UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
I am pleased to announce the Southern Region Isaac Cline Award winners for 2001. The selection team, involving regional, field and NWSEO representatives, has done an admirable job in selecting the winners from the numerous excellent nominations. Although these individuals and groups were selected to receive the Southern Region Cline Award, everyone in the region should be proud of the work that has been accomplished during the year. Last year, three of the national winners were from the Southern Region, and based on the quality of accomplishments of this year's winners, I expect the region to be well represented again at the national level. Congratulations to everyone.
The regional level winners are listed below and the local level winners are listed in an attachment to this month's Topics.
Isaac Cline Award Winners for 2001
Meteorology Award - WFO Lubbock
The WFO staff wins the Cline Meteorology Award for their performance in handling a crippling winter storm event that literally shut down the Lubbock CWA over the Christmas holidays between December 25-27, 2000. The WFO's forecast team alerted the public well in advance of the incoming storms, allowing for alternate travel plans during a busy holiday travel period, and allowing weather-sensitive agencies to plan for extra holiday staffing.
Hydrometeorology Award - RFC Slidell HAS Unit
The HAS Unit of Jeffrey Graschel, Keith Stellman, and Steven Listemaa wins the Cline Hydrometeorology Award for their outstanding hydrometeorological support to LMRFC forecasters and innovative development efforts to improve the NWS ability to provide data and products to the public. During record flooding in February and March, 2001, they provided high quality rainfall data fields to support hydrologic forecast operations, and provided numerous briefings to cooperators. They have also excelled in implementing new techniques to improve product dissemination and QPF forecasting.
Engineering, Electronics, or Facilities Award - Electronics and Facilities Staff at WFO Miami
The electronics and facilities team of Phillip Judd, Neal Lynch, Walter Cowan and John Moss at WFO Miami were all vital parts of an effort to deploy much needed meteorological instruments into data poor areas of south Florida. In cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville, they established a data collection system at Port Mayaca on Lake Okeechobee. This site provides the only real time meteorological data to the NWS on Lake Okeechobee. Also, in cooperation with the National Park Service, the NWS team installed a HANDAR data collection system at the Everglades National Park ranger station south of Everglades City, an area where there is no data for approximately 100 miles along the Gulf coast of south Florida.
Hydrology Award - Bobby E. Stucky at RFC Slidell
Bob Stucky is recognized for his devotion to providing high quality products and services from the LMRFC. He has continually contributed extra hours and effort in pursuit of providing accurate and timely forecasts to users. Bob's dedication was most evident in February and March of this year. After a two-year drought, heavy rainfall and record flooding returned to the area. For over a four-week period, Bob directed the operations of the office when the staff provided timely and accurate forecasts to support the users and cooperators. Bob's dedication to service and his knowledge of the river systems in the LMRFC are a large contribution to the ability of the LMRFC in providing these services.
Support Services Award - Angela Margrave at WFO Amarillo
Angie is recognized for her continued outstanding work as the Administrative Support Assistant at WFO Amarillo. In addition to her daily routine tasks, Angie took on many other additional projects, among them, helping to develop a relationship with a local children's museum in promoting an Aviation Weather exhibit, preparing brochures and providing the museum with materials for the exhibit; establishing an office tour program tailored to the age groups of the children who visit the office; and working closely with the local Webmaster to establish children's links on the WFO's homepage.
Program Management and Administration Services Award - John Metz at WFO Corpus Christi
John is recognized for his substantial accomplishments in support of the NWS mission by demonstrating outstanding initiative, creativity and teamwork. Among John's accomplishments, he created seven unique brochures for customer and partner distribution entitled "WFO Corpus Christi Weather to GO!" These brochures highlighted the WFO's services to recreation, marine, tourism, and outdoor activities, greatly enhancing the office's outreach efforts. John also coordinated with Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi to create the NWS marine observation site on an Exxon oil platform, which has proven to be an important source of information for better marine forecasts and warnings in the Gulf of Mexico.
Upper Air Observation Award - WFO Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi continues to lead the nation in every aspect of the upper air program. The WFO was the top ranked site on both the regional and national level for much of the year, and these accomplishments are achieved despite being the fourth windiest city in the U.S., and a tropical locality. The WFO is also the only KAYSAM balloon test facility in the Southern Region.
Leadership Award - Gary Grice at Southern Region Headquarters
Gary is recognized for spearheading an effort on the regional level in developing a leadership program that will have significant impact in the way the NWS operates in the future. He was the driving force in developing the regional program "Building Leaders for a Solid Tomorrow" (BLAST). In the true spirit of leadership, Gary involved leaders across the region in the development of BLAST. Every area of the program, from the acronym to the actual process and procedures developed for BLAST came from input gathered from managers across Southern Region. Gary has been a team leader in ensuring that individuals at all levels continue to be involved in this bold new program.
IFPS, C-11 and the Ghost Period. Those using IFPS to produce the zone forecasts are keenly aware the zones do not look like the format represented in the new WSOM Chapter C-11, which became effective on September 5. That inconsistency is permissible until AWIPS Build 5.2.1 corrects the problem. Of particular interest, note that when using IFPS there is a format difference with the so-called "missing period." Although directives in C-11 state the missing evening "ghost" period is optional (see Page A-2 and A-3), the IFPS software currently does not permit optional omission of this period. In fact, it automatically includes it and labels it as a NIGHT period with a forecast minimum temperature.
Other differences between the C-11 policy and IFPS capability are noted at:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/cwwd/msd/ifps.html. Included on the same Web site are MDL's timeline of future AWIPS builds and associated software "fixes." If you have any questions, please contact Melinda Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IFPS Graphics. As offices progress to a point of posting IFPS graphics to their Web site, scripts written at SRH can assist in accomplishing this. An example:
IFPS Training. The Southern Region will hold its final two GFESuite courses on October 16-19 and November 6-9. Both courses will be held at Southern Region Headquarters. Due to some last minute adjustments, there are a limited number of additional slots available in the October class. If an office wishes to send an extra person to the October class, they may do so with the understanding that it will be on local office funds.
