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

May 2002

SOUTHERN TOPICS

Working Together To Save Lives


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

Please join me in recognizing the three Southern Region employees who are recipients of this year's NOAA Administrator's Awards. They are:

Reggina Garza Southeast RFC in Peachtree City, in the category of Engineering Development, for the outstanding work she did leading to the establishment of Nicaragua's first River Forecast Center.

Pablo Santos SOO at WFO Miami, in the category of Administrative Support (Applied Science), for providing an exceptionally high level of scientific and training support for the staff at WFO Miami, as well as other offices.

Ron Trumbla Southern Region NOAA Public Affairs Officer (honored as a member of the group including Curtis Carey, Robert Chartuk, Delores Clark, Carmeyia Gillis, Frank Lepore, John Leslie, Pat Slattery, Keli Tarp, Marilu Trainor, and Susan Weaver), in the category of Public Affairs, for successfully promoting the NOAA/NWS mission and helping save lives by educating the public on the hazards of severe weather.

Congratulations to all the above for their exceptional accomplishments.

IFPS

GFE TEXT FORMATTER DEMONSTRATED. NWS Headquarter's Jack Hayes, Bob Glahn, and Deirdre Jones visited the SRH on April 25 to witness a demonstration of the GFE X-NOW and text formatters currently under development by the region's GFE Formatter Team. Scott Plischke (WFO Amarillo) and Jim Noel (WFO Atlanta), who have considerable experience in using the GFE formatters, led the demonstration. The impressive demonstration provided a convincing case for the potential of the GFE formatter approach in saving valuable forecast preparation and software maintenance time. As a result of the demonstration, Jack Hayes, Director of the Office of Science and Technology, requested a team comprising Southern Region and MDL representatives be established to closely examine the pros and cons of both the GFE and MDL matrix formatter approaches. This team will meet at NWS Headquarters the week of May 20 to begin their investigation. We appreciate Scott and Jim sharing their time and expertise to conduct the demonstration.

IFPS WEBSITE ADDITIONS. We recently added some great information to the regional IFPS Web site. There is now a page that addresses disability tools for the offices, grid element definitions, and scripts. Soon we will have a dynamic customer and media resource page in place for our offices.

CLIMATE, WATER AND WEATHER DIVISION

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH

LOUISIANA STATE FIRE WEATHER PLAN. After coordination with WFOs New Orleans, Shreveport and Jackson, WFO Lake Charles forecasters Kent Kuyper and Marty Mayeaux presented the newly completed State of Louisiana Fire Weather Operating Plan to state and federal forestry and wildlife refuge officials on April 18. WFO Lake Charles teamed with the Louisiana Office of Climatology to co-sponsor the conference at Baton Rouge where the plan was presented. The fire weather operating plan was presented again on April 22 at the Louisiana Interagency Fire Management Cooperator's Meeting in Hackberry, Louisiana.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS

I (Tim Troutman) would like to say my time at SRH serving as the NWR/Dissemination meteorologist has been the most rewarding, fun and busy experience that I've enjoyed in my NWS career. It was a learning, challenging, fast-paced and sometimes stressful time, and I loved every minute of it. I want to say THANKS to each of you for your help, patience, ideas and understanding. I hand over the job now to Mike Mach (from WFO Fort Worth) and ask all of you to join me in welcoming him to CWWD and SRH. (Tim has now assumed his new job as WCM at WFO Huntsville - ed.)

NWR expansion continued in April as a 300 watt NWR site was installed at Tifton, Georgia, completing the five-year Georgia NWR project. 1000 watt NWR sites were also installed at Morriston, Florida, and Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

Work continues on installing NWR sites which have recently received USDA NWR grants. The next NWR site to be installed within the next month will be the 300 watt site at Lobelville, Tennessee.

Preparations continue involving locating and installing 18 NWS NWR sites which were funded for Southern Region in the fiscal year 2002 budget. These locations are at: Muskogee, Oklahoma; LaFollette, Spencer and Hickman, Tennessee; Natchitoches and Bogalusa, Louisiana; Harrison, Arkansas; Hillsboro, Mineral Wells, Plainview, Leakey, Breckenridge, Dimmitt, Mount Pleasant, Denton/Gainesville, Van Horn, and Coleman, Texas; and an El Paso, Texas, Spanish site.

VOICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (VIP) UPDATE. WFOs across the Southern Region are in the process of implementing the Voice Improvement Processor software build 2.0 to begin the new VIP voice broadcasting. All Southern Region sites are expected to have the new voices operational by the end of May. A Web page under the NWR program will be developed which will include dictionaries from VIP test beta sites WFOs Atlanta, Georgia and Melbourne, Florida. It is hoped these Web sites will provide help for sites which will be recreating the CRS word replacement and phonetic dictionaries due to the new VIP system implementation.

SPACEFLIGHT METEOROLOGY GROUP. SMG lead meteorologist Karl Silverman worked his 47th mission, eighth as lead when the shuttle Atlantis lifted off on April 4 for the 109th shuttle mission, and the 13th flight for assembly of the International Space Station. Richard Lafosse was the assistant lead and Doris Rotzoll was the lead techniques development unit meteorologist. A mission summary and other related information can be found on the SMG Web site at www.srh.noaa.gov/smg.

