UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
November 1, 1998
YET ANOTHER MAJOR WEATHER EVENT. A large portion of southeastern Texas was literally inundated by extremely heavy rainfall during the weekend of October 17-18, 1998. According to the Austin-San Antonio NWSFO, the event was a result of a slow moving area of deep convection fed by a very moist low level jet from the Gulf. The area lingered for well over a day before a frontal system moved it out. In its wake, was a widespread area of destruction caused by flash floods and extensive river flooding. At last count, 29 deaths were attributed to the severe weather with the tragedies being compounded by at least 21 documented PREVENTABLE deaths caused by people driving into areas where water was crossing the roads. Rescue crews were credited with performing over 250 rescues in the San Antonio vicinity alone. Before it was over, the area streams and rivers had fourteen "floods of record" established. Flash Flood watches and warnings were out well in advance and no doubt saved many lives. Nevertheless, we need to continue with our emergency management and media partners, to even more emphatically expound Flash Flood safety tips and the showing of our dramatic films on Flash Flooding. The staffs at New Braunfels as well as Corpus Christi, Houston and the Ft. Worth River Forecast Center, all worked long hours under highly stressful conditions to deliver a vital life saving performance. Thank you so much for your efforts.
We formed a Service Assessment Team to review the event, our products and services. The team leader is Steve Harned, MIC NWSFO Raleigh, with members: Dave Reed, HIC RFC Slidell; Larry Eblen, WCM NWSFO New Braunfels; Curt Carey, NOAA Public Affairs Officer and Treste Huse, Service Hydrologist, NWSO Rapid City. Their report will be written and released within 90 days.
COMMERCE SECRETARY PRAISES NWS EMPLOYEES. Department of Commerce Secretary William M. Daley recently praised NWS employees for their work during Hurricane Georges. In his words:
As Hurricane Georges bore down on the southern United States and Puerto Rico, our employees were undaunted in performing their duties. Many of you faced adverse conditions, including separation from your families, but that did not stop you from carrying out the National Weather Service mission of issuing forecasts and warnings to help protect life and property...
I particularly want to thank the men and women at the Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center; the weather service offices in Puerto Rico, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana; and those at the Southern Region Headquarters and National Weather Service Headquarters for a job well done. I appreciate all of your efforts to keep America informed, safe, and one step ahead of Hurricane Georges.
The Southern Region employees who worked tirelessly during the prolonged onslaught of Georges, as the hurricane moved slowly through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, certainly earned Secretary Daley's praise, and the thanks of the citizens we serve. Congratulations to all.
NATIONAL WEATHER ASSOCIATION AWARDS. Again this year, I am pleased to congratulate several Southern Region employees who have been recognized by the National Weather Association for outstanding accomplishments. Recipients were honored at the NWA Annual Meeting last month in Oklahoma City.
Bart Hagemeyer, Dave Sharp and Scott Spratt (NWSO Melbourne) received the Operational Achievement Group Award for leading the effort to provide exceptional service to the citizens of central Florida before and during the devastating tornado outbreak on February 22, 1998.
Paul Hebert, who retired last July as MIC at Miami, received a Special Award for his career-long work as a pioneer in tropical meteorology, during which time he published extensively, served as Deputy Director of NHC, Area Manager for Florida, was a confidant and advisor to three NHC directors, and made significant contributions to the NWA as a long-time member.
Also honored by the NWA with their Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award was Randy Johnson, an amateur radio operator and SKYWARN volunteer from Orlando. Randy worked closely with NWSO Melbourne and provided outstanding service to the citizens of central Florida last February, during the most damaging tornado outbreak in Florida history.
GEORGES AFTERMATH. Without doubt, Hurricane Georges had one of the most significant impacts on the Southern Region in many years. The feedback received from our customers indicates the exceptionally high level of service provided by all of the involved offices. Some excerpts from the feedback are provided below.
The Honorable Henry L. Perez of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives visited NWSFO San Juan. Mr. Perez presented a Resolution approved by the House "to express and render a well deserved recognition of the House of Representatives to the U.S. National Weather Service in Puerto Rico for its outstanding, timely, and accurate performance before and during the emergency caused by the onslaught of Hurricane Georges." After the presentation, the NWSFO staff gave Mr. Perez and his staff a tour of the office.
NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge was recognized by city and parish officials in St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes. The St. Bernard Parish president recognized the NWSFO during a town meeting. In Orleans Parish, the mayor of New Orleans recognized the NWSFO's efforts during an award ceremony for citizens and agencies who provided outstanding support to the community. The NWSFO also received some international attention during Georges' impact. Forecaster Suzanne Van Cooten gave a live interview to the British News Network, which is an element of the BBC. During the interview, Suzanne described the threats associated with Georges, the forecast track, and why the storm was generating such concern in the New Orleans area.
