UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
BLAST SELECTIONS. Attached is the list of participants selected for this year's Southern Region BLAST Program. Congratulations to all who applied for regional BLAST. Forty-five Southern Region people made the substantial effort to apply for BLAST, representing a significant interest toward good leadership principles. While it is unfortunate we could not accommodate all 45 applicants, I strongly encourage those not selected to apply for the next BLAST course which will be announced within the next few months.
The 11 finalists were selected in a process involving eight Southern Region field managers. These local managers devoted considerable time and effort to reviewing application packages and conducting interviews. Deciding on the finalists was indeed a difficult task.
I want to thank all Southern Region field and regional managers for your support of the BLAST Program, especially with respect to your Local BLAST. We have heard from a number of you regarding the progress made in your local programs, and your comments and updates are greatly
appreciated. We are all benefitting from this process.
Please convey your congratulations to those selected for BLAST.
Shawn Bennett, WFO Brownsville
Michael Coyne, WFO Corpus Christi
John Gordon, WFO Nashville
Hector Guerrero, WFO BrownsvilleWilliam Parker, WFO Shreveport
Jim Purpura, WFO Oklahoma City
Nezette Rydell, WFO Austin/San Antonio
David Sharp, WFO Melbourne
Timothy Troutman, SRH CWWD
Michael Vescio, WFO Fort Worth
Jon Zeitler, WFO Houston/Galveston
NWS EARNS STRAIGHT As. Attached to this month's Topics is an e-mail message to all employees from NWS Director Jack Kelly regarding a recent assessment of seven federal agencies by George Washington University and reported in Government Executive magazine. The assessment team bestowed an overall grade of A to the National Weather Service's management programs. We refer you to this article for details.
IFPS UPDATE. The IFPS implementation effort is proceeding. Activities currently in the works include design of regional IFPS workshops, identification of the IFPS focal points at the various offices, and continued development of the IFPS Web site.
Speaking of the IFPS Web site, have you visited it recently? Many items are updated and added daily. Recent additions/changes include:
If you are the focal point for CAFÉ, WWA or IFPS in your office, your name should be on this list. Please submit the names to the IFPS Webmaster, Melinda Bailey (SRH CWWD).
You will notice a subtle, but important, change to the IFPS Implementation Schedule. The directives for conducting the regional IFPS workshop have been adjusted. We are aware the office focal points and SOOs are returning from the NWSTC course with the IFPS software, but delaying its installation pending successful implementation and testing of a software patch.
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH
CHAT A SUCCESS.National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield provided the following summary of last week's successful Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour (CHAT). He also included kudos for WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos and WCM Rafael Mojica, along with other staff members who were involved.
This has always been a team effort with NHC, WFO San Juan WFO, national meteorological centers in the Caribbean, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, and others. The "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft was toured by 850 people in Villahermosa, 425 in Cancun, 250 in Kingston, 3750 in Aguadilla, and 1550 in St. Croix, for a total or nearly 7,000! Well-attended press briefings were held in each stop, and we had the opportunity to emphasize the "team effort" theme between the meteorological community, the emergency managers and other local officials, and the media (CNN and The Weather Channel-Latin America, as well as numerous local media joined us in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).
The staff of the San Juan WFO worked tirelessly in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. I was truly amazed at the turnout in these two locations. The San Juan staff did an outstanding job of planning these programs. In addition, their Spanish-speaking skills were invaluable in making this mission a success in Puerto Rico. The Southern Region can be very proud of the efforts put out in by the WFO in support of this very important outreach program. NHC puts tremendous resources into preparedness efforts like this, but the success is only guaranteed by the hard work of the local weather office. The CHAT helped fulfill the obligations in our National Hurricane Operations Plan and is in support of the NWS strategic goals of both enhancing partnerships with the emergency management community and exercising global leadership.
Congratulations to the San Juan staff, and thanks, Max, for the kind words. The Southern Region mission in the Caribbean does indeed coincide with that of NHC.
Graphical Marine Products. WFO Tampa Bay Area SOO Charlie Paxton gave a demonstration of the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) component of IFPS at the Southern Region Marine Workshop held in March. Prior discussions at the workshop left attendants wondering how graphical forecasts would be made. Charlie showed the marine forecasters the various interfaces of the Linux GFE interface, and how the software produces wind wave fields based on wind grids. He described how forecasters will edit the data using the pencil tool and edit areas, and how text formatter scripts turn the gridded data into text-based forecasts. Charlie eluded to the possibility of the software producing html pages and showed the graphical forecasts produced by the software. This demonstration gave the forecasters a clear picture of the upcoming GFE-based forecast process. For a sample of a GFE- produced html page see: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tbw/marine/index2.html.
Marine in Nashville? Therese Pierce from NWS Headquarters presented the NWS marine program to 50 folks from the National Safe Boating Council. The meeting was at the Opryland Hotel in Donelson, Tennessee. She gave an idea of what products are issued by a coastal WFO for boaters and others with marine interests.
Although WFO Nashville does not issue any marine products, Jerry Orchanian went over and explained several wind-related products from the Nashville office such as Lake Wind Advisory, Wind Advisory, High Wind Warning, Severe Thunderstorm Warning and Tornado Warning. He presented some interesting facts about the NWS from their NWS fact sheet and demonstrated various NOAA Weather Radio with alarms and explained the SAME technology.
WFO Brownsville forecaster Paul Yura visited South Padre Island and Port Isabel, Texas in early April, and obtained excellent customer feedback on Brownsville's marine products. Paul visited the United States Coast Guard Station, offshore fishing charters, and park rangers at Andy Bowie Park. He found fog is a big problem. Ship groundings occur fairly frequently during heavy fog. When talking about the offshore conditions...the Coast Guard refers to the South Texas coast as the "Washing Machine." Very rough and choppy at times...while just a mile up the coast you can have completely different seas and conditions. Paul found the Coast Guard station in Corpus Christi broadcasts our forecasts, SMW, and MWS over VHF channel 22A. This broadcast reaches from Baffin Bay down to South Padre Island.
SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH
WFO Amarillo's 2001 Severe Weather Workshop. About 180 people attended this year's workshop, which WFO Amarillo hosts during alternating years. The meeting featured presentations by many different people. Severe weather caused a few speakers to miss the workshop, including The Weather Channel's Dr. Greg Forbes. WFO Amarillo MIC Jose Garcia, WCM Steve Drillette, and lead forecaster Ken Schneider filled in for the missing speakers. Booths were staffed by organizations such as the Amarillo Emergency Services, Red Cross, FEMA, WFO Amarillo, Amarillo Emergency Management, Texas Dept. of Transportation, local TV stations, and West Texas A&M University. Steve reports that although the turnout was less than previous sessions (probably due to the weather), this year's workshop was still successful.
