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Fort Worth, Texas

December 2001


Working Together To Save Lives


Your achievements over the past ten years of modernization have again proven the strength of the National Weather Service lies in its people. In this period of change, the NWS has not only been challenged like never before but you have risen to the cause and have proudly set the standard for service to our Nation. Our President has stated, "Government closest to the people, serves best." Indeed, the National Weather Service is testimony to that principle.

May God bless and keep you and yours safe throughout the Holidays and the many New Years to come.

Bill Proenza

KUDOS. On November 6 the Miami Herald published an article very complimentary of NWS performance during hurricane Michelle - "They Nailed Every Move," the article was titled. It was well-deserved praise for Max Mayfield's NHC staff, and for all in the NWS who play vital roles whenever storms threaten. We've attached the text of the article to this month's Topics. I received a personal message from Max thanking all the Southern Region offices who made additional upper air launches during Michelle, and noting that those soundings helped in the Gulfstream-IV flights to gather data from around the storm, which in turn contributed to the excellent AVN model guidance.

Once again we see how we all are Working Together to Save Lives, which the NWS has adopted as a logo. You will notice we've incorporated that important message into the Topics banner line.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MEDAL AWARDS. I am pleased to recognize the Southern Region employees who received or shared in individual, group and organizational DOC 2001 Medal Awards. Congratulations to all of the following.

Silver Medal - Individual:

John Coyne, WFO Corpus Christi, for developing a nationally recognized computer software program which formats warning and forecast information for the NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. The SNUFFLE program has contributed to the nearly complete automation of warning information on NWR broadcasts in the Southern Region, thereby significantly decreasing the time required for broadcasting warning information.

Silver Medal - Group:

The Radar Web Design Team (including Southern Region employees Tom Grayson, Susan Beckwith, and Ken Waters, SRH; John Feldt and Jack Bushong, SERFC Atlanta, and Dennis Cain, WFO Fort Worth) for designing and implementing a procedure for providing WSR-88D radar information via NWS Web pages.

Silver Medal - Organization:

The staff at WFO Birmingham (with the Storm Prediction Center) for providing the citizens of Alabama with life saving tornado watch and warning information during the outbreak of December 16, 2000.

The staff at WFO Tulsa for forecasting an unprecedented ice storm in December, 2000, and providing subsequent services which enabled public officials and citizens to take necessary precautions.

Bronze Medal - Organization:

The staff of WFO Lubbock for accurate and timely forecast and warning service to the South Plains of West Texas during the winter of 2000-2001.

The WFO Melbourne staff for providing one-of-a-kind contributions of service and technical support to the nation's space program, which significantly exceeded customer expectations.

The staff of WFO Miami for a pioneering rip current forecast program which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in loss of life attributed to rip currents on southeast Florida beaches.

WFO HUNTSVILLE. With the signing of the bill by President Bush that contained the NWS budget, we were given the approval to form a new WFO at Huntsville, Alabama. The new WFO will be located on the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) campus in the building known as the National Space Science and Technology Center. Our preliminary planning has started and includes development of an end-state staffing model, hiring schedule, detailed refinement of the cost estimate prepared by NWSH, operation equipment acquisition plan, and overall project schedule.

Completion of the new facility is scheduled for late August or early September 2002. At that time, we will begin our on-site facility preparations. The MIC should be onboard around February 2002 with additional staff to follow. UAH has offered to provide NWS four temporary offices to house WFO staff who will be hired before the permanent facility is completed. Details regarding size and availability of the temporary offices are being resolved at this time.


REGIONAL CREED. Field offices are urged to visit the Southern Region IFPS Web site on a routine basis to keep up with its new additions. Recently, the Regional Team published a creed which defines Southern Region's beliefs regarding the future path of IFPS implementation and utilization. The site is at:

WWA TEMPLATES. Jim Noel at WFO Atlanta has developed WWA templates. These are available through the Southern Region WWA Help Web site at: Thanks, Jim!

SPANISH PNG IMAGES. Steve Taylor at WFO Lubbock has been working with NOAA's Forecast Systems Lab to get the GFE ifpIMAGE program to support PNG images with Spanish text. GFE will support Spanish images with RPP15 which is scheduled to be released to RPP sites soon after the first of the year. If you have any questions or want to see an example, email Steve at



WEB KUDOS. WFO Jacksonville recently received the following positive comments on their Web site from the senior flight operations officer at Northrop Grumman's Flight Operations facility in St Augustine:

I visit and have stored as favorites numerous weather and aviation websites where I glean different information...depending on what I need and conditions. But for general weather and as the FIRST site I visit each morning - both at work and at home, I come to YOUR site for the overview, the radar picture and local prognosis. The MSFC [NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center] link to composite conditions is especially useful. Because much of our flying is offshore in the Atlantic east of Jacksonville and St. Ausustine, marine conditions are also important. With the sublinks on your page, I can quickly get the overview and determine what else I might need. Your page and server is always reliable and easy to use. Just thought I'd take the time out this morning to provide a pat on the back for a job well done.

It's always good to hear such comments from a satisfied user - regarding both the content and reliability of service.


Broward County Fair. The NWS participated in the 11-day run of the Broward County (Florida) Fair last month. Fair attendance was estimated at 375,000; hundreds of NWS brochures were distributed. Pictures from the fair were planned for the WFO Web site. WFO Miami HMT Bob Ebaugh organized the staffing which included personnel from WFO Miami and the NCEP Tropical Prediction Center.

Safety Fair in West Texas. WFO Lubbock WCM Ed Calianese represented the NWS at an annual health and safety fair in Jayton. Many local citizens and a number of school children of all ages attended the fair which featured about 30 organizations. Ed distributed various NWS preparedness brochures as well as office business cards that highlighted the Southern Region and WFO home page.