MARINE

Marine Weather Article. Be on the watch for the April 2002 issue of Sport Fishing magazine. This month contains a marine weather article, "Whither the Weather? A Mariner's Guide to Understanding Sea and Sky," authored by Larry Peabody, senior forecaster at WFO Austin/San Antonio. The magazine has a monthly circulation of approximately 155,000.

Offshore Site. On April 17 the National Data Buoy Center began sending observations transmitted by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in real-time as though the site were a C-MAN station. The station is located on a Navy platform 42 miles east of Sapelo Island, Georgia, 31 deg 22' 30" N, 80 deg 34' 12" W, and will report using the identifier SPAG1. The observations will be distributed in C-MAN code using the communication headers SXUS20 KWBC and SXUS21 KWBC. Real-time observations will also appear on the NDBC Web site soon.

Previously, the observations have been sent from Skidaway to WFO Jacksonville. Now the observations will reach the NWS Tropical Prediction Center (NHC), the Weather Channel, NCEP, and neighboring WFOs just as though it were another C-MAN station. One temporary caveat is in order. NDBC will not quality control the observations at this time. They will have software ready to perform this in a few more months. Until then, let NDBC know if you see degraded data, or measurements which do not look representative.

NDBC desires to become the real-time portal for other marine observations collected by universities and oceanographic labs. They will be distributing an encoding kit which will enable these data providers to FTP NDBC observations in either C-MAN or FM-13 code. We will let you know when this becomes available.

Tampa Bay Area Marine Outreach. WFO Tampa Bay Area forecaster Rick Davis provided a weather briefing for roughly 220 mariners (28 yachts) participating in the 34th Annual Regata del Sol al Sol, a sailing race from St. Petersburg, Florida to Isla Mujeres, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. In attendance were the mayors of St. Petersburg and Isla Mujeres. In addition, NWR was discussed, including the soon to be deployed transmitter and tower in the Tampa Bay area which will broadcast marine weather information only. The talk was well received by all in attendance.

WFO staff members Russ Henes, Amanda Ramella, Bud Fislar, Richard Rude, Barry Goldsmith, Rick Davis and Dan Sobien set up and manned a booth at the Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota. There were over 10,000 attendees. Bob Ebaugh from WFO Miami helped with the set-up and organization for this event. Russ Henes, who manned the booth each day, said visitors gave an overwhelmingly positive response to the NWS marine mission. View a picture of the event at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/msd/suncoast_boat.jpg

WFO Tampa Bay's Karl Loeper and Dan Sobien completed a MAREP training session with the Apollo Beach Power Squadron. They answered many questions about marine weather and NWS operations and managed to sign up about a dozen MAREP spotters.

WFO Jacksonville Marine Outreach. Al Sandrik and Andrew Shashy conducted a marine weather presentation for the North Florida Cruising Club last month. Approximately 60 were in attendance. Most of their topics dealt with NWS marine products and data, wind-seas and swells, NOAA weather radio, marine weather reporting, and NWS Web sites. The meeting provided a good opportunity to hear boaters' comments about how to improve the accuracy and timeliness of marine forecasts and warnings. Al Sandrik gave this same marine presentation to the "Captains Club" in Jacksonville in March, with about 80 in attendance.

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH

Dare to Dream in Corpus Christi. WCM Donell Woods, senior forecaster Brian Lamarre, forecasters Mark Lenz and Tawnya Evans, and ASA Mani Medrano, participated in the "Dare to Dream Day" at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. This special day was an opportunity for school students to meet the people who work and pro-actively contribute to the community, such as NWS personnel. The goal of the program was to challenge students to "Dare to Dream" of being whoever they want to be in their own lives.

WFO Miami and NHC Man NWS Booth. Staff from both WFO Miami and the National Hurricane Center jointly manned the NWS booth at the 51st Annual Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition held at the Tamiami Fair Grounds of South Florida. The team effort, which staffed the booth for 210 hours over an 18-day period, brought an estimated 500,000 visitors past the NWS booth, which was distinguished by an inflated upper air balloon and radiosonde tethered high above the site. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 NWS safety brochures and pamphlets, highlighting tornadoes to rip currents, along with more than 2,000 pencils, balloons, key chains and magnets, labeled with the WFO Miami Web site, were distributed to the appreciative crowds.

WFO Midland at Odessa Career Center. WCM Pat Vesper and staff members of WFO Midland provided six, one-hour long weather safety and preparedness talks to 265 sophomore and junior high school students at the Odessa Career Center of West Texas.

Lightning Safety Strikes Home in Louisiana. WFO Lake Charles WCM Roger Erickson briefed over 100 students about the hazards and dangers of lightning at the Lee Street Elementary School in New Iberia, Louisiana. New Iberia has had one of the highest frequency of lightning fatalities and injuries in the Lake Charles county warning area since 1995.

Earth Day Celebration in the Florida Keys. WFO Key West forecasters Laura Finlon and Chip Kasper attended and participated in the 7th Annual Earth Day Celebration at Bahia Honda State Park west of Marathon in the Florida Keys. The WFO Key West booth provided a multitude of NWS brochures and handouts on severe weather phenomena and preparedness. With the Florida Keys ranked as the waterspout capital of the nation, a plethora of information, pictures and dialogue was provided to customers who visited the NWS booth. The celebration attracted numerous federal, state and county organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Marathon Turtle Hospital.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION

Two New StormReady Sites. The StormReady program continued to grow in the Southern Region during April! Florida added one more county as WFO Tallahassee recognized their first, Leon County (home of the State Capitol) as StormReady. Meanwhile, WFO Jackson recognized the City of Richland, Mississippi. There are now 25 new StormReady sites in Southern Region in FY02.