School Days on the Farm. WFO Jackson WCM Jim Butch participated with 30 organizations in a three-day conference sponsored by Mississippi State University called "School Days on the Farm." Jim talked to over 5,000 students grades kindergarten through fourth during the three days. He covered safety rules for severe storms, NOAA Weather Radio, a meteorologist's job, and Jim's role in the NWS.
Hurricane Hunter in Puerto Rico. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane landed in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico as part of the National Hurricane Center's 2001 awareness tour. Aguadilla was the fourth stop of the tour, which also included Mexico, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos participated in a news conference at the airport, along with Aguadilla's mayor, the Puerto Rico State Emergency Management director, and NHC director Max Mayfield. Local government officials and the media toured the plane, followed by approximately 4,000 school children and visitors from all over Puerto Rico. The tour stopped in St. Croix the following day. Many local officials and the media toured the plane, followed by approximately 1,500 school children.
Hurricane Awareness Week. The NWS will help sponsor Hurricane Awareness Week May 21-25. Each day will be devoted to a specific topic, including coastal and marine hazards, wind hazards, inland flooding, the forecast process, and disaster prevention. A Web site was developed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov to highlight each of those five topics.
Southeast Texas Tornado Drill. WFO Houston/Galveston conducted a CWA-wide tornado drill during Severe Weather Awareness Week. This tornado warning was broadcast on NWR and some of the local TV stations. Over 200 schools in the CWA participated in the drill and found it very beneficial in identifying weaknesses in their plans. This is the second year the drill was conducted and plans are already underway for next year's drill.
WFO Key West's Earth Day Activities. WFO Key West hosted a booth at the Earth Day Celebration at Bahia Honda State Park. WCM Wayne Presnell and forecaster John Koch, as well as MIC Bobby McDaniel and DAPM Tom Tarlton hosted the booth. They report about 225 people stopped by the booth, which featured brochures, a poster and Web site display, NWR demonstrations and videos of hurricanes Georges and Irene. A good deal of information on severe weather safety and NWS operations was distributed to many people. Everyone they spoke to was delighted about having an NWS office in Key West to participate in events such as this one.
Severe Weather and AHPS Outreach in SW Georgia. WFO Tallahassee WCM Bob Goree participated in a severe weather expo in Albany, Georgia. Bob visited with 75-100 people and handed out plenty of brochures. He also continually displayed the Water Predictions For Life Decisions: The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service DVD to visitors. Visitors were informed about the NWS pilot AHPS project for the Flint River in Albany.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION
StormReady Explosion. Your efforts and coordination with emergency managers continue to pay-off with numerous StormReady designations. In April, there were two new designations by WFO Little Rock (Garland County and Hot Springs), four in WFO Melbourne's CWA (Seminole, Orange, Volusia, and Brevard counties), four by WFO Atlanta (Bibb, Cherokee, Fayette, and Upson counties), and one by WFO Jacksonville (Ware County, Georgia). Through April, 17 StormReady communities have been designated in the Southern Region during this fiscal year. Your efforts have far exceeded the Southern Region strategic plan goal of six communities for FY01. Great work.
WFO Key West Assists in EOC training. The Key West Emergency Operations Center organized a two-day training seminar for emergency personnel in Key West. They invited WFO Key West to speak in conjunction with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Slide shows on various topics of severe weather and NWS operations were presented by seven WFO Key West personnel, including MIC Bobby McDaniel, WCM Wayne Presnell, lead forecaster Joe Barrett, forecasters John Koch and Chip Kasper, DAPM Tom Tarlton, and intern Laura Finlon. Thirty emergency personnel attended, including representatives from Monroe County Emergency Management.
WFO Jacksonville Hosts Workshop for Emergency Managers. Forty emergency managers (EM) attended a hazardous weather workshop which was held specifically for them by WFO Jacksonville. MIC Steve Letro gave presentations on Significant Weather Alerts and hurricane issues. WCM Fred Johnson outlined warning operations, while SOO Pat Welsh covered IFPS and current research efforts. Larry Vannozzi (SRH CWWD) gave a luncheon presentation which covered pilot projects for forecast and warning improvements. HMT Jim Boone demonstrated a weather balloon launch and various staff members took the EMs on tours of the office. The event was very successful; a similar one may be planned in two-three years.
Disaster Network Meeting in Weslaco. The first-ever Disaster Network of the Lower Rio Grande Valley met recently in Weslaco, Texas. WFO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan and WCM Hector Guerrero organized this event in cooperation with Texas Division of Emergency Management personnel. The purpose was to develop a stronger partnership with all of the area's key emergency response organizations. Representatives from 20 organizations attended, explained their respective emergency roles, and exchanged information. A partial list of attendees includes emergency managers, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, State of Texas Disaster Committee, utility companies, local media, and the Texas National Guard.
MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Congratulations WFO Houston/Galveston! WFO Houston/Galveston earned the 2001 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement Award for Meteorology for their Hurricane Preparedness and Mitigation Program. They were nominated by the Emergency Preparedness Manager at NASA Johnson Space Center. NOAA's Hurricane Research Division and Houston's KRIV-TV chief meteorologist wrote letters of support for the nomination. The WFO staff was cited for their "responsiveness, technical skills, and experience" which made them "the ideal resource for community, school, and organizational awareness programs on hurricane preparation and mitigation." Congrats on a great job, WFO Houston/Galveston.
Training for the US Army Corps of Engineers. WFO Tallahassee WCM Bob Goree provided spotter training to the staff of the USCOE at Lake Seminole. Lake Seminole is at the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers which become the Apalachicola River south of the reservoir. The lake is at the junction of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and therefore is strategically located for WFO Tallahassee. Bob took a boat tour of the lower part of the reservoir and a nearby dam. Just days later, one of the new spotters received a detailed tour of the WFO. Bob expects these visits to lead to even greater cooperation between the USCOE and WFO Tallahassee.
Want to know how to break a drought? Schedule a Weather Service function outdoors. Seems the Weatherman's Golf Tournament April 18 in Houston didn't quite make it past nine holes before the heavens opened causing the event to be canceled because of lightning and severe weather. We understand Neal Frank and his team took top honors of the abbreviated tournament. His team consisted of Neal, Neal's son, grandson and some ringer or two brought in off the PGA tour, according to Joe Villescaz from the San Antonio office, who along with Gene Hafele, were members of Bill Read's team.
NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS
Georgia NWR expansion is continuing as the 1000 watt Eatonton and 300 watt Clayton, Georgia sites were recently installed and became operational. In Oklahoma, the Ardmore (Murray County) 300 watt site was installed and accepted and is undergoing operational testing at this time. Arkansas NWR expansion is well underway with new 300 watt installations occurring at Mt. Ida and Morrilton, Arkansas during April.
SRH NWR engineer, TL Farrow and NWR program leader Tim Troutman recently surveyed three site locations in Florida, and, with further help provided by Florida RMS Van Jester, surveyed two other sites. Future NWR transmitter locations in Florida will be in Palatka, White Spring (just north of Lake City), Levy County (near Inverness), and a marine NWR transmitter near Clearwater. Three future NWR sites have also been identified in Texas near Stephenville, Greenville and Longview. All of these sites will be installed late this summer and into early fall.
The New Mexico NWR refurbishment project is on again due to slightly improving weather conditions. A new 100 watt transmitter was installed at Clovis, New Mexico during the month.
NWR Success Story. The Burkeville, Texas NWR site was installed and completed during the last week of February. On March 2, due to significant heavy rainfall, a large amount of water had to be discharged downstream from the Toledo Bend, Louisiana area dam. This resulted in significant flooding downstream across the new NWR coverage area. WFO Lake Charles MIC Steve Rinard stated "the Burkeville NWR site came on-line just in time. There was much attention from the media, public and county judge. Everyone seemed very happy with the new NWR. The Burkeville site was officially dedicated on March 16 at the Sabine River Authority office at the Toledo Bend dam.
CRS NEWS. CRS Main Processor replacement continued through April across portions of the Southern Region. MP replacements were completed at WFOs Birmingham, Jackson, Norman, Knoxville/Tri Cities, Shreveport, and Fort Worth. CAFÉ formatter implementation was set for May 1 throughout the Southern Region. The CAFÉ resource home page is located at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/oso1/oso12/crscafe.html and the CRS help desk is located at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/oso1/oso12/crshelp.html. As of the latter part of April, all Southern Region WFOs were completing the transition to CAFÉ as their CRS formatter.
WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos reports SOO Rachel Gross has skillfully managed to have the CAFÉ formatter working not only with English forecast and warning products, but with the Spanish products as well. Israel also indicated CAFÉ is working well and the voice connotation in both languages seems satisfactory to the office and also to the users. Great job, Rachel.
VOICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (VIP) UPDATE. The Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on March 12 and responses from interested voice companies were received by the April 12 deadline. The VIP team is currently in the process of evaluating the replies. Shortly thereafter, the Voice Evaluation Team, led by Joanne Swanson (NWSH), will complete the technical and voice evaluations. At this time, the VIP is in the informal voice evaluation phase. All Southern Region WFOs should add the link http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/voicesamples.htm to your Web page. Another link which has been added to the NWSH NWR home page and gives a status report on the VIP is located at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/index.html. Please encourage the public and all warning partners to visit the Web page early and return often to obtain an updated status and comment on new possible voices as they appear, especially until early summer.
There will be three types of evaluations of the candidates voices. The first type is an informal voice evaluation conducted via the Web site given above. The second is an independent, contractor-led evaluation by user groups. The third is an evaluation by a team of NWR warning partners appointed by the International Association of Emergency Managers, National Emergency Management Association, and EAS National Advisory Committee leaders.
The voice(s) selection will be made in June. The CRS and voicing system hardware integration will be completed by the end of October and site-testing should occur in November and December. Deployment of the new voicing system will be completed to all WFOs across the U.S. by late spring 2002.
NWR OUTREACH. SRH ROC attendee Tom Bradshaw and NWR program leader Tim Troutman recently completed a tri-fold NWR pamphlet project with Florida Division of Emergency Management. This tri-fold pamphlet contains specific information regarding improving NWR reception if you are in a location where NWR coverage may be limited. The pamphlet will be produced initially for over 100,000 Florida residents.
Vincent "Bim" Wood, from NSSL, has developed a Web site for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons who request information about NWR and weather safety. This is a very good site and can be accessed at: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/NWR.
SAM'S CLUB NOAA WEATHER RADIO SHOW. WFO Corpus Christi participated in the 2001 Sam's Club NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) Road Show. An eight foot display booth showcased NWS products and services, Internet, severe weather and hurricane safety, and NWR. The booth also displayed a weather balloon and radiosonde for demonstrations. Over 7000 people in Corpus Christi and 1500 in Victoria, Texas visited the National Weather Service booth. Fifteen hundred packets containing 7000 pieces of NWS literature were handed to shoppers. Hundreds of questions were fielded, including several demonstrations involving how a weather radio receiver works.
NWR MARK TRAIL AWARDS. The following organizations and individuals will be receiving the NOAA Mark Trail Awards regarding NWR efforts across the Southern Region: WFO Norman and Keli Tarp, NOAA Weather Partners Public Affairs, Sabrina Duckworth, Jasper County, Mississippi, Beebe School District, Beebe, Arkansas, State of Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management and State of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
SOUTHERN REGION IMETS ATTEND WORKSHOP. The IMET workshop was held in Salt Lake City early last month. The workshop agenda included certification and review training. New technologies were also explored. Southern Region senior IMET attendees included: Greg Meffert, WFO Little Rock; Greg Murdoch, WFO Midland; Tom Bird, WFO El Paso; Chuck Maxwell, WFO Albuquerque; and Mike Edmonston, WFO Tallahassee. Southern Region IMET trainees attending the workshop included: Dean Hutsell, WFO Atlanta; Rick Davis, WFO Tampa Bay Area;; and Paul Witsaman, SRH CWWD.
SR IMETS HONORED FOR 2000 WILDFIRE SEASON. Federal and state land management organizations recognized the wildfires of 2000 as historic in both extent and duration. During a visit to the April 2001 IMET workshop, NWS Director Jack Kelly honored those who served from the NWS. Kelly met with more than 60 Incident Meteorologists (IMETs). These specially-trained NWS meteorologists are deployed as part of Incident Management Teams to fight wildland fires across the Nation. The IMETs were in Salt Lake City for their annual certification and training workshop. Kelly thanked the IMETs for their hard work during the past year and highlighted their contributions to firefighter safety and the protection of the public who live in the urban-wildland interface.
IMETs logged more than 1,800 duty days during the 2000 fire season, provided onsite support to combat wildfires and conducted fire weather briefings in agency coordination centers. The previous record of 920 duty days was nearly doubled this year because the 2000 fire season was one of the
most active on record. More than seven million acres of forests and grasslands were consumed by fire in 2000 with the greatest losses in western states, particularly Idaho and Montana, and estimated losses nationwide of more than $1 billion.