Winter Weather Awareness. Many SR WFOs conducted a winter weather awareness campaign in November. Jerry Orchanian (WCM, WFO Nashville) reported extensive media interest in Tennessee. Hector Guerrero (WCM, WFO Brownsville, soon to be WCM at San Angelo) reported nearly complete media coverage in Deep South Texas. Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan was featured on a widely listened to talk radio show and discussed the upcoming winter. Also, Fred Vega was featured on Telemundo while Hector and the staff were featured on the local ABC station and on Univision. Both Telemundo and Univision are Spanish-language media. In addition, two major local newspapers provided a nice story on Winter Weather Awareness Day in Deep South Texas. Many other staffs were conducting similar operations across the region.

Preparedness Highlights. Here are a few highlights from Southern Region's FY01 preparedness report (compiled from reports from all SR WFOs):

Note the spotter database increased by 8,617 spotters this year (up 18% over FY00!). The face-to-face media interviews reflect an increase of 114 (up 10% compared to FY00).


StormReady. There are four recent additions to the list of StormReady locations within Southern Region: Gwinnette County, Georgia; Madison County (Huntsville), Alabama; Sweetwater, Texas; and Hobbs, New Mexico. There were six new StormReady sites in our region in FY02's first two months. By the way, the StormReady Organization and Operations Manual is being revised to reflect recent changes. It should be distributed by January.

EM Award. WFO Lake Charles was honored with a plaque by the East Texas Mutual Aid Association, a group of emergency response agencies in Hardin, Tyler, Jasper, and Newton counties. The award recognizes the office's contribution to safety and is a reflection of the fine work of the entire staff. Congratulations, WFO Lake Charles.


WFO Amarillo hosted a Winter Weather Media Workshop. It was put together by WCM Steve Drillette and SOO Richard Wynne. Six TV meteorologists representing each of the three local networks attended along with several of the Amarillo NWS staff. It began with the VISIT teletraining on "Winter Weather Ingredients" followed by local presentations on the "New Wind Chill Index," "Winter Precipitation-Type Forecasting," and a "Hydro Products Update" presented by Steve, Richard, and hydro focal point Lance Goehring, respectively. The workshop was very successful with considerable interaction between the TV meteorologists and NWS staff.

WCM CONFERENCE. Southern Region's WCM conference was held last month in San Antonio. The conference was a big success, based largely on the participation of all attendees. Three of the top four rated presentations were leadership presentations conducted by MICs Ken Graham (Birmingham), Lans Rothfusz (Atlanta), and Jose Garcia (Amarillo). Another top-rated presentation was the Emerging Technologies session in which several WCMs demonstrated how they used cutting-edge communication technologies. Special thanks go to WCMs Hector Guerrero (WFO Brownsville, San Angelo), Jim Purpura (WFO Norman, Corpus Christi), Larry Eblen (WFO Austin/San Antonio), Gary Woodall (WFO Fort Worth/Dallas), Howard Waldron (WFO Morristown) and Larry Vannozzi (Regional WCM) for their work in organizing the successful conference.

HURRICANE CONFERENCE. The annual NOAA Hurricane Conference was held the first week in December at TPC/National Hurricane Center. Details will appear in next month's Topics.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS. The Melbourne NWR site was moved during the month to the new location at Viera, Florida. Preparations are underway for upcoming December expansion site installations at Stephenville, Gilmer, Cumby and Palestine, Texas and Sebring and Lecanto, Florida.

The antenna at the NWR site at Wauka Mountain, Georgia was repaired and re-established at the beginning of the month to improve coverage in north Georgia. During mid-November, NWR coverage was improved at the Fort Worth NWR site by re-aligning the antenna.

Seven locations in Southern Region have recently received grants for NWR systems. They are: Lobelville, Centerville and Vale, Tennessee; Atoka, Oklahoma; Sweetwater and Uvalde, Texas;and Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Twenty-five other potential NWR sites in the Southern Region are involved in the application process and are vying for the remainder of the USDA grant money that is available.

Preparations continue involving locating tower sites for 22 NWS NWR sites likely to be funded in the fiscal year 2002 budget. Locations are: Muskogee, Oklahoma; LaFollette, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Putnam County and Linden, Tennessee; Harrison/Jasper, Arkansas; Natchitoches, Bogalusa and Many, Louisiana; Center, Hillsboro, Mineral Wells, Fairfield, Plainview, Leakey, Breckenridge, Dimmitt, Mount Pleasant, Denton/Gainesville, Van Horn and Brownwood, Texas; and an El Paso, Texas Spanish site.

SRH NWR Program Leader Tim Troutman, WFO Little Rock MIC Renee Fair and WCM John Robinson all participated in the Russell, Arkansas NWR dedication on November 21. Representatives from U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson and Blanche Lincoln offices, Searcy County Judge Bob Parish, U.S. Representative Vic Snyder and State Senator Jack Critcher all attended. Renee reports that Garland County Emergency management recently purchased 500 NWR receivers to distribute to the public as part of a FEMA grant they recently received.

VOICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT UPDATE. Testing continues involving the new voice system at NASH. WFO Melbourne will be the Southern Region beta test site for the new voice system. Installation and testing at the first Southern Region beta site will begin in December. WFO Atlanta has been added as a fifth beta test site due to their 16 transmitter CARS configuration. Current plans are for a nation-wide implementation of the new voice system by March 2002.


REGIONAL RIVER FLOOD OUTLOOK GRAPHIC. As promised, here is the link for the regional River Flood Outlook (RFO) graphic product.

The regional RFO graphical product drills down to the WFO RFO graphical product when you click on the map. This graphical product is routinely generated in the morning and evening.

WSOM CHAPTER E-22 PRODUCT IMPLEMENTATION. We want to thank all of the WFOs and RFCs for their efforts in implementing the product changes associated with WSOM Chapter E-22. We are working on a Southern Region ROML for this chapter and will coordinate with field offices on its contents in the near future.

NEW HAS FORECASTERS AT LMRFC. Please help us welcome two new HAS forecasters to the SR hydrology program. Carolyn Levert, currently at WFO Houston, will join the LMRFC staff on January 13. Gina Tillis, currently with the USGS in Tallahassee, will also join the LMRFC on the same date.

