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Fort Worth, Texas

March 2000



DROUGHT CONDITIONS INCREASING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN REGION. As we approach the early spring months, drought conditions continue to increase over parts of the Southern Region. Based on evaluations by all Southern Region MICs, should normal spring rains fail to materialize, approximately 50 to 75 percent of the region could be experiencing severe drought conditions this summer. Presently, severe drought conditions exist across the southwest and central parts of Texas, and into New Mexico where the mountain snow pack is almost non-existent. In some parts of Texas lakes are below 50 percent capacity. State and local government leaders in both states are concerned over the potential drought impact. Dry conditions also prevail through the central part of the region and Florida is bracing for another active fire weather season. With the Climate Prediction Center predicting a dry late winter and spring, this is our opportunity to provide additional help to our partners and customers.

A number of Southern Region WFOs and RFCs already are providing critical weather and water information to state and local governments, as well as to the media. During these type situations, the most frequently asked questions are: How long have the dry conditions prevailed? How does this dry spell compare to previous episodes, i.e., what is the repeat period? How bad is the drought? And most important, when will it end? As the drought worsens, service and products from the local offices will increase in importance.

NATIONAL CLINE AWARDS. Congratulations to the following Southern Region individuals who are recipients of the National NWS Isaac M. Cline Awards, recognizing their significant contributions in support of the core NWS mission in the areas indicated.

Hydrology: Brian M. LaMarre, WFO Corpus Christi.

For outstanding hydrological forecasting during the devastating and unprecedented record flood which affected south Texas on October 17-22, 1998.

Leadership: Jose M. Garcia, NWSO Amarillo.

For providing valuable leadership to NWSO Amarillo and various community organizations, including the American Red Cross and the United Way.

Program Management and Administration: John Duxbury and Thomas Grayson (SRH/SOD), and Glen Heaton (SRH/ADMIN); members of the NWS Regional Non-Labor Study Team.

For successfully completing the NWS Regional Non-Labor Study Report to Congress. The team's report, findings and recommendations resulted in improvements in NWS management practices. (Other team members were Victoria Alexander (CRH), Violet Foster (ERH), Peter Jiron (PRH), Herschel Knowles (ARH), John Potts (NWSH/CFO), John Van Kuren (NWSH/OSO) and Fortune Vilcko (ERH).

WEB SITES. Transition of all Southern Region Web sites to the regional server is essentially complete and I appreciate the efforts on the part of all offices to reach this goal. Our next step is to implement the UUNET server. Meanwhile offices continue to receive kudos for their use of Web sites to further our mission. For example MIC Shirley Matejka is justifiably proud of the following compliment received from one of NWSO San Angelo's Web site users:

The redesigned site really looks (and works) great! You guys do a really good job for us rurals now, and with the Richland Springs NOAA radio site we feel we can get adequate warning in most instances. Only a few years ago we had nothing at all out here! Just in case, we put in a storm cellar and now we can get enough warning to get into the thing. Thanks for all you are doing and give our warm regards to the whole crew.

We can't add anything to that except Great Job, Shirley - and crew.

NWS PARTICIPATION IN TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE. I delivered a presentation on Texas Drought and Fire Weather Update to a general session of the Texas Emergency Management Conference held in Austin on February 20-23. Several other Southern Region personnel conducted workshops on Doppler Radar Precipitation Estimates (Greg Story, WGRFC), Tornadoes and Survivability (WCM Jim Stefkovich, NWSFO Fort Worth), Hurricanes and Inland Winds (MIC Bill Read, NWSO Houston), and Fire Weather and Long Range Outlooks (Bernard Meisner, SSD). WCMs from most other Texas offices and Gary Woodall, regional WCM in MSD, also participated in the conference. I appreciate the efforts of all involved, and it is noteworthy that several EM participants requested copies of materials we used so they could follow-up with their staffs.

AMS AWARD AND FELLOW NOMINATIONS. Each year the American Meteorological Society bestows awards in several categories appropriate for our employees and our partners in the media and public service areas. Some of the awards recognize exceptional specific achievement, and others relate to long-term service and accomplishments. In addition to awards, the AMS recognizes outstanding members by election to the grade of Fellow. We have many who are deserving of these awards and recognition, and in fact the Southern Region's record of successful nominations is excellent. Full details were provided by mail to all offices. I am requesting all nominations be submitted through SRH so we can provide additional endorsements. Note we must receive those nominations by April 14.

ESA, RMS, FET CONFERENCE. I met with the electronics systems analysts, regional maintenance specialists, and facilities engineering technicians during their regional meeting in San Antonio. The several days I spent in discussion gave me the opportunity to better understand the challenges and concerns of the Southern Region electronics and facilities staff. Our systems/engineering staff are essential to the NWS mission and they had many suggestions as to how we can improve the systems, communications, and field operations. SOD Chief Tom Grayson and other SRH staff at the meeting took numerous notes and action items that we will be addressing. I want to thank all those who took time to raise issues during the meeting.