WFO Mobile SOO Jeff Medlin shared with us his office's local IFPS training plan and associated drills. The plan is comprehensive, well-organized and stresses the importance and benefits of one-on-one training. We have posted the Mobile materials to the regional IFPS website (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/cwwd/msd/ifps.html) under the "Office Training Help"section, and we encourage other offices to consider this as a model if they have not yet developed their own. We would also like to post plans or IFPS related training exercises developed by other offices. It's most convenient if they can be converted to PDF or HTML files before forwarding to Melinda Bailey for posting.
NDFD Responsibility. The Regional IFPS Team congratulates Ken Waters on his recent selection as Regional Scientist at Pacific Region Headquarters. Ken will be missed greatly by the team because of his expertise in training and NDFD - the National Digital Forecast Database. Pending action to fill Ken's position in SSD, we are reassigning his NDFD duties to Matt Strahan and Paul Kirkwood. More information will be provided soon regarding the actual division of the responsibility.
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH
SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH
WFO Amarillo staffed a booth at the recent Tri-State Fair. Officials estimated nearly 207,000 people visited the fair, with hundreds of people visiting the NWS booth. The booth theme was "having fun with weather." Booth visitors spun for a prize on the "wheel of weather" and then were asked a weather question. Correct responses earned the corresponding prize or were entered into a prize drawing, as designated by the weather wheel. In an extraordinary show of support, local businesses donated over 100 prizes for the NWS give-a-way.
WFO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan gave a talk to about 75 people at the Brownsville Historical Museum. Appropriate to the group, the theme of the program was history of hurricanes along the lower Texas Coast.
WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos joined the FEMA Caribbean office director and the Puerto Rico emergency management director on two hurricane preparedness forums sponsored by WIPR-TV. Also, Israel conducted a hurricane preparedness talk for 40 members of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion on property insurance issues.
WCM Rafael Mojica participated in a two-hour radio talk show about hurricanes at radio station WIAC-AM in Bayamon. This program has been on the air for more than 30 years and is geared mostly to the elderly population. Several folks called to ask questions. Rafael also conducted a two-hour presentation on hurricane myths and technological advances at the Borders Bookstore in San Juan. The presentation was attended by 35 members of the Puerto Rico Heritage and Conservation Trust, and bookstore visitors.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION
Final FY01 StormReady Successes. Seven new StormReady locations were recognized in September in the Southern Region. These include Monroe County (WFO Key West); Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee counties (WFO Melbourne); Caddo and Bossier Parishes (WFO Shreveport); and Midland (WFO Midland). Southern Region WFOs recognized 45 StormReady communities during FY01, far exceeding the year's strategic goal of six. To all involved: "Great job!"
The September 11 tragedy postponed the first gathering of the National StormReady Advisory Board which was scheduled for Salt Lake City. In lieu of the meeting the board had a conference call and voted on a number of mostly minor program changes. The most important change was the board accepted the Southern Region recommendation to extend a community's recognition period from two years to three years (effective January 1, 2002).
WFO Shreveport EM Seminar. WFO Shreveport MIC Lee Harrison and WCM Bruce Burkman hosted a seminar for emergency managers around the Shreveport area. It was a small gathering but they enjoyed the seminar. Lee and Bruce covered NWS products and severe weather operations for their area during the two-hour meeting. They plan on conducting more of these meetings, inviting just a few Ems to each meeting. The smaller gatherings make for a more sociable meeting with more time for one-on-one discussion.
Alabama EMWIN Workshop. WFO Birmingham WCM Brian Peters reported that 35 people from three states attended an EMWIN workshop on September 26. The workshop was organized by WFO Birmingham and was hosted by the Lee County Emergency Management Agency. The workshop was held at the Lee County EOC in Opelika, the only site in Alabama that is retransmitting the EMWIN signal (more than 40 sites in Lee County receive the 1200-baud broadcast). The workshop was very successful. The audience asked many questions and provided good input. This was the WFO's second such workshop - the previous one was held last November. The agenda is at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/aware/emwin/emwin_workshop_2001.html
WFO Morristown WCM Howard Waldron, service hydrologist Brian Boyd, and MIC Jerry McDuffie journeyed to various counties, agencies and media outlets to discuss weather support and emergency preparedness. Over a five-day period within two weeks, the trio visited three counties, one township, and Lane Engineering, which manages Big Cherry Dam in Big Stone Gap, all in southwest Virginia. Then they went to nine Tennessee counties and two North Carolina counties. In addition, a meeting was held with three of the rangers in the Big South Fork National Park. They visited two Chattanooga area TV stations. Several flood prone areas were observed and coordinated with the county EM of that area. Items discussed were the new wind chill temperatures, new graphical and digital forecasts, winter weather awareness week, the WFO Morristown Web page, customer satisfaction, and new/different flood prone areas.
Positive Comments at New EOC. WFO Shreveport WCM Bruce Burkman represented the NWS at the Longview, Texas, Emergency Operations Center grand opening on October 1. In attendance were Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Ratcliff, FEMA, Longview's city manager, the EOC operations manager, a host of mayors from Longview and surrounding cities, other local government officials and media representatives. During the ceremony, the NWS was thanked for its support of the new EOC and for the excellent weather training provided to city first-responders over the past several years, as well as the excellent partnerships fostered by the NWS. Nice job, WFO Shreveport.
MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT
WFO Brownsville WCM Hector Guerrero and forecaster Dan Dixon facilitated a very productive customer service feedback session with the Rio Grande Valley Police Chief Association. There were about 15 in attendance. The police chiefs requested a fresh Hazardous Weather Outlook for each of their shift briefings. WFO Brownsville has met their request and currently provides a Hazardous Weather Outlook for all law enforcement offices at 5 AM, 1 PM, and 9 PM.
NOAA HURRICANE CONFERENCE. The 2001 NOAA Hurricane Conference will be held in Miami at the TPC December 3-7. Agenda items are still open - WFOs should send these to the SRH hurricane program leader (Larry Vannozzi) soon.
Rip Current Outreach. Rip Currents can be killers across our beaches and not many people know what they are and what to do if they are caught in one. The SRH Dissemination Enhancement Team (DET) came up with a rip current brochure and rip current Web site, with help and input from coastal WFOs Melbourne, Jacksonville, Key West, Brownsville and Miami. Copies of the brochure will be mailed soon, but in the meantime, the Web site and brochure can be found at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ripcurrents/
Brownsville WFO Responds to Causeway Collapse. In the early morning hours of Saturday following the World Trade Center disaster, a barge struck the support pilings of the Queen Isabella Causeway which connects South Padre Island to the mainland. This resulted in the collapse of two complete sections of the causeway. This incident does not appear to have been weather related in any way. Before traffic could be blocked off, eight people had died as a result of their cars plunging into the bay. The causeway is the only means of access for vehicles on and off the island. About 1000 cars belonging to tourists and inland area residents were left stranded on the island. To get these vehicles off and to re-establish access to the island two ferries have been put into operation. WFO Brownsville is providing special attention to marine forecasts to support these operations and provides real-time briefings on current bay conditions and near-term forecasts to the captains by phone as needed.
WEB KUDOS. Albuquerque MIC Charlie Liles recently received the following compliment from a NASA Space Grant Intern working at the NASA CLIMAS/Institute for the Study of the Planet Earth at the University of Arizona:
I am currently compiling a summary of the 2001 July and August climate and weather conditions for Arizona and New Mexico. Your monthly highlights are a great source of help in this endeavor...I truly appreciate the depth and breadth of your discussion in your monthly highlights and I wish the rest of the NWS offices in this [climate] region would follow your lead.
NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS. Two new NWR sites were installed in September in the region. The sites are a 1000 watt transmitter at Blakely, Georgia and a 300 watt transmitter at Mena, Arkansas. Other NWR sites due to be installed in the near future will be Artesia, New Mexico; Searcy, Arkansas; and three Texas sites: Gilmer, Cumby and Stephenville. Relocations will also be completed within the next month at Melbourne, Florida and Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
The USDA NWR grant program has generated interest from about 35 sites in the region. Most sites have completed the grant application process and are awaiting funding approval. Thus far, nearly 30 sites have been successfully surveyed and determined to be acceptable NWR sites by the Southern Region NWR USDA expansion team.
HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH
NEW HYDRO SERVICES PROGRAM MANAGER. Kandis Boyd, hydrologic forecaster from Arkansas-Red Basin RFC, has been selected as the new SR hydrologic services program manager in the Hydrologic Services Branch. Kandis has a B.S. and M.S. in meteorology and an M.S. in water resources from Iowa State University. Kandis has been at ABRFC since 1999. She also worked at WFOs Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa between 1994-1998 where she was actively involved with the local WFO hydrology programs.
Kandis is responsible for the hydrologic model support associated with 40 river forecast points in western Kansas. She has performed extensive educational and program outreach with ABRFC's servicing WFOs and external partners and customers. She is also the ABRFC Web master and is responsible for the design of the ABRFC newsletter entitled the "Gage." In addition, she is ABRFC's diversity focal point and has been instrumental in developing the local BLAST program. Please help us welcome Kandis to her new position at SRH.
WFO HYDROLOGY PRODUCTS TEAM. A national team has been formed to define and establish requirements for the next generation of hydrologic watch, warning and advisory products. WFO Houston senior service hydrologist Dave Schwertz is the Southern Region representative on the team. The team will meet in the next few months to kick off their work. The team plans to solicit feedback from partners and customers nationwide to assist in the definition and establishment of requirements which will be used to ultimately redefine the WFO hydrologic product suite in the NWS hydrologic services program.
RIVER FLOOD OUTLOOK PROJECT STATUS. We plan to implement the SR River Flood Outlook narrative product and associated Web-based graphics on November 15. We will send out for comments a new draft ROML reflecting the changes in the product title and category. ABRFC has distributed the updated text creation software to the RFCs, and LMRFC is working on updating the RFC graphics creation software based on the changes to the product title and category. They are also updating the county warning area graphics to reflect HSAs that are different from the county warning areas for a given WFO.
RIVER FLOOD OUTLOOK GRAPHIC OT&E. During September, the West Gulf, Lower Mississippi, and Southeast RFCs participated in phase one of an operational test and evaluation (OT&E) of a new RFC flood outlook graphic that will become part of a national RFC flood outlook graphic implementation. During this phase these RFCs generated a five-day river flood outlook graphic on a daily basis and posted it online. During October, all RFCs nationwide, including ABRFC, will participate in the second phase of this project's OT&E. During this phase all RFCs will generate this graphical product and post it online. In addition, all RFCs will transmit their graphical product to the NCEP Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. HPC will mosaic the inputs to generate a five-day national river flood outlook graphic. The national river flood graphic will be available on AWIPS and other NWS dissemination systems. The national implementation is currently scheduled for November. Further details on this project are available online at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hic/Flood_Outlook/index.html.
