UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
December 1, 1997
MORE AWARDS. We were recently informed of National Weather Association (NWA) award winners from the Southern Region. Gary Woodall, SRH MSD; Judson Ladd, SRH MSD; and Suzanne (formerly Nichols) Van Cooten, Lower Mississippi RFC, have been identified to receive the NWA Public Education Award for 1997. The award is based on their unique concept in outreach educational activities called Project Twister.
Also receiving an NWA award was George Wilken, NWSFO Little Rock, Arkansas. George received the NWA Operational Achievement Individual Award for outstanding forecasts of the March 1997 Arkansas tornado event
Congratulations to all award recipients!
JEFFERSON AWARD PRESENTED. On Tuesday evening, November 25, I had the pleasure of participating in the presentation of the Department of Commerce Jefferson Award to Mr. Estes Bozeman of Winnfield, Louisiana. Mr. Bozeman has completed 41 years of service as a Cooperative Observer. Arrangements were made by the staff of NWSO Shreveport to use the meeting of the Winnfield Lions Club to make the presentation. One of the local radio stations was present at the event along with the print media. Television also covered the award recognition by conducting interviews at the Bozeman home.
SPC Winter Weather Mesoscale Discussions. As part of the change from NSSFC/SELS to the SPC, it was agreed that the SPC would expand its concentration on severe convective storms to all types of short-term mesoscale hazardous weather. Even though the SPC has written Mesoscale Discussions (MDs) for winter weather and heavy rain events in the past, they have been a low priority and were issued infrequently.
From January 1997 to March 1997, forecasters, researchers, and staff from the SPC and NSSL participated in a collaborative WINter Weather EXperiment (WINWEX '97). The primary goal of this experiment was to help define the best format, information desired, and issuance frequency of SPC guidance products. From WINWEX '97, it was determined that there was a need for a concise, technical product which contained specific event driven guidance on hazardous winter weather events affecting the continental U.S. in the 0-9-hour time frame. The winter weather MD would provide short term guidance on the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY of an impending winter weather hazard. Information concerning location, timing, expected amounts, trends, and mesoscale meteorological aspects of a hazardous winter weather event were also to be included. The product will emphasize the WHY or the mesoscale meteorological processes that can be diagnosed and forecast (i.e., CSI, barrier jets, frontogenesis, etc). An accompanying graphic will be placed on the SPC Web page containing an areal outline of the threat area. The SPC Web address is http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/~spc.
Over the last several months, the SPC forecasters have been through an extensive winter weather training program. The training lasted three months and included 16 experts from universities, the research community, and NWS field offices traveling to the SPC to teach their winter weather knowledge. The winter weather forecasters went through an operational evaluation period in October and November and are ready to disseminate winter weather MD's to the NWS field offices and other users. With the increased priority of issuing winter weather products, field forecasters will notice a considerable increase in both the number and quality of winter weather MD's this winter season.
The winter weather MD program at the SPC will continue to grow and mature through this and future winter seasons. Real time feedback and interactions from field offices on the usefulness of this product (or lack of) should be relayed to MSD.
NOAA WEATHER RADIO (NWR) AT SPEEDS OVER 65 MPH? It's true! Well, let me (Ken Graham) explain. Two exciting NWR promotion ideas are becoming reality. First, NWR key chains are coming soon! This key chain will contain the new NWR logo and a list of all seven frequencies. The public will have the list as they travel around the country. One question here: What good is an NWR key chain without an NWR in a car? This question is a perfect segue into the second NWR promotion accomplishment. After communication last summer with Delco Electronics, NWR receivers are now included in some Cadillacs. Recent communications with Delco are even more exciting. Work is underway to team up with Delco to make a presentation to each of the General Motors divisions concerning NWR and how beneficial receivers would be in their vehicles. Our goal is to get scanning, seven-channel NWR receivers in all GM automobiles. Contact has also been made with other auto manufacturers. Currently, NWR receivers are available or are standard in automobiles made by Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Cadillac, Jaguar, SAAB, and possibly others. Getting NWR receivers in automobiles could increase NWR listenership by millions of Americans. Stay tuned. There is more to come!