WFO Huntsville WCM Initiates Skywarn Training. Newly selected WCM Tim Troutman began the transition of the northern Alabama preparedness program by conducting his first two Skywarn Spotter and severe weather safety presentations. Over 60 attentive spotters were successfully trained in Athens while another 50 enthusiastic participants were provided training in Petersville, Alabama.

WFO Huntsville MIC/WCM Complete Initial EM Coordination. Newly selected MIC John Gordon and WCM Tim Troutman completed emergency management coordination visits to Madison and Lauderdale counties of north Alabama where WFO Huntsville's public education and outreach roles were discussed.

MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT

WFO Miami and NCEP Provide Interactive Training at Power Squadron Headquarters. WCM Jim Lushine, PMO Bob Drummond and NHC personnel Chris Burr, Martin Nelson and Eric Blake, along with Therese Pierce from the NCEP Marine Prediction Center, teamed up to provide all-day interactive training to ship captains and other mariners at the Power Squadron Headquarters in Lake Park, Florida. The training program consisted of presentations on NWS marine products and their methods of dissemination, both alpha-numeric and graphical. The mariners provided the NWS team valuable feedback on our marine products and services during interactive sessions of the training.

Police Dispatchers Get Weather Training from WFO New Braunfels. WCM Larry Eblen provided severe weather and NWS background training to two classes of police dispatchers at the Communications In-Service School for the Department of Public Service in the New Braunfels county warning area of south-central Texas. The groups of dispatchers, totaling over 120, listened attentively to Larry's energetic presentation about severe weather, NWS operations during those events, and how dispatchers could provide valuable ground truth information to help improve the NWS warning program.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH

WFO TALLAHASSEE PARTICIPATES IN COTSD MEETING. The City of Tallahassee Stormwater Division (COTSD) hosted a meeting on April 24 to discuss the new Alert system recently installed in Tallahassee. The main purpose of the meeting was to begin investigation of how to integrate the data from the new system. Hans Mueller of DIAD Corporation gave an Alert presentation and Joel Lanier, WFO Tallahassee service hydrologist, discussed the current precipitation gauge coverage of Leon County, including radar coverage graphics from FSU professor Henry Fuelberg's historical precipitation database project. An expanded Alert network system which gathers and distributes real-time precipitation data will help improve warning and response time to flood events in the Tallahassee area. This is particularly significant in view of recent flooding associated with tropical storms Helene, Allison and Barry, as well as a flood in March this year.

TEXAS SERVICE HYDROLOGISTS DEVELOP RIVERPRO TEMPLATES. WFO service hydrologists Dave Schwertz (Houston), Nezette Rydell (Austin/San Antonio), Bob Carle (Fort Worth) and John Lipe (Lubbock) met in Houston last month to develop RiverPro templates for flood warnings and flood statements. The group's goal is to offer a consistent product presentation for Texas hydrology customers. These offices will be using a common concise, bullet format which reads well on TV and plays well on NOAA weather radio. In addition, the group discussed a number of RiverPro configuration issues regarding template strategies for headwater and rapid response streams.

AWRBIAC MEETING. The Arkansas-White-Red Basin Interagency Advisory Commission met last month in Hot Springs, Arkansas. HSB chief Ben Weiger and ABRFC senior hydrologic forecaster Greg Stanley represented the NWS at the meeting. Ben gave an overview of the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS) program and Greg presented information about current AHPS activities in the Upper Colorado Basin in the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC service area. There was significant interest expressed about the AHPS program.

DROUGHT MONITOR FORUM. On April 25-27, HSB chief Ben Weiger and WFO Morristown MIC Jerry McDuffie attended a Drought Monitor Forum sponsored by the National Climatic Data Center. Customers and partners attended from the media, academia, and state and federal agencies. There were also representatives from Mexico and Canada. The goals of the forum were to review the weekly interagency Drought Monitor products and to discuss the development of a continental-scale Drought Monitor. There was discussion about separate graphical drought products for the short- and long-term impacts.

Ben gave a presentation about drought-related products planned or available from SR field offices. Jerry gave a presentation about the hydrometeorological parameters and information used in his service area to monitor drought conditions. The people drafting the weekly interagency Drought Monitor product expressed their appreciation for the local drought monitoring information provided by our field offices.

DROUGHT WORSENING IN NEW MEXICO. Drought conditions continue to worsen over much of New Mexico. Many communities have imposed increasingly strict water restrictions, and towns such as Aztec are beginning to seek water delivery from the Emergency Management Center. As of May 8, Santa Fe reservoir storage is so low it is estimated only 30 days of water remains, even with stage 4 (the highest) water restrictions in place. Most of the streams in New Mexico are at 100 year all-time low levels for this time of year. Fire restrictions have increased, and agencies put an end to any prescribed burning on May 7. MIC Charlie Liles and service hydrologist Ed Polasko worked with Governor Johnson on two press conferences in April, and they provided detailed input for the governor's emergency drought declaration on April 26. Charlie and Ed also met with the Zuni Tribe Water Resource Division hydrologist to help finalize the tribe's drought contingency plan.