WSOM CHAPTER E-22. The product changes associated with the new WSOM Chapter E-22 are scheduled to take effect November 15. In preparation for this implementation, we are putting together a package of information that will summarize the product changes to take place in conjunction with this implementation. We will discuss regional issues pertaining to this implementation. We also plan to conduct a conference call in October to further discuss these changes as well as the SR River Flood Outlook implementation.
HYDROLOGIC REQUIREMENTS PROCESS. We recently updated the HSB Web site to include a link to the new process of identifying and prioritizing hydrologic software, science, service, and training requirements. The URL for the Web site is:
If you have a hydrologic requirement, please follow the instructions for documenting a requirement on this Web site and forward your requirement to SR HSB. Examples of submitted requirements are contained at this Web site. The regions are responsible for forwarding these requirements to NWS Headquarters (OCWWS/HSD).
RVD TEMPLATE. NWSH recently sent all the WFOs information about updating their RVD product templates to correct a problem associated with decoding a date of creation which contains a two-digit year instead of a four-digit year. This affects both the river forecast and lake portions of the RVD product. Please ensure your product is updated to include the four-digit year in the .B lines of your product.
RFC SERVICE ENHANCEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER WORKSHOP. An RFC Service Enhancement and Technology Transfer Workshop is scheduled for November 5-9, hosted at LMRFC. It will focus on sharing information about development activities at each of the SR RFCs. Donna Page, RFC development manager at the NWSH Office of Hydrologic Development, will also attend to learn of the technological advances at SR RFCs.
ESP WORKSHOP. WFO Corpus Christi hydrology focal point Mark Lenz recently attended an RFC workshop on Ensemble Streamflow Prediction (ESP) and Statistical Water Supply forecasting. Mark was one of three WFO personnel to attend this workshop. Mark had the opportunity to participate in several computer exercises that allowed him to set up the hydrometeorological data necessary to execute the ESP model and view the model output. The ESP model generates probabilistic forecasts for various hydrologic parameters for time frames of weeks to months in the future. Mark stated that this was a valuable learning experience and gave him a greater appreciation about how these model outputs would benefit partners and customers.
WFO SITE-SPECIFIC HYDROLOGIC MODEL. An initial WFO site-specific hydrologic model will be available in AWIPS Build 5.1.2. This model uses headwater flash flood guidance as an indicator of soil moisture conditions. The OCWWS HSD is working closely with the NWS Training Center to develop training for this new model. They also plan to post documentation online. The model has been tested only for some headwater basins in the Missouri Basin RFC service area. Further information about this model and model testing is available at
This initial model uses only WSR-88D Stage II multisensor precipitation estimates as input. The precipitation estimates can be edited by the forecaster. Plans are to make this model more robust and sophisticated in the next few years. We will provide further details as we receive them.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
Much needed rainfall was recorded across South Texas during August. The Corpus Christi HSA received some 10 inch plus monthly rainfall totals and flooding was observed in every county in their warning area. The 7.83 inches recorded at Corpus Christi made it the fifth wettest August on record. The Midland HSA also received some much needed rain which provided some drought relief to the area. Several flash floods were reported during the month causing some damage to homes and businesses.
In early September, WFO Morristown WCM Howard Waldron, service hydrologist Brian Boyd, and MIC Jerry McDuffie visited with the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, city planner and fire chief who oversee the local IFLOWS system. The city is allocating about $20,000 for upgrades to the system, which consists of seven gauges, and is trying to find additional funding for a new gauge. Gatlinburg is a major tourist town with the potential for a significant flash flood.
DIURNAL CYCLE IN TROPICAL CYCLONE LANDFALL. The figure below shows the hourly distribution of landfall times for all tropical cyclones striking the Gulf Coast. A distinct diurnal cycle is obvious, with a late morning maximum and an afternoon lull. The cycle is not as well defined for tropical cyclones striking the Atlantic coast, although an evening peak is obvious. This figure is from the paper, "Diurnal Variations in the Landfall Times of Tropical Cyclones over the Eastern United States," by Charles Konrad II, which appears in the "Notes and Correspondence" section of the October 2001 issue of Monthly Weather Review. The author notes it is not clear what mechanism may be responsible for the cycle. We encourage forecasters to read the paper for more information.
E-PAPERS. WFO Tallahassee forecaster Ken Gould and Bernadette Connell (Colorado State University/CIRA) have developed stratified satellite-based cloud frequency climatologies to aid in forecasting the timing and extent of sea breeze convection under various synoptic wind regimes in the Tallahassee CWA. An on-line copy of "Tallahassee Summer Sea Breeze Composites/Climatology" is at http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/clim/menutal2.html. The study will also appear in a future issue of Weather and Forecasting. Already, their results are being used extensively in WFO operations. In short-term forecasts, it is used to fine tune convective initiation and the timing of frontal passages. In zone forecasts the cloud frequency information allows forecasters to produce more accurate and detailed PoP forecasts, as well as better assess severe weather or flood potential. In marine forecasts it has provided more insight into the occurrence of land breeze convection and the sea fog/stratus potential. The cloud frequency results have also been used subjectively in aviation forecasts to give better information on ceilings, timing of convection, and convective coverage en-route.
WFO Melbourne has implemented a version of ADAS, the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) Data Analysis System. ADAS was configured with the assistance of the NASA Applied Meteorology Unit, in which the WFO is a partner. A similar configuration was installed at the NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) at Johnson Space Center in Houston. These efforts were undertaken to integrate the various data sets in proximity to the Kennedy Space Center and throughout much of the Florida peninsula to generate diagnostics every 15 minutes for enhancement of short-range forecasts. Detailed 3-D analyses were recently ported to the Melbourne AWIPS to further facilitate forecasters' analysis of mesoscale and quasi-stormscale features. This project is described in more detail, along with sample products, in the on-line paper, "Local Data Analysis on AWIPS at NWS Melbourne, FL," by Peter Blottman, Scott Spratt and David Sharp (WFO Melbourne), and Ken Waters and Bernard Meisner (SSD), which can be found at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/adas_82.html.