Director Kelly presented special plaques and awards for outstanding service during the record-breaking 2000 Fire Season to the following Southern Region IMETS:
Tom Bird, WFO El Paso
Scott Cordero, WFO Brownsville
Mike Edmonston, WFO Tallahassee
Kent Kuyper, WFO Lake Charles
Chuck Maxwell, WFO Albuquerque
Greg Meffert, WFO Little Rock
Greg Murdoch, WFO Midland
Jim Noffsinger, WFO Atlanta
SOUTHERN REGION AVIATION WEB PAGE TAKES OFF. Please fly low for a look at your new Southern Region Aviation Web page. WFO Fort Worth meteorologist Dennis Cain served as the Web site architect. This is our takeoff of an aviation adventure. The goal of this Web page is to give the aviation meteorologist a "direct flight" to the destinations which provide the tools, training, and tallies to better do their job in the what our Regional Director calls "the most active weather region in the history of the universe."
Anticipate access to the tools of aviation weather to include links to model data and text products. Also, this site will continuously seek out the aviation training opportunities. In addition, look for your aviation Web site to be a landing strip for verification data. These tallies will help identify our strengths and weaknesses; enabling us to continuously improve our aviation products and services. Make your approach and check out the site at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/sram/aviation.htm.
DROUGHT PILOT PROJECT. On May 1, WFOs providing warning and forecast services in Florida and Georgia began issuing drought information statements using the PNS product category. The pilot project will end October 30. The drought products are issued routinely and follow a consistent format to support local, state, regional, and national customers (e.g., Drought Monitor). The products are issued bi-weekly on Tuesday when the Palmer Drought Severity Index is moderate or higher. The WFOs participating in this project will also have discretion to issue these products more frequently based on customer needs and/or media attention.
This is the second time this fiscal year we are conducting a drought product pilot project in our region. The first one was conducted in Texas. The product was well received by customers such as river authorities, Texas Department of Emergency Management, the media, and the Climate Prediction Center. Our goal is to operationally implement this new drought product region-wide based on the customer feedback already received from the Texas pilot project and feedback from the current project in Florida and Georgia.
RFC VERIFICATION PROGRAM STATUS. We have officially completed a major milestone toward implementing the Southern Region RFC categorical flood forecast verification program. A baseline version of the software was completed in April by the Arkansas Red Basin RFC. A verification training workshop is planned for May 8 at the ABRFC to train the RFC verification focal points on running the software. Bill Lawrence, DOH at the ABRFC, will help the RFCs install the software after the training workshop. ABRFC will also develop a river forecast verification Web site which will contain the verification statistics for the Southern Region RFCs. Our goal is to post quarterly and annual graphical RFC verification statistical summaries on this Web site starting in mid-July.
RIVER FLOOD WATCH PROJECT STATUS. ABRFC recently completed their efforts to mostly automate the generation of the River Flood Watch narrative product. In addition, both the Southeast RFC and Lower Mississippi RFC completed efforts to develop draft graphical River Flood Watch product examples which will depict the areas and basin reaches under a River Flood Watch. In the next week or two, we plan to coordinate with Southern Region field offices to obtain feedback about the River Flood Watch narrative and graphic products and associated product details. We will also ask the WFOs and RFCs to acquire feedback on this product from their customers. A status report about the project was provided at the national MIC/HIC conference during the Southern Region breakout session.
HSB WEB ADDITIONS. We recently added the proceedings from last year's NWS Flash Flood Conference to the Hydrologic Services Branch Web site. In the near future we plan to add a link to the Hydrology Professional Development Series and the FFMP technical memorandum which was attached to last month's TOPICS.
AWRBIAC MEETING. Ben Weiger, chief of HSB, Dave Reed, HIC from LMRFC, and Jay Grymes, regional climatologist at the Southern Regional Climate Center, gave presentations on NOAA/NWS drought products and services at the 147th meeting of the Arkansas, White, Red Basin Interagency Advisory Committee (AWRBIAC) meeting held on April 25 in New Orleans. The theme for this meeting was drought planning. The AWRBIAC is represented by various federal and state agencies which meet twice annually to discuss and share information about water resource management issues in the three basins. Dave made a presentation about RFC drought-related products including gridded precipitation departure of normal graphical products at ABRFC and LMRFC and Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service extended-range probabilistic hydrologic forecast products from the Ensemble Streamflow Prediction program. Ben briefed the attendees about pilot projects to test and evaluate a consistently formatted and routinely issued WFO drought information statement during drought. Jay gave a presentation about the Drought Monitor and the products and services provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center.
RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Outreach. Representatives from the SERFC and WFO Atlanta attended the Georgia Water Resources meeting held in Athens, in March. Todd Hamill, hydrologic forecaster, made a presentation about the Ensemble Streamflow Prediction program and its associated product outputs. Jack Bushong, HAS forecaster, made a presentation about RFC HAS operations, and John Feldt and Lans Rothfusz made presentations on WFO/RFC operational response procedures.
Kent Frantz, HAS forecaster, made a visit to North Carolina in April. He met with staff from WFO Raleigh and briefed a meeting of local and state emergency managers and officials about AHPS implementation plans for the Tar River Basin.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
Extensive flooding continued across several mid-south HSAs during March. The Shreveport HSA again recorded very heavy rainfall during March with many observers reporting over a foot of rainfall by month's end. Over 150 homes were impacted by flood waters in the Shreveport HSA. The widespread flooding in the Shreveport HSA kept service hydrologist Craig Ross busy with several television and newspaper interviews. March was also an active month for the New Orleans HSA with several homes also damaged from flood waters. Birmingham and Mobile also had flooding problems during March.
Short-term hydrologic conditions improved somewhat across the Miami HSA as March rainfall was well above normal. However, the above normal rainfall did not make much impact in the long-term drought situation leaving Lake Okeechobee at all-time record low levels at the end of March.
FLASH FLOOD MONITORING AND PREDICTION SOFTWARE UPDATE. Version 2.0 of the FFMP software will be tested over the next two months at WFO Morristown. This latest release will offer "Amber"-like functionality to the flash flood prediction software. FFMP 2.0 will make use of gridded flash flood guidance as well as the hybrid reflectivity scan product. The DPA product from the WSR-88D will no longer be used. NSSL is in the process of supplying the high resolution basin information for all WFOs across the country to support the software. The official release of the FFMP 2.0 software is tentatively scheduled to be in an AWIPS build later this year. Information on the FFMP software can be found at:
E-PAPERS. The WFO Albuquerque Web site features an excellent monthly summary of weather highlights across New Mexico. Check out the following for an example: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/climate/Monthlyreports/March/mar01.htm. Charts, tables, figures and maps are all incorporated into the text, so visitors can gain a better understanding of the events as well as NWS operations. In addition, embedded links take readers to local studies which provide more in-depth analyses. Included with the March summary is a paper by senior forecaster Mike Ford titled, "East Wind Storms at Albuquerque, New Mexico." This is an outstanding example of sharing information with our customers.