Based on local studies, WFO Albuquerque is expecting a normal monsoon season this summer, which should help alleviate some aspects of the drought and lessen the fire danger. However, long-term effects of the drought will continue until New Mexico and southern Colorado receive significant winter precipitation.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

NEW SOO. Our newest Southern Region Science and Operations Officer is Andy Devanas, who was selected for the job at WFO Key West, behind Jack Settelmaier, who is now part of the SSD staff. Andy is a graduate of Florida State University and for the past several years has worked as a meteorologist for the state of Florida. In that capacity he interacted closely with the emergency management community and others who are critical to the NWS mission, as well as staff at our Florida WFOs. Andy's university teaching background and work with mesoscale models will also serve him - and the NWS - well as he assumes the SOO job. Please join SSD in welcoming Andy to the ranks of SR SOOs.

REGIONAL SOO MEETING. The Southern Region Science and Operations Officers (SOOs) met in Jacksonville Beach the week of April 15. Presentations given by the SOOs included best practices from their offices, Interactive Forecast Preparation System/Graphical Forecast Editor (IFPS/GFE) training and applications, local numerical weather modeling, including the acquisition and assimilation of local data, and experiences from the regional BLAST (Building Leaders for a Stronger Tomorrow) program. The meeting included several university representatives who described past and ongoing collaborations with SR offices. Other invited presentations covered the Weather Event Simulator, the IFPS Professional Development Series, the role of the SOO as a leader in the WFO, and ongoing research at the NOAA laboratories. The electronic presentations from the meeting are available on the Southern Region Intranet, URL:
http://sradmin.srh.noaa.gov/SOO_Meeting/HTML/Agenda.htm

SSD provided overall support, but the meeting was organized by SOOs Alan Gerard (WFO Jackson), Charlie Paxton (WFO Tampa Bay Area), Pat Welsh (WFO Jacksonville) and Rich Wynne (WFO Amarillo). Based on the formal evaluations received from the SOOs, the meeting was a success. Good work, everyone!

HUNTSVILLE SYMPOSIUM. A joint NASA-NWS Symposium on Short-Term Forecasting and the Convective Weather Warning Process was held in Huntsville, Alabama on April 9-10. The symposium was arranged by William Lapenta and Steve Goodman of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, and Tom Bradshaw, senior forecaster at WFO Birmingham (and soon WFO Huntsville SOO). Fifty-five participants represented a solid cross-section of interests from the emergency management and academic communities, media, NWS offices, NASA components, and several other government laboratories, including NOAA's Forecast Systems Lab and NSSL. The goal of the symposium was to familiarize the operational forecasting community with new satellite products, mesoscale modeling activities and data, total lightning data and other currently underutilized data sets being developed or promoted by NASA. NWS participants provided an overview of their operations with emphasis on mesoscale forecasting and warnings. Over the coming months, NASA and NWS will explore ways to quickly and more effectively infuse these data sets into operations. WFO Huntsville senior forecaster Chris Darden, also serving as NASA/NWS Liaison Forecaster, developed and distributed a symposium survey to the attendees. The results will be released in a paper currently under development. An overview of NASA forecasting activities and Web-based versions of the symposium presentations can be found at http://wwwghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/sport_meetings.html.

HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS. Though the products issued may not reflect it, from the day it opened for business, workload at the Miami forecast office was "quite voluminous." The date was June 13, 1911, and we're assured of such by an article in the Miami Herald on that day. Thanks to MIC Rusty Pfost for sharing a piece of local history, which we have included as a technical attachment this month.

PROFILER RELOCATION. Over the next few months NOAA's Profiler Office, at the Forecast Systems Lab in Boulder will be relocating the 404 MHz wind profiler at Platteville, Colorado to central Texas - to a site which will be referred to as Ledbetter (NWS Station ID - LDBT2), about 50 miles east of Austin. We were pleased to be able to work with the profiler office to obtain the additional site, chosen as much as possible to fill a hole in upper air observations in that part of the state.

The Ledbetter site will be equipped with a RASS temperature sounder, surface met package and GPS integrated precipitable water vapor measurement subsystem, and it should be up and running this summer. Meanwhile, data from Platteville will be temporarily unavailable, pending replacement of that system with another profiler, which will be upgraded to a new national operational frequency of 449 MHz. This outage will extend until about May 15, although data will become available for subjective viewing on FSL's profiler Web site sooner (http://profiler.noaa.gov). Of historical note, the original Platteville - soon to be Ledbetter - profiler is actually the first "real" operational profiler. It was the beginning of the original Wind Profiler Demonstration Network in the central United States. It was installed by the vendor in February 1989 and was accepted by NOAA in August 1989.

VISIT TELETRAINING. Below is the schedule for upcoming Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) teletraining sessions. Offices can register for these sessions by sending an email to: visit@comet.ucar.edu. To access the teletraining calendar, go to:
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/ecal.asp.