Although their area was not directly impacted by Georges, NWSO Tampa Bay received kudos from the Manatee County Emergency Management Agency. In a letter to MIC Ira Brenner, the EMA expressed their appreciation "for the services your staff provided to the Manatee County Emergency Management Division during Hurricane Georges. Our staff personally appreciated their genuine concern that we understood the weather conditions and potential threat so we could make accurate decisions...."
SMG AGAIN LENDS A HELPING WEATHER HAND TO THE FRENCH SPACE PROGRAM. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) supported a unique NASA project involving the successful French Ariane-5 launch from French Guiana on October 21. This was the third and final qualification flight of Europe's Heavy Lift Booster. The goal of the NASA project was to track the re-entry and breakup of the main stage in the Pacific Ocean about 1400 miles southeast of Hawaii. More information is available at http://www.ariane503.org/. Mark Keehn (SMG) set up a specially-designed Web page to support the Ariane weather briefings that SMG provided to project personnel in the Pacific and California. An example of the SMG Ariane 503 weather Web page can be seen at http://shuttle.nasa.gov/weather/ariane.html. Over 100 people and two aircraft were involved in this NASA support.
SMG provided weather support to the aircraft, whose goal was to get cloud-free- line-of-site photographs and other data during the re-entry. This was a challenge, since the primary and alternate target selection points (TSPs) were just south of the convectively active Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Post mission feedback said visibility was excellent at the TSPs that SMG recommended, and excellent data was gathered. SMG personnel supporting this project were Steve Sokol, Doris Rotzoll, Mark Keehn, and Tim Oram.
AMATEUR RADIO "VANITY" CALL SIGNS. Two more offices in the Southern Region have received "vanity" call signs for their amateur radio base stations. NWSFO Albuquerque and NWSO Morristown are now "WX5ABQ" and "WX4MRX," respectively. These call signs should make it easier for spotters to contact the offices when making reports. The process of obtaining a "vanity" call sign takes about 10 weeks to complete. Contact Keith Hayes (Albuquerque) or Howard Waldron (Morristown) for more details.
GEORGIA EXPANSION UPDATE. The NWS and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) have begun the official process of expanding NOAA Weather Radio across Georgia. A Memorandum of Agreement was recently signed detailing plans for the placement of a NWR transmitter in Buchanan, Georgia (Haralson County). This transmitter will be programmed by the Peachtree City (Atlanta) NWSFO early in 1999. As a result of findings from Governor Zell Miller's 1998 Task Force, GEMA and NWS plan on adding as many as 12 transmitters in Georgia, providing NWR coverage to every county in the state.
NEW NWR COMING SOON TO FLORIDA. Test programming recently began on the Bethlehem NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) transmitter in Holmes County, Florida. Programmed by the Tallahassee NWSO, this NWR station will provide service to portions of the northern Florida Panhandle.
TEXAS NWR EXPANSION UPDATE. New NOAA Weather Radio transmitters are nearing their completion in Texas. The Richland Springs and Junction transmitters are slated to come on line before the New Year. Programmed by the San Angelo NWSO, the new transmitters will provide critical NWR service to areas of West Texas. These two transmitters will also be the 5th and 6th transmitters to be purchased by the Lower Colorado River Authority and then donated to the NWS over the past two years.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT/MEDIA SUPPORT. Some highlights from across the Region...
NWSO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian addressed the Tennessee Emergency Managers Conference. Approximately 100 Emergency Managers from across the state were in attendance. Jerry discussed the NWS mission and the role of SKYWARN spotters in our hazardous weather warning system.
NWSFO Lubbock WCM Larry Vannozzi participated with the city of Lubbock in a Y2K/disaster exercise. The exercise involved a full activation of the city's EOC and included over 60 participants. The exercise goal was to prepare for various problems that may arise on December 31, 1999, while simultaneously handling other problems (winter storm, crash landing of an airliner). Larry's role was to develop the simulated NWS products that were disseminated to the participants. The exercise received national attention from the printed and electronic media.
NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich gave a presentation at the National Weather Association's annual conference. Jim addressed the Weathercaster's Workshop, which was attended by approximately 75 television weathercasters from across the country. Jim's talk described the local and national NWS procedures employed in case an office became unable to provide services.
PUBLIC OUTREACH. Some news and notes from our offices...