LOCAL MODELNG AND WFO BIRMINGHAM. For several years WFO Birmingham has collaborated with Dr. Bill Lapenta and others at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, a NASA/University of Alabama in Huntsville consortium. The collaboration provides forecasters with access to output from the NASA/GHCC MM5 model. Dr. Lapenta recently set up his modeling system to operate in an hourly "rapid-update" mode between the hours of 1400 and 2100 UTC. Each of these model runs extends out 12 hours and features a variety of hourly and 3-hourly surface and upper level fields. The URL for the GHCC site is
http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/Model/model_mm5.html. The rapid update MM5 products are generated on both the CONUS domain and the Southeast U.S. inner nest. Apart from the rapid update products, output from the 1200 UTC MM5 run is available out to 48 hours, and is posted to the Web site by around 1130 AM CDT. Forty-eight hour output also remains available from the 0000 UTC MM5 run.
Birmingham forecasters have found the later hour rapid update MM5 products to be useful in identifying areas of convective initiation, which may not be obvious from the conventional 1200 UTC model output. Other offices in the Southeast may find the output useful as well. The GHCC site also provides side-by-side comparisons of the MM5, RUC and Eta QPF products for various time periods. Plans are to provide several verification images comparing the MM5 QPFs to the NCEP Stage-4 precipitation products. In particular, imagery is being developed for displaying "model precip continuity" for the past three rapid update cycles. The evolution of these products is based on discussions Dr. Lapenta has had with forecasters at the WFO as part of an ongoing COMET collaborative project.
DL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES. The Integrated Sensor Training Professional Development Series and VISIT (Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training) provide on-going distance learning sessions for forecasters. Offices can register for these teletraining sessions by sending an email message to email@example.com. To access the teletraining calendar, go to http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/ecal.asp. The sessions currently scheduled for November are:
- Ingredients-Based Approach to Forecasting Winter - Nov 13, 19, 23, 28
Season Precipitation (Intermediate)
- Lake-Effect Snow (Basic) - Nov 6, 14, 27
- Lightning Meteorology I (Intermediate) - Nov 7
- Mesoscale Analysis of Convective Weather Using - Nov 8
GOES RSO Imagery (Basic)
- HPC Medium Range Forecasting (Intermediate) - Nov 13, 20
Note also that links to the WSR-88D ORPG and DLOC teletraining schedules are available just above the calendar.
Sessions can be reviewed in advance by following the instructions in the student guides available on the ISTPDS/VISIT page at http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/visithome.asp.
AUTUMN NCEP BACKUP TEST. A test of the NCEP production backup system is planned for October 10. This test will occur during the 1200 UTC model cycle and last approximately six hours. A description of the products available from the NCEP backup processing at the Office of Operational Systems (OOS) can be found at
NEW WATER VAPOR SENSOR ON GOES-12. We're just beginning to get a look at data from the new "water vapor" channel on the recently-launched GOES-12 and preliminary indications are we might indeed be able to see a bit more detail with this new channel. The spatial resolution is improved a bit, and the channel is spectrally wider than on the previous GOES satellites. An example of a mountain wave signature over the southern Rockies can be seen on the CIMSS GOES Gallery at http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/misc/010918/010918.html.
NCDC RELEASES 1971-2000 CLIMATE NORMALS. The National Climatic Data Center recently released new "normal" data for about 8000 weather stations. The data define the normal temperature at locations across the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and U.S. Pacific Islands. The new temperature and precipitation normals replace those from 1961 to 1990 and include data for 1275 more weather stations than the previous edition. The National Weather Service will begin using the new figures for daily and monthly climate reports in January 2002.
Beginning this month customers may order the new normal files through NCDC's "Online Store" at http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/ncdc.html. More information on the 1971-2000 normals is available at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/normals.html.
UPCOMING IMPROVEMENTS TO NCEP'S MESOSCALE MODELS. The Mesoscale Modeling Branch of NCEP's Environmental Modeling Center has announced plans to upgrade the Meso Eta and RUC models. The Meso Eta will be upgraded in November, with the upgrade to the RUC planned for January, 2002. See the accompanying technical attachment for details.
SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION
UPPER AIR. Charlie Lake, regional system specialist, working with site electronics technicians, solved two unique tracking and frequency problems with the systems at WFOs Jackson and Jacksonville this past month. Also, a lightning strike at WFO Tallahassee upper air system took out the target antenna and components of the computer system resulting in a few missed flights.
ASOS. Several sites suffered lightning strikes this past month. The most severely damaged system was KXNA at Bentonville, Arkansas. It required a new ACU after hardware and harness damage. We are also preparing for the installation of a new ASOS system at Naples, Florida. This ASOS system is currently being refurbished by the National Reconditioning Center.
WSR-88D. Joe Villescaz, regional system specialist, traveled to Atlanta in August to assist with the installation of the beta Open Radar Products Generator (ORPG) system. The three-day event was declared a success by installation and operations personnel alike. Exit criteria from the beta test along with observations from other beta test sites such as Norman, Topeka and Atlanta will be used in making the recommendations on improvements, troubles encountered and remedies.
CRS. Southern Region Headquarters personnel continue to work with NWSH OOS/FSOC Test and Evaluation Branch. The final stages of testing are near completion for evaluating the software modifications which test the operation of the frequency shift key wave in CRS. The two SR sites participating in the test (San Angelo and Nashville) reported the testing as successful and recommend deployment service wide.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS. The NOAA Weather Radio transition is nearing completion. MCI has delivered the remaining four NWR circuits, and we are working to have these circuits tested and accepted. We have accepted 74 of the 80 NWR circuits and look to finish the transition by the end of the month. Disconnect orders for each of the remaining circuits have been submitted.
