Fort Worth, Texas

May 15, 1996



NEW MIC AT NWSFO MEMPHIS. Jim Duke, previously DMIC at NWSFO Memphis, has been selected to succeed Ric Coleman as MIC of the NWSFO. Jim has been DMIC at Memphis since June 1986.

Jim began his NWS career as an intern at WSFO Indianapolis after graduating from Northern Illinois University in 1970. He moved on to a forecaster position at WSFO Cheyenne in 1975 and later transferred to the CWSU in Atlanta in 1978. He became a lead forecaster at WSFO Atlanta in 1980 and in 1983 became the Regional Aviation Meteorologist in the Meteorological Services Division at Southern Region Headquarters.

Please join with me in congratulating Jim on his selection as MIC of the Memphis NWSFO.

NEW HIC FOR ABRFC. Billy Olsen, previously the Development and Operations Hydrologist (DOH) at the ABRFC Tulsa, has been selected as the new Hydrologist-in-Charge to succeed Dale as HIC of that office. Billy has been Acting HIC since Dale retired in January.

Billy earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He began his government service with the Corps of Engineers in Kansas City in 1974 and joined the NWS in 1978 as the Service Hydrologist in Des Moines. In 1979 he transferred to the MBRFC in Kansas City. He earned an M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Kansas and became a Registered Professional Engineer in 1980. Billy has been the DOH at ABRFC since 1992. Congratulations, Billy!



May 17 NWSO El Paso facility dedication ceremony

May 30 County Warning Area (from WSO Victoria and NWSFO Austin/San Antonio) and Hydrological Service Area transfer for NWSO Corpus Christi

June 5 Hydrological Service Area transfer for NWSO Jacksonville

NWSO SAN ANGELO HOLDS OPEN HOUSE. NWSO San Angelo held an open house on May 4 for amateur radio operators and sheriff offices in their current and future CWA. Approximately 45 people visited the NWSO. MIC Shirley Matejka reported that the visitors said many nice things about the new facility, and the NWSO received some big thank-yous for the services being provided.

AUTOMATION CERTIFICATION CRITERIA PROPOSED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER. On May 2 proposed automation certification criteria were published in the Federal Register. Comments on the criteria are requested by June 1. Automation consists of removing or reassigning the NWS employees responsible for taking surface observations after an ASOS has been commissioned. The automation certification is a certification to Congress that there has been no degradation of services as a result of automation, i.e., that the data from the ASOS, together with the data available from other sources, are adequate to support equivalent services.

The FAA and the aviation industry identified four categories of airports and the optimum level of ASOS augmentation for each. The categories range from "D" Level Service airports which are non-towered airports at which the ASOS observation would constitute the entire observation, to "A" Level Service airports where the ASOS observation will be augmented by a comprehensive suite of manual observations. The 143 airports served by NWS field offices that are subject to certification are listed in the Federal Register notice by level of service.


MORRISTOWN MEDIA WORKSHOPS. NWSO Knoxville/Tri-Cities at Morristown conducted an initial media workshop on Wednesday, April 10. Weathercasters from the three networks in Knoxville and one from the Tri-Cities area attended. WCM Howard Waldron set up the event and participated in the presentations. SOO Steve Hunter gave an excellent presentation about the WSR-88D radar, while forecaster Terry Getz discussed the warning process using several WSR-88D examples. DAPM Craig Carpenter gave a rundown on the data collection, ASOS, and climate. Service Hydrologist John Pescatore gave the group an overview of the hydrology program and associated products. MIC Jerry McDuffie presented a chronology of MAR events thus far and discussed the upcoming changes thru Stage 2. Numerous handouts were distributed. Very positive comments were received from the weathercasters. The workshop concluded with a weather briefing by forecaster Mike Buchanan.