TRAINING TOMORROW'S LEADERS. All employees were recently emailed an announcement from NWS Director Jack Kelly describing a new NWS Senior Leadership Potential Program (SLPP). This program is designed to provide the NWS with a cadre of employees with knowledge and essential leadership skills. The goal of this 12-month program is to equip our employees with the tools needed to lead in the 21st century. A summary of the program and an application form can be found on the Internet at:


With this issue of Southern Topics we will end this special section devoted solely to AWIPS. Our intent for the past few years has been to use this section to highlight developments related to this critical final part of the NWS modernization. Now that the commissioning process is underway, and AWIPS has become the operational tool for carrying out our mission, we will keep readers informed of AWIPS developments and related information along with other systems in SOD's section of Topics. Congratulations to all who played instrumental roles in helping us reach this milestone.


FLASH GOES PUBLIC. The Florida Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) held a very successful press conference on February 21 in Tallahassee. This was used to kickoff a campaign for statewide billboards, public service announcements (PSAs), and the FLASH Web site. One of the PSAs promotes NOAA Weather Radio. All the network affiliates and several radio stations participated. Steven Cooper (MSD) represented the NWS and provided an interview with the local CBS affiliate. Paul Duval, NWSO Tallahassee MIC, also participated in the conference. The FLASH Web site ( provides consumers with an abundance of information on how to mitigate personal and property losses. During the afternoon, Steven and several other FLASH partners joined FLASH Director, Leslie Chapman-Henderson, in a briefing for the Florida House of Representatives Insurance Committee.


The Houston International Boat Show. Astrohall and Astroarena were filled with boats and boaters from January 7-16. With an attendance of more than 170,000 boat enthusiasts, the setting was perfect for NWSO Houston to meet and talk to the marine community. Seventeen NWSO staff members handed out hurricane, severe weather, safe boating, and other marine information at the NWS booth. Customer feedback was positive during the event. Houston's marine forecasts were complimented frequently. A notable quote from one boater: "Your Special Marine Warning saved not only my life, but my family's as well." What more can we say? Way to go Houston!

The Rio Grande Valley Boat Show. Mercedes, Texas was the place for boaters to be from January 20-23. NWSO Brownsville maintained an NWS booth and handed out brochures to local boaters. The NWSO staff inflated an upper air balloon and attached a radiosonde and parachute. Boy did the kids love this one! A Brownsville resident won out of more than 350 other people who registered for a weather radio receiver give-away.

Miami International Boat Show. A contingent of 14 people from NWSFO Miami and the NCEP Tropical Prediction Center staffed a booth at the Miami International Boat Show. The recent transfer of offshore forecast responsibility and improvements in the coastal waters forecasts meant that the booth was a popular place during the show. WCM Jim Lushine estimates that nearly 20,000 people passed by the booth. The booth also featured a display of the NWSFO Miami home page and a videotape of the downtown Miami tornado, as well as a large number of brochures.

FIVE-DAY COASTAL MARINE FORECAST TO BE ISSUED BY NWSO TAMPA BAY. NWSO Tampa Bay's Coastal Marine Forecast will extend to five days beginning this month. Customer feedback is the driving force behind this project. The utility of such a forecast has been expressed by a number of marine customer groups.

Offices are strongly encouraged to explore new and better ways to display and disseminate marine forecasts to our customers and partners. Boaters make up a large customer base, and they depend on NWS forecasts each day for economics and safety. Southern Region WFOs forecast for more than 2600 miles of coastline, including ten of the top 15 busiest ports in the United States. Efforts such as NWS representation at boat shows, improved product utility, and improved products will continue to build our marine program and insure a promising future.

PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE. Installation of meteorological sensors on tide gauges is complete in the Carribean. NOS has installed several sensors around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Staff from NWSFO San Juan met NOS at the tide gauge sites and coordinated the location of the new equipment. Installation begins shortly around the Florida coast then the remainder of the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

WINTER STORM/HIGH WIND VERIFICATION. The frequency of winter weather events significantly picked up in the first weeks of the new year. Although winter storms may not occur frequently in the Southern Region, compared to other regions, their impact can be no less extensive. WFOs across the region have done outstanding jobs this winter in forecasting winter storms and the often related high wind events. Below are our 1999-2000 region-wide verification statistics, based on reports received through February 24.

Winter Storm
Total Warnings 640
Verified Warnings 501
Unverified Warnings 139
FAR 0.21

Total Events 527
Warned Events 501
Unwarned Events 26
POD 0.95

Avg. Lead Time 8 hrs

High Wind
Total Warnings 32
Verified Warnings 28
Unverified Warnings 4
FAR 0.13

Total Events 28
Warned Events 28
Unwarned Events 0
POD 1.00

Avg. Lead Time 2 hrs

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS/OUTREACH. Southern Region offices are vigorously conducting their severe weather education and preparedness campaigns. Below are a few of the more significant accomplishments.

The staff of NWSFO Norman posted to their Web site an excellent presentation discussing the dangers of overpasses when used as tornado shelters. Many of their observations are based on lessons learned from the May 3, 1999 tornado outbreak. Several WCMs from across the region have utilized this material in their spotter training sessions, tornado safety presentations, and in media interviews. The URL of this study is

NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich reviewed severe weather and flash flood safety rules with Willamette Industries of Dallas. Willamette produces paper grocery bags for many store chains in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana. The company plans to print safety rules on all their bags throughout the spring. Thus, several hundred thousand people will see (and hopefully retain) our messages regarding severe weather safety.