We should note the Albuquerque staff was inspired to develop their monthly summary page by the fine example of WFO Little Rock. See their final report for March at:
NEW PUBLICATIONS. Congratulations to Rusty Pfost, WFO Miami MIC, whose paper entitled "Operational Tropical Cyclone Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting" was published in the latest (June 2000) issue of the National Weather Digest.
NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-210, A Rip Current Assessment of the Florida Panhandle Coastal Waters, by Greg Mollere, Irv Watson and Bob Goree (WFO Tallahassee) has been distributed to all offices.
The May 2001 Bulletin of the AMS contains an article by Steve Vasiloff (NSSL) titled, "Improving Tornado Warnings with the Federal Aviation Administration's Terminal Doppler Weather Radar." Efforts are underway to incorporate the FAA Dopplers into operations as part of the Open-RPG project, but in the meantime Steve describes case studies illustrating features of the TDWR which enhance its capabilities for storm detection. (This same issue of BAMS is the annual book issue, including titles and reviews of reference books which offices may want to consider adding to their local libraries.)
POST-STORM ANALYSIS. Pete Wolf, SOO at WFO Wichita, developed a case-study of a recent supercell event which was especially challenging for the WFO staff. His analysis, in slide-show format, can be found at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ict/soo/svr0414.html. Pete characterized this as one of the most difficult supercell events he has worked. Reflectivity structures and velocity signatures were impressive - and numerous. Tornado warnings might easily have been justified during the night-long event for as many as 11 or 12 counties. In fact, only four county warnings were issued. Most of the storms were non-tornadic, despite the impressive signatures. Only two brief tornadoes occurred in the Wichita CWA, resulting in a FAR for this event of 50 percent, but it could have easily been 80 percent. Crucial in this case was very good spotter support and the skillful analysis of near-storm environment which helped prevent numerous false alarms.
The analysis was prepared within just a few days of the event, so it lacks "peer review," and Pete advises some caution. Some of the images and text are small and may be a little hard to see, but nonetheless, we encourage all forecasters to review Pete's otherwise excellent presentation. In his words:
This is as difficult as warning decision-making gets. It is very hard to not have a tornado warning out when a supercell with rotation is on radar. Yet a majority of the storms of this type do not produce tornadoes (as indicated by NWS verification stats and confirmed again by this event). Needless to say, without spotter support and our environmental data sets, I would have had to issue warnings for most of the rotating storms detected. I hope you find the case review beneficial. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.
Forecasters are challenged to meet very specific FAR and POD goals, and to do so requires careful analysis of every warning situation. There are no magic bullets; instead all available data and tools must be used carefully. Ultimately, forecaster knowledge, skill and experience must be relied on to achieve the goals. This particular case illustrates the importance of the near-storm and small-scale environmental processes and changes. We should add to that as well the need to anticipate storm development (type, location and strength) in the pre-storm environment. Conditions can change quickly, however, and Pete's case study is an example of how profilers are useful in monitoring such rapidly changing environmental differences over short distances.
VERIFICATION UPDATE. The NWS public weather verification database now includes temperature and precip probability (PoP) statistics from January 1967 through March 2001. Access that Web site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/verification. The password may be obtained from CWWD. Also, please note the Hazardous Weather database has been changed to Severe Weather and now contains only tornado and severe thunderstorm/tornado combined. An active project at NWS Headquarters is to add severe thunderstorms only. Flash Flood Warning verification has been moved to Hydrology. Contact Bill Lerner (William.Lerner@noaa.gov) for more information.
BUSMAN'S HOLIDAY. One Saturday last month WFO Fort Worth senior forecaster Chris Buonanno presented a paper titled "An Overview of the Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS)" at the 2001 annual meeting of the Missouri Academy of Science (Atmospheric Science
Section). This year's meeting was held at Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, Missouri. Chris regularly attends meetings of the Academy - on his own time and at his own expense - but this year he represented the NWS's interests in an outstanding way. Thanks, Chris.
NWA AWARDS. Each year we are requested by the National Weather Association to coordinate nominations from the region for the various awards which the NWA presents at its annual meeting, which is usually in October. Anyone may submit a nomination directly to the NWA Awards Committee, but to provide an opportunity for additional endorsement from SRH we would appreciate it if the nominations were forwarded through SSD. SSD and the other divisions would also be happy to provide any assistance needed to document the nominations. Attached to this month's Topics is a summary of the NWA award categories, including any associated eligibility requirements. Please contact SSD for more information.
CHANGES TO THE NCEP GLOBAL SPECTRAL MODEL. A number of changes to the Global Spectral Model are tentatively scheduled for May 15. These include the introduction of a prognostic cloud water/ice parameterization scheme (the same as used in the Eta model), an improved cloud radiation feedback process, and the inclusion of momentum mixing in the cumulus parameterization scheme. Expected impacts of the changes include improved tropical circulation forecast skill at all ranges; a significant improvement in atmospheric circulation forecast skill in medium and extended ranges (especially in the summer hemisphere); and a reduction in the number of tropical storm false alarm forecasts. (During test runs using data from last summer actual storms were correctly forecast to develop although they were less intense.)
A description of the changes, with maps and statistics or test results, can be found at: http://lnx29.ncep.noaa.gov/maps/clw/cafti_0507_gmb.html. The URL of the Global Spectral Model parallel versions Web site (where test results of potential changes to the model are posted) is: http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/iredell.html/parahome.html.
FSL ANNOUNCES NEW RUC MODEL FORUM. NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) expects to change the operational version of the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model in late June. NWS field offices are invited to participate in a Web forum on the 20 km RUC evaluation at http://ruc.fsl.noaa.gov/forum/eval20. A similar forum for the 40 km RUC was very successful in disseminating information to RUC users during its evaluation, and has been continued since that time.
The horizontal grid spacing of the RUC model will be changed from 40 km to 20 km (covering the same domain), and the number of vertical levels will be increased from 40 to 50. A three-dimensional variational analysis, in the RUC's isentropic/sigma hybrid coordinate system, will replace the current optimal interpolation analysis. The model initialization will include a cloud analysis using assimilated GOES cloud-top pressure, to modify the one-hour forecast hydrometeor fields. The 20 km RUC will include upgrades in explicit cloud microphysics, convective parameterization, and the land-surface scheme.