On May 9, WCM Howard Waldron, SOO Steve Hunter, forecaster David Hotz, and MIC Jerry McDuffie traveled to Chattanooga to conduct a media workshop. Also invited were some of the surrounding emergency management officials. There were five EMA representatives and three media representatives. Also in attendance were representatives from TVA. Hamilton County and TVA hosted the event.

RPC MEETING. The Regional Partnership Committee (RPC) met at SRH on April 23. Attendees included Bill Proenza, Mac McLaughlin, and Steven Cooper (SRH); Pat Brown (Southern Region Chairperson); Newton Skiles (NWSFO Little Rock); Andy Anderson (NWSFO Lubbock); Tom Wright (NWSFO Albuquerque); and Stan Christmas (NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas). Items discussed included an outline of the QTP (Quality Through Partnership) survey results from Southern Region managers, an update on the region's Diversity Program, WSR-88D training slots, CWSUs, HMT positions, and the placement of NWR consoles in the operations area. The next meeting will be held on June 11.

NWR IN MISSISSIPPI SCHOOLS. Great news arrived from Jim Butch (WCM, NWSFO Jackson). The governor of Mississippi signed a bill which requires each public school district to provide for the purchase and installation of a NOAA Weather Radio receiver for each school in each district by July 1997. Jim also met with representatives from the Mississippi Department of Education and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to discuss the minimum requirements each radio should have (adjustable frequencies, battery back-up, tone alert feature, external antenna, etc.). Everyone was briefed on the location of the NWR antenna sites across the state and the coverage area of each (there are some "dead" spots, and reception can vary due to atmospheric conditions and the location of receivers). We hope other states can be successful in following Mississippi's lead.

KUDOS FROM "FIRST ALERT WEATHER WARNING." In the last issue of Topics, "First Alert Weather Warning" passed on complimentary remarks about the service provided by Tulsa and Little Rock. The following comment was included in a recently received letter discussing their review and evaluation of NWS product dissemination region-wide in April:

The good news this month is that, for the first time ever, our error/exception rates for SVR and TOR products were significantly below 10% for [the Southern Region]. And some WSFOs and WSOs in the [Southern Region] are now beginning to consistently record zero or near-zero error/exception performance in all watch/warning product categories!

Mr. McInnis of "First Alert" further stated he hoped SRH notices the fine performance and recognizes the low error offices. We do. Thanks "First Alert" and those offices which consistently come in with the low error rates. It's a goal all can achieve and maintain.

JULY THROUGH SEPTEMBER STAR. The memo announcing the next STAR positions will be sent to all offices by May 17. The deadline for applications will be May 31. For additional details see the referenced memo and the STAR Program and Guidelines and Applications sent to all offices in August 1995.


TRIP TO THE FIELD. Rick Dittmann, new Regional Transition Hydrologist, visited the local RFC/NWSFO in Fort Worth recently. Rick was accompanied by Tim Brice (Met Intern, NWSO El Paso) who is temporarily assigned to SSD as a Southern Region STAR.

Jesse Moore (lead forecaster) provided a hands-on demonstration of WinQPF as it is used at NWSFO Fort Worth. It was Tim's first look at WinQPF, and since he is the El Paso QPF focal point it was an excellent learning opportunity for him. By mid-afternoon, the evening shift HAS forecaster, Greg Story, arrived and was ready to "train" Rick on the HASQPF portion of his shift. Greg stepped Rick through the various stages of HASQPF mosaicking. Tim meanwhile was meeting with Chris Bovitz in the RFC exchanging Webmaster/Internet ideas that will help Tim as he continues his work on webpages that will become part of the SRH homepage.

HSD STAR UPDATE. I (Pat Sneeringer) spent my first month here in HSD identifying each WFO that could benefit from receiving real-time data from ALERT networks in their HSA. Once the list of offices was compiled, the next step was to determine the hardware and software needs associated with each site. From this information, we have developed a priority list which we plan to use to schedule system installation.