NWSFO Miami WCM Jim Lushine, forecaster Tom Warner, and Collier County emergency manager Gary Arnold participated in a unique demonstration at a mobile home park in Naples, Florida. A resident of the park (who also is a SKYWARN spotter) connected an NWR SAME receiver to a siren on the roof of the park's clubhouse. The system is programmed to sound the siren whenever the SAME receiver is activated for a warning in the county. Approximately 100 residents attended the demonstration, and three local TV stations covered the event.

We at SRH have been highly impressed with the quality of the annual severe weather safety brochures produced by our offices, often in cooperation with state emergency management agencies. The cooperation has resulted in a truly professional-appearing set of brochures. While the overall safety message is the same, the "packaging" has improved markedly over what we produced just a few years ago. This improved appearance will undoubtedly encourage people to read through the brochures and perhaps learn some valuable safety tips. Nice work, everyone.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION AND OUTREACH. Emergency managers are among our most important partners and customers. From providing storm spotter training to assisting with dissemination mechanisms, Southern Region offices continue to provide excellent services to the EMs in their areas. Here are a few highlights.

NWSO San Angelo hosted two three-hour workshops for emergency managers. Eighteen members of emergency management agencies, including two county judges, attended the workshops. WCM Buddy McIntyre and SOO Greg Jackson conducted the events, which were based on the NWS/FEMA Hazardous Weather Preparedness Course. The highlight of the workshop was a tabletop exercise for a Memorial Day severe weather event in the CWA. This scenario provided the attendees an opportunity to determine how they would respond to a severe weather event while Memorial Day festivities were in progress.

NWSFO Norman WCM Jim Purpura participated in a kickoff program for "Operation Warn," a cooperative program designed to make 100,000 specially-priced NOAA Weather Radios available in the Oklahoma City metro area by the end of 2002. Participating agencies include the Oklahoma City and State of Oklahoma Emergency Management agencies, and corporate sponsors are the Midland Radio Corporation and Wal-Mart. Jim reports that the early stages of the project have gone extremely well. Stores are typically selling out their shipments of 400 radios in less than a week, and additional Wal-Mart stores in the area are joining the project as well.

NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge WCM Frank Revitte participated in the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force meeting. Frank joined 50 representatives from the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, Department of Transportation, Red Cross, and other concerned agencies. Topics discussed included the New Orleans area evacuation plan, a method for communicating damage reports to the state EOC, and the distribution of resources during a hurricane threat.

Program managers report that testing of the 9600-baud VHF radio rebroadcast of the EMWIN data stream is ongoing in the Houston area. The Harris County Appraisal District, with extensive experience in EMWIN rebroadcasts, is the lead agency for the test. If the test is successful, the lessons learned will be applied to a national expansion and use of the NWS radio rebroadcast frequencies.

MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT. Following are some noteworthy activities and events from across the Region.

WFO Corpus Christi WCM Terry Huber hosted an in-depth interview for KIII TV on South Texas climate. Terry described La Niña and the impacts on the area during La Niña episodes. He explained the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the possible link between the PDO phase and enhanced/more frequent La Niña episodes.

The staff of NWSFO Austin/San Antonio hosted Congressman Lamar Smith and several of his staff members. The visit was also covered by an area newspaper. WCM Larry Eblen reports the visit was very positive and cordial, and the Congressman was impressed with the operations at the office. MIC Al Dreumont welcomed the group with some opening remarks, then Larry provided a briefing on NWS modernization. Larry also provided information on NWR expansion, spotter training and educational outreach activities. The visit concluded with a hands-on demonstration of AWIPS and its capabilities.

NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge forecasters Dana Griffin and Suzanne Van Cooten staffed an NWS booth at the Boyet Junior High School Science Fair. Over 100 students participated in the event. The NWS display featured meteorological instruments (old and new), hazardous weather brochures, NOAA Weather Radios, and hurricane tracking charts. Dana and Suzanne answered numerous questions from the participants and their parents throughout the event.

PHONE COUNT. Lake Charles was left off last month's phone count log from Weatherline. Their total for January was 32,305 and for 1999 they received 277,331 calls.

EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM OPERATIONAL PLAN. New Orleans/Baton Rouge WCM Frank Revitte reports receiving the signed Louisiana EAS Operational Plan. Frank believes Louisiana may be one of the last states to formalize an operational plan. Congratulations, Louisiana.

NWR EXPANSION. A cooperator NOAA Weather Radio site in Port O'Connor, Texas is now up and running. Corpus Christi will provide the programming for this 100 watt station, broadcasting on 162.475 MHZ. Initial coverage will be for Calhoun County and the nearby marine community. A pattern coverage survey is scheduled for this month.

