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Fort Worth, Texas

November 2001



I am pleased to announce the appointment of two new Southern Region MICs.

Buddy McIntyre became the Meteorologist-in-Charge of WFO San Angelo on November 4, following Shirley Matejka's retirement after 35 years of excellent service at a number of NWS offices. Buddy is a veteran of 19 years service to the NWS and he has acquired a wealth of experience and demonstrated leadership qualities which will serve him well in his new position. Particularly noteworthy are the outstanding contributions Buddy made as leader of the Transition Program Office at SRH, prior to his appointment to the WCM position at San Angelo.

On November 18 Ken Graham will assume responsibilities as MIC of WFO Birmingham. As MIC of WFO Corpus Christi, Ken quickly established an innovative leadership style which resulted in major accomplishments in several areas. Prior to Corpus Christi Ken was a program leader as part of SRH's Meteorological Services Division. His first hand experience with a wide range of severe weather events, coupled with his leadership expertise, will help insure the best possible weather forecasting and warning services for the citizens of north Alabama.

NWA HONORS. At their annual meeting in Spokane last month the National Weather Association recognized several Southern Region employees for outstanding achievement. Also among those honored were several individuals who were nominated by our WFOs - invaluable partners in our public service mission. Join me in congratulating all of the following for their well-earned awards.

Larry R. Johnson Award for extraordinary contributions to operational meteorology - The NWS Radar Web Display Project team, headed by Tom Grayson (SRH/SOD), for designing and implementing a means for providing the public with Internet access to WSR-88D data nationwide.

Group Operational Achievement Award - WFO Miami severe weather team consisting of Jere Gallup, Jack Gross, Rusty Pfost and Guy Rader, for outstanding warning services provided to the citizens of the upper Florida Keys during a tornado associated with hurricane Mitch in 1999.

Walter J. Bennett Award for outstanding contributions provided to the meteorological community in furthering their public service mission - The Houston EMWIN team consisting of three Harris County Appraisal District employees, Jim Robinson, Mike Fliefel and Robert Timmons, for their continuing efforts in providing EMWIN data to Houston and the surrounding area. Nominated by WFO Houston/Galveston.

Public Education Award - Tina Adams, Hollywood Middle School, Shreveport, for developing an innovative weather observation and teaching program called the Airwatch Weather System. Nominated by WFO Shreveport.


Regional Training Course. The fourth of five regional GFESuite training courses was held at Southern Region Headquarters October 16-19. Three offices sent representatives to this highly acclaimed course. In addition, Western Region sent one participant.

Only one course remains and it will be held November 6-9. At the conclusion of the November course, all Southern Region WFOs will have sent their IFPS focal point to learn advanced GFE configuration techniques.

The focus on regional training will soon shift toward organizing RPP workshops to tackle the various science application issues associated with the IFPS. More information on this effort will be forthcoming.

NDFD. Southern Region has been quite active in the spin-up for the National Digital Forecast Database. Two regional IFPS team members, Matt Strahan and Paul Kirkwood, attended the Eastern Region-sponsored NDFD workshop in Blacksburg, Virginia October 11 and 12. SR representatives will also attend the upcoming Central Region NDFD Cluster Workshop.

With the imminent transfer of our current NDFD focal point, Ken Waters, to Pacific Region, the regional IFPS team has decided to split the duties of the NDFD between two of its members, Matt Strahan and Paul Kirkwood. Each will be spending much time over the next couple of months familiarizing themselves with pertinent NDFD issues and identifying the region's role in the development process.

RPP. A number of field office representatives will be attending an IFPS rapid prototype technical workshop in Boulder November 14-16. The goal of the technical workshop is to introduce to field representatives the new features of the rapidly-evolving RPP software. Coincident with the workshop, an RPP manager's workshop will be held. Matt Strahan will represent SR at the manager's workshop, which is geared toward giving attendees an overall perspective of where the RPP program is going.

New Text-Formatter Team Established. WFO Tampa Bay Area SOO Charlie Paxton will lead a team of Southern Region forecasters to improve the functionality of existing text formatters in IFPS. In addition to Charlie, the team includes Cheryl Sharpe (WFO Norman), Scott Plischke (WFO Amarillo), Matt Foster (WFO Shreveport), and Steve Taylor (WFO Lubbock). The team's improvement effort will focus in the short-term on having the formatters provide more consistent wording and headlines, and include more "local effect" wording. In addition, the team will be examining ways of simplifying the formatter program structure and tweaking XNOW to provide user-selectable edit areas. The team is targeting March 2002 for having the added capabilities implemented.

Regional IFPS Website. Field offices are urged to visit the regional IFPS Website on a routine basis to keep up with its new additions. Training plans and drills from WFOs Mobile, Jacksonville, and Lubbock have recently been added to the Website, with training job sheets from WFO Corpus Christi in the process of being added. You can reach the site at the following URL:



SMG BEGINS NEW TRAINING INITIATIVE. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group began a new training initiative in response to a request from the NASA Astronaut Flight Training Office. SMG will provide regular briefings on various topics in aviation weather on the first Tuesday of every month as a part of refresher ground training for NASA astronaut pilots.

SMG training coordinator Wayne Baggett provided the first briefing on October 2, addressing aircraft icing. Fourteen astronaut pilots attended and the briefing was well received by the pilots. Other SMG staff members will be participating on a rotational basis each month.

The SMG's efforts resulted in the following kudos to MIC Frank Brody from the Flight Director's office:

I just wanted to send a brief note thanking you and your SMG team for the excellent weather class that you provided. [It] was very informative with a good focus on the operational aspects of Space Shuttle, ISS, CRV /X-38, and local weather as it pertains to the Flight Director. The discussion on the forecasting models, radar imagery, satellite imagery, flight rules, and weather instrumentation was at an appropriate level for the audience.

I want to especially thank Wayne Baggett for his outstanding work in organizing and moderating the class. Wayne's hard work, dedication, and attention to detail made the class a real success!