For the remainder of my term, I will be starting the procurement of new systems and preparing to upgrade pre-existing systems. I will also be familiarizing myself on the new system and organizing training for designated focal points from across the region. Time and money permitting, I will also travel to several sites to help install systems and provide some additional hands-on training. Hydromet 4 will probably be around for many years since, at this time, AWIPS will not include the ability to listen to ALERT radio transmissions and decode data directly from the antenna.

Over the next several months, many new ALERT/HYDROMET stations will begin receiving data via radio telemetry (such as Houston and San Juan are already receiving). This additional real-time precipitation data should be very helpful to forecasters during flash flood events. Other sites will have a private number into an ALERT base station which will allow them to dial up information on an hourly basis. ALERT data will eventually be integrated into the radar calibration program, precipitation processing, and hydrologic forecasting at the RFCs. During flash flood/heavy precipitation events, this line can become a dedicated line receiving data every one to five minutes (in locations where the ALERT base station software will support this process). Discussions are also being held on how ALERT data will be transferred into AWIPS once AWIPS is deployed.


A Long Way to Long Island. Jerry Curnutt (DOH, SERFC Atlanta), Brad Gimmestad (Senior Hydrologist, SERFC Atlanta), and Dave Reed (HIC, LMRFC Slidell) attended the Eastern Region HSA/RFC meeting at Islip (Long Island), New York, April 29-May 3. The meeting was attended by at least one member of each HSA or RFC in Eastern Region. Discussions centered around the modernization and AWIPS and the preparation each HSA must make to be ready.

WGRFC Internal and External Coordination. Hydrologists from the Fort Worth RFC were busy in April. Chris Bovitz (Hydrologic Forecaster) participated in a Hydrologic Workshop held April 10-11 at NWSO Midland. Chris made a presentation on the RFC hydrology program and discussed the WFO/RFC relationship. Chris also helped familiarize the Midland staff with the QPF software.

Greg Story (HAS Forecaster) recently visited NWSO Shreveport. He discussed RFC and HSA operations and coordination relating to the new QPF initiative.

Mike Shultz (Hydrologic Forecaster) participated in two flood workshops sponsored by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA). He discussed RFC operations as they relate to GBRA flood warnings developed with the assistance of the WGRFC.


Pounding the Pavement. Ernie Cathey (NWSFO Fort Worth) attended a meeting of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Participants from the Corps of Engineers, the Tarrant County Water Development District Number 1, and several other agencies contributed to the meeting. Topics included past flood problems on the Trinity River and urban flood problems in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Remember the May 5, 1995, Metroplex storm, known for its monstrous hail destruction and the 16 deaths which resulted from flash flooding in Dallas County.

Way Out in the Hills. Ed Polasko (NWSFO Albuquerque), accompanied by Paul Greer and Frank Bell (WGRFC Fort Worth), and Tom Perkins (National Resources Conservation Service--formerly the Soil Conservation Service--in Portland, Oregon) attended the annual New Mexico snowmelt/spring runoff conference held in Chama, New Mexico. The group was taken by snowcat to a SNOTEL site at the 10,200-foot elevation just across the Colorado border. Although the gauge was reading a 90% snowpack, all agreed the spotty nature of the snowpack seen panoramically suggested the minimal spring run-off forecast looked accurate. On the bright side, the meeting was held at Vera's Mexican Restaurant; and everyone was quite pleased with lunch (if you've ever eaten New Mexican cuisine you know what we mean). On the way back to Albuquerque (through a light snow, of course), Ed gave Paul and Frank a little culture tour through Santa Fe. All in a day's work.

Midland HSA Training. Steve Drillete (Service Hydrologist, NWSFO Lubbock) helped organize and conduct a hydrologic workshop for the NWSO Midland/Odessa staff in April. Ed Polasko also participated and spoke of the flood/flash flood history and hazards prevalent throughout Eddy and Lea Counties. Chris Bovitz (WGRFC, Fort Worth) then spoke on RFC operations and WFO-RFC relations. Also participating were two members of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). Jim Robinson spoke on the functions of the IBWC and about reservoir status in Mexico, while John Lee discussed flood history and unique hydrology concerns along the Rio Grande near Presidio, Texas.