In Summerville, Georgia, a.k.a. Taylor's Ridge, broadcasting began on February 18. Frequency interference with the Mt. Cheaha transmitter in Alabama required a change from the 162.475 to 162.450 MHZ. This is the second site funded with federal earmark money for the Georgia expansion project. Atlanta will be the programming office. Assuming no further interference problems we will have a complete coverage pattern for this site by the end of the test period.

NWR FUTURE EXPANSION. Offices have been requested to provide updated expansion information to Southern Region. Doug Crowley (MSD) is comparing the old state (1994 time frame) expansion version with a WFO evaluation of expansion needs. This will be used to update the national database, in the hope NWR expansion funds will be available for FY2001 and afterward.

CRS COMMISSIONING REPORTS. Thanks to great effort by the field offices, 30 CRS Commissioning Reports have been reviewed, signed and forwarded to Joe Facundo at NWS Headquarters. The final original reports will be placed in the Technical Reference Library, with a copy kept at the SRH.

NATIONAL CWSU CONFERENCE.A national CWSU conference was held at the NWS Training Center last month. It was organized and hosted by the Central Region and included representatives from the NWS, FSL, COMET, the FAA, and Northwest Airlines. Southern Region was represented by the Regional Director, Jud Ladd (SRH Regional Aviation Meteorologist) and our seven CWSU MICs. By all accounts, the conference was a major success. It was upbeat even considering the RTA replacement issue. Such meetings are important to us, since being the most weather-active region also means significant impacts on the aviation community. As we move into spring and the almost daily occurrence of significant weather somewhere in the region, routine aviation traffic will likely experience disruptions. The CWSU meteorologists deal directly with their customers everyday. It is always interesting to observe operations at a CWSU and FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center when weather impacts their area and perhaps hundreds of airplanes must be diverted, occasionally to alternate airports. It is especially during these times that CWSU staff receive immediate customer/partner gratification or dissatisfaction on our aviation forecasts and services.

NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities at SR CWSUs.

CWSU Fort Worth. Preparation for the WARP 1 OT&E continues. Testing is scheduled to begin in May with the system going into operation in June. The CWSU staff will be significantly involved in the system testing and implementation.

Tom Hicks, MIC, traveled to Lubbock in mid-February to discuss CWSU operations with the WFO staff. Tom presented two sessions and received a number of very positive comments regarding the informative content of his presentation. The staff at the WFO believe that Tom's visit will assist the two offices in achieving improved coordination.

CWSU Houston. The Houston ARTCC has been chosen as a test site for the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) production model. The CWSU will have access to a workstation during testing. The initial meetings regarding the test are scheduled for this month.

CWSU Memphis. MIC Tom Amis continues his 90-day detail to NWS Headquarters. Tom is being tasked with preparing and submitting the NWS consolidated response to the FAA Traffic Management Unit needs document. He recently completed a first draft which is currently under review.

NWSFO ALBUQUERQUE HOST GUEST SPEAKER AT STAFF MEETING. In a recent staff meeting at NWSFO Albuquerque, Southwest Airlines pilot Alain Kamerer visited to discuss how pilots receive weather information and updates. He also fielded a number of questions from the staff. Overall, Mr. Kamerer is quite satisfied with NWS aviation products and services. One item during the discussions was a real eye-opener to the forecast staff. Mr. Kamerer indicated Southwest Airlines averages one injury (primarily to flight attendants) every day from unexpected turbulence. We tend to have so little face-to-face contact with pilots these days that inviting someone to the office for a staff meeting, for example, can have very beneficial results.

NWSO MIDLAND VISITS NATIONAL PARK. Ray Fagen, MIC NWSO Midland, recently visited the Guadalupe Mountains National Park as part of the ceremony to install a new park superintendent. His visit proved timely because the area is experiencing a significant drought with high fire danger. The NWSO issues a daily fire weather forecast for the park and, as requested, prepares spot weather forecasts. Ray received a letter from the new superintendent thanking him for visiting.

FIRE WEATHER FORECAST COURSE. Four Southern Region forecasters will be participating this month in the Fire Weather Forecasters Course at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The week following the course has been set aside for Incident Meteorologist (IMET) recertification training at NIFC. Southern Region plans to have its full complement of IMETs (five) attend this training.

FIRE WEATHER FORMAT IMPLEMENTATION. Wednesday, April 5 is the date for implementation of the regional standardized fire weather format. On that date, all WFOs in the region will begin using this format for their routine Fire Weather Forecasts (FWFs). To assist the offices, Charlie Paxton and John McMichael from Tampa Bay, and David Hotz from Morristown have developed an automated formatting software program (FIRE). At present, it is a PC-based program, but the developers will begin work this month to make the coding AWIPS-compatible.

SAN ANGELO FIRE WEATHER PROGRAM HITS THE BIG TIME. The San Angelo Standard Times recently published an article about wildfires in southwest Texas. In the course of preparing the article, the newspaper staff writer spoke at length with Phil Baker, fire weather program leader, regarding NWS fire weather services, including Red Flag Warnings. Phil took the opportunity to publicize the new program at San Angelo. The article made the front page of the paper and led to another interview by a local FM radio station of one of the San Angelo forecasters. Word is getting out.