            Cyclogenesis: Analysis utilizing GOES         May 6, 10, 20, 21 and
            Imagery (basic)                                              June 19, 20, 26, 28
            Fog Detection and Analysis with Satellite     June 20, 26
              Data (basic)
            Meteorological uses of ACARS Weather       June 13
              Data (basic)
            Tornado Warning Guidance 2002 (basic)      June 17, 24
            Lightning Meteorology II (advanced)            June 5, 18, 17
            Lightning Meteorology I (intermediate)         June 4, 18

The "Cyclogenesis" session above is new. It was developed by Dan Bikos (VISIT), John Weaver

(NESDIS), Roger Weldon (NESDIS), Toby Carlson (Penn State University), and David Vallee (WFO Tauton), with additional support from other NWS staff. This session examines various conceptual models of cyclogenesis (basic, split flow, cold air, instant occlusion and in-stream) and helps students understand how to utilize a blend of conceptual models, satellite imagery, and NWP output in diagnosing cyclogenesis. More information is at:
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/cyclo.html.

Sessions can be reviewed in advance by following the instructions in the student guides available on the ISTPDS/VISIT page: http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/visithome.asp.

CHANGES TO NCEP GLOBAL FORECAST SYSTEM. On March 6, 2002 the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) changed the configuration of the Global Forecast System (GFS) by extending the aviation (AVN) runs of the Global Spectral Model to 384 hours four times per day. As a result the NCEP terminated the MRF run of the Global Spectral Model effective April 24, 2002.

The impact of these changes on the current suite of AVN and MRF Model Output Statistics (MOS) guidance is minimal as far as the forecaster is concerned. The bias characteristics of the AVN and MRF model runs which were used to develop the AVN and MRF MOS equations were similar since the same Global Spectral Model was used for each, but with different initial conditions. Those different initial conditions imply that forecast variables from the AVN model run might have different correlations with the observed weather than variables from the MRF model runs. Although the Meteorological Development Laboratory developed different equations to generate the AVN and MRF MOS guidance, the output from the GFS can be used in either set of equations. For more details see http://www.nws.noaa.gov/mdl/synop/gfs/mrfmos.html

RELEASE OF MODSND2002 AND BUFKIT4. New versions of the MODSND and BUFKIT programs are now available. The MODSND (Model Sounding) program is used to download model output sounding files in the BUFR format from the NWS servers and convert the data for use with the NSHARP and BUFKIT display programs. The BUFKIT (Buffalo's Forecast Toolkit) is a forecast profile visualization and analysis tool kit developed by the staff at WFO Buffalo and the Warning Decision Training Branch in Norman.

The latest version of MODSND is available on the SOO Science and Training Resource Center. Included in this version is support for BUFR files generated by the various NCEP Eta model runs (operational, HiResWindow, experimental parallel, and archived runs), the RUC-20, the AVN runs of the Global Forecast System, the NGM, and version 3 of Workstation Eta (planned for release this summer). The URL of the MODSND2002 support Web page is:
http://www.comet.ucar.edu/strc/software/modsnd/

The latest version of the BUFKIT is available from the Web site (http://205.156.54.206/er/buf/bufkit/bufkit.html) and the SOO Science and Training Resource. The Profile and Overview screens are larger (displayed at 1024x768), the computation and display of elevated CAPE is supported and the energy/Bourgoiun precipitation type can override that computed by the Eta model postprocessor.

NEW NWP TRAINING: INTERPRETATION OF FORECAST MODEL FLIP-FLOPS. Numerical weather prediction models sometimes go through periods where there are significant changes in medium- and even short-range guidance from run to run. These "flip-flops" can have profound impacts on the end-users' decision-making with respect to the future weather in their area of responsibility. The reason often given for the forecast change is that "New data got into the data assimilation system" which resulted in the forecast going in a different direction from previous runs. This is described conceptually in the COMET data assimilation system training module (http://meted.comet.ucar.edu/nwp/pcu1/ic6/index.htm).

However, the variation among forecast cycles often is more directly related to the inherent predictability of the atmosphere from a given initial state, rather than the NWP model getting "hammered" with new, radically different data. After all, data assimilation systems start with the premise that the model's short range forecast -- used as the first guess by data assimilation systems -- is of good quality, thus having a strong influence on the new analysis.

Based on a question posed to the new global model discussion group (see: http://meted.ucar.edu/nwp/newsgroups/index.htm) Bill Bua, working with the staff at NCEP, has developed a brief training presentation entitled: "Interpretation of Global Forecast Model Flip-flops" (http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/casestudy/ens08apr02/frameset.htm). This case examines rapid changes in the global model forecasts on April 8-9 of this year. Good work, Bill!

NCEP TEST OF NEW CAPE COMPUTATION. The NCEP are testing a new method of computing convective available potential energy (CAPE) in the Eta post-production process. They have been producing a surface-based CAPE (actually the parcel with the highest theta-e [equivalent potential temperature] in the lowest 70 mb) and a most unstable CAPE (lift the 30 mb layer with the highest theta-e among the six "boundary layers"). Research conducted by the Storm Prediction Center has indicated that the best representation of the afternoon planetary boundary level (PBL) may be a 100 mb deep mean parcel. The SPC has asked the Mesoscale Modeling Branch (MMB) to compute CAPE using such a mean layer. To simplify the coding, the MMB is computing a CAPE by averaging the three lowest 30 mb layers, resulting in a 90 mb deep mean parcel. This code is now running in the 32-km parallel control run of the Eta model parallel, with a primitive comparison of all three methods presented at:
http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/mmb/research/return02/comparecape.html

WARNING EVENT SIMULATOR SIMULATION GUIDE. The NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) has released the third Weather Event Simulator (WES) Simulation Guide. This guide covers the May 31, 1998, Northeast tornado outbreak. Previously released guides cover the April 8, 1998 Birmingham tornado event and the June 29, 1998 Iowa derecho event. Development continues on the Simulation Guide to accompany the August 11, 1999 Salt Lake City tornado WES case.