FIRE WEATHER COORDINATION. The U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with the State Foresters, recently held its annual meeting in Tennessee. In attendance for the NWS were NWSO Knoxville/Tri-Cities' MIC Jerry McDuffie and WCM Howard Waldron, and NWSFO Memphis' Bill Adams, Fire Weather Forecaster. Discussions centered on NWS fire weather support to, and ongoing changes within, the agencies. Howard gave a short presentation about El Nino and its possible impact on eastern Tennessee.
Howard also gave presentations regarding El Nino and NWS operations to the local Lions and Kiwanis Clubs.
TECHNICAL ATTACHMENT. Included in this issue of Southern Topics is a paper entitled, "Implementation of Modernized Hydrologic Operations and Services in the National Weather Service: Overview and Status." The paper will be presented at a special symposium on hydrology at the AMS meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, which is slated for January 11-16. For those not familiar with the applications and associated capabilities of the Weather Forecast Office Hydrologic Forecast System (WHFS) included with each deployed AWIPS, this attachment will prove informative.
WHFS is currently running at three locations in the Southern Region: (1) NWSFO Norman, which is beta testing the WHFS application that will be delivered with AWIPS Build 3.1 (and whose color graphic is appended to the end of the technical attachment), (2) NWSO Tulsa, an AWIPS Build 1 site, and (3) NWSFO San Juan, a beta site still testing the original WHFS software. In addition, AWIPS (and WHFS) will be deployed at NWSFOs Fort Worth and New Orleans in early 1998.
PUERTO RICO PROGRESS. HSD Chief, Ed May; Southern Region Cooperative Program Manager, Mike Asmus; WGRFC senior hydrologist, Patrick Sneeringer; and SERFC senior hydrologist, Brad Gimmestad traveled to the NWSFO in San Juan (SJU) during the week of November 17-21. Among the group's accomplishments, Mike and Patrick, working with NWSFO San Juan's ESA, Fred Parra, loaded the PCROSA and Hydromet 4 software programs (each QNX based) onto one computer (PCROSA was previously installed on a separate PC). This enabled Brad to bring what was previously the PCROSA computer (now configured as a Hydromet 4 computer) back to SERFC for use in data collection endeavors.
The team, with valuable assistance from NWSFO SJU SOO, Shawn Bennett, also managed to successfully implement the WFO Hydrologic Forecast System (WHFS). They arranged for the ingest of DCP data from 116 HADS sites [the data will be received by send on receipt request (SORR) messages] and 34 ALERT sites throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the WHFS SJU workstation. The previously mentioned PCROSA data is also displayable through this workstation.
A discussion about future hydrologic support for the San Juan office from the SERFC was also held. While the SERFC has modeled 13 river forecast points on Puerto Rico, the "flashy" nature of the streams precludes them from providing "standard" river forecasts. However, they will provide hydrologic support by running contingency model scenarios, backing up HADS data, advising of significant antecedent soil moisture conditions, producing daily flash flood guidance, providing input before and during heavy rain events via the HAS function, and continuing its support of the WHFS and Hydromet 4 systems.
Thanks to those on the NWSFO SJU staff for their work on getting WHFS operational, and the excellent support and hard work provided by SERFC and the Hydrologic Research Lab in OH.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
FLASH FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM COMING TO COMAL COUNTY, TEXAS. NWSFO Austin/San Antonio senior service hydrologist John Patton recently met with representatives from the Guadalupe/Brazos River Authority (GBRA) and Remote Operating Systems (makers of automated river and rain gage systems) to site five automated river and rain gage sensors along the Guadalupe River between Canyon Dam and New Braunfels. The group then met with a number of Comal County officials to discuss funding the endeavor. The price tag of $80,000, while steep, will be footed by a combination of the GBRA, Comal County, the city of New Braunfels, and an organization representing river outfitters and camp owners.