The dial lines at each office are being checked and verified to insure MCI is the long distance carrier and that we have not missed submitting orders for any lines. This task will be finished soon, and disconnect orders for each were submitted before September 30, 2001.
We are still planning and coordinating the move of WFO Tallahassee in February 2002. We are currently coordinating a conference to discuss the communications move and ordering process with other contacts. This conference will include representatives from NWS Headquarters, MCI, Florida State University, the Tallahassee office and Southern Region Headquarters. We will pass along more information as this move progresses.
IT. Due to the high volume of viruses being spread, we have been trying to keep up with all the new DAT files and patches being sent to us from NWSH. We have heard several incidents where McAfee Ver. 4.5.1 has been causing some operating systems to lock up on certain programs. For the most part there have been few problems, but on those PCs affected we have advised offices to go back to Ver. 4.5.0. The reason for the push to upgrade to 4.5.x is that 4.02 is being phased out by McAfee as of December 1. There will no longer be support and all the DAT files released will not work for these products.
E-MAIL. We have continued to work with our backup servers. It does not appear we will be able to configure a true on-the-fly failover system because of the way Netscape installs. Currently we are looking at having identical servers and "mirror" the message store, so if we have a primary mail server failure, we will move the backup server onto the LAN and should be up and running with little downtime.
We will be working with a team that Jerome Smith (NWSH) is putting together to find a solution for regional backups for mail service. In case a regional headquarters mail system goes down for an extended time, we will be discussing how we can have the field offices point their clients to the "backup" region to send and receive mail.
AWIPS. Build 5.1.1 installation is going smoothly with few problems noted. As of the end of September 62 percent of SR WFOs have performed the upgrade, with all RFCs on Build 5.1.1. The next AWIPS Build 5.1.2 is scheduled to be released sometime in November.
OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH
UPPER-AIR OBSERVATION PROGRAM. WFO Corpus Christi was rated the top upper air unit in the nation between September 2000 and August 2001. The WFO finished the rating period with an outstanding score of 295.45 and received the Upper Air Cline Award for the third year in a row. Not far behind was Del Rio with 292.03, Lake Charles was 291.84, Miami had 291.79, and Fort Worth scored 290.34. Sixteen of the 23 upper air sites in Southern Region were above the national average score of 282.01. These numbers show the hard work and dedication of the staff at these offices in overcoming great challenges to provide the highest quality data.
Last month, Southern Region upper air performance rankings were again excellent with 16 of the 23 offices receiving scores above the national average (284.86 out of a possible 300.00). WFO Brownsville received the highest score in the region with a score of 295.90. WFOs Fort Worth, Norman and Little Rock had the best improvement last month with their ratings ranging from 293.47 to 295.85. Other Southern Region offices maintaining an excellent rating last month were Lake Charles, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Birmingham, Miami, Nashville and Tampa Bay all with above 290.
All Southern Region upper air sites are now sending their archive data to NCDC via e-mail meeting the region's goal to have all offices using this method by October 2001. This method of data transmission has reduced the volume of problems NCDC had with sending 5.25-inch floppy disks.
ASOS PROCESSOR BOARD UPGRADE. Three locations in the region have been identified as test sites for the new ASOS software version 2.6U, which contains the processor board upgrade. A more robust processor board is needed to support future ASOS planned product improvements, such as an improved temperature/dew point sensor, and the new all-weather precipitation accumulation gauge. Southern Region WFOs and DAPMs will monitor the ASOS and the data from the sites during the test.
ASOS 30 YEAR NORMALS DOWNLOADED ONTO ASOS TEST SITE. As part of the upcoming implementation of the new 30 year climatic normals on January 2, 2002, the ASOS Operations Monitoring Center (AOMC) has downloaded the new 30 year normals onto the ASOS located in Austin (Camp Mabry), Texas, which is a local climate data site. The ASOS continued performing smoothly after download of the new data. The local WFO is currently reviewing the data with their own information to ascertain the accuracy.
SURFACE OBSERVATION TRANSITION. SRH staff continue to work very closely with our counterparts in the FAA Southern and Southwest regions to implement the July 20, 2001 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NWSH and FAA Headquarters. The MOA stipulates the FAA will be the agency responsible for Service Level A or B ASOS augmentation at 18 airports around the country, eight in Southern Region. The regions, working in unison, have already identified potential leased office space at several locations that would be suitable for the FAA contract weather observers to work starting October 1, 2001, as the MOA stipulates. Unfortunately, recent security requirements and the lack of needed phone lines to implement this have caused last second contingency plans to be made on a site-by-site basis.
WEATHER ADVANCED RADAR PROCESSOR (WARP). Southern Region continues to coordinate the installation of the WARP system at FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) with the responsible NWS CWSU, local WFO, and the FAA personnel at the ARTCC. The WARP provides WSR-88D data to the CWSU. Eventually, the WARP will provide the same data to FAA controllers in the ARTCC. Southern Region is concerned the system, as currently designed, has no redundant dial-out phone lines. As such, in the event of WARP narrowband communications problems, a NEXRAD RPG at a WFO may become unstable and fail, leaving the local WFO and/or region no choice but to disconnect the circuit and shut off data to the ARTCC and the CWSU. This has already occurred at sites in Southern and Central regions. Further negotiations/coordination is needed in this area with FAA air traffic personnel.
OPEN RPG INSTALLATION. The Open RPG (ORPG) beta test was successfully completed at WFO Atlanta in mid-September. Very positive responses were received on the system from both the electronics and meteorological staff. Based on the positive responses gathered at WFOs Atlanta and Topeka, it was decided to begin full-scale national deployment of the ORPG the week of September 24, 2001.