NWSFO Miami WCM Jim Lushine and TPC/NHC forecasters Martin Nelson and Waldemar Barnes staffed an NWS informational booth at Ocean Fest '98. Ocean Fest is a major water-oriented festival along the coasts of Broward and northeast Dade Counties. Approximately 7,000 people attended the festival this year. Besides handing out approximately 2,000 tracking charts and pamphlets, the NWS staff also provided information on approaching thunderstorms to the festival organizers.
NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich gave a 90-minute interview to the Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate on El Niño, La Niña, and the climate outlook for Texas through the spring of 1999. The interview was part of a local television special on these subjects.
National Public Radio interviewed Jerry Orchanian, WCM at NWSO Nashville, regarding NOAA Weather Radio 2000. Jerry described NWR in general and the benefits of owning a NWR receiver. He previewed the synthesized voice and acknowledged it will take time for listeners to become fully comfortable with the voice. Jerry reported that overall, the interview was positive.
AN ACTIVE MONTH. The last few weeks have placed extraordinary forecast requirements on Southern Region RFCs. Due to slow-moving frontal systems and unusual late-season tropical activity, each of our four RFCs assumed 24-hour duty at least once. In turn, the NWSOs saw increased hydrologic activity. As usual, service was excellent, and we congratulate everyone involved.
E-CHAPTER UPDATES. The SRH Hydrologic Services Division has received initial drafts of updated WSOM E-Chapters from the NWSH Office of Hydrology. Following initial review by HSD, comments will be sent back to OH. The next drafts are expected to undergo formal field review. Some, if not all, offices will be asked to review selected chapters. We will keep you posted.
HYDROLOGY TRAINING FUNDS. Once again, the Office of Meteorology is providing each region with national funds to support hydrologic training at our field offices in FY 1999. The Office of Meteorology requests that all training associated with this account be completed by July 1999. MICs and HICs have typically used these funds to support hydrology-related courses at local universities, or by correspondence, such as the courses provided by the USDA and the University of Oklahoma. These funds can augment the training budget provided to MICs and HICs by SRH. Contact HSD to obtain the appropriate accounting codes.
MODERNIZED PRODUCTS DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP. The Office of Meteorology sponsored an NWS modernized products development workshop in Boulder, Colorado, in September. Brad Gimmestead, senior hydrologic forecaster at the Southeast RFC, represented the SR Hydrology program at the conference. The purpose of the workshop was for NWS and external user participants to draft a set of information/product formats that would satisfy user community needs in the next 3-8 years. Outside users who attended the hydrology breakout sessions included the Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, USDA, California Department of Water Resources, and the National Hydrologic Warning Council. The Office of Meteorology will summarize and disseminate the proceedings of this workshop.
RIVER FLOOD WATCH PILOT PROJECT. Within the next few weeks, the three NWSFOs in Texas and the West Gulf RFC will launch a pilot project to test the utility of an RFC-generated River Flood Watch product. Some Texas river authorities and water management agencies have already expressed an interest in such a product. An internal Extended Flood Guidance (ESG) product will be issued by the WGRFC twice daily, and passed to the NWSFOs. At their discretion, the NWSFOs will issue the product as an external Flood Potential Outlook (ESF) product. User feedback will be solicited during the project, which is expected to continue through March 1999.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
NWSO Nashville Hosts Hydrologist From Australia. Service Hydrologist Mike Murphy provided an office tour and overview of the NWS Hydrologic Services Program to Mr. Peter Baddiley, the Supervising Hydrologic Engineer with the Bureau of Meteorology in Brisbane, Australia.
Wet September Across the Florida Panhandle, South Georgia and Southeast Alabama. Two hurricanes brought some heavy rainfall amounts to the Tallahassee Hydrologic Service Area during September. Hydro focal point, Alan Baker, reported that several locations recorded 10 to 20 inches for the month, as first Earl and then Georges moved across the region.
Tropical Storm Frances brings flooding to WFO Houston HSA. T.S. Frances dumped more than 12 inches of rain in some parts of the Houston HSA. Several major roads were closed due to flooding and more than 1400 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in this event, according to Dave Schwertz, service hydrologist. Some rivers in the Houston HSA crested 5 to 10 feet above flood stage.