NWS FLASH FLOOD CONFERENCE. Southern Region Headquarters will be hosting an NWS Flash Flood Conference, May 10-12, in Atlanta. The theme for the conference is Flash Floods: It's Not a Drive-Thru. The conference will serve as a forum to share, develop and discuss methods for minimizing flash flood fatalities. Each SR office is expected to send one representative to the conference. The format will allow for active participation by NWS, emergency management, academia, media, drivers education and safety organizations, and others involved in the flash flood preparedness and warning process. Information about the conference, including the agenda and registration information has been sent to all offices, see also the attachment to this issue of Topics.


Winter weather was the big event for several HSAs during January. An end-of-the-month storm produced snowfall of 10 - 20 inches in portions of south and southwest Arkansas. The excessive snowfall caused some significant losses to the poultry industry in Arkansas, as several hundred poultry houses collapsed under the weight of the snow. Other HSAs around the region recorded snowfall amounts from four to ten inches from the same storm. Another storm brought a wintery mix of sleet and freezing rain to North Georgia a few days earlier, with major damage occurring to homes and utilities.

Overall, however drought conditions continue for many parts of the Southern Region. Many reservoirs in Texas remain at or below conservation levels. January rainfall totals were less than an inch at many reporting stations across the region.


COMET WEB SITE: AWIPS PRODUCT VALIDATION. One of COMET's many activities related to professional development and training is an AWIPS validation effort focused on the ingest, calculation and display of basic and derived model fields. COMET's AWIPS validation Web site provides AWIPS users with reports, comparisons of GEMPAK and AWIPS displays, documentation of algorithms, and a list of the latest issues found during the validation effort. It may be accessed via the MetEd site ( from its "NEW" link or by clicking "Resources and Links." Comments are welcome and a feedback form is included under the "Comments" link on the validation home page. To better focus their efforts, COMET would appreciate specific questions you might have about the display and calculation of model data in AWIPS. For more information, contact Kevin Fuell, lead meteorologist ( or Susan Jesuroga, project manager (

COMET OUTREACH PROGRAM. Deadline for responding to the COMET Outreach Program RFP is March 15. Usually, several proposals are submitted each year by university researchers working with SR offices. This year won't be an exception. More information about this program is available at:

Results of a previous Cooperative Proposal involving the Southeast RFC in Atlanta and Scott Hagen at the University of Central Florida in Orlando are briefly described in a technical attachment this week. Reggina Garza and others at the RFC worked with Dr. Hagen to develop a tidal model for part of the South Carolina coast which will assist in improving RFC forecasts.

TECHNICAL PROCEDURES BULLETINS. Whatever became of TPBs, we are sometimes asked. They have gone electronic and can be found at The site is maintained by the Office of Meteorology at NWS Headquarters.

DLOC AND HMT RADAR TRAINING. Current versions of the OSF's WSR-88D Distance Learning Operations Course (DLOC) and its HMT counterpart are coming to a close. This is a reminder that all exams and proficiency tests must be completed by March 31, the course ending date. Completion certificates cannot be provided after that date. The Warning Decision Making workshops that are associated with DLOC have been a big success, based on student responses.

METEOROLOGY AT UGA. We recently received a message from the Georgia state climatologist indicating the University of Georgia in Athens has approved the formation of an atmospheric sciences program at UGA. Students will be able to earn certificates in atmospheric sciences. Information concerning the program, faculty and course offerings is available at:

TELETRAINING FROM NWSFO NORMAN. David Andra, SOO at NWSFO Norman, provided two one-hour teletraining seminars on March 2 for a combined total of 15 Southern Region offices. Numerous staff members at most offices participated. David's subject was severe weather operations at the NWSFO during the May 3, 1999 tornado outbreak. In particular, he emphasized operational procedures and AWIPS configurations which the office had evolved prior to the historic event. The seminar was repeated twice the following week to include even more offices.

SOUTHERN REGION PUBLICATIONS. Following are several recent publications authored or co-authored by Southern Region forecasters.

In the latest (June 1999) issue of the NWA's National Weather Digest:

The Initiation and Evolution of a Mini-Bow Echo Occurring Behind a Prefrontal Squall Line, by Alan Gerard (NWSFO Jackson) and Corey Mead (NWSFO Omaha/Valley). [Corey was formerly at NWSFO Jackson.]

Situation-Specific Tornado Warnings at the National Weather Service Forecast Office,Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Richard Smith and Steven Piltz (NWSFO Tulsa). [Rick is now a member of MSD/SRH.]

February 2000 issue of Weather and Forecasting:

The 12 July 1995 Pinellas County, Florida, Tornado/Waterspout, by Waylon Collins and Charles Paxton (NWSO Tampa Bay Area) and Joseph Golden (NOAA/Forecast Systems Lab).

February 2000 Bulletin of the AMS:

Warning Operations in Support of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, by J.T. Johnson and Michael Eilts (NSSL), David Ruth (TDL), William Goodman (General Sciences Corp.), and Lans Rothfusz (MIC, NWSFO Tulsa).

February 2000 Monthly Weather Review:

The Role of Synoptic-Scale Flow during Tropical Cyclogenesis over the North Atlantic Ocean, by W. Edward Bracken (NWSO Key West) and Lance Bosart (Univ. Of Albany, SUNY).