ARCHIVE-4 REQUIREMENTS. Southern Region Headquarters has submitted to NWSH on behalf of the CONUS regions the requirement that Archive- 4 data ingest be incorporated into a future AWIPS baseline load. This is needed so that the newly acquired Warning Environmental Simulator (WES) can be used to play back the data received for training purposes. SRH also submitted the requirement that a mechanism must be found for recording the existing library of local WFO NEXRAD training data, currently available on JAZ drive format into a format that is both AWIPS and WES compatible. All current real time NEXRAD training media, a library of five to ten years of data, is in a JAZ drive format that is not compatible with the WES.
THE CAMEX-4/KAMP SPECIAL PROJECT. This short-term research project across the lower Florida Keys was completed. WFO Key West assisted NASA and Texas A&M by providing a base of operations and up to 20 additional upper air flights during the project.
COOP PROGRAM EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE. The Southern Region missing climatological data percentage rate stands at 1.17 percent, well below the performance standard of less than 2 percent. The missing data rate for the hourly precipitation data stands at 1.92 percent which is also well below the performance standard of less than 3 percent. Since the beginning of FY01, there have been a total of 4,045 station visits accomplished in support of the volunteer observer program.
CSSA METADATA SUBMISSIONS. Use of the new CSSA continues to be successful. In the past 30 days a total of 213 coop station management/station history reports (B44s) have completed the workflow process and been approved. An additional 226 submission are in progress pending approval. Southern Region has established a goal to update the station records for all 2,709 cooperative observer locations by the end of FY02.
FACILITIES DRAFTING SUPPORT. A LAN cabling layout plan was prepared for WFO Tallahassee at Florida State University. Plans for SRH office space modifications were prepared. The SRH communications drawing was updated. Site perspectives of the proposed WFO Key West and adjacent buildings were prepared.
HOUSTON/GALVESTON PROJECT. Architects presented a preliminary design for the Galveston County Emergency Services facility the middle of last month. A meeting is scheduled in October to discuss the layout of the Weather Forecast Office and Office Of Emergency Management. The current layout must be revised to improve the collaborative relationships between WFO Houston and Galveston County Office of Emergency Management.
TALLAHASSEE PROJECT. The new office was tentatively scheduled for completion in January 2002. Due to delays in construction, the office relocation on to the FSU campus has been rescheduled for late February, to early March 2002.
WFO KEY WEST 60 PERCENT DESIGN REVIEW. The 60 percent design review for the new Key West weather forecast office was held at the offices of Eskew+ Architects in New Orleans on September 5, 2001. The architects presented four versions of a previously agreed upon architectural concept and a single site plan for the WFO to be located in an inland area of Key West. The result of the design review, Version E, was a combination of the four configurations A-D and incorporates green design elements for rainwater retention and reuse, ambient lighting enhancement, and possibly solar water heating, if cost effective.
The result of the 60 percent design review was then presented to the mayor and city commission members as part of the September 6 Board of Adjustment meeting to request a variance to continue non-conforming use of the property (residential). This request was tabled until separate meetings are held on September 25 with the Key West Development Review Committee, NWS Public Workshop, and Historic Architectural Review Committee. The next Board of Adjustment meeting to be attended for purposes of receiving approval for the request for zoning non-conformance will be on October 4, followed by the 90 percent design review in Fort Worth on October 10. The final architectural submittal is scheduled for October 31, 2001.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND SAFETY ACTIVITIES. The Southern Region environmental and safety program manager visited WFO New Orleans and Lower Mississippi RFC to meet with ECS representatives and review questions associated with environmental waste disposal, pesticide use, septic system permits, furniture ergonomics, indoor air quality, safety shoes, and other topics. Field safety issues associated with EHB-15 have also been addressed as well as issues related to building security following the September 11 attacks.
The application for renewal of the Miami TPC sewage lift station permit was sent to Dade County Environmental Resources Management, as well as Louisiana water pollution control fees for Shreveport, Lake Charles and New Orleans. No decision has been made about relocation of the Miami lift station due to right of way concerns with possible widening of 117th Avenue.
Damaged mercury thermometers and spent batteries were picked up by Safety-Kleen at the Fort Worth Federal Center. Two outstanding items are to resolve the correct diesel fuel storage tank labeling per the National Fire Protection Association codes for health, fire, and reactivity and review safety considerations at backup wire weight river gage sites.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
MSI NEWS. NOAA recently announced an Educational Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions. The NOAA program will provide opportunities and programs for students to pursue careers in atmospheric, environmental, and oceanic sciences and remote sensing. Approximately $15 million in FY2001 funds will establish Cooperative Science Centers concentrating on atmospheric, environmental, and ocean sciences and remote sensing.
Howard University in Washington, DC, will host the Atmospheric Sciences Cooperative Science Center. Three other MSIs, located in the Southern Region, will be funded and participate as partners with the center. They include the University of Texas at El Paso, Jackson State University, and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.
WFO JACKSONVILLE. Since mid-summer, the WFO has been an active participant in the NOAA Faculty Research Program, designed to provide hands-on field experience to faculty members from minority-serving institutions (MSI). This year, the WFO hosted Dr. George Coleman, a mathematics professor from Edward Waters College located in Jacksonville.
MIC Steve Letro reports that in addition to learning about the functions of an NWS forecast office, Dr. Coleman was also involved in a project to design a boilerplate memorandum of understanding between the NWS and MSI's to be used in future collaborations. Most recently Dr. Coleman has undertaken a joint project with SOO Pat Welsh to investigate and identify various statistical methods of addressing verification issues. While Dr. Coleman's initial appointment ended in August, the WFO sought and was granted an extension of his appointment, along with assignment of an Edward Waters student to assist with the project.
