay. The study is included as a technical attachment this month.
The investigation of tropical cyclones at landfall is one of the highest NWS research priorities. In the case of Danny, 40 inches of rain fell over Mobile Bay in just a few hours. If that had occurred only a few miles to the west over downtown Mobile, the effects of this otherwise minimal hurricane would have been considerably worse - in terms of flood damage, if not deaths as well. A better understanding of why storms behave as they do, with emphasis on very small scale features as described in this brief study, should help forecasters better anticipate the potential for localized heavy rain, tropical storm-induced tornadoes, and other damaging effects associated with storm landfall. Investigations of Danny are continuing at NWSO Mobile and FSU/CITM.
GROUNDBREAKING TROPICAL MODELING. Prof. T.N. Krisnamurti, former director of the CITM at FSU, recently presented results of his work on superensemble tropical forecasting at NCEP. His results have been called "most extraordinary" and "spectacular." NCEP was particularly impressed with his hurricane forecasts for all the storms of 1998; CITM work is now underway for the 1999 season. NCEP/EMC has additional thoughts along the lines of extracting probabilistic information from the superensemble to give forecast reliability. They will be following up with Krish to make the necessary data available to his group to allow them to continue this ground-breaking work. CITM will also be working with NCEP to diagnose the operational MRF tropical predictions.
USE OF MODEL ENSEMBLES TO IDENTIFY SPURIOUS TROPICAL VORTICES. The message below was sent early this month by Sim Aberson of NOAA's Hurricane Research Lab. Note the current version of the AVN/MRF (Global Spectral Model) is not the same model which ran during most of last summer. The errors which crept into the forecasts last year have been corrected. Also, the resolution of the AVN/MRF is expected to increase later this summer when the code is moved from the Cray to the IBM SP. Parallel runs at the new resolution indicate spurious vortices will appear in the forecasts beyond Day 3, but vortices generated during Days 1 and 2 are more likely to be real.
As Sim suggests, output from the ensembles (available on the Internet through http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ssd/nwpmodel/html/ensemble.htm, and for display with NAWIPS on the SRH model output server in the /ext2/sacdata/metdat/meta/ens subdirectory) can be a useful tool for determining when a modeled vortex will be most likely to occur.
"Todd Kimberlain asked, about a low which the MRF, ECMWF, and Canadian models are all developing in the Bahamas in a few days. Could the MRF be up to its tricks again? Or is the 1999 Hurricane Season about to really get underway?
"In both Dallas and Biloxi, I reported on the ability of global model ensemble forecasting systems (EFS) to predict tropical cyclogenesis in the Atlantic and East Pacific basins during the 1998 season. While the MRF high-resolution deterministic run had lots of spurious vortices throughout the season, the ensembles did not have this same problem.
"During 1998, the NCEP EFS correctly predicted genesis of 10 of the 14 tropical depressions which developed (71% accuracy), and only spun up five vortices which did not develop (67% of the model developments verified). The ECMWF EFS correctly predicted genesis of nine of the 14 tropical depressions which developed (64% accuracy), and only spun up two vortices which did not develop (82% of the model developments verified).
"In all of the cases in which tropical cyclogenesis was forecast but did not occur, strong disturbances were seen in the area in question. In no case was cyclogenesis forecast in an area with clear skies and light winds. These forecasts were for genesis at least three days in advance, and some storms were forecast as far as eight days in advance. The results are about the same in the Eastern and Central Pacific.
"The method is very simple: look at the ensemble means of both models. If a tropical cyclone-like vortex is seen in the ensemble mean two days in a row (persistence), cyclogenesis is forecast. So far this year, neither model has forecast tropical cyclogenesis. Whereas both the ECMWF and NCEP deterministic models developed a system in late May in the southwestern Caribbean, the above method did not see this development. Also, neither the NCEP nor ECMWF EFS sees the development over the Bahamas during the next few days."
NEW COMET CD-ROMS. The Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) has recently added two CD-ROMS to their Forecaster's Multimedia Library training set.