Houston AMS Chapter Highlights Tropical Storm Allison. A recent meeting of the Houston local AMS chapter focused on tropical storm Allison. Dave Schwertz, WFO Houston/Galveston service hydrologist, set the stage by describing the meteorological and hydrological events of the week of June 4. Frank Gutierrez of Harris County Office of Emergency Management, Randy Burow from Shell Deer Park and two TV meteorologists from FOX and ABC Channel 13 also gave presentations.

WFO Houston/Galveston senior forecaster Jon Zeitler gave three presentations to employees of CSO Aker Maritime at their safety meeting. Each presentation was attended by 100 employees for a total of 300 people, many of whom were directly affected by flooding from tropical storm Allison. Jon covered safety procedures for all types of hazardous severe weather which affects southeast Texas. He is leading WFO Houston/Galveston's effort to focus on the education of citizens in southeast Texas on the dangers of flooding. Plans are to partner with industry and media to help with this education initiative.

Lots of Brochures. The following NWS publications were recently printed and are now stocked at the National Logistics Supply Center (NLSC) in Kansas City. The maximum number of brochures which can be ordered is 300 copies each of the severe weather publications and 100 copies each of the field guides and decals.

NOAA/PA # Name Copies Printed
82004 Watch Out, Storms Ahead 75,000
92051 SKYWARN Decal 100,000
92055 Advanced Spotters' Field Guide 100,000
94050 Hurricanes...Unleashing Nature's Fury 200,000
96072 Atlantic Hurricane Tracking Map (18"x24") 100,000
97050 Basic Spotters' Field Guide 100,000
99050 Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning 200,000

"Hurricanes...Unleashing Nature's Fury" was recently revised and expanded to include an Atlantic hurricane tracking map, a Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, and inland/freshwater flooding impacts. Thanks go to WFO Key West WCM Wayne Presnell who took on the monumental task of revising this publication.

WFO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian was invited to give a presentation to seventy seventh graders. He discussed the NWS mission, the water cycle, tornadoes, hurricanes, radar theory, El Niño and La Niña. Jerry also showed them a weather balloon, a radiosonde, and various NOAA Weather Radio models.

Mayoral Tour of WFO Miami. Miami-Dade mayor Alex Pinellas, Miami-Dade manager Steve Shiver and their entourage recently spent one hour touring WFO Miami and the collocated Tropical Prediction Center. MIC Rusty Pfost briefed the officials on the role of the WFO and its relationship with TPC, and enumerated some of the local products/services that WFO Miami provides, including the graphical Hazardous Weather Outlooks and the upcoming IFPS graphics. A weather briefing was conducted by forecaster Dave Kosier and the role of NWR in broadcasting Civil Emergency Messages was discussed. Finally, WFO Miami outreach efforts for the Spanish-speaking populace were addressed. The mayor and manager are highly attuned to the effects of hazardous weather on south Florida, and have been proactive in dealing with the community using information provided by the WFO. Both were very complimentary on the role of WFO Miami in communicating hazardous weather conditions to them and the citizens of the county.

DFW Weather Training. WFO Dallas/Fort Worth WCM Gary Woodall and SOO Mike Vescio conducted a series of weather training seminars for the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport operations staff. The seminars, each two hours in length, focused on winter weather and thunderstorms in North Texas. Gary's basic seminar discussed weather impacts, saturation and precipitation processes, the low pressure cycle, winter precipitation environments, and the basics of thunderstorms. Mike's advanced class outlined the analysis of soundings, surface and upper-air plots, satellite imagery, and radar data. Mike also discussed the forecast process and the use of numerical guidance. The DFW staff appreciated the information and will utilize it in their winter weather plans.


Texas Gulf Coast Emergency Management Association Conference. WFO Houston/ Galveston played a large role in the annual TGCEMA Conference. MIC Bill Read and WCM Gene Hafele presented the weather portion of the hurricane preparedness two-day course hosted by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Their presentations lasted five hours and were tailored for the course's 25 emergency management officials. Gene worked with Chuck Gregg and Kent Baxter of FEMA Region VI on a training session using Hurrevac and SLOSH software. Gene also gave a StormReady presentation. Throughout the entire conference WFO Houston/ Galveston had a booth with pictures of Hurricane Carla and its effects on the upper Texas coast 40 years ago. WFO Corpus Christi MIC Ken Graham, WCM Donell Woods, and regional WCM Larry Vannozzi also attended the conference.

Automated Phone Alert System. WFO Corpus Christi, in partnership with the City of Corpus Christi, has successfully automated it's phone alert system. MIC Ken Graham and WCM Donell Woods worked with Juan Ortiz, the emergency management coordinator of Corpus Christi to bring this system to life. Donell and Juan discussed the requirements for the system in early September and successfully tested the system during the first week of October. During an emergency, this system allows WFO Corpus Christi to remotely access the City of Corpus Christi phone system and activate a predetermined scenario (tropical weather, etc). The city phone system will contact emergency managers (home, cell phone, pager) and alert them to join WFO staff on a conference call at a specified time and number. This eliminates the need for WFO Corpus Christi to contact individual EMs and allows them to receive the latest information with one phone call.


WFO Houston/Galveston senior forecaster Josh Lichter gave a safety presentation to members of the Texas Master Naturalists of Galveston County. This meeting was hosted by the Galveston County marine extension agent. As a result of this meeting a rain gauge network is going to be established around Galveston Bay with members of this group. They will send their rainfall reports into the Galveston County marine agent's office which will collect the data and relay it to WFO Houston/Galveston via fax.

WFO Jackson in Action. A staff writer for the local Jackson newspaper visited the office during a severe weather event. Most of the staff was very busy, but the reporter was able to observe the staff in action. He talked briefly with MIC Jim Stefkovich and a couple of the amateur radio operators. The final article for the newspaper is the best article about NWS operations and coordination anyone at WFO Jackson can recall.

WFO Shreveport Tornado Drill. WFO Shreveport conducted its semi-annual county wide tornado drill recently. This drill is held annually, separate from the state wide drills in the spring. This is due to a significant climatological shift from the summer doldrums into tornado season which is halfway completed in the Shreveport CWA by the time the spring drills are held. The drill is geared to the school systems throughout the CWA and is considered an important part of the WFO preparedness efforts developed in partnership with local emergency managers.


