REPORT ON THE 1998 DIRECTOR'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE
ON FORECAST OPERATIONS (DACFO)
Southern Region Representative
NWSFO Tulsa, Oklahoma
The 1998 DACFO meeting was held at Weather Service Headquarters April 20-24. The 12 member committee consisted of an intern, a hydrologist, a hydrometeorological technician, an NCEP representative, a CWSU representative, as well as a Chair (Nyzette Rydell from NWSFO Austin/San Antonio), and a representative from each of the six NWS regions. The committee had numerous sessions with NCEP and the various WSH offices, divisions, and branches. Jack Kelly also met with the group for a total of 3 hours.
DACFO is the mechanism for personnel involved in field operations to provide advice directly to the Director. WSH management obtains input from the field on policies, operations, and problems of a technical nature along with recommendations on how to resolve these issues. Field personnel get the opportunity to learn about issues and problems in policy making and implementation.
Mr. Kelly was genuinely interested in the concerns of the DACFO:
Convective watch decentralization (CWD) was another major topic at the meeting. Phase I, which involves switching watch areas from rectangles to polygons and keeping all issuance responsibility at SPC, has been delayed until June 1999. The latest plan is to complete Phase I and then re-evaluate the original assumptions behind the CWD plan. After a two year waiting period, a decision will be made as to whether or not to proceed with Phase II of the four-phase plan. AWIPS capabilities and local training issues are the biggest uncertainties with regard to the original CWD plan.
During the week, the DACFO discussed approximately 83 items, half of which were resolved at the meeting. While covering all aspects of forecast office operations, the majority of the items dealt with AWIPS, ASOS, WSR-88D, and public products. A common WSH response to many of the WSR-88D items was that the development focus is now on AWIPS, and no major updates are planned after PUP Build 10. Many of the items dealing with AWIPS will eventually be resolved as improvements in later builds come on line.
Other highlights and interesting information from the meeting:
The DACFO continues to be an important means for bypassing normal channels and allowing direct discussion of technical issues between field and WSH personnel. Several recent DACFO recommendations have resulted in subsequent implementation. For example, an increase in the number of hydrology training aids and expanding snowfall observations to the cooperative network started out as DACFO items.
The final DACFO report will be issued this summer. The report will contain a listing of all recommendations along with the response from the WSH or NCEP branch or core.
The DACFO process works because of the willingness of management at WSH, NCEP and the regions to listen to input from field personnel who see the need for change. You can submit items to your local or regional DACFO representative throughout the year. All field forecasters, HMTs, and interns are encouraged to use the DACFO process.