Say "Cheese." An idea that is not necessarily new but is of great benefit to WFO forecasters is that of a hydrologic photo album. It offers those who have not seen all areas of their CWA or HSA first hand a peak at significant terrain features or areas of concern. Most recently, John Pescatore began such an album for the NWSO Morristown. So far he has completed photo descriptions of 18 of the 30 river forecast points in the WFO Morristown HSA.

STAY TUNED. The RFCs and HSAs are clearly running with the flood-gates wide open (so to speak). We appreciate all of the hard work going on at the offices and promise to include more highlights in future issues of the Topics.


AWIPS BUILD 1 INFORMATION. Last month we briefly described the initial capabilities of AWIPS Build 1--the software that will be installed in the first AWIPS sites, including NWSO Tulsa. As we stated, these capabilities will be limited, but will allow the opportunity to examine many new data sets in a new way at each workstation. A listing of the data sets to be provided in Build 1 is included as a technical attachment to this week's Topics. The list shows that a large number of fields will be included that are not now available.

While we will not see the full functionality of AWIPS for some time, it is important to remember that AWIPS will be a very evolutionary system, with updates every six months or so. Build 1 is the initial step in this process and will give us the platform and the communications links to move fully into the modernized era.

OOPS, BUT CONGRATULATIONS ... AGAIN! In the Regional Director's column in the last Topics, we passed on well-earned congratulations to Greg Jackson (SOO, NWSO San Angelo) who received the prestigious 1996 Technology Excellence Award from the Interagency Committee on Information Resources Management. Unfortunately, our proof reader (yours truly) goofed and failed to notice that we inadvertently identified the office as NWSO Midland. Right job, wrong office. Sorry, Greg; we knew better than that. Greg will be honored at an awards banquet at Bolling AFB in Washington, DC, in June. This honor recognizes Greg's achievement in developing the WISE, SWIFT, FLEXNOW and SUPERFLEX programs that significantly increase the speed with which NWS forecasters can disseminate information to the public.

Meanwhile, additional congratulations are due Greg and his wife Stacey, proud parents of baby Danielle Rae Jackson, born May 7!

NEW NWSTC DIRECTOR. John Vogel has been named the new director of the NWS Training Center in Kansas City. John is a native of St. Louis and began his NWS career at the Weather Bureau there in 1963 as a student trainee. He is a graduate of St. Louis University. From 1972 through 1988 John worked at the Illinois State Water Survey on a wide range of projects including the hydrometeorology of precipitation, Midwest rainfall climatology, and urban impacts of precipitation. He helped develop radar-rainfall relationships and storm monitoring procedures. During the same time, John served as regional climatologist for the Midwest Regional Climate Center, and head of the Climate Information Unit.

Since 1988 John has been Chief of the Hydromet Branch in the NWS Office of Hydrology. He has been actively involved in developing probable max precipitation relationships for the Pacific Northwest and California and new precipitation-frequency information for the arid Southwest. John is also an adjunct professor at Montgomery College where he teaches math.

SOO/COOPERATIVE INSTITUTE 1996 WORKSHOP. Twenty-five (of 30) Southern Region SOOs participated last week in the third annual Southern Region SOO/Cooperative Institute Workshop, hosted this year by the Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology (CITM) at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Also participating were Dr. Richard Orville (Director of the Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies [CIAMS] at Texas A&M), Peggy Bruehl and Sam Contorno (NWSH Office of Meteorology), Tom Black (NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center), Naomi Surgi (NCEP/National Hurricane Center), and Jeanne Schneider (CIMMS/University of Oklahoma).