NWR Expansion Continued During October. A new 300 watt NWR site was installed at Russell, Arkansas on October 4. Five 100 watt SRS transmitters and antennas were also installed at New Mexico sites in October. The sites are located at: Des Moines, Ruidoso, Clovis, Las Cruces and Hobbs, New Mexico.

USDA NWS Grant Program. The USDA NWR grant program is continuing with at least four Southern Region sites being granted money for NWR expansion. These sites are: Uvalde and Sweetwater, Texas; and Lobelville and Centerville, Tennessee. Twenty-eight other potential sites in the Southern Region are involved in the application process and are vying for the remainder of the USDA grant money available.

The NWS will likely receive $2.5 million in FY2002 funding for NWR expansion sites. SR sites to be funded in this order include:

Oklahoma Muskogee
Tennessee LaFollette
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Putnam County
Louisiana Natchitoches
Arkansas Harrison/Jasper
Texas Center
Mineral Wells
El Paso (Spanish site)
Mount Pleasant

VOICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (VIP) UPDATE. Testing continues involving the new voice system at NWSH. WFO Melbourne will be the Southern Region beta test site for the new voice system. Testing will begin in December with current plans for a nation-wide implementation by March 2002.

SURVEYING AVIATION USERS. An important goal of Southern Region's Aviation Plan - Operation Pathfinder - is to survey users of our aviation products and assess their satisfaction, as well as determine areas where we can improve our aviation services. The Regional Aviation Team has taken on that task and prepared an on-line user survey. All offices have been notified of the survey at, and we have encouraged the WFO aviation program leaders to publicize it widely. Highlighting the survey and providing a link on the office homepage is a good way to do that. Aviation team members Richard LaFosse (SMG) and Tim Destri (WFO New Orleans) will lead the effort to analyze results of the survey. They will be compiling survey results periodically over the next six to twelve months. This could turn into a significant effort, since we understand the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will be publishing the survey Web address in this month's e-mail newsletter, E-Pilot, which has a subscriber base of 200,000!


RIVER FLOOD OUTLOOK PROJECT STATUS. We plan to implement the SR River Flood Outlook (RFO) narrative and graphical products on November 15. The regional and RFC RFO graphical products will support the WFO RFO graphical products. A link to the regional RFO graphical product will be on the Southern Region Web server. We will provide the Web address prior to the implementation date. Feedback from customers will be used to enhance the product in the future. Thanks to LMRFC, ABRFC, SERFC, and the SRH Dissemination Enhancement Team, all of whom contributed to this project.

WSOM CHAPTER E-22 PRODUCT IMPLEMENTATION. Product changes associated with the new WSOM Chapter E-22 take effect November 15. Information (i.e., product crosswalk, emails) summarizing the product changes associated with this policy implementation has been sent to field offices. A ROML is being drafted based on WSOM Chapter E-22.

SR RFC VERIFICATION WEB SITE. SR RFC categorical flood forecast verification statistics are now available at the following address:

A link to this Web site will be in the Hydrologic Services Branch portion of the CWWD Web page. This site will be updated quarterly with cumulative RFC flood forecast verification statistics. The Web page also has links to documentation about the verification program, individual RFC flood forecast verification statistics for the quarter, and an archive of statistics for previous quarters. We also plan to post annual statistics and trends of these statistics on the Web site as our statistical database grows. Our goal is to work with NWSH to integrate categorical verification statistics used in our program with the national RFC river forecast verification system. We also plan to develop regional performance measures based on these categorical verification statistics. Thanks to the SR RFC verification team members and the SRH Dissemination Enhancement Team who contributed to this project.

LOCAL HYDROLOGIC MODELING. A meeting was hosted on October 11 by the Florida State Emergency Operations Center and WFO Tallahassee to bring together a coalition of local, state and national agencies interested in local flooding events in northern Florida. Due to recent flooding from tropical storms Helene, Allison, Barry and Gabrielle in northern Florida, local agencies have become interested in obtaining more advanced warning of potential areal flooding unique to Florida.

Twenty-nine representatives from a broad spectrum of agencies participated in person or by phone, including: Florida State Emergency Operations Center; WFOs Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Houston, West Gulf RFC, Saint Johns River Water Management District, Suwannee River Water Management District, Northwest Florida Water Management District, Florida State University (FSU), University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Clay County, Leon County, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the NOAA Coastal Services Center, NESDIS/NCDDC, the USGS, and Dr. Del Bottcher, CEO of Soil and Water Engineering Technology, Inc. Dr Bottcher is the developer of a GIS-based hydrologic model called WAMView.

Presentations included emergency management concerns by Andy Devanas, NWS concerns by Joel Lanier, local gauge improvement program by Theresa Heiker from Leon County, groundwater hydrology by Hal Davis USGS, NEXRAD Gage/Radar Precipitation database by Dr. Henry Fuelberg, FSU, WAMView model by Dr. Del Bottcher, an overview of NOAA Coastal Services Center by Ethan Gibney, and the overall vision for improving local flood support, by Michael Crane, NESDIS/NCDDC.

Much was accomplished in the meeting from participants learning from one another and developing a desire to continue meeting with a goal of obtaining a local GIS-based distributed hydrologic model to support their varying needs and requirements. Such a model is already in use by the Saint Johns River Water Management District and has the potential to provide operational flood innundation mapping forecasts to emergency managers using NWS multi-sensor precipitation estimates. Using such a model in a generally flat area with closed basins and local flashy streams was appealing to all.

As a result of this meeting, proposals are being drafted to demonstrate the feasibility of using such a model for practical use. Two potential areas for demonstrating a model include Black Creek near Jacksonville and the Tallahassee/Leon County area.