Environmental Influences on the Rapid Intensification of Hurricane Opal (1995) over the Gulf of Mexico, by Lance Bosart (SUNY/Albany), Christopher Velden (CIMSS, Univ. Of Wisconsin), W. Edward Bracken (NWSO Key West), John Molinari (SUNY), and Peter Black (NOAA/AOML/HRD). [Ed was formerly at HRD in Miami.]

NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-204:

A Precipitation and Flash Flood Climatology of the WFO Morristown, Tennessee Hydrological Service Area, by David Gaffin and David Hotz (NWSO Morristown).

PRESENTATIONS FROM NWP SYMPOSIUM NOW ONLINE. All the presentations from the most recent COMAP SOO Symposium on numerical weather prediction have been added to the COMET Web site. You can access presentations through the Southern Region Weather Links and Numerical Weather Prediction Links Web pages. Symposium attendees are encouraged to use the online presentations as they develop local training related to their symposium experience. Questions, concerns or other issues related to these materials, or other NWP training being made available by the COMET Program, should be directed to Wendy Abshire, NWP Symposium Director, at COMET.

NEW COMET CASE STUDIES. COMET has released Case Study 22, which focuses on an event that brought severe weather from Buffalo, New York to Sterling, Virginia, and Case Study 23, which follows the development of a strong extratropical cyclone that took place from November 8-11, 1998. Severe weather that accompanied the case included blizzard conditions in the Upper Midwest and severe thunderstorms over the Mississippi Valley. The case allows the study of extratropical cyclone development from initial to mature stages.

Case Studies 22 and 23 are available for searching, browsing, and ordering for ftp download including data in GRIB, McIDAS, GEMPAK, and NIDS formats. The COMET Case Study Library is available at:

Data for the two case studies are also available in netCDF, the AWIPS compatible format, when ordered as a complete dataset through the CODIAC WWW system at:

ACARS SOUNDINGS INCREASE. Thanks to the good work of Leslie Ewy of the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory's Facility Division, FSL is now decoding two additional ACARS data formats: one from United Parcel Service and one from American Airlines. The net result is an approximately 50% increase in daily ACARS data, to about 72,000 observations per day world-wide and 62,000 observations per day over the contiguous US. Most of the increase is in en-route reports; several aircraft are reporting every minute. These show up as essentially solid lines on the Web display. There are few new airports involved in this increase (and most of those are in Europe), but time coverage should be improved.

CSTAR REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS. The NOAA/National Weather Service/Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) program issued a request for proposals (RFP) in the January 21, 2000 edition of the Federal Register. This RFP represents a funding opportunity for colleges and universities and contains information concerning eligibility, specific application procedures, funding limits, and research themes. We anticipate at least one proposal that addresses the science needs and priorities of the Southern Region to be funded. The CSTAR RFP is available in Adobe PDF format at: and in plain text format at: . The deadline for applications is April 14, 2000.

GOES ECLIPSE SEASON UNDERWAY. The GOES eclipse season began in February. Since the GOES satellites are in geosynchronous orbits, the Earth's disk periodically blocks the sunlight from the satellites' solar arrays. These arrays convert sunlight into electricity to power the satellite. When the energy needed to power the instruments is not available, the instruments are powered down.

There is typically a one- to three-hour outage of GOES imagery each day as the eclipse season progresses. The maximum outage of three hours occurs at the equinox. Each eclipse season spans a 48-day period, symmetric around the equinox. Links to the GOES eclipse schedules are available on the SRH Satellite Information Web page:

UPCOMING MODEL CHANGES. On March 1, the NWSH Committee on Analysis and Forecast Techniques Implementation (CAFTI) met to discuss changes in the models and data availability in AWIPS. The most significant results included a fix for the over-forecast precipitation from the Eta model in coastal regions and making the Eta available out to 60 hr - and at two higher-resolution grids (212 and 215). Southern Region will be working with the AWIPS Program Office and our field offices to get the necessary changes to AWIPS servers out so these new data sets will be available by the end of this month.

More information can be found at the following URLs:

AWIPS TECHNICAL NOTE. A new Southern Region AWIPS Technical Note has been published: ATN 00-1, "Local Site Configuration Needed to Use the IFPS Fix-It Scripts and to Generate QPS Products," by Neal DiPasquale NWSO Amarillo, January 2000. It can be found at

ETA MODEL OUTPUT SOUNDINGS ON AWIPS. A new product called "collective" Eta BUFR output is being produced by NCEP's Mesoscale Modeling Branch and sent to the AWIPS Satellite Broadcast Network effective 1200 UTC on January 19, 2000. These files contain the BUFR output for all stations within particular geographical regions. The WMO headers for the files are: JUSxyz KWNO

where y = 4 for the Eta model (5 for RUC, 6 for AVN),

z = model region

1- 30S-37N, 50W-90W (eastern Gulf, southeast CONUS, Atlantic region south of Hatteras)

2- 37N-85N, 50W-90W (northeast CONUS, eastern Canada, western North Atlantic)