NPVU WEB SITE. There has been considerable interest in national graphical products containing observed and forecast hydrometerological data such as quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE), flash flood guidance (FFG), and quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF). As part of the new QPF process, a National Precipitation Verification Unit was formed under the auspices of the NCEP Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. They are responsible for QPF verification and have also generated national mosaics of QPEs, QPFs, and FFG data from gridded datasets provided by all the CONUS RFCs. The NPVU Web site is

There are plans to upgrade this site with zoom capabilities and other features in the future.

FLASH FLOOD WARNING DECISION MAKING TRAINING. The Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) in Norman is developing flash flood warning decision making (WDM) training based on the FFMP Version 2.0 software. This training will be integrated with the Severe Weather/ Flash Flood WDM workshop beginning in June 2002. They have also developed an FFMP Version 2.0 booklet which will provide training on the FFMP knobology in AWIPS.

On a related matter, the WDTB plans to provide the regions with the FFMP Version 2.0 software so we can distribute the software to offices for use on the Weather Event Simulators. Their goal is to provide the regions with this software by June 2002.

PhD DISSERTATION PROPOSAL APPROVED. West Gulf RFC hydrologic forecaster Mike Shultz recently passed his PhD diagnostic examination and had his dissertation proposal approved. He will study the use of distributed hydrologic modeling systems compared to traditional lumped hydrologic modeling systems. Mike's research will be conducted at the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington and will be done in cooperation with the NWS Office of Hydrologic Development Hydrologic Laboratory. Congratulations Mike.

RFC TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND SERVICE ENHANCEMENT WORKSHOP. Lower Mississippi RFC hosted the first Southern Region RFC Technology Transfer and Service Enhancement Workshop the week of November 5-9. Several representatives from each SR RFC attended the workshop. In addition, representatives from SR HSB and the NWSH Office of Hydrologic Development attended. Each of the RFCs made presentations on hydrologic science and technology developments, application tools used in forecast operations, etc. A Web page will be developed to post all the conference presentations online for future reference. Four SR RFC project teams will be formed to address the following subject matters:

1. RFC Web page presence/baseline (Team Leader - Dave Reed [LMRFC]).
2. RFC backup (Team Leader - Billy Olsen [ABRFC]).
3. Information sharing (Team Leader - John Feldt [SERFC]).
4. WHFS Data sharing (Team Leader - Jerry Nunn [WGRFC]).

We will provide further information about the team representatives and their goals in next month's Topics.

SERVICE HYDROLOGIST (SH)/HYDROLOGY FOCAL POINT (HFP) CONFERENCE. The Hydrologic Services Branch is in the process of planning a Southern Region Service Hydrologist/Hydrology Focal Point Conference during the spring/summer of 2002. We recently coordinated with SR offices to identify dates which best suit office schedules. On a related matter, NWS Headquarters plans to conduct a national SH/HFP conference in FY03. It is currently scheduled for next November in New Orleans. A group of SH/HFPs from the WFOs will assist NWSH in developing the agenda for the conference. We will provide more details about this national conference as we receive it.

AHPS. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS) are new information and products provided through the infusion of new science and technology. These services improve flood warnings and water resource forecasts to meet diverse and changing customer/partner needs. AHPS will affect every aspect of the NWS Hydrology program. Key features of AHPS products will include:

Coverage of a full spectrum of hydro events ranging from floods to droughts.
Displays of information in graphical and numerical formats which maximize usefulness to customers and partners.
Inclusion of probability information.
Conveying possible ranges of future stage/flow conditions.
Consistency of format and information content between core products to allow for easy interpretation across the nation.
Rapid menu driven navigation between products to obtain all information needed for hydrologic decision making.

On a regional scale, efforts in FY02 will focus on implementing a WFO AHPS Web page that will evolve with time. Our FY02 regional operating plan calls for us to test and evaluate the WFO AHPS Web page at a subset of weather forecast offices and to implement it region wide. A national team will be formed in the next few months to determine the requirements for an initial core suite of graphical products. This initial core suite will lend itself to a national one-stop shopping Web site for hydrologic information. We will keep you posted on future implementation details.


Interagency Meeting. On October 16, service hydrologists Buzz Merchlewitz, WFO Memphis, Mike Murphy, WFO Nashville, and Brian Boyd, WFO Morristown met in Nashville with representatives of the USGS, the Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and various state agencies. The discussion centered around sharing data and cooperating with other agencies in the fulfillment of our missions. With input from Buzz and Mike, Brian presented to the group the mission of the NWS and our requirement to obtain accurate near real-time and historic data from various sources. The group agreed to (1) investigate a project updating low flow statistics for Tennessee; (2) set all DCPs for random transmissions on extreme events; (3) conduct interagency observational network analysis to streamline network costs; (4) work toward developing a single hydrologic database for the State; (4) share common applications and software (e.g., flood frequency computation); (5) share/distribute rating curves and rating extensions as they are updated or adjusted; and (6) develop a list of contacts or notification system for observational network problems. This is the first time so many representatives from the state/federal hydrologic community in Tennessee met together to establish common goals and procedures.


TECHNICAL INTERCHANGE MEETING. WFO Melbourne recently hosted a sixth annual Technical Interchange Meeting which facilitates informal exchange of information regarding applied meteorology and associated new technology among those who provide a variety of weather support to the nation's space program. Primary participants include NASA's Applied Meteorology Unit, the weather offices at Kennedy Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, the USAF 45th Weather Squadron, the NWS/NASA Spaceflight Meteorology Group, and WFO Melbourne staff. Other Florida WFOs benefit directly from "spin-off" technology and procedures which apply to our mission and operations.