SO LONG, KEN. Ken Waters, SSD's Techniques Development Meteorologist, has departed for the Pacific where he assumes the Regional Scientist duties at PRH (behind former WFO Brownsville SOO, Mark Jackson). In that SSD-like position Ken will continue to contribute to training, science development and technology infusion, and indirectly will still be involved with SR SOOs and forecasters, as all the SSDs collaborate in such activities. During his years in SSD Ken contributed in major ways to many, many programs, and he will be missed. We've all benefitted from his innovative work on the region's data distribution network, development of AWIPS and IFPS training classes, local applications, GIS initiatives, and more. We wish him well in his new position.

The search is underway for Ken's successor; vacancy announcement MASC-NWS-01-196RQ has been issued and can be found on the COOL Website at Please contact SSD for more information about the position.

FSU SEVERE WEATHER WORKSHOP. T. J. Turnage and Irv Watson from WFO Tallahassee presented lectures at a Severe Weather Workshop held at Florida State University on October 6. Prof. Henry Fuelberg, who organized the event, indicated the turnout of students was excellent and everyone was very interested in the presentations. He added,

Each of your talks was well prepared and informative, with eye catching graphics. Many of our students yearn for this type of material, and I am sure you sparked the curiosity of the attendees. I know Saturday's event is just a forerunner of the many collaborations that will become possible when the NWS office moves to campus in a few months. I am eagerly looking forward to that collocation.

We might note that Saturday was an open date for the Seminoles' football team, but we're sure the students would have been there regardless!

SUPERCELL RAINFALL. In the September Topics we commented on a recent paper by Stanley Changnon which describes the contribution of thunderstorm rainfall to annual totals. The current issue (October) of the AMS Journal of Hydrometeorology contains the paper "Extreme Rainfall and Flooding from Supercell Thunderstorms," which examines in particular rainstorms in Dallas (May 5, 1995) and Orlando/Kennedy Space Center (March 26, 1992). In both cases data from dense local networks allowed detailed analysis of storm features, including rain rates. The former was the first U.S. thunderstorm to inflict $1 billion in damage, in part because of softball-size hail over the Fort Worth area, but followed by heavy rain and flash flooding over Dallas. That storm drove home the point that supercells may indeed produce excessive rain and flooding, despite environmental features which might imply rapid motion and a lessened rain threat. The Florida storm moved more rapidly, resulting in more modest rainfall totals, but extreme rain rates were noted with the KSC network. The paper was authored by James Smith, Mary Lynn Baeck and Yu Zhang at Princeton University, and Charles Doswell III at NSSL. Southern Region forecasters should find the paper of special interest.

RAIN GAUGE QUIZ. The above item prompts this question: Roughly how many rain gauges do you think would be necessary in an area forty miles square to derive an areal mean rainfall estimate (convective precipitation) accurate to within at least 10%? How about to within 5%? Looked at another way, what would the separation of the gauges need to be? We'll provide our answer next month.

NEW TECH MEMO. WFO San Angelo senior forecaster Pat McCullough, and new SOO Amy McCullough, are co-authors of NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-213, "A Severe Weather and Flood Climatology of West Central Texas," which has been distributed to all offices.

CHAW PRESENTATION. Over the past weekend I (Dan Smith) was invited to participate in the biannual gathering of a group called "CHAW," the Conference of Historical Aviation Writers. This year's meeting was held in Dallas and I was asked to speak on the subject of the U.S. Weather Bureau's Thunderstorm Project in the late 1940s. The audience of about two-dozen included amateurs and professionals, all of whom are published authors - some of considerable renown and international reputation. Despite their own personal experience gained as pilots of everything from biplanes to B-29s and modern aircraft, and their extensive (to say the least) knowledge of aviation history, few if any were aware of the significance of the Thunderstorm Project and it's contributions to our basic understanding of thunderstorm meteorology - not to mention flight safety. History aside, the meeting also provided an opportunity to familiarize the attendees with the Southern Region home page and the wide array of products available from individual WFO and RFC Web sites.

HANDS ACROSS THE BORDER. Jesús Martinez de la Cerda is an engineer from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, working with the municipal, state and federal governments there to manage water resources for the region. He has visited WFO Brownsville to consult on operations of Doppler weather radar and precipitation parameters which affect water project design criteria. Ing. (engineer) Martinez is interested in learning about our experiences with the WSR-88D because officials in Monterrey hope to receive a NEXRAD-like weather radar soon. Monterrey is Mexico's third largest and preeminent industrial city, a city comparable to Chicago. The radar has been approved and will be installed in the western foothills overlooking the city and its major reservoir. In October Shawn Bennett (SOO) provided Ing. (engineer) Martinez with information about probable maximum precipitation (PMP) values for short duration and long duration events which may affect the Monterrey area. Shawn discussed the typical weather events of interest and provided Ing. Martinez with links to the SRH hydrologic services Web page containing maps from USWB Technical Paper 40. Shawn also provided Web links to the West Gulf RFC, NWSH International Activities and the NWS Office of Hydrologic Development (OHD), which include satellite autoestimates of precipitation over Mexico. Shawn also discussed this contact with the Hydrologic Technology Transfer Program Manager at NWSH in Silver Spring.

TRAINING FOR ENSEMBLE PREDICTION SYSTEMS. Pete Manousos, NCEP/HPC SOO, has developed a Web-based training module titled "Ensemble Prediction Systems for Operational Forecasters" which is posted on COMET's SOO Training Resource Center. Access it at The module is intended to provide a practical introduction to ensemble forecasting and operational use of NCEP's ensemble products. The training incorporates terminology, visualization and interpretation techniques, as well as strengths and limitations of EPS. It will require from 60 - 90 minutes to review. We encourage all forecasters to take advantage of the module, whether for first-time exposure to EPS, or for review by those who may already be knowledgeable. Great job, Pete.

NUMERIAL WEATHER PREDICTION COURSE ON-LINE. To date, 143 NWS meteorologists have successfully completed the Understanding NWP Models and Their Processes distance learning course at No doubt many others have reviewed parts of the course. In completing the NWP Distance Learning Course, forecasters can choose to view each element of each module (recommended for interns or others unfamiliar with NWP or those highly interested in the topic), or they can choose to view the minimum path required for each module. The minimum path includes the core material experienced forecasters will find most beneficial in refreshing their understanding of NWP.