This area has long been a concern to NWS officials in the area because of the Guadalupe River's "flashy" nature and the thousands of summertime enthusiasts who camp along its banks and float, swim, and fish the river every day.
BRIAN'S TRAVELS. NWSO Knoxville/Tri-Cities service hydrologist Brian Boyd traveled to NWSO Greenville/Spartanburg in Greer, South Carolina, to coordinate with their service hydrologist on hydrology concerns over western North Carolina. The two also discussed the placement of some new IFLOWS gages that should be arriving into the 17-county IFLOWS consortium soon. Other items of discussion included Hydrologic Service Manuals and Service Hydrologist Information Management System (SHIMS).
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS:
ROAD WARRIOR. SERFC senior hydrologist, Brad Gimmestad, recently spent a week visiting customers and gage sites in northern Georgia and the Carolinas. While in Darlington, South Carolina, Brad met with EOC employees from Darlington and Florence counties as well as Reid Hawkins, NWSO Wilmington employee. They discussed ways of providing river forecasts for Black Creek. The emergency management folks explained to Brad and Reid that the worst flooding seemed to be caused by all the tributaries in the Darlington area coming together into Black Creek below the city of Darlington. A 15-year old river gage was "rediscovered" and will be put to use again, while several other gages in the area were manipulated to provide better data and better access.
Brad also met with the NWSO Wilmington staff to discuss cooperative reporting problems inherent in the Cape Fear area. Most significantly, funding cutbacks have left weekend reports void. This leaves the NWSO without reports Saturdays and Sundays. Remedies are in the works.
HURRICANE DANNY PRESENTATION FOR WSR-88D PROGRAM MANAGEMENT COUNCIL. Jeff Medlin, NWSO Mobile SOO, made a presentation at the November meeting of the WSR-88D Program Management Council on his office's experience with the WSR-88D during Hurricane Danny. (Refer to the September 1, 1997, issue of Southern Topics for more information concerning this storm.) Jeff reported that the WSR-88D works well when it is properly calibrated and proper use is made of clutter suppression. Members of the Council and OSF staff--who participated via video teleconference--were quite impressed with Jeff's presentation. Good job, Jeff!
WINTER WEATHER SEMINARS AT NWSFO LUBBOCK. Reports are that the seminars given by Wes Junker (NCEP's Heavy Precipitation Branch) at NWSFO Lubbock on November 19-20 were a huge success. Twenty-five people attended his afternoon seminar on the 19th, including folks from NWSOs AMA, MAF, and SJT and several graduate students from Texas Tech. Wes repeated the seminar the next morning and 14 attended that one, including Dr. Peterson and two more graduate students from Tech and one additional person from NWSO AMA. Wes discussed heavy snow forecasting and led a forecasting exercise.
SOUTHERN REGION OFFICES PARTICIPATE IN AMS DATASTREME PROJECT. As noted in the November 1997 Bulletin of the AMS, the DataStreme Project is a major precollege teacher enhancement initiative of the American Meteorological Society. Its main goal is the training of 4,000 Weather Education Resource Teachers who will promote the teaching of weather across the K-12 curriculum in their home school districts. The initial step in the training of Resource Teachers is their participation in the DataStreme distance-learning course. The 13-week course is offered twice a year to selected participants. It focuses on the study of the atmospheric environment through the use of electronically-transmitted weather data and learning materials combined with Study Guide readings and investigations.
The DataStreme course is offered through Local Implementation Teams (LITs) that are located around the country. The LITs, typically composed of three members, coordinate the selection and delivery of the course to approximately eight teachers each semester. Each team advertises the course availability, recruits and selects participants, arranges and holds local meetings, individually mentors participants on course comprehension and activities, provides participant evaluations, and assists in developing Resource Teacher action plans.