3- 30S-37N, 90W-109W (south-central CONUS, western Gulf, northeast Mexico)

4- 37N-85N, 90W-109W (north-central CONUS, south-central Canada)

5- 30S-42N, 109W-140W (southwest CONUS, northwest Mexico, eastern subtrop. Pacific)

6- 42N-85N, 109W-128W (northwest CONUS, southwest 42N-52N, 128W-140W Canada, adjacent coastal waters)

7- 30S-50N, 140W-180 (eastern tropical and subtrop.Pacific including Hawaii)

8- 30S-50N, 180-130E (western tropical & subtropical Pacific including Guam)

9- 52N-85N, 128W-140W (Alaska, western Canada, eastern 50N-85W, 140W-130E Russia, and coastal waters),

and x = A for regions 1 and 2; x=B for regions 3 to 6; and x=X for regions 7 to 9.

For example, the file containing the station data for Ithaca, New York would have WMO header 'JUSA42 KWNO'.



AWIPS UPDATE. Southern Region now has 25 WFOs, four RFCs, and regional headquarters operating without AFOS for a total of 30 sites. This leaves us with only six more WFOs to go. The last WFO on AFOS is scheduled to switch to AWIPS on March 15. As of the end of February, Southern Region had commissioned four AWIPS sites, with five more expected to be commissioned during the first week of March. Sites are expected to have their commissioning forms completed and sent to Matt Strahan two weeks prior to their commissioning date. For help with the commissioning forms refer to:

AWIPS SBN OUTAGE. The last week of February saw a major AWIPS Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN) outage and a few minor AWIPS WAN outages . Southern Region Headquarters is working with the AWIPS program office to ensure that all high priority messages, including watches, are always on the WAN, even if the SBN fails. SRH has also produced a script that will routinely check the integrity of a site's AWIPS communication systems. All AWIPS sites which are running without AFOS must install this script which is available for download at:


DOD UCP RELOCATION. Work continues to transfer NEXRAD Unit Control Position (UCP) functionality from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the NWS. As of late February, the following DOD UCP functionality had been transferred to the appropriate NWS WFOs: Moody AFB, Georgia; Maxwell AFB, Alabama; Ft. Polk, Louisiana; Altus AFB and Vance AFB, Oklahoma; Laughlin AFB, Texas; and Cannon AFB, New Mexico. Seven additional sites should transfer to the NWS by the end of March. In addition, each WFO is ingesting data from the above sites directly into their AWIPS via a dedicated 14.4 kbps circuit.

ARCHIVE II. The NEXRAD Program Management Committee is entertaining the possibility of giving WFOs the option of going to event-based Archive II recording instead of the current continuous recording policy. This potential change in policy is due to the high failure rate of the jukeboxes and recording devices. Meanwhile... NWSO Tallahassee was successful in recording Archive II data from their WSR-88D during the recent southwest Georgia tornado outbreak. No doubt these data will be useful to the research community and for training purposes.

ASOS SOFTWARE VERSION 2.6 INSTALLATION. Electronics technicians from the various WFOs are wrapping up the ASOS Software Version 2.6 installation at both non-commissioned and unstaffed ASOS sites across the region. Pending notification from the appropriate FAA regional air traffic personnel, installation has also begun at a few FAA staffed locations. Southern Region has implemented an agreement with FAA Southern Region and FAA Southwest Region that once the local air traffic controllers have completed their required training/briefing on the changes with V2.6, the FAA region will notify Southern Region (NWS) Headquarters.

ASOS PLANNED PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT (PPI). The NWS directors recently approved the following ASOS PPI priority list with field deployment dates as follows:

All-Weather Precipitation Accumulation Gauge (Deploy FY02-03)
Dew Point Sensor upgrade (Deploy FY01-02)
DCP Processor Upgrade (Deploy FY01-02)
Ice-free wind sensor (Deploy FY03-04)
Enhanced Precipitation identifier (Deploy FY04-05)
Replacement ceilometer (Deploy FY04-05)
Sunshine sensor (Deploy FY 04-05)

MONTHLY REPORTS. Cooperative Program monthly reports must be submitted to SRH in a timely manner. These reports were previously done manually but an electronic format for the monthly report is available for use as part of the DAPM resource page. The address for this site is: Passwords are required to use this system and these have been distributed to the DAPMs. If you are in need of assistance with accessing this resource page contact the regional cooperative program manager. Several other report formats and links to other interesting sites are also available from this Web site.

MODERNIZATION. The Cooperative Program is moving forward once again as funds have been found to start testing data loggers for the Fischer & Porter gauges. Testing of several types of data loggers is likely to begin this summer with selection of a system expected by this fall.

NWS COOPERATIVE OBSERVER. A cooperative observer home page is being developed at NWS Headquarters. This page has many interesting links and is a valuable resource for the management of the program. The address for the site is:

RADIOSONDE REPLACEMENT SYSTEM. Information on the Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS) and monthly performance statistics are all available on the Internet. The address for this information is: This information source is kept as current as possible and all upper air offices should access this information on a routine basis.