Upon completing the course, students take a short on-line exam based on the questions included in each module. A certificate of completion will be issued to those with a passing score of 75%. Because you will need a fresh memory of the material when you take the exam, we recommend you complete the modules within two to four weeks if possible. However, because the modules can be demanding, don't try to take more than one module per day. The total time to complete the course is between 16 and 20 hours.

GOES-9 and GOES-12 UPDATES. Although the GOES-12 NOAA Science Test is officially over, GOES-12 (location ~91W) continues to provide imagery and sounder data. The most common schedule for GOES-12 will be the 'C5' schedule as seen on, but there will be some variations. This schedule closely emulates the current GOES-8 Routine Scanning mode (see GOES-12 GVAR data will continue to be available through December 15, 2001. The GOES-12 spacecraft will be placed in on-orbit storage on December 21, 2001.

The GOES-9 spacecraft (location ~104W) will be taken out of storage in mid-November, and on or about December 16, 2001, GOES-9 GVAR data will flow (initially with possibly poor calibration and/or navigation) through January 16, 2002 for testing purposes; specifically, for evaluation of the visible data. Exact scanning schedule has yet to be determined, but will likely emulate either GOES-8 Full Disk or Routine mode.

NCEP MODEL IMPROVEMENTS. Testing of the 12 km Meso Eta began on September 26. Operational implementation of the 12 km Meso Eta has been tentatively scheduled for November 27. Operational implementation of the 20 km RUC has been tentatively scheduled for January 21, 2002. A list of the major model implementations planned for the remainder of 2001 and a preliminary schedule for 2002 can be found at:

The test of the NCEP production backup system took place on October 10. The were no problems noted with the Meso Eta, RUC, RSAS, WAFS, and RADAR FAX. Problems were encountered with the relative humidity fields from the FNMOC NOGAPS (used to backup the AVN) and the FNMOC WW3 model (used to backup the NCEP NWW3 Wave Model) graphics were inverted. These problems will be addressed and tested prior to the next quarterly backup test. Plans will be developed to add processing for the FD winds and UV index prior to the next test.

THE SOO SCIENCE AND TRAINING RESOURCE CENTER ACTIVITIES. The Science and Operations Officer (SOO) Science and Training Resource Center (SOO/STRC) Web site:, formerly known as SOO/SAC, has been reorganized and updated to better serve the science and training needs of the NWS SOOs, and to reflect the changing direction of the National SOO/SAC program. While the name has changed, much of the information and resources provided by the old site remain. Bob Rozumalski, the National SOO Science and Training Resource Coordinator, welcomes all comments and suggestions concerning the Web site.

The SOO/STRC Survey. It has been over two years since Bob last solicited the SOOs' advice regarding how he can better serve the SOOs. The goal of the 2001 SOO/STRC survey ( is to provide direction to the SOO/SAC program in the development of support and training material for the SOO community. The survey should take less than 30 minutes to complete. The guidance you give will ultimately determine the support you receive.

Bob Rozumalski's 2001-2002 Project Plan. Bob's draft project plan for 2001-2002 is available on-line at: Feel free to pass along any comments you may have.



AWIPS. All Southern Region sites are at AWIPS Build 5.1.1. Build 5.1.1 has been released to the field offices and is being installed at this time. Beta Build 5.1.2 has been performed at Southern Region Headquarters and WFO Lubbock. That load is scheduled for deployment by mid- to late November. A new Web page has been created by AWIPS program manager Paul Kirkwood to provide individual office AWIPS performance. This information can be found at and is updated on a weekly basis. The Performance Working Group is addressing the sluggish workstation performance during active weather situations. This has been an ongoing issue. With the installation of the new Linux workstations, the performance issue should be resolved. NDFD and Linux demo sites have repeatedly stated how nice the new workstations perform.

UPPER AIR. Regional maintenance specialist Charlie Lake has been on the road quite a bit this month working with issues related to the upper air program. Charlie and Mike Asmus, RCPM, visited WFOs Little Rock and Shreveport. During the visit at Little Rock, Charlie discovered some elevation and azimuth errors and vibration in the pylon. They made repairs and adjustments and got the system back up to speed. At Shreveport a new survey was performed on the theodolite comparative stand and it was found to be 2.2 deg off in azimuth. The new coordinates were turned over to the DAPM for future reference. Charlie and Mike pressed on with a trip to Sterling, Virginia to pick up an ART-1 system for installation at the new Tallahassee facility. The parts were loaded and trucked down to Florida, and placed in storage until the new office is complete.

ASOS. A major issue which recently arose is gaining access to equipment sites in the wake of the September 11 tragedies. Airport managers have increased security to the point access is denied unless the individual can be escorted. One case in point is at Roswell, New Mexico. The electronics technician drove several hours from WFO Albuquerque only to be denied access because escort service was not available. It is perceived many airport managers are misinterpreting the new GENOT 1/45 FAA policy. The NWS ETs have met the airport screening and access requirements and have been badged by the airports. We are working with the FAA regional security personnel to establish a satisfactory resolution to this situation.

NWR. We are going through a personnel transition for NWR technical program management, but nevertheless are pressing on feverishly with new installations and new site surveys. Currently in the works are new sites at Stephenville, Cumby, and Gilmer, Texas; and Wauika Mountain, Georgia.

NEXRAD. ORPG installations have been proceeding according to schedule. Southern Region has had nine installations with minor or no problems during the install and operational burn-in phase. The responses from field offices is very positive and all feel this is an excellent addition to our operations. Written procedures for the installation are clear and concise, and have proven to be accurate directions. If a major situation presents itself the Radar Operations Center ORPG team leader is available for on-site maintenance at a moments' notice.

IT SECURITY. Those individuals registered and waiting for the SANS security course to begin should have received e-mail confirmation with their username and password included. We have performed a port scan on all Southern Region LANs and found multiple machines with active SMTP ports. The applicable offices have been notified and all workstations have had these ports disabled. This should eliminate any mail coming into the region and bypassing the Gateway McAfee virus checker. We are currently working on a way to automatically download the most current DAT files from the NOAA security page to the SRH LAN. When this is accomplished all offices can set their systems to automatically come here daily to download and install the latest DAT files with the least amount of user intervention.