It is the hope of the Jacksonville staff that this project will lead not only to future collaboration with Edward Waters staff and students, but will also introduce them to the field of meteorology and possible NWS careers.
Puerto Rico TV Coverage. A WIPR-TV (PBS station) film crew visited WFO San Juan to get a "back stage" view of WFO operations. Their film focused on modernized WFO technology, particularly AWIPS and CRS. The morning radiosonde release was filmed as DAPM Pancho Balleste described the operation. Several staff members had a chance to participate in the film which followed a format similar to the one used in "Discovery Kids" TV programs.
WFO Brownsville forecaster Brian Miller, a local BLAST participant and new senior forecaster at WFO Brownsville, has demonstrated leadership by organizing an AWIPS working group, and by starting a professional development lecture series. The AWIPS working group periodically brings together all those in the office involved with or interested in AWIPS issues. It allows for better coordination of AWIPS activities, and provides a forum for brainstorming solutions to local problems.
The professional development lecture series is designed to supplement the other types of training available in the office. It gives the staff an opportunity to give focal point presentations or the results of any local projects or studies. The first presentation on September 11 was by journeyman forecaster Dan Dixon on the Warning Verification Program. Future talks may also be given by outside speakers.
Both initiatives were well received in the office, and Brian's efforts to apply BLAST principles to increase team work and enhance intra-office productivity are appreciated.
WFO Midland staff members are viewing videos as part of the local BLAST initiative. Once a week for one hour, videos from the SRH leadership library have been shown to those interested. Food and soft drinks have been provided and the result has been an excellent attendance of 10-15 staff members at each video get together. Feedback from the staff has been good with the staff enjoying the extra office interaction.
WFO SAN JUAN. MIC Israel Matos received the following e-mail message giving kudos to their homepage which became "Bobby Approved" due to the efforts of SOO Rachel Gross-Zousias and met tech Jesus Figueroa. For several years the WFO has been working with Puerto Rico's Office of Persons with Disabilities, and this was one of the first projects they wanted to accomplish. It was finished a month ago, just in time for the active portion of the hurricane season.
Greetings dear friends from the office of meteorology,
I congratulate you for giving priority to the accessibility of your web page. This, after meeting and giving some suggestions to Ms. Rachel Gross. Suggestions that were implemented thus facilitating access to the valuable information you provide for those individuals that are visually impaired. Specially during periods of hurricane events and flooding.
As a blind person, I recognize your genuine interest in providing better and equal opportunities for the visually impaired community in Puerto Rico. By making your page "Bobby Approved" your agency has made a significant contribution to the electronic accessibility for the visually impaired community in Puerto Rico.
We will keep in touch to continue efforts in updating the accessibility of your web page following the latest accessibility guidance and to formulate other projects related to the visually impaired community.
In behalf of the Technology Assistance Project of Puerto Rico, University Of Puerto Rico Medical Science Center, we are grateful for your effort in behalf of those that are impaired, and we believe that you are an example to be followed by other agencies.
Jose M Alvarez, M. Ed.
Technology Assistance Specialist
Puerto Rico Technology Assistance Project
University Of Puerto Rico
WFO SHREVEPORT. Forecaster Bill Murrell and service hydrologist Craig Ross participated at the SciPort (a science museum) with one of the local TV stations by setting up a booth and discussing the basic aspects of weather observations and discussed safety techniques during severe weather.
Forecaster Bill Parker attended the Blacks in Government (BIG) conference held in Los Angeles, California. Bill reports the conference had classes that addressed career development, communication skills, EEO/personnel studies, financial management, information technology, management leadership, and personal effectiveness.
SOUTHERN REGION HEADQUARTERS. Bill Proenza attended and participated in the National Organization for Mexican American Rights (NOMAR) conference in Arlington, Texas, in early September. The theme of this year's conference was "Hispanic Americans-A Community in Evolution." Bill was part of a four-member panel speaking at one of the workshop sessions on employment opportunities in the federal government. Representatives from many federal agencies, as well as the local community college and several school districts were also in attendance. Students from Rosemont Middle School, a predominantly minority middle school in Fort Worth were invited to attend the first day of the conference and became active participants in the workshops. Many thanks to Mario Valverde, Victor Murphy and Camille Dyer for their help in staffing the DOC/NOAA display.
SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS
September 1-30, 2001
|Southern Region Losses|
|Name||From (Office)||Action/Transfer||From Title/Grade|
|Tom May||CWSU ZAB||Retirement||Meteorologist, GS-12|
|Joan Grissom||WFO JAX||Transfer to FAA||ASA, GS-7|
|Sanford Garrard||WFO TBW||Promotion to NWSH||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Southern Region Gains|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Joseph Goudsward||WFO LZK||Promotion from WR||Senior Forecaster, GS-13|
|William Frederick||WSO VCK||Promotion from TPC||Meteorologist, GS-13|
|Within Region Transfers/Actions|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Neil Haley||CWSU ZAB||Reassignment from ABQ||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Howard Vasalech||WFO FWD||Reassignment from SJU||ESA, GS-13|
|Christopher Buonanno||WFO LZK||Promotion from FWD||SOO, GS-14|
|Robert Carle||WFO FWD||Reassignment from SRH||Service Hydrologist, GS-13|
|Steven Nelson||WFO OUN||Promotion from TSA||ITO, GS-13|
|Steve Listemaa||WFO JAN||Promotion from ORN||ITO, GS-13|
|Keith Stellman||WFO ORN||Reassignment from ORN||Sr. Hydrologist, GS-12/13|
|Steven Fano||WFO FWD||Promotion from FWD||Senior Forecaster, GS-13|
|Mark Oliver||WFO EWX||Reassignment from EWX||ITO, GS-13|
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