The first CD-ROM includes An MCS Matrix (vol. 1.0) with Mesoscale Convective Systems: Squall Lines and Bow Echos. Similar to the previously released A Convective Storm Matrix CD-ROM, An MCS Matrix provides learners the opportunity to explore relationships between a squall line's environment and its structure and evolution. Mesoscale Convective Systems: Squall Lines and Bow Echos is an archive of materials found on the COMET Web site. It includes previously released materials on Conceptual Models and Physical Processes plus a new Case Exercises section. The subject matter expert for this module is Dr. Morris Weisman.
The Community Hurricane Preparedness CD-ROM is intended to provide emergency managers at the city and county level and decision makers (mayors, city managers, state officials) with basic information on hurricane formation and prediction. It also reviews hurricane hazards and what tools and guiding principles emergency managers can use to prepare their communities for a storm. This CD-ROM was developed with support from the NWS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
KUDOS FOR NCEP FROM ECMWF. The NCEP global spectral model's performance in recent months has been very good, with consistent performance in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/STATS/html/acz5.html).
Although NCEP lacks sufficient computer resources to do adequate testing on what specific changes have brought about this good performance relative to other global NWP centers, they speculate the March implementation of data from the AMSU-A (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A) radiometers on the NOAA-L and NOAA-M polar orbiting satellites could be responsible. A hallmark of NCEP's recent performance has been consistency. When scores of other global centers take a periodic dip, the dips in the NCEP model's scores have been fewer and often shorter. This indicates a possible role of unique observations, and NCEP was the first operational center to use the AMSU-A data.
Tony Hollingworth from the ECMWF complimented NCEP on the performance of the global spectral model. He noted the ECMWF has also been impressed with the quality of the AMSU-A data and began assimilating the data in their operations on May 5.
CHANGES TO THE NCEP ETA-32 MODEL SYSTEM. Changes to the Eta-32 model three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) analysis system were implemented on May 13. The change in the 3DVAR code was small, but one with a very large impact on the quality of the analyses and especially the forecasts.
The NCEP staff ask all to consider the Eta forecasts in a different light now that they have corrected the 3DVAR. Geoff DiMeggo, chief of NCEP's Mesoscale Modeling Branch, firmly believes the Eta-32's performance will improve to a level higher than when it was first implemented in February 1998 and vastly superior to its recent track record.
The 3DVAR analysis was changed to correct parameters influencing the balance between the analyzed mass and wind fields. In November 1998, these parameters were adjusted in such a way as to draw more closely for radiosonde data but this adjustment had the negative effect of producing much weaker balance between mass and wind analysis fields. This occurred primarily in regions with mostly single level or single type data (e.g., satellite temperature profiles, flight-level aircraft data or satellite cloud-drift winds). The result was frequent poor Eta analyses especially over oceanic regions and poor forecasts, especially at longer ranges. The corrected 3DVAR produces more balanced mass and wind analyses at slight expense of the initial fit to radiosonde data. Tests of the corrected 3DVAR analysis produced much higher forecast accuracy.
Further details on this change can be found at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/tpb/3d-eta.htm
WORKSTATION VERSION OF ETA. Louis Uccellini, Director of NCEP, and Steve Lord, Acting Director of EMC, have announced the release of a workstation version of the Eta Model. Included are codes to facilitate a local application at high resolution, terrain and other fixed field data sets, codes to extract initial and lateral boundary conditions from grids downloaded from the NCEP or OSO servers and a post-processor code which allows generation of a myriad of gridded output in GRIB.
The workstation version has been tested on SGI, HP and IBM workstations (and compilers). The self-contained modeling package can be downloaded via anonymous ftp from the NCEP server (ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov). The wrkst_package.tar.Z file can be found in the /pub/gcp/wrkstn_eta subdirectory . This package requires a FORTRAN 90 compiler. A FORTRAN 77 version may be developed in the coming months, but for now FORTRAN 90 is required! (The SACs generally have only the FORTRAN 77 compiler installed.)
Topography files are also located in the /pub/gcp/wrkstn_eta subdirectory and must be downloaded separately. The topography data are stored in latitudinal strips covering 10 degrees of latitude from 180W to 40W. The file name indicates the southern latitude of the strip. Files residing in this directory cover between 10N and 80N.