The Simulation Guides are intended to help the training focal points integrate WES simulations into their local training program. Each simulation in the guides includes a training objective, a training methodology, and evaluation criteria. The WDTB developed the training objectives to make the simulations useful for as wide an audience as possible. The Simulation Guides also serve as a template for developing local WES simulations.

The WES Simulation Guide is available for download in PDF format at the same URL as WDTB's first two simulation guides. SOOs may request access to the guides through:
http://wdtb.noaa.gov/scripts/feedback/feedback.asp

The specific case study data for this third Simulation Guide was distributed to all Eastern Region offices in September. Other WES cases, with abbreviated Simulation Guides, which are available include:

     28 March 1998 - Fort Worth Tornado
     9 November 1998 - Winter Severe Weather
     24 January 2000 - East Coast Explosive Cyclogenesis

If you would like a copy of any of these datasets, please send your name, street address and telephone number to: wes_orders@comet.ucar.edu

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

IT. E-mail has been running fine this month, but we are still running off our backup system. Due to the spring weather and local storms we have been unable to do a switch of the systems.

We will be installing a new security function on the messaging servers. After the implementation, Web users will login through a secure port using HTTPS and all traffic will then be encrypted. There have been some issues with the setup of the procedures sent out by NWSH, but we feel they will be resolved soon.

We have implemented some new FTP servers for our partners and offices to exchange data. We are following the new Linux standard. These systems are running Red Hat Linux 7.2 with a heartbeat and fail-over configuration for redundancy

TELECOMMUNICATIONS. The on-going ordering of NWR circuits continues. Seven new orders went in this month. As the circuits are released to us from the vendors, we run acceptance testing and verification to insure operational standards are met. Also, we continue to track the progress of orders already in the pipeline and monitor for any delays in service delivery.

The GSA/FTS Conference was held in Orlando, Florida last month. The main focus was our most recent problems with MCI, the billing and overcharges for DTS circuits. These issues are being worked on a daily basis to ensure we are credited the correct amounts from MCI and to correct any other discrepancies noted during this inventory.

The Huntsville project is moving along. We are locating vendors to bid on the telephone system installation and the wiring cable pulls. The floor plan should be finalized soon so we can provide work statements to vendors of how and where to run the wiring. We are estimating an early July installation date for this part of the project.

AWIPS. All Southern Region sites are now on AWIPS Build 5.1.2. Two new patches are available to fix minor bugs in this build and we are working with our offices to apply them as soon as possible. Beta testing of Build 5.2.1 is scheduled to begin in May.

Some sites have noticed a slight performance problem during active weather and have been reminded about the performance tips which were sent out.

The next step in the Linux migration was completed at SRH this month, as we are alpha testing the new Linux-based communication processors and the high speed LAN connections. All went smoothly and the change-out took about eight hours to complete. We really appreciate the work and patience of Franz Zichy (NWSH) and Steven Baker, EPM (SRH), in modifying the installation instructions. So far we have not seen any major problems with the equipment.

ASOS. Three sites in Southern Region have installed the dew point modification. Only one of these sites was successful, Austin. We are working with NWSH on a solution before we allow any more sites to perform this modification.

Eight sites have completed the latest CPU firmware 2.63 installations. This has been a good modification for the field offices. We have chosen the four ASOS OT&E sites for the new ice-free wind sensor evaluation. They are Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Fort Worth and Pine Springs, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana. West Memphis, Tennessee will be the latest full complement ASOS to be installed in the Southern Region. This will bring the Southern Region's ASOS total to 213.

NWR. Expansion continues, with two new sites installed this month, one in Atoka, Oklahoma and one in Tifton, Georgia. Two NWR sites were refurbished this month - Demopolis, Alabama and Ackerman, Mississippi. We also had the opportunity to meet with the Texas Government Land Office and the Texas Division of Emergency Management on their wish to expand NWR coverage in the state. They are looking at adding an additional 40-plus sites.

UPPER AIR. Our technical program manager for upper air Charlie Lake was able to perform a site evaluation at WFO San Juan. All indications are that the system has proven to be outstanding and ready for the upcoming hurricane season.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

HOMELAND DEFENSE TEST USING KEY WEST WSR-88D. The DOD conducted a homeland defense test last month by emitting stimulants from a crop duster flying at 900 ft over the Gulf of Mexico. The WFO Key West WSR-88D was employing a special steady state 0.5 degree volume coverage pattern during the test. The intent was to determine whether the WSR-88D could detect the stimulants. Final determination of success will be done by NSSL personnel in the weeks ahead using base data which were collected on site. After the testing was concluded, the WSR-88D was returned to its normal operational status.