Coming Soon...Complete Instructions for Leveling New Gauges. At the request of HSD, Lubbock senior service hydrologist John Lipe is writing step-by-step instructions on how to level new river gauges. John has a lot of surveying experience and has agreed to pass his knowledge to the rest of region in the form of easy to read instructions complete with diagrams, tables, and pictures of equipment. When the instructions are complete, a copy will be mailed to each office and the file will be posted on the Southern Region Web server.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
SOUTHEAST RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Whirlwind Tour. During the week of October 19-23, Brad Gimmestead, senior hydrologic forecaster, traveled through portions of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Brad made a number of contacts at Eastern Region HSA offices supported by the SERFC and the Corps of Engineers in Wilmington, North Carolina and the USGS district in North Carolina. A staff training session was done on RFC operations at the NWSO in Wilmington.
ARKANSAS-RED BASIN RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Czech Republic Visitor. Mrs. Ricicova, senior hydrologist of the Central Forecasting Office in Prague, will visit the ABRFC for a two-week period next month to work with the RFC staff and study applications used in the assimilation of hydrometeorological data in the NWS River Forecast System. This visit is part of a U.S. and Czech Republic cooperation activity that will focus on the hydrometeorological and flood forecast system used in the U.S. and the adoption of selected software from this system for use in the Czech Republic.
GOES-8 STRUCK BY EARLY LEONOID METEOR? GOES-8 was out of service on October 27, from 0740 to 1445 UTC, when a large attitude disturbance which forced satellite controllers to command the spacecraft to "sun pointing safe hold mode." Telemetry strongly suggested the disturbance was the result of an electrostatic discharge in the controlling earth sensor. GOES-10 was placed in the full disk imaging mode to provide coverage to the eastern CONUS and western Atlantic. The conversion to GOES-10 imagery was transparent to AWIPS sites, and SSD moved quickly to rename the GOES-10 imagery as "GOES-8" so non-AWIPS offices could continue viewing the imagery without making any changes to NSAT or GARP. RAMSDIS imagery was lost during the event.
As Murphy's Law would have it, Hurricane Mitch was at its peak strength (180 mph winds) when the satellite failed. GOES-8 was commanded back to normal on-orbit mode at approximately 0000 UTC on October 28, following successful completion of a series of engineering tests. GOES-8 began imaging and sounding operations at 0245 UTC in a post-maneuver recovery mode. Routine operations were resumed at 1145 UTC on October 29, just in time to support the shuttle launch with rapid-scan data.
Expect another interruption - this one scheduled - on November 17, when the GOES-8 Imager scan mirror will be positioned to avoid the peak of what is expected to be an unusually strong Leonid meteor storm this year. There will be no images from 1744 to 2114 UTC on that day. The Sounder will not be affected and will continue normal operations. As a back-up, GOES-10 will again provide full disk scans.
SOUTHERN REGION WEB SERVER UPGRADES. Ethan Jolly, hydrologist at the Lower Mississippi RFC in Slidell, visited SRH last week to work with Susan Beckwith (SSD) on updates to the software on the region's Web server. Several new programs were loaded, including a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, Internet Information Server 4.0, and NT 4.0 Option Pack. In the near future, offices will be given a new Domain Naming System (DNS) address, but the old address will continue to work. We are also developing a new look for the home page. As always, user comments are welcome. Thanks, Ethan for sharing your time and expertise.
WSR-88D DOWNBURST ALGORITHM VALIDATION. The OSF is working with Dr. Mike Biggerstaff at the Texas A&M Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies (CIAMS) and NWSO Houston to validate the WSR-88D Damaging Downburst Prediction and Detection Algorithm (DDPDA). The DDPDA is an NSSL-developed algorithm. The group has several well documented bow echo cases from various field programs, and in addition, NWSFO St. Louis SOO Ron Przybylinski provided additional cases. The group is performing in-depth analyses using near real-time local storm reports via e-mail, and on-line radar imagery from NCDC, to search for more cases with which to perform algorithm scoring and range dependency studies. Ron recently visited Texas A&M along with Bernard Meisner from SSD and staff from NWSO Lake Charles to participate in a CIAMS seminar dealing with results of the validation. See the next item.
CIAMS SEMINAR. David Wally, Eric Zappe and Tim Ericson from NWSO Lake Charles participated last month in Ron Przybylinski's (SOO, NWSFO St. Louis) seminar at Texas A&M on the subject of forecasting damaging wind events in the mid-Mississippi Valley. Included as a technical attachment this week is David's summary of the seminar. In addition to this summary, David also provided the Lake Charles staff with a copy of Ron's short paper on the same subject (noted as a reference in the tech attachment), and he is working on developing case studies to apply Ron's ideas closer to home. Too often, warnings for damaging winds are based on reflectivity signatures that indicate a strong downburst is already occurring (e.g., a LEWP or bow echo). Ron's work points out that the MARC signature might be useful as an indicator prior to the onset of damaging winds.