A copy of the user's manual, available in postscript, pdf and ASCII formats is also available. The manual describes in some detail how to install and use the package. Much effort was spent in writing and verifying the accuracy of these instructions; please let it be your first source of information regarding the workstation version of the model.
FOG PROGRAM FOR TELEVISION. NWS Headquarters was contacted by a video company contracted by The History Channel to produce a television program on fog. The program will highlight three major fog disasters, the 1945 crash of a B-25 bomber into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, the Andrea Dora/Stockholm collision off Nantucket in 1954, and a 1993 Amtrak railroad accident in Alabama. We were asked to suggest subject matter experts who might be interviewed on camera as part of the program. Because of their work stemming largely from yet another fog-related disaster - a massive pile-up of automobiles on the I-10 bridge over Mobile Bay - we invited NWSO Mobile SOO Jeff Medlin, and Jackson State University professor Dr. Paul Croft, to contact the producers.
NWS TRAINING CENTER NEWS. Following is an update on recent activities of the NWSTC Hydrometeorology and Management Division.
Training for TDL AWIPS Build 4.2 Applications. Last week the regions participated in pilot training sessions for six of the TDL AWIPS Build 4.2 applications. Topics included setting up the 4.2 applications on verification, TAF monitor, hourly weather roundup, climate report, service area forecast, and WWA. Later this month NWSTC will set up a series of audio-teletraining sessions on these topics for offices which are upgrading to 4.2. The sessions will likely start in late July and continue through August. Watch for details on the NWSTC audio-teletraining Web page (http://www.nwstc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/HMD_ATT.HTML) after mid-month.
WARNGEN Information. HMD has been working with the AWIPS Program Office and field offices to put together the latest information on WARNGEN set up, configuration, and customization. This should be the latest information available on WARNGEN and will reside on the NWSTC AWIPS page (http://www.nwstc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/AWIPS.HTML) until it is integrated into system manuals.
RTM Procedures. A Web page had been established to outline the procedures used by NWSTC for Remote Training Modules (http://www.nwstc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/RTM_proc.HTML).
TAF Module on Web. The RTM on Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) has been reviewed, updated and converted to a Web-based training module (WBT-002). It is now available from the NWSTC Web module page at http://www.nwstc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/HMD_WEB.HTML
RON HOLLE VISITS NWSFO LITTLE ROCK. Noted lightning researcher Ron Holle, NSSL, visited Little Rock on June 16 and 17, and presented two seminars to the staff. Ron discussed current views on lightning (origination, use in forecasts, etc.) and supplied some references and other materials for the staff.
Ron was also the featured guest at a cookout for the Arkansas Chapter of the AMS/NWA. Whether it was free food or Ron's talk, the turnout was great at around 35 individuals. Ron's talk was a less-technical presentation on lightning hazards and statistics on lightning for Arkansas.
SECOND VITAL LINK CLASS CONVENES AT LITTLE ROCK. Vital Link is an outreach effort sponsored by the American Businessmen's Association and involves businesses in a particular geographic location. Six sixth-grade students were involved for the morning hours for five days. Both classroom and "hands-on" activities provided the students with a clear view as to what the science entails and how an NWS Forecast Office operates. The second of two Vital Link classes took place the week of June 28. SOO George Wilken presented the first session earlier this year to six students from the North Little Rock School District and his effort in June was for the Little Rock District.
SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION>
DoD UCP CONTROL TRANSFER APPROVED. NWS Headquarters and the Department of Defense have agreed on a plan to transfer control of the UCPs at DoD WSR-88D sites to nearby NWS offices. Additional coordination of this action and ordering of phone lines will occur over the next few months. The following Southern Region WFOs will be assuming responsibility for DoD UCPs indicated:
Moody, AFB, Georgia NWSO Jacksonville
Ft. Rucker, Alabama NWSO Tallahassee
Warner Robins AFB, Georgia NWSFO Atlanta
Maxwell AFB, Alabama NWSFO Birmingham
Eglin AFB, Florida NWSO Mobile
Columbus AFB, Mississippi NWSFO Jackson
Ft. Polk, Louisiana NWSO Lake Charles
Ft. Hood, Texas NWSFO Fort Worth
Laughlin AFB, Texas NWSFO Austin/San Antonio
Dyess AFB, Texas NWSO San Angelo
Holloman AFB, New Mexico NWSO El Paso
Cannon AFB, New Mexico NWSFO Albuquerque
Vance AFB, Oklahoma NWSFO Norman
Altus AFB, Oklahoma NWSFO Norman
NWSFO Norman was the national test site for evaluating the feasibility of this transfer, and their work contributed to the decision which should significantly enhance the ability of our WFO staff to access and utilize DoD radar products.