The scope and participation in the meeting, which was held this year on the campus of the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), have expanded over the years. It was deemed a huge success, owing to the major contributions from WFOs Jacksonville and Miami, the Radar Operations Center in Norman, the State of Florida, various state universities, as well as several weather support contractors for NASA. Discussion topics centered around high resolution spatial and temporal diagnostics over the Florida peninsula (ADAS, LAPS), the advent of high resolution prognostics (ARPS, MM5), uses of the Workstation ETA over Florida and trans-oceanic Shuttle launch abort sites, the latest NCEP modeling activities, seasonal outlooks for Florida, implications regarding tropical cyclones and tsunamis within the Atlantic Basin, lightning forecasting and training, WSR-88D open architecture and base data transfer, and weather requirements for the next generation reusable space vehicle. Melbourne SOO Dave Sharp indicated, "I know of no other cross-agency endeavor where so much critical work is accomplished in such a concentrated period of time."

RAIN GAUGE QUIZ. Last month we asked this question: Roughly how many rain gauges would be necessary in an area forty miles square in order to derive an areal mean rainfall estimate (convective precipitation) accurate to within at least 10%? How about to within 5%? Looked at another way, what would the separation of the gauges need to be?

Here are the answers ... You would need at least 25 or so gauges to be accurate within at least 10%. An average gauge separation of about 8-10 miles. To be accurate within at least 5% you would need around 80 gauges, separated by an average of about 4-5 miles. We chose 40 miles square as representative of a county. The point here bears on quantifying how much reliance should be placed on one - or even several - rainfall reports. There are newer references, but the one which prompts this discussion is "Measurement of Convective Mean Rainfall over Small Areas using High-Density Raingages and Radar," by Hildebrand, Towery and Snell, which appeared in the October 1979 issue of Journal of Applied Meteorology.

COMET OUTREACH RFP. COMET has announced its 2001 Request for Proposals for NWS Cooperative Projects. These are the multi-year collaborative projects averaging around $30K per year. A description of the program, typical projects, and the proposal submission procedures can be found on-line at Cooperative proposals are submitted by researchers - typically at universities - but key to the process is the involvement of one or more NWS office. Normally the proposals are developed jointly. The deadline for submission to COMET is March 15, 2002. Drafts should be submitted to SSD early enough to allow sufficient time for comments and preparation of the required endorsement by the regional director. For additional information contact SSD or Bonnie Slagel at

MOS GUIDANCE FROM 0600 AND 1800 UTC AVN RUNS. Effective with the 1800 UTC cycle on November 27, new weather element guidance was added to the "off-time" 0600/1800 UTC AVN MOS guidance packages. These packages, which were first implemented in October 2001, will contain guidance for maximum/minimum temperature, 2-m temperature and dew point, total sky cover, wind direction and speed, probability of precipitation (PoP), probability of thunderstorms, conditional probability of severe weather, conditional probability of precipitation types (freezing rain or snow), precipitation type, and ceiling height. The alphanumeric text messages are available on AWIPS under the MAV product identifier and on the Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN) and the Family of Services with the WMO headers FOPA20, FOUS21-26, and FOAK37-39. Note that these are the same product identifiers used for the 0000/1200 UTC AVN MOS packages. The 0600/1800 UTC guidance is available for the same sites and in the same format as the current 0000/1200 UTC packages. Guidance for precipitation amount, visibility, and obstruction to vision will be added to the messages during the spring of 2002.

Technical Procedures Bulletin No. 481 describes the 0600/1800 UTC AVN MOS messages and is available at:

The 0600/1800 UTC packages are issued at approximately 1030/2230 UTC. Because these guidance packages will update the 0000/1200 UTC packages, users may want to retain previous 0000/1200 UTC products to ensure a complete set of weather element guidance.

WFO MOBILE RESEARCH WEB PAGE. Jeff Medlin (SOO, WFO Mobile) has recently updated the research Web site for his office (see The purpose of the page is to :

1) Highlight to the local public what is being done to solve local forecast and warning problems in the Office Publications and University Collaboration sections of the site. This material also illustrates the cooperation between the local NWS, universities and other governmental agencies with similar goals.

2) Provide a library of past significant weather events. Links to the documentation of each event are moved to the Research page after they have appeared on the "What's New" section of the WFO Mobile home page. We have found that people really respond to the latter.

3) Explain local weather phenomena (e.g., the sea-breeze, a model of a developing thunderstorm, how does snow form, etc).

4) Provide a hurricane history (a popular topic in their County Warning Area!). The "Past Tropical Cyclone" section of the Web page (with educational explanations for how to interpret local radar images) reviews this material. In addition to the radar images, WFO Mobile plans to eventually prepare post-storm reports with local damage photos.

SUPPORT TO IMETS DURING SOUTHEAST FIRE OUTBREAK. At the request of IMETs working the recent fires in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas, Scientific Services Division placed model output soundings for those states in the BUFKIT format on the Southern Region Web server. The response from one IMET was: "A big thanks to you for setting up the BUFKIT profiles for the METAR sites. I used the data frequently during my IMET deployment in Georgia and others used it as well. We appreciate the effort you went to get that data flowing as fast as you did."

WEATHER EVENT SIMULATOR CASE DATA. Paul Kirkwood (SOD), working with Bernard Meisner (SSD), has been making CD-ROMs from our regional AWIPS archive for several November weather events for use with the Weather Event Simulator (WES). These include the November 14-16 south Texas event (tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, river flooding), the November 23-24 OK/AR/LA/MS/TN/AL severe weather outbreak, and the November 27-29 winter weather/flash flooding/severe thunderstorm event. We anticipate the delivery of a CD-ROM duplicator here at SRH this month to speed up our response to field office requests for WES case study data. While most offices will soon have the capability to selectively archive their local AWIPS data, Paul has installed a larger hard drive so we can continuously archive data from all the radars in our region. This will ensure we will have the data for any unanticipated events (which may make the best cases from which to learn).