This workshop is alternated each year between CITM and CIAMS, providing an excellent opportunity for SOOs and other participants to learn more about NWS-sponsored research efforts under way at the institutes. Faculty and students from FSU and Texas A&M also become familiar with SOO activities and NWS operations in general. A good way to facilitate both of these goals, we've found, is through the use of posters. Throughout the three-day workshop, ample time was allotted for one-on-one and small group discussions of work presented in the posters--prepared by both NWS and university participants. The workshop is also designed to make maximum use of workstations in the university labs. Again, this year emphasis was placed on hands-on demonstrations of tools and materials which will assist SOOs in their local professional development efforts.

As one participant noted, "'Noles and Aggies get along better in the classroom than they do on the football field!"

COMET SATELLITE METEOROLOGY COURSE. Forecasters from NWSFO Atlanta and NWSOs Tulsa and Tallahassee are participating in the first COMET Satellite Meteorology Course this week in Boulder. This two-week course is designed to increase understanding of new satellite remote sensing techniques and to enhance knowledge of GOES 8/9 capabilities. Three additional classes are planned this year. Requirements for participation are that attendees be either a SOO or the office satellite focal point, and that the office have access to digital satellite products prior to the course. The frame relay network will satisfy the second requirement at all offices within the next few months. Attendees must also complete the first COMET CBL on satellite meteorology, which should be sent to all offices shortly. More information about the course, and some satellite training tools, are on COMET's web site: http://www/comet.ucar.edu/export/satmet.

EXPERIMENTAL OKLAHOMA FIRE DANGER RATING MAPS ON INTERNET. Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the USDA Forest Service's Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory have developed an experimental program to produce high resolution maps of potential fire danger for Oklahoma. Fuel moistures are estimated using weekly 1 km resolution Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices from the NOAA polar orbiting satellites, with meteorological data provided from the Oklahoma Mesonet. These data are used to compute several indices of potential fire behavior based on the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). The NFDRS was developed based on a worst case scenario of afternoon temperatures, relative humidities and winds on a south-facing slope. Discussions have begun among OSU, Oklahoma Division of Forestry, and NWSFO Norman concerning the possibility of incorporating forecast weather parameters into the model. The URL for the experimental maps is: http://radar.met.uoknor.edu/fire/data.html.

REGIONAL FRAME RELAY NETWORK EXPANDING. The number of offices connected to the regional frame relay network is growing rapidly. The primary purpose of the network is to provide access to gridded numerical model output and digital satellite imagery to prepare forecasters for the AWIPS era. Since the network is not operational, however, offices should not rely on it to prepare or disseminate forecasts. The network also provides Internet connectivity to promote collaboration among offices with the university community.

Data for the network have been obtained at SRH from the file servers of the NWSH Office of System Operations (OSO) and NCEP, using an Internet link to the Texas university system. Last week our NOAAPORT Satellite Broadcast Network came on-line through a satellite antenna which is being installed at NWSFO Fort Worth. This will replace our dependency on Internet to obtain the data.

Nearly half of the Southern Region offices are now up on the frame-relay net, including:


NWSO Jacksonville

NWSO Tampa Bay Area (Ruskin)

NWSFO/RFC Slidell (New Orleans/Baton Rouge Area)

NWSFO Austin/San Antonio

NWSO Nashville

NWSFO Birmingham

NWSO Mobile

NWSFO Jackson

NWSFO Albuquerque

NWSO Morristown

NWSO Brownsville

NWSO Midland

Next Up

NWSFO Little Rock

NWSO Lake Charles

NWSO Amarillo

NWSO Melbourne

SOD will soon schedule training for all ESAs on the operation and maintenance of the CISCO routers used in the network. SSD also has begun a series of "Getting to Know Your SAC" training classes at SRH for SOOs, ESAs, or AWIPS Site Managers. The first SSD class was held in March; the next class is scheduled for mid June.

Thanks to Bruce Marshak (SOD) and all the others at SRH and the field offices who are working very hard to complete this project as soon as possible.