WFO HUNTSVILLE RADAR COVERAGE. In coordination with the ROC, SRH has created an implementation plan for the ingest of WSR-88D radar data coverage at WFO Huntsville. SRH will also make some adjustments in the ingest of WSR-88D data at surrounding WFOs in Tennessee and Alabama. SRH will work with the NWSH Telecommunications Branch to order the necessary telecommunications circuits to provide the needed WSR-88D data to WFO Huntsville and surrounding WFOs.

OPEN RPG INSTALLATION and BUILD 1.2. Open RPG has been successfully deployed at all but five SR WFOs. Thus far, all installations have gone smoothly. Concurrently, local WFOs are also installing Open RPG Build 1.2 across the region. The biggest benefits of ORPG Build 1.2 will include the TCP/IP interface to AWIPS which will enable the existing RPG and PUP cabinets to be removed, as well as the creation of new digital base reflectivity and base velocity data.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE WSR-88Ds and UNIT RADAR COMMITTEES. The rolling 12-month WSR-88D data availability statistics for DOD sites during the March FY01 through February FY02 period revealed that seven of the 14 DOD radars within the Southern Region failed to meet the tri-agency mandate of 96% data availability. SRH sent out a reminder in April to each WFO which chairs the Unit Radar Committee (URC) for a DOD NEXRAD site informing them of the requirement to host twice yearly URC meetings for the purpose of discussing local operational issues, including availability statistics.

WEATHER and RADAR PROCESSOR IMPLEMENTATION. The FAA will operationally deploy its Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) system at the Fort Worth ARTCC (ZFW) this month. SRH will work closely with FAA Air Traffic and Airways facilities personnel at ZFW, as well as with ZFW CWSU personnel, and impacted WFOs to ensure coordination takes place among agencies with regard to operational use of the WSR-88D, and both scheduled and unscheduled outages. As the WARP proceeds along the path to national implementation, SRH will continue to monitor any possible workload impacts on WFO electronic technicians and the lack of redundant communications with WARP as our fellow agency begins using WSR-88D data operationally on a routine basis.

ASOS RELOCATIONS CONTINUE. The ASOS Combined Sensor Group (CSG) was successfully relocated last month at the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). SRH is currently coordinating and facilitating the relocation of commissioned ASOS sites in Tallahassee and College Station, Texas.

TRANSFER OF ASOS AUGMENTATION/BACKUP FUNCTIONS. On April 15, the FAA contract weather observers vacated the premises of WFO Jackson and relocated into FAA-leased office space. This marks the culmination of the FAA assuming the ASOS augmentation/backup functions at eight Service Level A and B airports in SR. FAA office leased space issues and telecommunications problems prevented all sites from being completed by the target date of April 1. SRH is already beginning to coordinate the transfer of six remaining Service Level C sites on or before October 1.

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AWOS INITIATIVE. In conjunction with local airports around Texas, the Texas State Department Of Transportation (TxDoT) has installed 16 state-owned AWOS at airports throughout Texas, with 16 more scheduled for installation this summer. SRH is working in partnership with TxDoT, the local airport, and private vendors to ensure that longline dissemination of the surface data from these state-owned systems is achieved at no cost to the NWS. At present, four of these sites have already begun routine longline dissemination via the FAA NADIN/WMSCR into the NWS GATEWAY and eventually to field WFOs. These data can then be used to enhance WFO forecasts, warnings, and services at the local level, as well as be used for inclusion in the running of local forecast models.

WEST MEMPHIS, ARKANSAS AIRPORT ASOS INSTALLATION. In response to a new FAA requirement, SRH will work with NWSH and the FAA Southwest Region to site, install, and commission a new ASOS in West Memphis, Arkansas. Once commissioned, the ASOS will be maintained by personnel from WFO Memphis.

FACILITIES COMPUTERIZED MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. In the previous 30 days, 77 work requests have been submitted, 83 work orders have been issued, and 59 work orders completed and closed. There are 223 facility work orders open.

FACILITIES DRAFTING SUPPORT. Furniture and electrical drawings for WFO Huntsville were prepared. Evacuation diagrams were prepared for posting in SRH offices in the Lanham Federal Building. Various maps were revised to add the WFO Huntsville County Warning Area.

NWR BUILDING ACQUISITION. Transmitter buildings were ordered for new NOAA Weather Radio sites in Plainview, Texas and Harrison, Arkansas.

HOUSTON/GALVESTON PROJECT. Pending no further delays, Galveston County is planning to award the construction contract for the new Emergency Management and Communication Center (EMCC) by late October 2002, and occupy the new facility in January 2004. The county would be solely responsible for all the construction costs associated with the new EMCC. SRH will fund the move cost (approximately $190K). The National Weather Service, pending Congressional authorization, has agreed to allow Galveston County, at no cost, use of the current WFO facility in return for space in the new EMCC. National Weather Service will seek Congressional approval in the FY2003 Commerce, State and Justice Appropriations Bill.

NATIONAL NOISE SURVEY BEGINS IN SOUTHERN REGION. At the request of Office of Operations Systems (OOS), the Public Health Service (PHS) will begin a national noise survey of NWS facilities this month. PHS industrial hygienists will visit the WFO, RDA and two ASOS sites at two separate airports in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and the WFO, RDA and ASOS in Albuquerque. It is presumed the military fighter aircraft at the Air National Guard Base at the Albuquerque airport may produce the highest noise levels NWS employees are exposed to. The airport sound levels experienced by the ETs performing ASOS maintenance are likely the greatest impact to employee hearing, and will also be studied at other NWS CONUS locations.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

WFO BROWNSVILLE. Jim Campbell, DAPM, and Jesse Haro, WCM, attended the Perkins Middle School Career Fair. Jim presented two PowerPoint presentations on operations at WFO Brownsville and Jesse was introduced as the new WCM. Career paths in meteorology were discussed after each presentation. Sam Martinez, HMT, returned to Perkins the next day and gave the PowerPoint presentation to four classes of science and math students.