COASTAL OCEAN FORECAST SYSTEM REAL-TIME TEST AND EVALUATION. The Coastal Ocean Forecast System (COFS) was implemented on December 4 for Real-Time Test and Evaluation purposes. The COFS has been developed jointly by the Ocean Modeling Branch of the National Weather Service's Environmental Modeling Center, the National Ocean Service's Coast Survey Development Lab, Princeton University, and Naval Oceanographic Office. The COFS is based on hydrodynamic, three-dimensional ocean circulation model (Princeton Ocean Model) which simulates of temperature, salinity, surface elevation, and currents for a region off the U.S. East Coast from about 30 to 47 N and out to 50 W. The model is driven at the ocean surface boundary by heat, moisture, and momentum fluxes provided by NCEP's Meso Eta atmospheric forecast model. The ocean model is driven along its open (i.e., southern and eastern) boundaries by climatological estimates of temperature, salinity, and transport. The grid spacing of the model varies from approximately 20 km offshore to about 10 km nearshore. The coastal boundary corresponds to the location of the 10 m isobath. In the vertical, an 18-layer sigma (terrain-following) coordinate system is used with at least half the layers concentrated in the upper 100 m. Tidal forcing is included in the model.

Those WFOs with coastal forecasting responsibilities along the East Coast are invited to participate in the COFS evaluation. The URL for the COFS Web site is: Questions concerning the COFS should be directed to Larry Burroughs (

NEW SOO AT SPC. Steve Weiss is the new SOO at NCEP's Storm Prediction Center in Norman. Steve is an expert in mesoscale convective weather, having been a lead forecaster at SELS/SPC for over 15 years. He is active in developing new and improved forecast techniques and has been involved in training for severe storm forecasting. We encourage all Southern Region SOOs to get to know their counterparts at the national centers and interact with them whenever possible. All have the same responsibilities and goals when it comes to staff professional development.

NEW TECH MEMOS. Recent technical memos are:

NEW PAPERS. The latest (December) issue of the Buletin of the AMS contains two papers of particular operational relevance. They are:

"The Importance of Educating the Public Regarding NOAA Weather Radio Reception and Placement within a Structure," by Tim Troutman and Larry Vannozzi (SRH/CWWD), and John Fleming (Florida Division of Emergency Management), and

"Accuracy of United States Tropical Cyclone Landfall Forecasts in the Atlantic Basin (1976-2000)," by Mark Powell and Sim Aberson (NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division).

CLIMATE VISITOR/PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM. The NWSH Climate Services Division and NCEP's Climate Prediction Center have announced a visitor/partnership program which provides support for potential architects of local climate-related partnerships to visit CSD and CPC to learn more about products and service. The program includes one week at CSD and one week at CPC, and an effort will be made to tailor the program to best address each visitor's interests and goals. Visitors, who may be either NOAA/NWS employees or non-government partners, will be required to make a presentation on what they are doing or plan to do in establishing a partnership for climate services. Travel and per diem expenses for the two-week visits will be supported by NWSH. A schedule of dates for the 2002 sessions and more information is available. Please contact Judy Koepsell at NWSH/OCS (, or 301 713-1970x187), or SSD.

UNIVERSITY ASSIGNMENT PROGRAM. An announcement will be distributed soon for the NOAA/NWS University Assignment Program, covering full-time and part-time university-level training for the academic year of fall 2002 through spring 2003. Application procedures will change only slightly from past years. Contact SSD for more information.

VISIT TELETRAINING SESSIONS. Following are VISIT (Virtual Institute for Satellite

Integration Training) distance learning sessions scheduled for next month. Offices can register for the teletraining sessions by sending an email to To access the teletraining calendar, go to

January 2002 sessions:
Ingredients-Based Approach to Forecasting Winter Season Precipitation (Intermediate) Jan 3, 7, 17, 23, 31
*NEW*Lightning Meteorology II (Advanced) Jan 3, 8, 10
Using AWIPS to Evaluate Model Initializations (Intermediate) Jan 10
An Introduction to POES Data and Products (Basic) Jan 24
Natural Disaster Information Cards (Basic) Jan 9, 23

Note: The broad objective of Lightning Meteorology II is to assist in interpreting CG lightning data. Lightning Meteorology I examined electrification, charge distributions, and CG lightning production in typical warm season isolated storms and MCSs. The advanced session will distinguish between "typical" and"anomalous" storms and examine anomalous storms using AWIPS case studies and advanced theories. The basic knowledge gained from having taken Lightning Meteorology I will be assumed.

Sessions can be reviewed in advance by following the instructions in the student guides available on the ISTPDS/VISIT page:

Look for an announcement on two new sessions that will be released with instructor audio. VISIT will try to address requests for repeating previous sessions. Please send such requests to



AWIPS BUILD 5.1.2. AWIPS Build 5.1.2 still has a few problems which need to be resolved before being released to the field sites. Some of the fixes will be tested at WFOs Morristown, Lubbock and Lake Charles. If all goes well the deployment of 5.1.2 should start after the holidays.

Southern Region Headquarters has put together an archiving program which runs under Linux and does not impact AWIPS operations or current systems. This software is used to replace the Archive IV functionality of the PUP and for use with the new WES/DRT training workstations. This program was developed mainly through the efforts of SOD AWIPS program manager Paul Kirkwood, and was demonstrated at NWS Headquarters in late November. Two sites per region will be testing the software to check for bugs and performance issues. The program has already been tested at three sites in Southern Region with positive results.

ASOS INSTALLATIONS. SOD regional system specialist Charlie Lake coordinated and met with FAA personnel at Naples, Florida to begin installing the new ASOS system. Most components were installed with the exception of the wind tower and fiber optics. This site also requires the local electrical power company to provide services.

WSR-88D. The ORPG installations in Southern Region are going along without a hitch. To date we have completed10 installations which puts us right on schedule with the national implementation. All Southern Region sites should be complete by the end of May 2002.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO (NWR). Our regional maintenance specialists have been very busy performing NWR site surveys for the new NWS locations, and completing maintenance on existing antenna and towers. Sites surveys completed in November include Melbourne and Key West, Florida; Lafayette, Red Boiling Springs, Hickman, and Spencer, Tennessee; Cumby, Gilmer, Stephenville and Dimmitt, Texas. With the USDA and the NWS exactions this work load will continue for the foreseeable future.