Staff at NWSO Amarillo, NWSO Lake Charles and NWSFO Little Rock are new participants in the DataStreme Project this year, with the Lake Charles LIT being the first in the state of Louisiana. Staff from NWSFO Fort Worth and SRH continue to serve on LITs in North Texas.
NWS TRAINING PROGRAMS LAUNCH JOINT WEB SITE. The NWS Training Center (NWSTC) in Kansas City, the Operational Support Facility (OSF) in Norman, and the COMET Program in Boulder have launched a newly-established Meteorology Education and Training (METED) Website (URL: http://METED.ucar.edu). Over time, this Web site will become the principal location for all Web-based materials produced by the three training programs and information on their training and education activities.
The COMET Program has just completed its first Web module for the METED site. Users may access the Web module "Mesoscale Convective Systems: Squall Lines and Bow Echoes" (MCS) via the METED Web site. The MCS training will be released in increments. The initial release covers the conceptual models of squall line and bow echo evolution. In the coming months, the COMET Program will make additions to the Web module including the Physical Processes section and the Case Exercises. We encourage users to review each increment as it is released in order to fit this training into busy schedules. Completion of the material presented in MCS will be expected prior to student participation in COMET case-based teletraining sessions on MCSs in early 1998.
The primary goal of this Web module is to provide forecasters a means to understand, recognize, and anticipate organized convective system evolution and the associated potential for producing severe weather, based on an understanding of the physical processes that control their evolution. Special emphasis is placed on the role that buoyancy and vertical wind shear interactions have in controlling system structure and evolution. The ability to anticipate what is possible and probable during a system's evolution allows forecasters to better manage their activities during these potentially long-lived and severe convective events. Other related materials will be produced by OSF/OTB and NWSTC, some of which will be available from the METED Web site.
Options are available for users with slow connections. Once completed, the entire module will also be made available on CD-ROM. By popular request, COMET has provided an option for users to access and print a list of the summary bullets from each section via the "Learning Resources" page (on the home page of the module). Users may also find the complete module bibliography useful. It is also available under the "Learning Resources" link.
COMET welcomes any comments you may have regarding the content, instructional approach, or use of this Web module. Users may reach Wendy Abshire and Pat Parrish via the "Send Your Comments" link from the MCS home page or at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Pat and Wendy directed the development of the MCS module and will be developing future COMET additions to the site. Users who access the MCS Web materials are encouraged to complete and submit the on-line survey also located under the "Send Your Comments" link.
CIAMS MEETING FEATURES OLYMPIC MARINE WEATHER SUPPORT. Every seat was taken at the November meeting of the Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies (CIAMS) at Texas A&M University. The featured speaker was Steve Rinard (MIC, NWSO Lake Charles) who discussed the weather support for the sailing events of the Centennial Olympics near Savannah, Georgia.
Steve noted the value of special observations and high-resolution model runs which allowed the forecasters to make very specific forecasts for several sailing venues. On several occasions the forecasters accurately advised Olympic officials to continue some races while postponing those in nearby venues.
Steve also reviewed the expected hiring situation and revised application procedures for those students interested in working in the NWS.
U.S. NAVY AND NWS INTRODUCE INTERACTIVE CLIENT-SERVER DISPLAY SYSTEM. Internet CNODDS (ICNODDS) is a client/server system for distributing, displaying, and manipulating U.S. Navy meteorologic and oceanographic data products. The acronym CNODDS means Civilian version of the Navy Oceanographic Data Distribution System. The products include worldwide U.S. Navy WAM and NOGAPS model data, OTIS sea surface temperatures, synoptic surface observations and upper air soundings. ICNODDS is a Web application that consists of two parts: the server that maintains data files updated twice daily, and the Joint METOC Viewer (JMV) client software needed to view the data.
The JMV software has been developed by the Navy to display and manipulate downloaded meteorological and oceanographic data. It resides on a PC or workstation, and runs under Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT, and HP/Unix 10.x operating systems.