The FSL proposes to increase the forecast length to at least six hours every hour, as compared to the current three hour forecasts at initial times not divisible by three. The model will use the 0600 UTC and 1800 UTC Eta output for the boundary conditions runs, in addition to the 0000 UTC and 1200 UTC Eta output. 'Look-alike' 40 km grids will be produced from the 20 km RUC, allowing an easy transition by users. More information about the 20 km RUC is available at http://ruc.fsl.noaa.gov/20kmRUC-apr01.htm (a slightly extended version of a CAFTI presentation from March 22).
The 20 km RUC model has been in real-time testing at FSL since July 2000, and with the assimilation system since December 2000. Both case studies and statistical verification show considerable improvement in precipitation forecasts - especially in the warm season; improved cloud forecasts; and improved wind and temperature forecasts near the tropopause. Also, the 20 km RUC provides improved accuracy in surface forecasts with an improved forecast of the diurnal temperature cycle (the 40 km RUC, by comparison, is too cool in the day and too warm at night).
The performance of the 20 km RUC running in real-time at FSL can be monitored and compared with the 40 km RUC through the RUC Web site (http://ruc.fsl.noaa.gov). Also, examples from FSL 20 km RUC testing are available inside the RUC presentation at:
The Aviation Weather Center, the Storm Prediction Center and NWS regions will participate in an evaluation of the 20 km RUC during May. Model output grids from the 20 km RUC runs at FSL are available via ftp, and grids from the NCEP test 20 km RUC will be available by May 10.
WORKSTATION ETA VERSION 2.0 RELEASED. Version 2.0 of the Workstation Eta has been released by Bob Rozumalski, the National SOO/SAC Coordinator. The Workstation Eta was developed to provide numerical weather prediction guidance to Weather Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers at temporal and spatial scales not available from operational data sources. The model can also be a powerful tool for studying local forecast problems and historically significant weather events.
New capabilities included in Version 2.0 of the model include: hydrostatic/non-hydrostatic option; sigma/eta vertical coordinate option; dual-CPU support; use of high resolution (0.5 degree) SST data; ability to initialize with smaller tiled 32 km Eta output files; LINUX/HPUX versions of ETAMAP script for easier domain selection; and faster processing of raw grib data to Eta-ready format.
Since its initial release about a year ago, use of the Workstation Eta at NWS field offices has increased steadily. Use of these data in the forecast process should increase with the ability to view model output in AWIPS, included in this most recent release. Background/boundary condition files needed to run the model are available on the Southern Region model output server.
BRIGHT SKY, DIRTY CITY? Research conducted for the NWS by the Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies (CIAMS) at Texas A&M University is the topic of an article appearing in the May issue of Scientific American. The article describes the anomalous number of lightning strikes detected in the vicinity of Houston and Lake Charles. Although the exact cause of the increased lightning is not known, there is speculation the petroleum refineries might be a factor. Dr Richard Orville, CIAMS Director, and his students have been creating maps of climatological lightning strikes (mean annual flash density, mean annual positive flash density, and percent positive flashes) for all NWS offices.
SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION
TELECOMMUNICATIONS. The NOAA Weather Radio circuits transition is steadily progressing. More of these circuits continue to be released daily from MCI for NWS testing and acceptance. Southern Region's plan is to test and accept the circuits as soon as MCI completes them. When a completion notice is received from MCI, the ESA and RMS are notified the circuit is ready for testing. The testing of the circuit is scheduled to occur within the 72-hr acceptance window. If the circuit passes all tests, it is accepted and the transmitter is switched over to the MCI circuit. Once the region is notified of the results, a disconnect order for the AT&T circuit is generated immediately. If for some reason the circuit does not pass all testing requirements, MCI is notified and a trouble ticket is generated for repair. When the repair is complete, the testing and acceptance process is restarted. To date, Southern Region has accepted 15 of the 22 circuits installed by MCI. Three of the remaining circuits are to be tested this week, and four have trouble tickets assigned.
All but the San Juan regional frame relay wide area network (WAN) circuits have been transitioned to MCI and all are operational. MCI is working on San Juan to get this site "turned up" by next week. FCC approval for the new MCI terminal in San Juan delayed the installation but has been resolved and should soon be operational. Disconnect confirmations and completion notices for all but a few of the AT&T frame circuits have been received, the last of which should be disconnected by month's end.
Progress of both transitions is being continually monitored to ensure each field office and SRH receives the service and support required. NWS Headquarters has continually provided support and management focus during this transition phase. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.
OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH
NOAA FUNDING FOR KEY WEST FUEL TRUCK PAD. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-required fuel catchment pad for tanker delivery trucks at the Key West Radar Data Acquisition (RDA) has been identified by WASC as a funded item following the completion of the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC). The lack of a fuel catchment basin was cited as a deficiency in the SPCC, based on EPA regulations and the RDA site proximity to navigable waters of the United States.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND SAFETY (ECS) TRAINING CLASSES. Training classes are being scheduled for newer members of the ECS focal point team as well as Southern Region employees required to perform climbing as part of their job duties. First-year focal points will attend environmental refresher classes at NWSTC this month, and new focal points will attend the initial training in June and July. These classes are required partly because of the approximate 30 percent turnover rate of focal points, which is a collateral duty. Safety classes based on EHB-15 are being scheduled for all focal points from now through June. Fall protection classes for NWS employees who did not attend in FY00 are scheduled for June through September.
FAA SAFETY ISSUES BEING IDENTIFIED. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) properties where NWS employees must access Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) equipment and unsafe conditions exist are being identified and will be reported to the FAA Airways and Facilities managers in the southwest and Southern regions, respectively. These conditions are primarily Occupational Safety Health Administration-based violations of walking and working surfaces related to the lack of handrails or safety lanyard tie-off points near roof edges at control towers and other structures.
ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS. Nineteen Mitsubishi uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems have been installed to-date. Austin/San Antonio is scheduled to receive a new unit this summer.
Replacement of the rotary transition power source with the powerware static UPS has been completed at the Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, and Miami Doppler radar sites. Thirteen units have been installed to-date.
RADIOSONDE REPLACEMENT SYSTEM. Site drawing verification for the radiosonde replacement system is underway at the 23 upper air sites in the Southern Region. Detailed information includes location of existing UAIBs, communication/power run conduits and distances, towers and instruments. The data will allow prospective bidders to prepare a fixed price proposal for the installation of the telemetry receiver system at all CONUS upper air sites. Work will include removal of the existing ART system.