Orders for NOAA Weather Radio circuits continue to increase. We are ordering circuits almost on a weekly basis, along with securing the frequency authorization and ordering the ROAMS lines to support the program.

IT SECURITY. The SANS security on-line training course has been moving along since mid-October, and several people have made very good progress. One person has completed the work already. We have made a request to Diane Davidowicz (NOAA CIRT) to supply us with a progress report of all attendees in the Southern Region. We will continue to do this to ensure everyone is making progress for this mandatary training.

NETSCAPE MAIL. Southern Region mail servers, both primary and backups have been finally configured, tested and documented. The Msg-Store replication has been set up to run twice daily, this will cut down the time needed to failover the Messaging Server to only a few hours. A basic troubleshooting flow chart has been created along with documentation procedures for others in the office to use in case the primary mail admin is not on site. Thus most anyone following the instructions could restore e-mail service to the region. Southern Region has been up and running with no downtime for almost 30 days, while other regions are documenting one to two minor failures per month. We continue to update profile information (office, address, phone numbers, job titles, etc.) for each person in each office in Southern Region. When this is complete it will make lookup information much easier than using the NOAA Locator.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS. With the FTS2001 transition to MCI basically behind us, one of the major regional tasks we see is making a thorough inventory of our communication circuits and telephone lines to update any changes which have taken place. Along with the inventory are the updates of the NOAA 37-1 forms used to certify invoices for payment. Each of these documents will have to be reviewed for correct accounting data, cost data, and vendor names and addresses.

We are working with Sprint and MCI to move the Tallahassee office to its new location on the Florida State University campus in February. Orders have been placed to move the circuits and phone lines and we are coordinating bi-weekly with MCI to ensure all goes smoothly.


RELOCATION OF THE KEESLER WSR-88D TO JACKSON. On November 20, Tom Grayson, John Duxbury, and Victor Murphy from SRH attended a preliminary meeting at the Radar Operations Center concerning the logistics, action items, responsibilities and time frame for relocating the DOD Keesler AFB WSR-88D to a location near Jackson. A robust discussion of actions required occurred with the project now fully underway. The Jackson MIC and staff, and DOD personnel, were conferenced in by phone to the meeting. On November 21, SRH contacted officials in Brandon, Mississippi, to begin discussions to acquire the primary radar site. Brandon officials appear eager to accommodate NWS plans to locate a weather radar within city boundaries. Once installed and operational, the new radar will replace the current WSR-88D located at the WFO.

TALLAHASSEE OFFICE RELOCATION. On November 14, Southern Region attended the Florida State University (FSU) construction progress review meeting in Tallahassee. Discussion during the meeting with FSU and the construction contractor focused on the upper air radome and target antenna tower change order. A location for the tower has been decided, however, there is a concern with proper support and anchoring of the tower to the new building. Due to the limited area on the roof of the new facility, supporting the antenna with the use of guy wires is not feasible. A design to allow for a free standing tower to support the test target antenna is under consideration. A final decision should be made by December 7. This will delay installation and testing of the upper air system until late February or early March. Upper air launch operations will continue from the existing site near the airport until the new radome and target antenna have been installed and tested at the new facility. With the exception of the upper air systems, the construction contractor is still on track to meet the January 8, 2002 Building Occupancy Date.

HOUSTON/GALVESTON PROJECT. A design review meeting scheduled in late November 2001 to discuss improvements in the plan layout will be moved to December. The time and date have not been determined. The Office of Emergency Management requested the meeting to discuss changes which include moving the Sheriff's Department to a separate location or into the existing WFO. Action taken at the December meeting will most likely result in a fourth design proposal from the architect.

Bay City Architects completed a third design proposal for the Galveston County Emergency Services Facility September 19, 2001. The proposal attempts to accommodate the National Weather Service, Office of Emergency Management and the Galveston County Sheriff's Department into an acceptable floor plan. It also comes with an estimated price tag of $4 million; $2 million above the bond election approved by Galveston County.

TORNADO KILLS COOP OBSERVER. One of the deaths from the Thanksgiving weekend tornado outbreak in Mississippi was the cooperative weather observer from Sledge, Mississippi. Mrs. Maggie Johnson's body was found in her home which had been destroyed by a tornado early Saturday morning. She had been a volunteer observer for the NWS since April, 1988 when she assumed the duties previously accomplished by her deceased husband.

WFO Memphis DAPM Zwemer Ingram last visited Mr. Johnson on October 25, 2001 and found her to be very active and independent despite her 73 years of age. She did rainfall measurements using an SRG. Because the delta soil in the area is so soft Mrs. Johnson often had to level her gauge to assure the rainfall data were as accurate as she could provide. The cooperative station Mrs. Johnson operated, Sledge 2N(22-8145-01) had been reporting weather information to the NWS since March, 1945.

Mrs. Johnson was reportedly found in her destroyed home with a flashlight in one hand and a cell phone in the other. She was dressed and it is assumed she was trying to make her way from her home to a shelter in the back yard when the storm struck. The storm struck her home at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. The cooperative observer from Sarah 3SE (22-7807-02), Mrs. Sue Bruckner, called WFO Memphis to let them know about the loss of the volunteer. Mrs. Bruckner and Mrs. Johnson had become friends over the years and kept in touch with each other.

ASOS PROCESSOR BOARD UPGRADE. Testing and evaluation of the new ASOS Software Version 2.6U continues at three OT&E sites in Southern Region. This new software contains the processor board upgrade. A more robust processor board is needed to support future ASOS Planned Product Improvements, such as an improved temp/dew point sensor, and the new All Weather Precipitation Accumulation Gauge. SR WFOs and DAPMs will monitor the ASOS and the data from these service level D sites during the test. Next month, the test will be expanded to Clinton/Sherman, Oklahoma, the first site at which air traffic controllers interface with the ASOS.