NETSCAPE MAIL. We have completed installing and configuring the Netscape messaging server, and ran it in a test configuration for eight days. The test went well. On October 14 we took down the current messaging server and brought the new one on line. To date no problems have been detected.

The EMC contractor put software upgrades on the EMC backup machine. They replaced the tape jukebox due to a failure with the tape selection arm. All LAN, Oracle, and mail servers are now configured for level 0 (weekly) and daily incremental backups.

Due to a virus which entered the Central Region LAN and affected the mail servers, we were asked to help Central Region configure a way to let their messaging server bind with the Southern Region directory server. Working with our network staff and Central Region mail/network staff, we were able to do this in a short time. Procedures to accomplish this will be written and passed on to all regions in case such a situation occurs again. Gary Petroski, IT/computer security program manager in SOD, will be issuing an e-mail each week offering [TIPS] to Netscape users. These tips will be on many different subjects relating to configuring, maintaining, and using the Netscape messaging products.


OPEN RPG INSTALLATIONS UNDERWAY. The national deployment of Open Radar Product Generator (ORPG) installations began during the last week of September in Southern Region. Since then, the ORPG and the Master Switch Control Function (MSCF) have been installed at WFOs Memphis, Tulsa, Little Rock, Shreveport, and Fort Worth. The MSCF replaces the UCP and is a Windows-based operating system which greatly simplifies control of the WSR-88D. All installations have gone smoothly, with a national team from Hill AFB installing the system at NWS WFOs.

The Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) has sent each office a CD-ROM and 15 workbooks for local training. Each WFO will have the opportunity to enroll in up to four different WDTB sponsored teletraining classes in the month prior to ORPG deployment at the WFO. The WDTB has already geared up for presenting classes to WFOs twice weekly.

FREE TEXT MESSAGE UPDATE. As per Weather Service Observing Handbook No. 9, WFOs are required to issue a Free Text Message (FTM) whenever a WSR-88D is not operational. Many internal and external users rely on this product. Up until AWIPS Build 5.1.1, if the FTM was issued on the UCP, the product would appear garbled on AWIPS to users. As a result, WFOs were entering FTMs both on the UCP and AWIPS. In Build 5.1.1, this flaw has been fixed and WFOs can now use the UCP or the MSCF to issue their Free Text Messages when appropriate. The message will now reach all DOD users, as well as all internal and external customers ungarbled.

ARCHIVE LEVEL-II RECORDING. WFO Birmingham became the sixth Southern Region office given permission by the Radar Operations Center (ROC) in Norman, to suspend jukebox tape recording and archiving of WSR-88D Level-II data. The jukebox has been put in standby mode, pending its use again in the event problems develop with the new system of transmitting Level-II data on-line via a Remote Interface Data Display System (RIDDS) directly to the NCDC. The new system is more efficient, less troublesome for the WFOs, and results in more data being archived, sooner. The following Southern Region WSR-88D locations are currently using the on-line system:

WFO Birmingham KBMX
WFO Birmingham KHTX (north Alabama)
WFO Ft. Worth KFWS
WFO Tulsa KSRX (Fort Smith)
WFO Amarillo KAMA
WFO Lubbock KLUB

Plans are being developed in hopes of future national support for a similar system which will allow replacement of the troublesome jukeboxes at all offices.

THUNDERSTORM OPERATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECT (THOR). The Engineering Change Plan (ECP) has been approved, and Wideband 3 cards have been procured and installed at the WSR-88Ds located in Birmingham and Nashville. This will allow WSR-88D base data to be shipped to external users. It is the intent of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Huntsville, to ingest base data from these sites, as well as the Hytop, Alabama WSR-88D. The base data will then be used in support of THOR, a multi-year, multi-agency effort aimed at improving thunderstorm forecasts and warnings. It is the intent of THOR to establish operational baseline accuracy for thunderstorm forecasts at multiple projections from 30 minutes to 48 hours. Also, THOR is expected to prototype a seamless operational suite of digital/graphical thunderstorm forecasts and warnings for the general public and emergency managers.

NEW ASOS SITE SLATED FOR REGION. The ASOS at Johnston Island has been declared surplus, and the FAA has determined a requirement for its installation in Naples, Florida. The ASOS is currently being refurbished at the National Reconditioning Center. It will soon be shipped to Naples for installation and future commissioning.

ASOS COMMUNICATIONS TRANSFER PLAN. As of November 1, the communications path for longline dissemination of ASOS METAR and SPECI data has been changed from the NWS LDADS to the FAA ASOS/AWOS Data Acquisition System (ADAS) at five sites in Southern Region. At the five sites, (Columbus, Georgia; Meridian, Fort Smith, Beaumont and Waco), METAR and SPECI data are routed through the appropriate FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center ADAS for longline dissemination. This ADAS connectivity allows the FAA to enable the Automated Lightning Data Acquisition and Ranging System at these sites which automates the reporting of thunderstorm and lightning information.

ASOS PROCESSOR UPGRADE TEST. The ASOS processor upgrade consists of a new single processor board with expanded memory and processing capability to handle new high performance sensors with higher speed, greater reliability, and communications enhancements. These improvements are necessary to keep pace with the expanding demands placed on the ASOS for timely, accurate delivery of more observation parameters to more external users in real time. The new processor board will serve as the launch platform for a host of new software and sensor applications. Southern Region test sites where the new processor boards have been installed include Austin, Texas (Camp Mabry), Boothville, Louisiana, and Guadalupe Pass, Texas.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE. Southern Region environmental compliance activities for October included assisting with contractor surveys for spill prevention control and countermeasure (SPCC) plan revisions at WFOs Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Houston-Galveston. Five of these sites were prioritized based on their proximity to navigable waterways. WFO Tallahassee is being moved to a new location. Additional SPCC plan updates will be done as NOAA funding is available. Other environmental compliance activities this past month included planning for NOAA Tier I assessments in the six Southern Region states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, in February and July 2002. Also, the annual Dade County Environmental Resource Management sewage lift station operation permit for the Miami TPC/WFO was received this month.