MICROSWIS UPGRADE. The MicroSWIS software has been updated, giving the system the capability to schedule four images per hour. The updated programs were sent to all NWSFOs by the Systems Operations Division (SOD). Once the NWSFOs have completed installation and the necessary scheduling, NWSOs will automatically begin receiving the new images. The NWSH/OSO is preparing an enhancement to the instructions already distributed to field offices. There is no other additional functionality to this update other than the increased frequency of the images. Address any questions you may have to Cyndie Abelman in SOD at (817) 334-2367, Ext. 124.

SRH HOME PAGE UPDATE. Construction on the SRH home page is nearly complete, but we have decided to hold off its official debut until the new regional server is up and running, which should be in about two weeks. Also at that time we will be able to provide disk space for any office which wants to create a home page, but lacks a place to put it. Any questions about designing an office home page may be directed to Tim Brice at (817) 978-2671; Tim is our resident STAR employee.

SOO NEWS. NWSFO Atlanta conducted a QPF seminar/workshop last week which featured Sondra Young, a QPF forecaster at NCEP's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). Duplicate sessions were held on Monday afternoon and the following morning. Each session included discussion of what parameters and patterns to look for in forecasting significant precipitation, biases of the various NCEP models, and a little about the current organization of the QPF Branch. Sondra also prepared a case study which allowed forecasters to prepare a QPF for Georgia using some of the information taught. Twenty-eight people participated, including 14 from the Atlanta NWSFO, ten from the Southeast RFC, one from NWSFO Birmingham, and three from NWSO Greenville/Spartanburg. Thanks, Sondra, for an excellent practical presentation.

Andrew "Irv" Watson is the new NWSO Tallahassee SOO. Irv reported last week from the National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL) in Norman; he has been an NSSL research meteorologist for many years, specializing in thunderstorm and lightning research, including work on many field projects. Irv is a native of Miami and a graduate of Florida State. His NOAA career began at what is now the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA/AOML. In the 1970s Irv was involved in the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE) in South Florida. His extensive research and field experience with Florida convection should be a tremendous asset to the SOO program in Florida, not just Tallahassee. Welcome, Irv.

TECHNICAL ATTACHMENTS. What a difference a year makes! After the battering the Caribbean took last year from the record number of Atlantic tropical storms, the record-setting drought which gripped Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other parts of that tropical region in 1993-94 may already seem a distant memory. Ron Block and Ross Dickman (NWSFO San Juan) have prepared an excellent summary of the drought and its impact, however, which we have included as a tech attachment this week.

This week we are also providing as a tech attachment a revised copy of the paper by Pat Vesper (NWSFO Lubbock) entitled, "Elementary School Presentations: The Untapped Resource," which appeared in Topics last November. This version corrects a few inadvertent errors and omissions which occurred in editing the earlier attachment.

Martin Mullen (NWSFO Lubbock) summarized the 1995 results of the special Rio Grande basin QPF program which the NWSFO forecasters conduct for the International Boundary and Water Commission. A comparison of verification scores for their "automated" and forecaster QPF techniques is shown in another tech attachment this week.



IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW TELEPHONE SYSTEM IN FORT WORTH. On the evening of July 19, 1996, the new prefix 978 will replace the 334 and 885 prefixes used by the Southern Region Headquarters.


METAR CERTIFICATION. METAR is to be implemented at 0745 UTC on July 1, 1996. At that time, all observers taking surface aviation observations must be certified to take METAR observations. In an effort to prepare and transition currently certified observers to the METAR code, the NWS plans to grandfather all observers presently certified to take surface aviation observations, provided that each observer completes the Review Questions and Exercises for Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 1 Surface Weather Observations and Reports.

Training material, along with certification instructions for METAR, can be obtained through the Data Acquisition Program Managers. Observers certified after June 30, 1996, must take and pass the new METAR certification examinations.