A Web browser that can view frames is required to access the ICNODDS Web site. (Version 3.x or later of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are both frame enabled.) Using a WWW browser on at least a high-end 486 PC, a registered user first downloads the JMV software from the ICNODDS server. Any of hundreds of numerically-generated products may then be downloaded for analysis with the JMV. The ICNODDS server also supports a "public" products area where any user may access a limited amount of meteorological, oceanographic, and satellite data.
The ICNODDS is made possible through a cooperative partnership between the U.S. Navy's Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center and the National Weather Service (NWS). NWS charges no fee to ICNODDS users. Visit the ICNODDS home page at: http://cnodds.nws.noaa.gov. To become a registered user, select Software, then Request Account.
PARTNERS PROPOSALS. The COMET Outreach Program has received funding for Partners projects for fiscal year 1998. Proposals for can be submitted at any time by researchers who wish to work in partnership with one or more forecastrers. Partners projects are short and relatively small-scale local efforts; for example, collaborative investigations of significant events or evaluation of new techniques. They are usually funded at around $5,000 for work that can be completed in one year. There is not a lengthy review process for Partners projects, but they must be approved by the MIC/HIC and the Regional Director before they are submitted (by the researcher) to COMET. For more information about COMET's Outreach Program, including proposal instructions, see the Web site at http://www.comet.ucar.edu/outreach/, or contact the COMET Outreach Program Manager, Vickie Johnson, at (303) 497-8361.
NEWS FROM EAST TENNESSEE. Four members of the NWSO Morristown staff participated in a seminar at NWSO Greer, South Carolina, given by Dr. Steven Koch from N.C. State University. The presentation concerned frontal precipitation patterns and dynamics, especially associated with upper-level jets and prefrontal, low-level jets. Morristown SOO, Steve Hunter, recently visited the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and gave a presentation on NWSO operations. His talk was aimed at helping the safety operations personnel at the lab better understand what the NWS does and how our products can assist operations at the national lab.
CHUCK JORDAN. We were saddened to learn that Prof. Charles L. (Chuck) Jordan passed away last week in Tallahassee. Dr. Jordan was an integral part of the Florida State University meteorology department from 1957 until the late 1980s when he retired. Former students will recall his many years as chairman of the department. He provided leadership as a teacher of undergraduates and major professor to many graduate students who subsequently joined the NWS (or the Weather Bureau, in the case of some of us).
SRH VOICE MAIL NEWS. The Administrative Services Division has been added to the Southern Region Headquarters (SRH) auto attendant voice mail system. Attached to this edition of Southern Topics is the current telephone extension list for Southern Region Headquarters personnel. The names appearing in bold are currently using voice mail. Please keep this extension list handy when calling anyone in the Administrative Management Division (AMD), Meteorological Services Division (MSD), or Systems Operations Division (SOD) areas.
Voice mail is a very effective tool, particularly for SRH. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that our voice mail system operates in the most efficient manner possible. As soon as the auto attendant begins speaking, you can dial the extension of the person you are trying to call and be connected. Additionally, if your party is on the phone or not available, you can leave a message for him/her to call you back. If you require some particular information, it gives your party the opportunity to get the information and have it available when he/she calls back. If your party is out on travel or vacation, you will be able to ascertain where your party is, be given the opportunity to leave a message, or be referred to someone else to handle your call. Almost everyone at SRH checks his or her voice mail on a regular basis when on travel or otherwise out of the office.
All field sites are strongly urged to use the auto attendant for all calls to SRH. Using the "0" option for a call is counterproductive and results in a delay in reaching your party in the listed divisions. Use of the human operator should be held to a minimum.
CALL MILESTONE REACHED. Offices in the Southern Region exceeded 110,000 calls under FTS2000 in October. That amounts to an average of about 3,929 calls per office during the month. This figure does not include SRH calls, nor calls made under a GSA switch.