NWSO Tallahassee. During February, NWSO Tallahassee remained busy with various EEO/Outreach activities. Senior forecaster Ron Block discussed weather and the role of the NWS with area residents at a Dothan, Alabama mall; at a multi-cultural festival celebrating north Florida's diverse population (60 percent minority); at an interfaith science workshop in Tallahassee that centered around Black History Month (72 percent minority); at a Black History Expo in Tallahassee (90 percent minority) where minority contributions in science were discussed; and at the Jackie Robinson Youth Leadership Institute in Thomasville, Georgia, where highly motivated area youth (predominantly African American) are exposed to educational real-world opportunities. MIC Paul Duval spoke on meteorologists' educational requirements and career opportunities at Cobb Middle School in Tallahassee (50 percent minority and female).

Kimberly Sexton, a recent student volunteer at the Tallahassee office, gained a weather internship on a local TV station where she participates in all facets of the weather segment of the hourly evening news. WCM Bob Goree and Kimberly authored articles on tornado school safety and flooding, respectively, in the "Florida Hazardous Weather Awareness," a joint NWS and state of Florida preparedness school publication.

NWSFO Little Rock. MIC Renee Fair was one of several guest speakers for the Martin Luther King Commission for Martin Luther King Celebration Week. The week included visitations to various schools throughout Central Arkansas. Renee spoke at an elementary school in North Little Rock before 87 four and five year-old students, and another elementary school in Little Rock before 156 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.

Her lecture was on the Six Non-Violent Principles of Dr. Martin Luther King as they relate to "students getting along." Students were energized by her "on-the-spot" 10-minute skits which illustrated these principles. The students were then able to understand the what, how, and why their behavior often leads to hatred, violence, fights, and gang development in their schools.

NWSO Brownsville. Jim Campbell, DAPM; Tim Speece, lead forecaster; and Mike Castillo, met intern; participated in the Skinner Elementary Career Day. The entire school of 500 students, from the first through fifth grades, took part in the all day event. Locally produced handouts were given to each student and a tornado video was constantly playing during the presentation. Mike did several presentations in Spanish for the classes that were not bilingual.

Jim Campbell and senior forecaster Scott Cordero participated in the Cromack Elementary Career Day for the entire fifth grade class. The students had been instructed to use an "interview" type format, where they asked specific questions about the job and made a written report with their answers. Locally made handouts pertaining to hurricanes, tornados and severe weather were given to each student. Scott helped answer questions in Spanish for the students who lacked English proficiency.

Jim Campbell and HMT Tony Abbott participated in the Martin Accelerated School Career Day attended by 250 students and teachers. Locally made handouts, as well as information on hurricanes and severe weather, were given to each student. Questions were asked in an interview style, specifically relating to the career field.

NWSO Shreveport. On February 15, the NWS office in Shreveport celebrated African American History Month. The activities included a local speaker, Doyle Adams, addressing the staff on African American history and diversity. Following the speaker, several members of the staff had lunch at a local African American restaurant, Pete Harris Café. The staff enjoyed participating so much in this activity that preparations are already being made for Women's History Month.

Forecaster Bill Parker gave a Severe Weather Preparedness and NWS Operations talk to 50 second grade students from Forest Hill Elementary School in Shreveport. The talk was followed up with a question and answer session. Bill also gave a talk to the University of Louisiana at Monroe meteorology class on how to apply for meteorology jobs within the NWS.

Bill Murrell, met intern, participated as a judge for the fourth and fifth grade Science Fair at Eden Gardens Elementary School.

MIC Lee Harrison and Bill Parker spoke on severe weather preparedness, NWS operations, media coordination, and careers in meteorology to students at Many High School of Many, Louisiana. Developing a school preparedness plan and a tornado drill was discussed with the school administration.

Southeast RFC Atlanta. The Southeast RFC has developed a partnership with Clark Atlanta University, a minority servicing institution. A major part of this effort will be to allow up to two Clark Atlanta students working on graduate degrees in meteorology, hydrology, civil engineering, or other earth or atmospheric science programs, to mentor with a Southeast RFC staffer on a SERFC-defined research project. Funding for these students will vary, either through the SCEP program, if funds permit or the student has an interest in an NWS career, or through Clark Atlanta funding.

NWSO San Angelo. WCM Buddy McIntyre gave a severe weather safety talk to DNS Residential Services of San Angelo. DNS Residential Services provides housing for the mentally disabled. There were 35 people in attendance which included the residential caregivers and their clients.


February 1-29, 2000

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
David Nadler WFO CRP Prom to CR Forecaster, GS-12
Esther Atkins WFO EWX Reas to NWSH GS-14

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
James Noel WFO FFC Reas from CR Forecaster, GS-12
Dan Gregoria WFO LZK New Hire Met Intern, GS-5
Aldis Strautins WFO ABQ New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Christopher Jakub WFO JAN New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Mary King WFO LZK Reas from TSA El Tech, GS-10
Martin Mayeaux WFO LZK Reas from MOB Met Intern, GS-5
Christopher Price WFO TSA Prom from OUN El Tech, GS-12
Nezette Rydell WFO EWX Prom from EWX Service Hydrologist, GS-13

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