LOUISIANA CLIMATOLOGY SEMINAR. Jay Grymes, Louisiana State Climatologist at the Southern Regional Climate Center in Baton Rouge, recently provided a seminar for the staff at NWSO Lake Charles. His presentation covered the status of current climatology programs, including the regional climate center concept and its relationship with NCDC, climatic resources available, cooperative observations, climatic variability (sometimes known as global warning), and applied research opportunities. The Lake Charles staff enjoy a working/professional relationship with the center which has proven to be mutually beneficial.
AMS JOURNALS AVAILABLE ON-LINE. Working with the NOAA Central Library, the NWS has arranged to provide field offices with access to the following American Meteorological Society publications.
Meteorological and Geoastrophysical Abstracts, covering the world's literature on meteorology, climatology, atmospheric chemistry and physics, hydrology and related environmental sciences. From 1974 to the present, this searchable database is an index to journals, reports and proceedings from over 400 sources. MGA is updated monthly. It is at http://www.mganet.org.
AMS journals (from 1997 to the present) - search abstracts and view the full text of articles at http://ams.allenpress.com:
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Journal of Applied Meteorology
Journal of Climate
Journal of Physical Oceanography
Monthly Weather Review
Weather and Forecasting
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
These information services are also available to authenticated NOAA/NWS users on the Web via the NOAA Seattle Regional Library Information Server (http://www.wrclib.noaa.gov/) under Journal Literature Searching.
RECENT JOURNAL ARTICLES. Speaking of the journals, the September 1998 issue of Weather and Forecasting is loaded with articles of regional and operational significance, including:
Normalized Hurricane Damages in the United States: 1925-95, by Roger Pielke and Christopher Landsea. By considering changes in coastal populations and wealth, along with inflation, the authors show altogether new trends in normalized hurricane damage.
A Preliminary Investigation and Diagnosis of Weak Shear Summertime Convection Initiation for Extreme Southwest Alabama, by Jeff Medlin (NWSO Mobile) and Paul Croft. New insights into when and where convection initiates in the Mobile Bay area.
The Diurnal Distribution of Lightning Over North Florida and its Relation to the Prevailing Low-Level Flow, by J.P. Camp (FSU), Andrew I. Watson (NWSO Tallahassee) and Henry Fuelberg (FSU). Prevailing wind direction relative to coastal orientation controls timing and frequency of lightning location, both in the afternoon and at night.
Marine Forecasting at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, by Mark Powell and Steve Rinard (NWSO Lake Charles). A summary of unique challenges faced in providing NWS support for sailing events during the Games.
The Occurrence of Tornadoes in Supercells Interacting with Boundaries during VORTEX-95, by Paul Markowski, et al. Important implications for forecasting are discussed.
Mesoscale Convective Systems in the Southeast United States during 1994-95: A Survey, by Bart Geerts. Some characteristic echo patterns are discussed, with implications for MCS evolution, severe storm potential, and QPF.
Comments on "A Climatology of Significant Winter-Type Weather Events in the Contiguous United States, 1982-94," by William Gartner (NCEP/HPC), et al. Additional information relevant to the excellent summary article by Mike Branick (NWSFO Norman).
Congratulations to the several Southern Region authors noted above. The Mobile and Tallahassee collaborative studies were supported by COMET.
OSF PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR WARNING OPERATIONS. Since its inception with the coming of the WSR-88D, a goal of the Operational Support Facility in Norman has been to ensure that instructors in the Operations Training Branch maintain proficiency with warning and forecast operations. To the extent possible, they have worked forecast shifts at the adjacent NWSFO. This helps to ensure in turn that the OTB staff is knowledgeable about operational problems (and solutions) as they teach courses and workshops, and as they work with the OSF hotline staff.
Cases in point: John Ferree recently provided highly appreciated assistance at the forecast office during a record-breaking tornado event on October 4. During the period of Georges' extended impact in September, Stacy Stewart completed nearly two weeks of duty at the Tropical Prediction Center/NHC supporting hurricane operations. That adds another dimension to "support" and "operations" of the OSF/OTB. See the following item for more.
OSF SEMINARS IN ATLANTA. Don Burgess, Chief of the OSF Operations Training Branch, visited NWSFO Atlanta for two days in mid-October to present seminars on current trends in severe weather detection and warning statistics. He presented important findings from a study of the Hall/White County (northern Georgia) tornado which occurred last March, including time-height analysis of rotational velocity and performance of some of the NSSL WSR-88D algorithms. This storm did not fit well established conceptual models for tornadic storms, and it was difficult to find Doppler indications of a tornado. Testing at the OSF of different values for the TTS and TPV adaptable parameters yielded little if any improvement. The NSSL MDA analysis available on WDSS did show improvement in tracking and in trends leading up to the tornado. (Unfortunately, WDSS was removed from the Atlanta office shortly after the 1996 Olympics and was not available to forecasters during this event.)