SURFACE OBSERVATION TRANSITION. As of November 1, 2001, the FAA has assumed the responsibility for service level A and B ASOS augmentation and backup at all locations in SR. FAA contractors continue to work from the local WFO at six of the eight locations as of late November. At Jacksonville the FAA contract weather observer (CWO) began working from FAA leased office space this month. All necessary communications lines and equipment have been put in place to facilitate this change at Jacksonville. Additional coordination is occurring between regions to ensure the CWOs will no longer be working in NWS WFO office space after March 1, 2002, as per the national NWS/FAA MOA.

MEDIUM IMPACT AIRPORT WEATHER SYSTEM (MIAWS) IMPLEMENTATION. The FAA is continuing the testing of the new MIAWS at medium-sized airports. The MIAWS will provide WSR-88D reflectivity precipitation data to local FAA air traffic control facilities at "medium" sized airports. SRH is coordinating this implementation with the FAA contractor at Little Rock. This system is already in place at Jackson. Future implementation is scheduled for the new North Georgia TRACON in early 2002.

OPEN RPG INSTALLATION. The Open RPG (ORPG) installation has been successfully completed at 11 WSR-88D locations in Southern Region. Thus far, all reports on the system and the installation process have been positive. The beta test for interfacing the master switch control function with the ORPG at a remote DOD WSR-88D was scheduled for WFO Norman and the Frederick, Oklahoma DOD site the last week of November.

ARCHIVE-4 REQUIREMENTS. SRH has submitted to NWSH on behalf of the CONUS regions the requirement that Archive-4 data ingest and playback of NEXRAD data must be available at a local WFO. This is needed so the newly acquired Weather Event Simulator (WES) can be used to play back the data received for training purposes. SRH has a proposal pending with NWSH which should meet this requirement.

SRH is taking the lead on identifying three beta test sites per region for a thorough OT&E test of the new method for archiving the Level-IV data using AWIPS. The AWIPS program office will then monitor the sites closely to ensure no operational degradation of the AWIPS.

SRH has also submitted the requirement that a mechanism be found for recording the existing library of local WFO NEXRAD training data, currently available on JAZ drive format into a format which is both AWIPS and WES compatible. All current realtime NEXRAD training media, a library of five to ten years of data, is in a JAZ drive format which is not compatible with the WES.

THUNDERSTORM OPERATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECT (THOR). The Engineering Change Plan (ECP) has been approved, and wideband 3 cards have been procured and installed at the WSR-88Ds located in Birmingham and Nashville. This will allow WSR-88D base data to be shipped to external users.

It is the intent of the NSSL, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville to ingest base data from these sites, in addition to the Hy-Top, Alabama WSR-88D. These data will then be used in support of THOR, a multi-year, multi-agency effort aimed at improving thunderstorm watches, warnings and forecasts. At present, we are waiting for NSSL and UAH to install the needed phone lines.

DATA ACQUISITION PROGRAM SUPPORT TEAM. On November 27, 2001 Southern Region assembled a group of experienced data acquisition program managers from various offices throughout the region to develop a data acquisition support plan for use at field offices. This plan, when complete, will immediately familiarize new employees with the data acquisition responsibilities of the office and procedures to follow when data acquisition program performance falls below national averages.

The team was asked to develop a support program with two specific functions in mind. First, develop a guide, coined Data Acquisition for Dummies (DAD), to be used by someone with limited data acquisition experience to provide guidance to new employees on how to perform data acquisition program duties. Second, the team will develop an inspection checklist to be used during office visits by regional program personnel or their designated representatives after an office's performance has suffered from high employee turnover or its performance drops below national averages. Prior to distribution, a copy of the support plan will be provided to each office for comment.

UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SYSTEM. WFO Tampa Bay and WFO/RFC Atlanta will complete the installation and commissioning of their new Mitsubishi uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems on November 29 and December 13, 2001 respectively.

We are reinitializing the initiative to install battery test panels on each new Mitsubishi UPS. The battery test panel is used to identify weak or failing batteries before actual failure. On September 11 WFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge facilities engineering technician Greg Chatelain received a patent on behalf of the NWS for designing the modular battery test panel. The equipment significantly reduces the time required to test each battery and also protects the technician from exposure to dangerous high voltage during the examination.

TRANSITION POWER MAINTENANCE SHELTERS (TPMS). A schedule to continue installation of transition shelters and static UPS's at the remaining radar sites has been released. Southern Region will receive six new TPMS sites over the next six months.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE. EPA-required revisions to the Spill Prevention, Countermeasures and Control Plans (SPCC) at WFOs Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans resulted in the same recommendation for a fuel tanker containment system as at WFO Key West, where site drainage is likely to contaminate navigable waters per 40 CFR 112.7. Funding for the SPCC revisions was provided by NOAA-WASC, and future SPCC upgrades at other sites may require containment systems also. Two estimates performed last year for a reinforced concrete berm were both about $16K, and construction funding has been requested from NOAA-MASC.

Annual wastewater sampling and analyses were done at WFOs New Orleans, Shreveport and Lake Charles, as required by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Wastewater characteristics being evaluated were biological oxygen demand, pH, fecal coliforms, and total suspended solids. This is an annual requirement because these sites have septic systems instead of municipal sewage connections.

Due to the cancellation of the NOAA ECS Conference scheduled in early November, the committee responsible for selecting sites for ECS assessments has not yet decided on the locations for FY02. Six states in the Southern Region were to be included and several lists of potential sites were provided. The first assessment visits are scheduled for February 2002 and no word has been received yet on the selected locations.

SAFETY ACTIVITIES. A conference call was held with SR environmental compliance and safety focal points to discuss FY-02 NOAA assessments, ECS purchases, FAA site fall protection measures, ECS in performance plans, wire weight site access, recent NOAA legal opinions, pesticide/herbicide applications, SPCC plan updates, EHB-15 revisions, accident/illness reporting, and training plans for FY02.

A piece of suspicious mail was received at WFO Lubbock with no return address and postmarked from Trenton, New Jersey. The local staff placed it in plastic bags and noted all the employees who came into contact with it. A call to 911 for police and fire response resulted in a police officer opening the letter and determining that it was not contaminated and fire department disposal was not required. A call to the FBI confirmed that 911 is the correct procedure for suspicious packages and letters.