SOUTHERN REGION Y2K STATUS. Southern Region has made great strides in final preparations for Y2K readiness. All phone systems are in compliance, all Cisco routers have been upgraded, and most offices have achieved 100% Y2K compliance for their PCs bringing the regional average to 98% complete. Power companies have been contacted by all the offices in an effort to determine their state of readiness in each area. And finally, the Business Continuity and Contingency Plan was finalized and as one of the actions, cell phone numbers have been identified for each office to use on New Year's Eve. Staff will be available at Southern Region Headquarters to coordinate any necessary contingencies in the event of disruptions anywhere in the region.
FEDCARD USAGE. There is an increasing number of calls made using the FTS2000 Federal Calling Cards (FEDCARD) through the AT&T Long Distance System. This normally occurs when the caller uses available AT&T service on the telephone from which they are calling, uses 1-800-CALLATT (1-800-255-5288), or the 1010288 access code.
FEDCARD users should not use AT&T commercial long distance when making calls. All FEDCARD users should access the FTS2000 system using 1-800-433-3273. Computer users should use 1-800-633-6384 for data calls. This ensures you are on the FTS2000 system and not AT&T. There are significant cost differences between AT&T Long Distance and AT&T FTS2000 charges.
NWR TRANSMITTER FREQUENCY CHANGE. The NOAA Weather Radio frequency change in Oxford and Booneville, Mississippi will take place on July 7, 1999. There will be no down time at either site during this process. The frequencies will now be 162.400 mhz Booneville and 162.550 mhz Oxford. Larry Tennison the RMS (Regional Maintenance Specialist) for the area has coordinated the switch with NWSFO Memphis and Southern Region Headquarters.
The NOAA Weather Radio maintenance contractor, ETV, will do the actual work. After both sites complete the change, the RMS will update the ROAMS (Remote Off-Air Monitoring System) to agree with the change in the site frequencies.
ASOS FIRMWARE V2.6 TESTING CONTINUES. The next major firmware load for ASOS is v2.6, which should be available for implementation by late summer. The test firmware, v2.58, has been installed in 16 Southern Region ASOS systems and has been operating well. One discrepancy in the new firmware involving the performance of the system clock has been identified. An updated test firmware, v2.59, has been released and will be installed in three Southern Region ASOS systems to allow further testing.
AUSTIN ASOS SYSTEM TO BE RELOCATED. Due to the closure of Austin's Robert Mueller Airport, the installed ASOS system will be relocated. A location on Camp Mabry Military Reservation has been selected, and the relocation project is underway. A site survey has been conducted, and the system relocation is planned for mid-July. TDS, Incorporated has been contracted to perform the system relocation.
OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH
FACILITIES COMPUTERIZED MAINTENANCE SOFTWARE. Facilities is in the process of evaluating several commercial off the shelf maintenance management systems for purchase and installation. All offices can use the new system for submitting, tracking, and managing work orders for facility maintenance activities. The goal is to have the system installed and configured for use by the end of the fiscal year. The software will automatically schedule and generate maintenance work orders for things like routine generator maintenance, UPS battery testing, HVAC filter replacements, etc. The software can be used to generate a work order for any type of equipment maintenance or task. Once operational, the system will allow Facilities to document and manage equipment failures, failure rates, trends, and replacement cycles more effectively.
WATER QUALITY TESTING. Water quality tests at ten offices will begin June 30, 1999 in response to a recent NWSEO grievance submitted earlier this year. We will submit the test results to Management and Budget for evaluation by August 13, 1999. The results will be compared with EPA and applicable Clean Water Act standards.
EMERGENCY LIGHTING. Installation of emergency lighting at all offices will continue through the rest of the fiscal year. The new lights are a part of the NOAA Safety Program Initiative to provide safe working conditions for all NOAA employees. Southern Region Facilities will use NOAA funds to purchase and install lights according to national and local recognized building codes.