ASOS CONTRACT TRANSFERS. On April 1 and May 1, 1996, the Southern Region transferred a large number of ASOS augmentation and back-up contracts to the Southern and Southwest Regions of the FAA.

April 1, 1996 Contract Transfers

Fort Smith, AL

Tampa, FL

Baton Rouge, LA

Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX

Waco, TX

May 1, 1996 Contract Transfers

Montgomery, AL

Daytona Beach, FL

West Palm Beach, FL

Atlanta, GA

Columbus, GA

Augusta, GA

Meridian, MS

Chattanooga, TN

Knoxville, TN

Beaumont, TX

El Paso, TX

Lubbock, TX

San Antonio, TX

These contract transfers entailed a high level of coordination between our local offices, the FAA personnel, and the current NWS contractors. From the testing and certification of the tower personnel to answering the questions of NWS contractor personnel, the field offices helped to make this contract transition very smooth. Thank you for your extra effort. We hope the transitions and actions listed below will go just as smoothly.

June 1, 1996 Contract Transfers

Athens, GA Tulsa, OK

Macon, GA Tri-Cities/Bristol, TN

Oklahoma City, OK

August 1, 1996 Contract Transfer

New Orleans, LA

September 1, 1996 Contract Transfers

Nashville, TN Houston, TX

Austin, TX

Contract Procurements Pending

Key West, FL To be in place September 1, 1996

Savannah, GA To be in place June 1, 1996

Victoria, TX To be in place June 1, 1996

Abilene, TX To be in place August 1, 1996

SURFACE EQUIPMENT DECOMMISSIONING. Surface equipment decommissioning continues as another ten decommissioning packages have been forwarded to NWSH for approval. Sites which had their packages forwarded were Athens, Dallas/Fort Worth, Daytona Beach, El Paso, Jacksonville, Key West, Midland, San Angelo, Shreveport, and Tampa Bay. Also, five recently ASOS commissioned sites will shortly be receiving their Surface Equipment Decommissioning packages--Abilene, New Orleans, San Juan, Savannah, and Tallahassee.

Upon approval of the pending decommissioning packages and the recently distributed packages, the Southern Region will have 85 percent of its old surface equipment decommissioned. If anyone needs assistance with completing the packages, please call Robert Robledo, at (817) 978-2656, Ext. 186.

MISSING CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA. Statistics for the month of February have been released by NCDC. The national average for the month was 1.5 percent for missing reports. The Southern Region DAPM/HMT teams had only 1.1 percent of reports missing for the same period. It is especially noteworthy that for the entire state of Texas, with a total of 600 stations, there was only one missing report. To our knowledge, that is the best record ever for the state. Of the 30 DAPM/HMT teams in the region, only three teams had more than two missing reports for the month. Twenty-two teams had zero missing reports from their areas. The DAPM/HMT teams of the Southern Region continue to demonstrate that they are among the best in the nation.

STOLL AWARD. The Stoll Award was presented to Ms. Mamie Elizabeth Littleton of Kingston, Tennessee. She has been gathering rainfall data for the National Weather Service for some 52 years. NWSO Knoxville/Tri-Cities MIC Jerry McDuffie and HMT Greg Cole made the presentation. Ms. Littleton also received a 50-year length-of-service award and a letter of appreciation from Dr. Friday. The Mayor of Kingston also presented Ms. Littleton with a plaque honoring her for community service. Ms. Littleton is 91 years old and has been helped over the years by her younger sister Mable, who is 87.


THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN. The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) open season began May 15, 1996, and will end July 31, 1996. During open season, eligible employees may begin contributing to the TSP, change the amount of TSP contributions, or allocate among the three investment funds.

VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT. When employees apply for a loan, they should send the verification of employment to:

U.S. Department of Commerce

MASC/Eileen Selvey/MC273

325 Broadway

Boulder, CO 80303-3328

Sometimes the employment verification is sent to the office where the employee works, and then it must be forwarded to Boulder. Several days are lost which could be critical for completing the loan approval process.

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