Thirty attendees were involved in the seminar, which was conducted twice to maximize participation. In addition to all the NWSFO forecasters and members of the RFC staff, participants included visitors from the local CWSU, NWSO Greenville/Spartanburg, The Weather Channel, and four from the Fort MacPherson (Army) weather unit.
CONFERENCE PREPRINTS POSTED. The NWSFO, NWSO and RFC Web sites provide a good way to share results of local applied research projects, including papers that are submitted for conferences. The AMS Annual Meeting, to be held in Dallas next January, is a case in point. The following papers from NWSO Melbourne are now on-line:
Spratt, S. M., and D.W. Sharp, 1999: Dominant tropical cyclone outer rainbands related to tornadic and non-tornadic mesoscale circulation families. Preprints, 23rd Conf. on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, Dallas, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc. (http://www.nws.fit.edu/trop99sms.html).
Hagemeyer, B. C., 1999: El Niño and significant tropical and hybrid cyclone tornado events in Florida. Preprints, 23rd Conf. on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, Dallas, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc.
TRAINING TELETRAINERS. Last week's course at the Teletraining Institute in Stillwater, Oklahoma, brought to 14 the number of Southern Region trainees. The many regional presentations at the recent NWA Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City, and those scheduled for the upcoming AMS Annual Meeting in Dallas all provide excellent possibilities for teletraining. Converting the conference papers and posters to teletraining sessions can really maximize the results of time spent on local studies. And share those results with as many other forecasters as possible. SSD will work with the newly trained trainers to develop those sessions and add them to our teletraining schedule for the coming months.
TELETRAINING ON GUIDANCE MODELS. Bernard Meisner (SSD) presented four teletraining sessions entitled: "Recent and Imminent Changes to the NCEP Model Suite" to most Southern Region offices, NHC and the Central and Eastern Region Headquarters. The sessions covered the Eta, RUC-2 and AVN/MRF guidance models, each of which has been changed significantly in the past months.
These sessions are part of a Southern Region teletraining seminar series organized by SSD, but which will be primarily delivered by staff members at field offices and cooperative institutes. Upcoming sessions will cover topics such as derechos, QPF, the planetary boundary layer, convective parameterization, and the wording of situation-specific warnings.
ACCESS TO NAVY HURRICANE GUIDANCE GRAPHICS. While attending the recent COMAP Satellite Meteorology symposium, Mike Koziara (SOO New Orleans) learned of a password-protected Web page at the Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Center that includes plots of the NHC statistical hurricane guidance model forecasts. Recalling the recent teletraining that SSD provided on these models, Mike contacted SSD, and we obtained access permission from NHC and the Navy. The appropriate username and password were distributed to field offices for internal use only. As reported in last month's Topics, the Navy also recently made available to NWS offices the gridded output from their global spectral model, NOGAPS.
RUC-2 CHANGES. Upgrades to the RUC-2 guidance model were scheduled for early November. Expected results of these changes include improved surface T/Td/wind fit in mountains, reduction of cool bias in daytime, a big improvement in the modeled diurnal temperature cycle, improved surface temperatures in fall and spring over frozen soil, improved surface runoff, and fewer abrupt changes in CAPE/CIN between the analysis and the one-hour forecast.
CIAMS TROPOPAUSE SCRIPTS. Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon (CIAMS) has developed GEMPAK tropopause scripts to accompany the series of seminars he has given throughout the Southern Region. He has placed the scripts on the soosac ftp server in the contrib/scripts subdirectory. (They are also available on the Southern Region server in the /usr1/tar_files directory.)
The scripts use two non-standard enhancements to GEMPAK which can be easily circumvented. One is a color table setting program called gpctbl, and the other is a function called vmsk which he uses to color-code wind speeds. He has included copies of the two color tables that he uses for the plots. The root script, which calls all the others one way or another, is tropit. The scripts tropgenscript, troplotscript, and tropresscript can all be run independently as well.
NEW SATELLITE TRAINING MATERIALS. All offices have received a copy of the latest COMET computer-based learning module, "Satellite Meteorology: Using the GOES Sounder." This module complements the GOES imager module that was distributed in 1996. Offices also recently received a copy of the new NESDIS publication: "Geostationary Satellite Soundings: New Observations for Forecasters." While none of the GOES sounder products are currently available on AWIPS, they are available on the Web. Links to the sounder products can be found through the Satellite Data option on the Southern Region's Weather Information Web page.