UPS AND AWIPS. The Network Control Facility (NCF) and the AWIPS program office contacted Southern Region regarding three recent AWIPS failures attributed to the building UPS system. Several AWIPS equipment failures are claimed to have been caused by poor power quality and failure of the UPS to correct. The AWIPS Program Office and the NCF will begin tracking more closely these power quality failures.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
SOUTHERN REGION HEADQUARTERS. Ted Ferguson and Camille Dyer, AMD, attended the 1999 National Image Training Conference and Convention held in Fort Worth. Image is a non-profit organization dedicated to employment, education, and civil rights of Hispanic Americans. The theme of the conference was "Strength through Unity, Power through Education, Awareness through Diversity."
Many thanks to Roland Nunez, NWSFO Fort Worth, and SRH staff members Mario Valverde, Martin Garcia, and Victor Murphy, who staffed the National Weather Service booth at the conference. They supplied weather safety and career information for approximately 600 conference attendees and high school students.
NWSFO FORT WORTH. WCM Jim Stefkovich was part of career day at Timberline Elementary School in Grapevine, Texas. Jim did weather experiments for approximately 90 kindergarten students, plus stressed reading, writing, and math skills. Over half of the students were minorities.
CWSU ATLANTA. Meteorologist Melvin Murrell spoke to students at Atkinson Elementary in Griffin, Georgia. The subject of his talk was severe weather with some focus on the Oklahoma/Kansas tornadoes. Melvin helped students complete a lab exercise on constructing a model tornado-like vortex in a bottle. He also accompanied students on a field trip to NWSFO Atlanta. In cooperation with Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the trip concluded monthly outreach activities at Atkinson for the 1998-99 academic year.
NWSO MORRISTOWN. Staff members participated with Hamblen County schools in a cooperative program giving teachers a view of the business world outside of the classroom. The objective of the program was to give teachers more insight into what is needed from employees, in addition to academic skills. Jennifer King, an eighth grade teacher from West View Middle School in Morristown, was assigned to the NWSO. She noted after that good communication skills, learning to work as part of a team, making decisions, and remaining calm under pressure were several characteristics that would be needed.
NWSO SHREVEPORT. Forecaster Bill Parker gave a meteorology career talk at College Hill Elementary school in Texarkana, Arkansas. Career development and goals, along with NWS operations, were discussed. There were 68 students, mostly minorities, in attendance.
SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS
June 1-30, 1999
|Southern Region Losses|
|Name||From (Office)||Action/Transfer||From Title/Grade|
|Randall Reiman||RFC SIL||Reas to NWSH||Hydrologist, GS-13|
|Beth Lewandowski||WSO HSV||Resignation||Met Tech, GS-5|
|Southern Region Gains||Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Brian Brong||NWSO CRP||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Terry Morse||NWSFO BMX||Reas from WR||HMT, GS-11|
|Thomas Birchard||NWSO EYW||New Hire||Forecaster, GS-7|
|David Kosier||NWSFO MFL||Prom from WR||Forecaster, GS-13|
|David Manning||NWSFO TSA||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Dana Griffin||NWSFO LIX||Prom from NCEP||Forecaster, GS-13|
|Jason Hansford||NWSO SHV||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Renwick Brannon||WSO HSV||New Hire||Met Tech, GS-8|
|Within Region Transfers/Actions|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Mathew Duplantis||NWSO LCH||Prom from AMA||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Michael Gittinger||NWSO CRP||Reas from CRP||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Chip Kasper||NWSO EYW||Reas from EYW||Forecaster, GS-7|
|William Gargan||NWSFO LUB||Reas from LUB||Forecaster, GS-7|
|William Murrell||NWSO SHV||Reas from SHV||Met Intern, GS-7|
|John Schmidt||RFC TUR||Prom from TUR||Senior HAS, GS-13|
|James Coe||RFC SIL||Prom from SIL||Senior Hydrologist, GS-13|
|Latrice Maxie||NWSFO EWX||Reas from EWX||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Bradley Gimmestad||RFC ATR||Prom from ATR||DOH, GS-14|
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