HOUSTON/GALVESTON PROJECT. Initial meetings for the new Galveston County Emergency Services Facility with the design firm, county officials and Weather Service personnel are tentatively scheduled for the first part of this month. Other emergency service organizations are interested in joining now that the project is a go. This will expand the scope of the building.
FACILITIES DRAFTING SUPPORT. A preliminary site plan was prepared for siting a storage building in San Juan. Copies of drawings for the Southern Region radiosonde replacement system were printed and sent to field offices for review. A map depicting NWR signal coverage for Oklahoma was completed.
SURFACE OBSERVATION PROGRAM. Southern Region received 47 requests from the aviation community for new certificates, cancellations or changes in type of surface certificates during April.
Last month, Southern Region received the draft copy of National Weather Service Observing Handbook No.7, Part III from NWS Headquarters for review. With the help of two Southern Region DAPMs, Thomas Tarlton, WFO Key West and Glenn Woodall, WFO Amarillo, a complete review was completed by the requested deadline. All suggestions and comments were forwarded to NWSH by mid-April. The primary purpose of this review, was to look for any errors in the procedures of the backup/augmentation of the Automated Surface Observing System Handbook.
We received a request from NWSH in early April to review a draft of the federal register notice where NWSH proposes to eliminate the national requirement for the Supplementary Data Observations class of observations. This draft federal register notice was reviewed, and suggestions and comments were forwarded to NWSH by the requested deadline.
UPPER-AIR OBSERVATION PROGRAM. Southern Region recently completed the operational review of the data acquisitions programs at WFOs Albuquerque and El Paso. Grady Svoboda, WFO Albuquerque and Bruce Bradley, WFO El Paso, participated in these inspections. A few minor concerns were noted at both locations involving procedure and safety. All were reviewed with the MIC and DAPM during the exit briefing.
In early April, SRH received a draft copy of the new instructions for preparing the Vaisala RS80-57 radiosondes. The primary purpose for this review was to compare the changes in the step-by-step instructions in preparing a Vaisala RS80-57 radiosonde for flight. After SRH's review, a draft copy of the instructions with all changes was sent to all upper air sites who will be using the new Vaisala RS80-57 radiosonde.
Each month several more Southern Region offices begin sending upper air archive data to NCDC via e-mail. This method of data transmission has reduced a number of problems NCDC experienced with offices sending the 5.25-inch floppy disks. Our goal is to have all offices using this method by October.
ASOS ONE-MINUTE THUNDERSTORMS. A team of programmers from NWSH convened at Melbourne with local NWS electronic technicians to attempt to gather data and troubleshoot a recurring ASOS problem of one-minute thunderstorms being reported sporadically at FAA- sponsored ASOS sites which are interfaced with the Automated Lightning and Detections System (ALDARS). Early indications are the problem is software related. Test software was installed on the ASOS at Melbourne in an attempt to determine why the problem is occurring. In the interim, SRH is working with the appropriate FAA regions to ensure a work-around is established at the sites.
ASOS COMMISSIONING. The FAA longline data dissemination reliability for the ASOS at Clarksville, Tennessee improved to 95 percent plus. With this last reliability requirement in place, the ASOS was commissioned on April 10. The SRH ASOS sites are now commissioned, with the exception of four FAA-sponsored sites which still have issues preventing their being commissioned.
DATA LINE UPGRADE FOR LAUGHLIN DOD WSR-88D. Problems with the existing non-conditioned 14.4 kbps data circuit between the Laughlin AFB WSR-88D and WFO San Antonio/Austin prevented the WFO from reliably ingesting the required 33-plus products per volume scan from this WSR-88D, and passing the data onto the NWSH central data server to meet our user requirements. A new conditioned 33.6 kbps circuit was ordered, installed and is now operational. Early indications are its reliability and stability will meet the data requirements of the WFO and the NWSH central data server.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION
NEW LOOK FOR MASC WEB SITE. Don Wynegar, Director of Mountain Administrative Support Services, encourages all of the MASC customers to get to know the new look and feel of their Web site. The site has been re-designed with customer needs as their top priority. Information and services should be easier to find, and users will have on-line access to an increased number of services. Suggestions and comments about the site are welcome. Please use the Webmaster link at the bottom of each page or the Web site Feedback form on the left column. Happy surfing!
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
JSU CONFERENCE. The Third conference on Expanding Opportunities in Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences took place in early April at Jackson State University. Overall this was a good conference. Many NWS employees from field offices and NWS Headquarters met other NOAA employees, people from academia, and private sector individuals. The major push for the conference was to build on past conferences and work toward building sustainable alliances.
NWS benefitted from the conference by building a closer relationship with the host college, as well as other MSIs. Also, NWS participated in a job fair exhibit which allowed us to meet with JSU students, as well as those attending from other institutions. This provided us with an excellent opportunity to advertise the SCEP program.
Concurrent sessions for academia, private sector, public sector, and students were held. Each session concentrated on the successes as well as the barriers which exist for oceanic and atmospheric opportunities in each of these areas. Working groups from each NOAA line office were convened in the final session to discuss these concepts. The NWS session was well attended and a review of those proceedings will be made available in a conference post-print.
The following Southern Region employees attended and/or participated in the conference: Paul Trotter and Freddie Zeigler, WFO New Orleans; Jose Garcia, WFO Amarillo; Jim Stefkovich, Pat Brown, Cindy Woods, and Alan Gerard, WFO Jackson; Dave Reed, RFC Slidell; Alana McCants, RFC Fort Worth; Kandis Boyd, RFC Tulsa; Latrice Maxie, WFO Austin/San Antonio; and Bill Parker, WFO Shreveport.
Jose Garcia and Paul Trotter worked on the planning committee. Jose and Bill Parker served as moderators in panel discussions. Dave Reed participated in the poster session. Freddie Zeigler and Bill Parker donated a cake to the opening ceremony, highlighting the 25th anniversary of the Jackson State University meteorology program, which the NWS helped developed. Kandis Boyd and Bill Parker gave a talk to JSU meteorology students on future opportunities in the NWS. Latrice Maxie and Alana McCants visited with the students and gave insights on working in a WFO and RFC. The STEP and SCEP programs were also promoted. Jim Stefkovich and Alan Gerard set up the NWS booth, which was monitored in various shifts by Jose, Jim, Alan, Alana, Kandis, Latrice, Pat, Cindy, and Bill. Freddie Zeigler produced pamphlets highlighting the history of the JSU meteorology program and NOAA employees who are alumni of the program. These pamphlets were handed out at the NWS booth.