MIC Richard Hagan is working with the physics department of South Texas Community College (STCC) to help them present justification for adding a general meteorology course to the curriculum. STCC has an enrollment of 15,000-18,000 students. There is presently no college or university in deep south Texas which offers any courses in meteorology.

WFO LITTLE ROCK. Senior forecaster Newton Skiles traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas to participate in the Math and Science-In-Industry Day at the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science. Newton made presentations to two classes and discussed how math and science play an integral part in careers in meteorology, especially with the National Weather Service.

WFO SAN ANGELO. After forecaster Mike Decker answered an email received at the WFO address from a teacher, he received the following reply:

"I cannot wait to show the kids your email tomorrow! They will be thrilled. Most of my students are very poor and do not have computers at home, so school is where this world is available to them. The email aspect is very new for them because we mostly do Internet stuff. Your response (and boy oh boy, there was a lot to respond to!) will make them feel important, let alone educated. It was so kind of you to take part in this experience for them. I can't thank you enough, for your great responses and generosity of time."
Yours truly,
Lydia Kaplan
Lafayette School
Bound Brook, NJ

Mike had not been aware he was responding to a teacher in New Jersey!

WFO San Angelo SOO Amy McCullough spoke to four classes of sixth graders, about 135 students, at Bonham Elementary in San Angelo. Amy spoke about severe weather safety and hurricanes. The students were amazed by the damage from Hurricane Andrew.

WCM Hector Guerrero spoke to 70 sixth grade students at McGill Elementary in San Angelo about severe weather safety. Senior forecaster Patrick McCullough and Hector Guerrero gave a tour to 25 students from Lincoln Middle School. They discussed operations and safety.

WFO SHREVEPORT. Forecaster Mary Keiser gave a talk to the Garland Boy Scouts south of Stonewall, Louisiana (De Soto Parish) about how to get their weather badges. Mary discussed safety and preparedness, NOAA Weather Radio, functions of the NWS and the surface/upper air program.

Mary Keiser and met intern Bruce Sherbon gave interviews at the WFO to the weather class of Bossier Parish Community College about the basic operations of an NWS office. They also filmed a radiosonde release.

Mary Keiser and HMT Christian Stapleton gave a tour of the WFO to Emory Riddle Aeronautical University students from Shreveport. Discussions included the different forecast programs, including the aviation and upper air programs, and the AWIPS network, as well as watching a radiosonde release.

Met intern Jason Hansford gave a Career/Weather Safety talk to six periods of students at Elm Grove Middle School in Elm Grove, Louisiana. This presentation was part of Project Weather Watch, which was given in conclusion of a forecast contest between other area schools. Topics included background for a career in meteorology, severe weather safety, weather map discussions, and answering various weather related questions. Many of the students showed a great interest in pursuing meteorology as a hobby or career.

Forecaster Patrick Omundson gave an office tour to a foreign exchange student from Austria who works for the Austrian Weather Service.

WFO TALLAHASSEE. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block lectured on NWS operations and careers to a weather class from Tallahassee Community College. He also hosted members of the Center For Independent Living of North Florida which teaches disabled individuals skills for living and working independently. In addition to an overview of NWS operations, the presentation focused on career options for the physically challenged in the science fields. Ron also responded to a request for NWS literature from the Tallahassee Prime Timers, a Gay and Lesbian Equality Group, and the American Heart Association for distribution at a booth during their walk-a-thon.

WCM Bob Goree served as a science fair judge at Chaires Elementary School where he reviewed over twenty individual exhibitors.

SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS

APRIL 1 - 30, 2002

Southern Region Losses

Name

From (Office)

Action/Transfer

From Title/Grade

Joshua Boustead

WFO JAN

Reassignment to CR

Met Intern, GS-7

Jimmy Don Ward

WFO EWX

Retirement

SOO, GS-14

John Koch

WFO EYW

Reassignment to ER

Forecaster, GS-12

Robert Wisniewski

WFO ABQ

Retirement

HMT, GS-11

Roy Pringle

WFO MFL

Transfer to ER

Forecaster, GS-12

Southern Region Gains

Name

To (Office)

Action/Transfer

To Title/Grade

Jason Burks

WFO HUN

Reassignment from WR

ITO, GS-12

Emilie Nipper

WFO LZK

Reassignment from WR

Met Intern, GS-7

Loren Marz

WFO MRX

Reassignment from CR

Forecaster, GS-12

Timothy Bridges

WFO FFC

New Hire

El Tech, GS-10

Within Region Transfers/Actions

Name

To (Office)

Action/Transfer

To Title/Grade

Eric Platt

WFO MAF

Promotion from AMA

Senior Forecaster, GS-13

James McDaniel

WFO FWD

Promotion from FWD

RMS, GS-12

Jason Elliott

WFO MEG

Reassignment from MEG

Forecaster, GS-11