SAFETY ACTIVITIES. Purchasing essential safety equipment continued with the beginning of the new fiscal year. However, budgetary questions remain since the full list of items identified as regional purchases by OOS exceeds available funding. The addition of NFPA hazard placards for National Fire Protection Association code compliance is underway by facility technicians and ECS focal points at all locations. All focal points were notified of a Firestone tread failure on a GSA vehicle. This tire was not on the Firestone recall list, and the tread separation damaged a coolant hose disabling the vehicle while traveling at freeway speeds in a remote area. The FAA was notified of potentially hazardous conditions at FAA-owned ASOS sites maintained by NWS personnel. This notification included sites in both the FAA Southwest and Southern Regions and involves placement of ASOS ground-to-air and ACU antennas on building rooftops without adequate fall protection safeguards.

BUILDING SECURITY. Southern Region Headquarters personnel are working with GSA and the Federal Protective Service to implement new security measures resulting from Level III security status and plans for Level IV status, should it be implemented. A full building evacuation drill was conducted in October. Federal police informed building occupants that three federal building employees have attempted to enter the building with firearms since January.

KEY WEST 90% DESIGN REVIEW. The Key West 90% design review was held at Southern Region Headquarters on October 10, with representatives from the architects Guidry-Beazley and Eskew, along with NWS and NOAA personnel from SRH, NWSH, CASC and MASC. The 100% design submittals were due on October 31, and it was agreed the architectural conformance will be to Florida state requirements, as opposed to vague local historical architectural recommendations, at the suggestion of the Key West City Planning Department.

NOAA JOB HAZARD ANALYSES. WFO job hazard analyses performed by a contractor for the NOAA MASC Safety Office were reviewed for accuracy and completeness. The analyses appeared accurate, but were incomplete. Work reviewed by the contractor included duties associated with ASOS maintenance, general ET work, office work, NEXRAD maintenance, the Coop Program, and upper air operations. Omitted was work done by facility engineering technicians, NWR operations, fall protection hazards, severe weather duty, and others. Before using this study to improve working conditions it is recommended program managers from individual disciplines examine and comment on the detail job descriptions provided.

FACILITY WORK REQUESTS. In August 2000, OFB began using a commercial asset management software package, MP2 by Datastream Inc, to document and track facility maintenance requirements and maintain an asset inventory with repair histories. Implementation of MP2 began with a Datastream consultant working with facility engineering technicians (FET) to create an asset inventory for each WFO. The inventory includes major systems and related components, such as building electrical and mechanical systems, NWR, ASOS, Radar, Wind Profiler and landscaping.

WebLink, a component of MP2, is a convenient Web interface containing simple menus and forms for submitting facility work requests. Field offices are asked to submit facilities work requests using WebLink through the SR WAN at . A user guide has been sent to Southern Region MICs and HICs explaining the procedure for logging into the system and entering work requests using the Web forms. Work requests entered into WebLink are immediately transferred to the FET for execution. Users can also check the status of work requests using WebLink. In FY01, 727 work orders were entered through WebLink and the MP2 client.

The FET uses the MP2 client software to access additional features in managing facilities assets. Special maintenance notes, material and labor data, repair instructions, automated work order generation, training scheduling, vendor information and statistical reports are available to the FET as he completes the work order. Both the FET and Southern Region Headquarters OFB personnel are ready to assist end users with WebLink interface.

SURFACE OBSERVATION PROGRAM. Southern Region received 57 requests from the aviation community for new certificates, cancellation or changes in type of surface certificates during July. Southern Region recently completed an office review at WFOs Memphis and San Angelo. A complete review of the data acquisition programs at these offices were completed during the visit.

UPPER-AIR OBSERVATION PROGRAM. Last month's Southern Region upper air rankings were excellent with sixteen of the twenty three offices receiving scores above the national average. The national average for last month was 283.13 with a perfect score being 300.00. The best Southern Region upper air rating last month went to Midland, with a score of 299.67. Great job Midland! It should also be noted that San Juan, fourth in the nation, and Atlanta, ninth in the nation, have shown steady improvement the past three months resulting in rankings of 296.50 and 299.03, respectively. Other SR offices maintaining an excellent rating last month were Lake Charles, New Orleans, Miami, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Norman, Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Shreveport, and Del Rio, with their scores all 290.20 and above.

CAMEX-4/KAMP. CAMEX-4/KAMP special project has ended across the lower Florida Keys. For the past two months desk space and special upper air flights were provided by WFO Key West. This was a joint project between NASA and Texas A&M which covered the Key West county and marine warning area. We thank the Key West staff for helping to achieve a consistent and accurate database of atmospheric observations for this project.

TALLAHASSEE RELOCATION PROJECT. Southern Region continues to move the upper air site from the airport to the new location at the Florida State University campus. Several action items have been generated from the meetings and it continues to be a very busy time. An NWS change form has been generated for the location changes and information needed for the move. Once all the information is gathered from the different focal points, the NWS change form will be forward to WSH.

Phase I of the deployment of the Radiosonde Surface Observing Instrumentation System (RSOIS) is complete. The Phase I sites in Southern Region where RSIOS will be installed are Tallahassee, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Key West, and Midland. These sites should receive their RSOIS in early December.

EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE. The Southern Region completed FY01 with all cooperative program performance measures being met or exceeded. For FY01 a total of 4,472 station visits (3,278 required visits) were documented which is a 136% visitation rate. The regional standard is a visitation rate of not less than 125%. Regional missing data percentages also exceeded standards with a missing climatological data (CD) rate of 1.36% and a missing hourly precipitation data (HPD) rate of 2.26%. The performance measures for these categories are less than 2% for CD and less than 3% for HPD.