UPPER AIR PROGRAM: B-29 AND B-85 FORMS. Preliminary test transmissions of the B-29 and B-85 forms is underway. Congratulations to Marion Kukyendal, NWSO Shreveport DAPM, who became the first to use the Informs package to "officially" transmit the 11/20/97 B-29 form. NWSFO Miami has also been working with SRH in testing the B-29 form. To date, only six sites have sent test transmissions of the new forms. We are still planning on using the Informs package to send the B-29 and B-85 forms electronically via cc:Mail starting December 1. This process will eliminate mail and/or fax costs which continue to rise. The B-29 form will be submitted on the scheduled dates thrice monthly as we do now. We expect to be able to submit this form once a month in the very near future.
All SRH DAPMs received a second license for Informs 4.2 on November 14. Each upper air site should have Informs 4.2 loaded on the designated DAPM/HMT computer by now and also have installed the Service Pack 1 update. All upper air sites should have also downloaded the Winzip files "geneb29.zip" and "gene1124.zip" from the Elite Federal Forms FTP site at "ftp://ftp.elitefedforms.com" under "CUSTOMER." The first zip file contained both B-29 and B-85 forms. The second zip file was an update to the B-29 form which replaces the original form. Please refer to the cc:Mail sent on 11/14/97, from Gene Witsman, which provides further guidance and notes of interest.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND SAFETY TRAINING, NOVEMBER 18-20, 1997. Thirty-one newly-designated environmental focal points from around the Southern Region met at the Harvey Hotel near DFW airport for three days of indoctrination into the complex details of U.S. environmental and safety regulations affecting many of the daily operations at their respective WFOs and RFCs. The Southern Region environmental focal points come from a variety of job classifications: meteorologists, ESAs, ETs, DAPMs, HMTs, and one each SOO and hydrologist. For some it was an eye opener to see how regulated the use and disposal of common chemicals has become. For others it was an important reminder of how careful we must be to avoid running afoul of recent laws and regulations governing everyday activities in our NWS workplaces.
Do you know who to call if you have a mercury spill at your site? What about a large diesel spill? Do you have Material Safety Data Sheets on all of your chemicals? The suppliers are required to have copies, even if the material is acquired from K-mart or the hardware store. An OSHA or EPA inspector may ask to see these if they come to your office. Our sites are considered "small generators" for EPA purposes, but if we are colocated with a larger facility such as a university, the rules may change to require us to conform to "large generator" status with more stringent requirements of reporting wastes, etc. In some states the EPA has granted authority to the state environmental agency if the state's rules are the same or tougher than EPA's, so the regulations can vary from state to state.
The material was presented by two speakers from Waste Resources, Inc. of Niagara Falls, New York, and the subjects covered included an overview of ten federal environmental laws; OSHA standards; personal safety, health, and environmental effects; hazardous properties of chemicals, including the legal identification of hazardous waste (which requires the skills of a lawyer to read the rule and a chemist to interpret it); chemical compatibility; Department of Transportation regulations for labeling, packaging, and transportation; chemical spill response; and lots more. Most participants went away with more questions that can only be addressed by communicating with our NWS and NOAA environmental specialists, digging in the large volume of references that we received, and talking to our local environmental regulators when necessary.
A compressed, one-day environmental course will be given to all Southern Region MICs, perhaps at the next MIC conference. The focal points will be available to answer employee questions on environmental- and safety-related subjects, and they may also ask to talk with employees to compile additional environmental information in order to build a chemical inventory for each site.
If you have any environmental- or safety-related questions, please contact your environmental focal point (see attached listing) or Terry Brisbin, SRH, at (817) 978-2644 ext. 139.
RECENT DEPARTURE. Sam Balandran, EEO Manager/Personnel Liaison, accepted a position with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Dallas, Texas. Sam's last day with NWS was November 21, 1997. We wish him well in his new position!
A vacancy announcement recruiting behind him will be out soon. The incumbent serves as the Southern Region's Equal Employment Manager, with responsibility to develop, implement, and enhance the Southern Region's EEO, minority, and special-emphasis programs. We encourage anyone interested to apply for this important position.
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