Other safety items of concern are the lack of funding identified for safety purchases and potential impacts to field operations of the recent NOAA-OGC legal interpretations.

BUILDING SECURITY. A full building evacuation drill was conducted at SRH in November. NWS occupant emergency plan volunteers rendered assistance to fellow employees in evacuating the building from the 10th floor and provided feedback to GSA building management for future drills and/or evacuations.

Officer Cathy Chambers, Fort Worth supervisor for the GSA Federal Protective Service, performed a building security survey at WFO/RFC Fort Worth at no cost to NWS and will prepare a written report next month. No major deficiencies were found, but there may be a few recommendations for improved security. Officer Chambers also offered to give her personal security briefing to WFO/RFC employees at a future date, workload permitting.

KEY WEST UPPER AIR SITING. Ken East, program manager of the Key West School District construction and facilities department, stated he was open to mounting the upper air antenna on top of their maintenance building located immediately adjacent to the new property in downtown Key West. NWS would need to follow up his offer with a visit by structural engineers to examine the integrity of the building and make recommendations regarding possible reinforcement if required. Mr. East was to present the concept to the school board at a future meeting, but expected them to approve. If the construction and leasing details are confirmed, this would result in a significant savings to NWS over building a free-standing multi-story UA antenna structure at Key West.

KEY WEST BOMB THREAT EVACUATION. A bomb threat last month at WFO Key West resulted in a complete building evacuation near midnight when a member of the airport security staff observed a bicyclist toss a backpack into the shrubbery near the building. NWS employees on duty used the emergency cell phone to contact SRH and WFO Miami for service backup while they were outside. No weapons or explosives were found and the staff was allowed back into the building after two hours.

A STAFF ASSISTANCE VISIT. Southern Region coop program manager Mike Asmus and WFO Corpus Christi DAPM Dave Davenport traveled to WFO Key West for a program assistance visit last month. The focus of the visit was to provide training for the upper air program but additional training on the new CSSA was also provided.



WFO ALBUQUERQUE. SOO Deirdre Kann participated in the "Children's Water Festival," at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The event brings students together to spend a day learning about water. The Water Festival is a catalyst to encourage continuing water education among fourth graders and their teachers. A thousand children from Valencia, Sandoval and Bernalillo counties participated in this year's event. Presentations were offered by various state and federal agencies, including Sandia National Labs and the NWS, along with some private groups. Deirdre's presentation was titled "Weather or Not" and focused on flash floods in New Mexico - when and where they occur, how the NWS monitors the atmosphere to predict them, and safety rules. Her presentation was given ten times during the two-day festival.

WFO BROWNSVILLE. ASA Rachel Gutierrez, HMT Tony Abbott, and DAPM Jim Campbell participated in the second annual Lucio Middle School Career Day. The event was attended by the entire student body of around 1050 students from the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. The students were given a set of questions to ask each presenter about their specific career and the path which led to that career. Handouts Jim Campbell prepared on station were provided including, "The Story of Mary Ann and Hurricane Camille," "NOAA Weather Radio," and coloring fact sheets on tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms.

Senior forecaster Tim Speece and Jim Campbell partnered with three members of the Red Cross for a preparedness seminar at the South Texas Science Academy. The event was divided into four hour and a half sessions and was attended by approximately 250 students. Tim and Jim each did two sessions and showed a Power Point presentation on the 2001 Hurricane Season which was developed by Jim Campbell. This coincided nicely with the Red Cross's presentation of developing a plan in the event of any form of natural disaster including hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe thunderstorms.

HMT Sam Martinez participated in the Cummings Junior High Career Day. He gave five Power Point presentations to 125 eighth grade students. Sam talked about the various positions in the NWS and answered many questions.

WFO TALLAHASSEE. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block represented the NWS as a science fair judge at Raa Middle School and Nimms Middle School. He was invited to serve as a judge in the earth sciences/meteorology division of the District Science Fair in January. Ron served as a Career Day speaker at Raa and Griffen Middle schools, and at Lincoln High School where discussions focused on meteorology as a career. He interacted with Florida State University meteorology faculty and students on a joint project analyzing the Tallahassee minimum temperature study. Ron also discussed the establishment of a NWS guest speaker series to augment classroom meteorology preparation with an earth sciences instructor at Tallahassee Community College.


NOVEMBER 1 - 30, 2001

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Shirley Matejka WFO SJT Retirement MIC, GS-14
Christopher Jakub WFO JAN Promotion to CR Forecaster, GS-11
Stephen Rubin WFO SJT Reassignment to CR Forecaster, GS-12
Ken Waters SRH SSD Promotion to PR Meteorologist, GS-13
Kenneth Newman WFO BRO Reassignment to WR Senior Forecaster, GS-13
William Herrmann WFO BMX Retirement Senior Forecaster, GS-13

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Justin Weaver WFO LUB Reassignment from CR IT Officer, GS-13
Diane Innes RFC TUA Reassignment from ER Hydrologist, GS-12
Erin Maxwell WFO OUN New Hire Met Intern, GS-5
David Chaffin WFO TBW New Hire El Tech, GS-11
Bert Gordon WFO SJU Reassignment from WR ESA, GS-13
Carl McElroy WFO BRO Reassignment from NWSH Forecaster, GS-11
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Roland Nunez WFO AMA Promotion from FWD Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Stephen Miller WFO MOB Reassignment from JAN Forecaster, GS-12
Kandis Boyd SRH CWWD Reassignment from TUA Hydrologist, GS-12
Buddy McIntyre WFO SJT Promotion from SJT MIC, GS-14
Jason Deese WFO TBW Reassignment from BMX Forecaster, GS-9
Ken Graham WFO BMX Promotion from CRP MIC, GS-15
Robert Darby WFO TSA Promotion from TSA Senior Forecaster, GS-13

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