HURRICANE ERIN MULTIMEDIA CASE STUDY. COMET, in collaboration with the University of Costa Rico and the Caribbean Meteorological Institute, has developed a Multimedia Case Study CD-ROM for Hurricane Erin (1995). The case study was designed to support training programs by allowing instructors and students to display and analyze a comprehensive, integrated data set, and by allowing instructors to incorporate their own questions and interactions to guide learning. Copies of this bilingual CD-ROM, and an accompanying Instructor's Guide have been distributed to all coastal offices and NWSFO San Juan.
UNIX AND AWIPS CUT TRAINING. Employees scheduled to attend the AWIPS CUT training at NWSTC should brush up on UNIX. Basic UNIX skills are required for the Centralized User Training, and some systems administration training is strongly recommended. As the CUT curriculum evolves it is becoming more apparent how important a UNIX background is. Unfortunately, there have not been enough NWSTC UNIX training slots to satisfy the need. We are working with field offices to provide this training, including plans for one or more UNIX classes in Fort Worth.
Participants in the CUT classes should have a look at the Training Center's URL for additional training recommendations (http://ntc100.kc.noaa.gov/d.EED/ex_opnsys.html#START). More Unix information may be found at http://ntc100.kc.noaa.gov/d.shEDU/lib_unix3.html.
HMT RADAR COURSE NEARS COMPLETION. Last week marked the end of the teletraining phase of the WSR-88D HMT course being conducted by the Operational Support Facility. At that time about 15% of those enrolled had obtained their certificates. Others are encouraged to complete the self-study portions of the course and the required exams by the end of this year. The OSF will award certificates once a student has achieved a combined average of 70% or greater on the three exams. Retakes of any of the exams are allowed.
NEW SECURITY FILES. As a result of an action item from the recent ESA Conference, Leon Minton has placed all the latest McAfee programs and DAT files onto the SRH Web Server in the FTP area under the general SOFTWARE subdirectory. Besides the latest DAT files, there are latest editions of McAfee Virus programs for HpUx, Linux, NT Server, NT Workstation, and Windows 95/98. In addition, the long awaited Service Pack 4 for the Windows NT 4.0 (Server and Workstation) operating system is now available in the same FTP area. This contains all the hotfixes issued since Service Pack 3 along with some interesting new features. It also fixes many Y2K issues with other Microsoft Software on the system. Installing this latest service pack will plug several security holes for those that have not had time to keep up with the many Post Service Pack 3 patches.
NOVEMBER 1998 EMAIL CONFERENCE. Leon Minton and James Raley will represent Southern Region at the Email Conference scheduled for November 18-20 in Silver Spring. Demonstrations from at least three vendors will take place and discussions as to the future of email for the NWS will follow. The conference agenda has not been distributed as of this writing but implications are that regional requirements concerning the acceptability of a particular email system will be a prime topic. There have been many discussions prior to this meeting within the region and between regions as to the need for a change and the timetable if one takes place. Our thanks to those that have provided helpful feedback.
LONG DISTANCE SERVICE ON NEW TELEPHONE LINES. BellSouth has made some procedural changes and how they do telephone orders. What it boils down to is that they are not allowing us to pre-pick the FTS2000 PIC code when we place the order. We have raised this issue with their corporate headquarters since it will substantially delay the installation of long distance services on any new telephones that are ordered. The ability to pre-PIC new telephone numbers to 387 reduces the installation time from 25 to around 10 working days.
All offices must check with the Southern Region FTS2000 designated agency representative in SOD, Gene Witsman, concerning the availability of FTS2000 long distance services on new telephone installations instead of calling the local telephone company.
TPMS WILL SOON BE HERE! For those who have never heard of Transition Power Maintenance System (TPMS), it's a fancy way to describe an Uninterruptable Power System(UPS) for the WSR-88D. The TPMS, once installed, is intended to provide continuous power when commercial power is lost. Radar operators will never have to manually start the generator before a weather event. The TPMS unit will carry the WSR-88D load until the engine generator starts and automatically takes control. Conditioned (clean) power is another added benefit of the system. OSF states this "clean" power will increase the mean time between failures of individual radar components, therefore increasing reliability.
Some offices have already received the Site Preparation Requirements and Installation Plan (SPRIP). Southern Region is allowed 60 days to review the SPRIP and comment. Each site must submit their comments to SRH (Systems Operations Division). For more information please call Stanley Saenz at (817) 978-4962, ext. 171.