It is also worth noting that 15 of the 31 Southern Region offices completed the year with zero missing CD and 15 offices completed the year with zero missing HPD. A total of 17 of the 31 offices also had a visitation rate in excess of the 125% standard with only 6 offices not having completed at least a 100% visitation rate.



WFO BROWNSVILLE. Senior forecaster Paul Yura gave Powerpoint presentations to six groups of sixth grade students at Cummings Middle School. He talked to over 200 students about hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms along with safety information. He demonstrated the weather balloon and radiosonde and explained how this instrument is launched and how data is collected. The students and teachers were so appreciative and interested they invited WFO Brownsville to participate in their upcoming Career Day.

HMTs Fred Vega and Sam Martinez, DAPM Jim Campbell, and WCM Hector Guerrero toured groups from two schools, about 420 students, from Senator Eddie Lucio Middle School and St. Mary's Catholic School, through the WFO. The students and teachers from both schools were so appreciative they, too, invited the WFO to participate in their upcoming Career Days.

Sam Martinez ran in the Annual 5K South Texas Engineering, Math and Sciences program (STEMS) on October 13. STEMs is a program sponsored by the University of Texas at Brownsville to enrich and encourage high school students in the Engineering, Math and Science related curriculums. Over the years, the WFO staff has assisted with Career Days for students participating in STEMs.

WFO Jackson's Nikole Winstead, Alan Gerard, and Doug Cramer operated a booth at Project Wet which provides arts and crafts activities, videos, science projects and basic education on the hydrologic cycle and safety during flood events. An estimated 500 kids, mainly minority students from the Mississippi Delta Region, visited the booth. The youngsters decorated raindrops, participated in science projects, listened to talks on the hydrologic cycle and flooding safety, and watched severe weather videos.

More Youth Outreach at WFO Jackson. The Jackson office also operated a booth at the annual Kids Zone. Nikole Winstead, Doug Cramer, and Latrice Maxie participated in the two-day event. Youngsters obtained written materials on severe weather and safety. There was also an upper air display to educate them on how data is collected to aid weather forecasting. Overall attendance was estimated at around 23,000 children and parents. Balloons, pencils and bags were also distributed.

WFO MELBOURNE. Rebecca A. Almeida, a student at the Florida Institute of Technology in

Melbourne, worked as a volunteer this past summer and developed a knack for data analysis, climatology, and statistics. Her work made the paper "Experimental Forecasting of Dry Season Storminess over Florida and the Southeast United States from the ENSO Signal Using Multiple Linear Regression Techniques" possible. The paper will be presented jointly to the 13th Symposium on Global Change and Climate Variations and 16th Conference on Probability and Statistics in the Atmospheric Sciences at the AMS annual meeting in Orlando in January. The paper is available online at:

WFO TALLAHASSEE. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block talked and distributed literature to residents at the Tallahassee Senior Citizens Center, the Smith-Williams Senior Center and the Dick Howser Children's Center. Since many of their residents suffer from some physical disability, these talks focused on special weather impacts and career opportunities for those physically challenged. Ron spoke (in Spanish) about careers in science to a predominantly Hispanic audience at Quincy, Florida, Middle School and at the Florida State University Hispanic students brown bag lecture series. He served as a science fair advisor for Raa Middle School creating a "prototype" meteorology exhibit entitled "Can Doppler Radar be Effectively Used to Predict Tornados. " This exhibit will be used at Raa and hopefully other school science fairs to stimulate teenagers into pursuing weather related projects.

The WFO staff provided many media interviews, office tours and community visits focusing on tropical and severe weather. SOO Irv Watson and senior forecaster T.J. Turnage conducted tornado and spotter training for forty students and faculty from the FSU meteorology department. WCM Bob Goree lectured on weather safety to students at the Geneva County, Alabama, school district; on weather forecasting to a Tallahassee area home school association; and on NWS operations with Southern Georgia emergency managers.

SCEP students Todd Lericos and Angel Montanez continued to assume increasing responsibilities in their daily WFO shift duties. Susan Rubright began her directed individual study (DIS) project.

WFO SAN JUAN. MIC Israel Matos participated in a meeting on science and technology sponsored by the NWS and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Mayaguez Campus. Former San Juan forecaster Dr. Daniel Melendez, now from the NWS Office of Science and Technology, discussed issues of interest to the NWS and the UPR, including the U.S. Weather Research Program, short- and long-term science infusion and assimilation plans, and the NWS strategic plan. UPR continues with plans to establish a graduate program in atmospheric science, and this meeting helped to refocus on the local WFO science and technology needs. This meeting was also part of the Climate Change Studies proposal which NOAA-NWS funded through the DOC and UPR Memorandum of Understanding.

LOCAL CLINE AWARDS. The following employees received local Cline Awards at their offices this year, but through an administrative error, their names were omitted from the list in the October issue of Southern Topics.

WFO Brimingham Meteorology Mark Linhares
Hydrometeorology Matthew Bishop
Electronics Roger D. Hess
Program Mgmt & Admin Christopher Liscinsky
RFC Tulsa Hydrology Michael D. Pierce
Support Services Gregory B. Stanley
Program Mgmt & Admin Kandis Y. Boyd
Leadership Billy G. Olsen

Congratulations to all.


OCTOBER 1-31, 2001

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
John Purdy WFO MOB Promotion to CR Forecaster, GS-12
John Wolters WFO AMA Promotion to CR Met Intern, GS-11
Jeffrey Fournier WFO TAE Promotion to PR Forecaster, GS-12
Ben Scott WFO JAX Retirement Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Bill Knight WFO JAN Retirement DAPM, GS-12
Roger Hess WFO BMX Reassignment to CR El Tech, GS-11

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Brent Wachter WFO ABQ Reassignment from WR Forecaster, GS-11
Seth Nagle WFO MAF Reassignment from ER Forecaster, GS-7
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Mark Fox WFO AMA Reassignment from FWD Forecaster, GS-11
Cody Lindsey WFO MAF Reassignment from TSA Forecaster, GS-9
Tom Amis CWSU ZFW Reassignment from ZME MIC, GS-13
Steven Boyette CWSU ZME Promotion from ZME MIC, GS-13

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