WFO BROWNSVILLE. WCM Hector Guerrero and HMT Fred Vega participated in a career day at Lyford Middle School in Lyford, Texas. Hector and Fred provided the eighth grade students a PowerPoint show on the aspects of a meteorology career in the National Weather Service. They previewed the office, operations, and the mission. In addition, they discussed salaries and employment outlooks in the National Weather Service.
WFO CORPUS CHRISTI. Staff from WFO Corpus Christi served as judges in the Coastal Bend Science Fair at Tuloso Midway High School. MIC Ken Graham, SOO Andy Patrick, forecasters John Metz and Mark Lenz, and HMT Steve Smart volunteered to judge the event. In addition to evaluating the science projects, the judges interviewed each of the students with their exhibits. This was a great way for the young students to interact with scientists and showcase their skills. The judges were very impressed with the high quality projects and sound scientific methods the students displayed.
The WFO Corpus Christi staff celebrated Earth Day in a downtown park. A booth was set up to showcase National Weather Service products and services. HMT Steve Smart made a wooden hurricane for a National Weather Service ball toss game. Those able to throw the ball into the eye of the hurricane would win a beach ball. Several thousand residents visited the park and took numerous outreach brochures in preparation for hurricane season. Mani Medrano, Mark Lenz, Steve Smart, and Mike Coyne participated in this event.
WFO NEW ORLEANS/BATON ROUGE. Milestone Academy, a charter school of the New Orleans public school system geared towards career preparation, conducted a Career Day for their students last month. The school's enrollment consists of 100 African American inner city youths following a school-to-work curriculum. The guest speakers included 27 individuals from private industries, the medical professions, government and military agencies, along with a few local colleges and universities.
The WFO was represented by lead forecaster Robert Ricks. He presented a career handout and 20 to 30 minute discussions on science-oriented career tracks, the opportunities available to minorities, earning potential, curriculum requirements and the pros and cons of the various types of meteorology careers. The format was a classroom setting in four sessions of about 15 students per session. The students were quite receptive to the information and asked several pointed questions pertaining to a career in meteorology.
WFO JACKSON. DAPM Bill Knight gave a tour to the New Hope Baptist Church School. In attendance were 35 second graders and six adult teachers/parents/driver. All were minorities. Thanks to HMT Charlie Smith, and lead forecaster Lynn Burse for their assistance.
Bill also conducted a tour for 27 students/teachers from the Mississippi School For The Blind. About half were female. Jim said this was a most humbling experience.
WFO SHREVEPORT. Met intern Jason Hansford met with the students in the DataStreme course at the WFO to answer questions and give final remarks. He also gave the students a tour of the office, explained NWS operations, and showed them an upper air release.
WFO SAN JUAN. Forecaster Modesto Vasquez gave an office tour to a group of aviation students enrolled in the Inter American University of San Juan. The tour emphasized the NWS aviation program and MARD. They also had a chance to see the evening radiosonde launch. Senior forecaster Miguel Sierra, HMT Vidal Santiago, DAPM Francesco Balleste, and senior forecaster Scott Stripling were also involved in giving offices tours to students from various schools
WCM Rafael Mojica gave a presentation on careers in meteorology and the National Weather Service to 30 students from the Luis Melendez High School in Hatillo, Puerto Rico. Rafael also did a three-hour workshop on NWS tropical cyclone and general weather terminology to a group of 25 sign language interpreters to ensure Puerto Rico's deaf and hard-of-hearing persons receive a consistent message during this upcoming hurricane season.
Rafael also assisted 21 Eagle Boy Scouts in earning their weather merit badge at Camp Guajataca, Puerto Rico. During a four-hour basic weather session the scouts learned about local severe weather, cloud identification, weather observations, preparedness and safety tips.
Forecaster Daniel Melendez assisted two University Gardens High School senior students with their Math Fair project which dealt with a triangle isotherm hypothesis.
WFO TALLAHASSEE. WFO Tallahassee remained active in a wide range of EEO/outreach activities last month. Activities focused on science education and on expanding the Tallahassee education/outreach home page. This office also hosted various noted personalities.
Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block, assisted by SOO Irv Watson prepared a poster and PowerPoint presentation on careers in meteorology which was utilized during the National Science Teachers Association National Convention in St. Louis, and the National MIC/HIC Conference. Ron and Webmaster/senior forecaster Mark Wool expanded the office outreach/education home page to include a series of links to better understand the various types of hazardous weather. Various office staff provided "VIP" tours for Governor Jeb Bush, former Attorney General Janet Reno, and current Florida State University (FSU) president Sandy D'Alemberte, focusing on the impending NWS move to the campus of FSU.
WCM Bob Goree discussed NWS technology and careers with students at Wakulla High School. He also conducted various interviews on severe weather with TV stations and newspapers in Camilla and Albany, Georgia. Numerous office tours were provided by varied staff members. MIC Paul Duval and Bob staffed the NWS booth at the Severe Weather Awareness EXPO in Albany, Georgia. Paul discussed hurricane awareness with residents of Gulf County.
FSU meteorology student Stephanie Kolbus and high school senior Jessica Leff spent the month shadowing the forecasters, co-writing some products and preparing journals and/or posters to document their experience.
RFC TULSA. Senior hydrologist Greg Stanley and hydrologist Kandis Boyd have started to develop plans for the local BLAST program at the RFC. They have assisted the HIC in creating an individual training plan for staff members.
HAS forecaster Larry Lowe and Kandis Boyd participated in the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Career Fair in March. They answered questions about careers in the National Weather Service and also distributed application packets for the SCEP program.
SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS
APRIL 1 - 30, 2001
|Southern Region Losses|
|Name||From (Office)||Action/Transfer||From Title/Grade|
|Thomas Wright||WFO ABQ||Retirement||HMT, GS-11|
|Southern Region Gains|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Michael Motta||WFO LZK||Reassignment from AR||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Within Region Transfers/Actions|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Donell Woods||WFO CRP||Reassignment from VCK||WCM, GS-13|
|Cindy Woods||WFO CRP||Reassignment from JAN||Senior Forecaster, GS-13|
|John Koch||WFO EYW||Reassignment from EYW||Forecaster, GS-11|
|Rodney Heckel||WFO EPZ||Reassignment from EPZ||ITO, GS-13|
|Scott Plischke||WFO AMA||Reassignment from AMA||ITO, GS-13|
|Michael Davis||WFO OHX||Promotion from OHX||ITO, GS-12|
|Gregory Machala||WFO BMX||Promotion from BMX||ITO, GS-12|
Return to Southern Region Home Page