FACILITY REPAIRS IN SAN JUAN. Three facility engineering technicians traveled to San Juan, to repair several items damaged by Hurricane Georges. Al Ruffin (NWSFO Fort Worth), Tom Kovack (NWSFO Austin/San Antonio), and Dennis Weryavah (NWSO Tulsa) will repair the upper air building, fences, windows, doors, roof and, any equipment damaged during the hurricane. They will also perform preventative maintenance on the generator which ran for several days until commercial power was restored.
STOLL AWARDS. The Stoll Awards for 1999, and a missing award for 1998, have been received at Southern Region Headquarters. These will be framed and then distributed to the various offices for formal presentations. We should try to present these awards as close to the actual anniversary date as possible. Keep in mind that NCDC can provide a copy of the original B91 (actually E-15) that the observer submitted 50 years ago. Please coordinate any requests for the copies with NCDC several months ahead of the date needed. The regional CPM in SOD can also assist with getting a copy of the original forms.
MONTHLY REPORTS. Monthly reports must be submitted to Southern Region Headquarters in a timely manner. These reports were previously done manually but a team has been formed to modernize this process. New monthly forms have been developed and are available for use at http://nwselp.epcc.edu/coop. Passwords are required to use this system and a list of all the passwords has been distributed to the DAPMs. If you are in need of assistance with accessing these forms, or need an additional list of the passwords, please contact the RCPM. We can now accept monthly forms in either format, electronic or paper. Very soon we will eliminate the paper reports and require all monthly reports to be submitted using the electronic forms.
1999 LENGTH OF SERVICE AWARDS. The 1999 Length of Service Awards for the volunteer observers will soon be needed at each office. Please inform the RCPM of your certificate and lapel pin needs. We will forward these to you. If you would like a letter from the Southern Region Headquarters to be presented to the observer, please coordinate your request at least two months before you plan to make the award presentation.
THE JOHN CAMPANIOUS HOLM AWARD. The John Campanious Holm Award was presented to Ms. Mayrene Lewis of Valliant, Oklahoma. Making the presentation was Lee Harrison, NWSO Shreveport MIC, along with Marion Kuykendall, (DAPM), and Steve Griffin, (HMT) from Shreveport. John Duxbury, Chief, OFB from Southern Region Headquarters was also in attendance. Letters of congratulations from Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, Senators Don Nickles and James Inhofe and Representative Wes Watkins, were also presented to Ms. Lewis in front of many friends and relatives.
SURFACE OBSERVATION PROGRAM
DIGIQUARTZ CALIBRATIONS. Digiquartz calibrations are required each year. Most of the units in the field will need this calibration in the next few months. Please check the calibration tag on your unit(s) and begin planning to ship the unit to NWS Headquarters. If you do not have a property tag on the unit, you will need to get that done before shipping the unit. Any questions on this process should be directed to the SRH Surface Observation Program Manager in SOD.
DALE RODDA, SAWRS OBSERVATIONS SPECIALIST. Dale Rodda, the SAWRS observations specialist working out of the Lake Charles National Weather Service Office, has accepted a position with the Alaska Region. Dale will be working as an observation specialist out of the Alaska Regional Headquarters. Dale worked closely with National Weather Service Headquarters to develop the new Training Guide in Surface Weather Observations, which has recently been distributed nationwide. Dale is a valuable member of the Southern Region family and will be missed. He will be a great ambassador for the Southern Region in his new job. What a transition, from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Anchorage, Alaska!
NCDC PUBLICATIONS ON THE INTERNET. Effective October 1, 1998, hard copies of the publications Hourly Precipitation Data and Climatological Data will no longer be issued to NWS Offices in order to reduce mailing costs. Offices should obtain these publications via the Internet at www5.ncdc.noaa.gov/pubs/publications.html. NCDC expects many observers will switch to electronic access. However, no cooperative observer will have their paper subscription terminated provided they have indicated their desire to continue to receive the paper copy. Storm Data, Local Climatological Data, and Monthly Climate Data for the World are also available at that Web site.
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
NWSO LAKE CHARLES. The Lake Charles office has started its third semester with the National Science Foundation/AMS sponsored DataStreme Project providing school teachers with a comprehensive study of meteorology from the perspective of current weather and classroom applications. While DataStreme is a nationwide program, this is the only such program operating in Louisiana. Ray Sondag, Felix Navejar and Steve Rinard, along with a local high school teacher, have acted as mentors to almost 20 science teachers from throughout Louisiana.
Return to Southern Region Home Page