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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas

January 2002

SOUTHERN TOPICS

Working Together To Save Lives


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

NEW MICS AT LUBBOCK AND CORPUS CHRISTI. It gives me great pleasure to introduce the new Meteorologists-in-Charge at WFO Lubbock and WFO Corpus Christi.

Larry Vannozzi, who for the past two years has been the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at SRH, has been named the new MIC at WFO Lubbock. A veteran of 15 years with the NWS, Larry's experience ranges from hazardous weather forecasting to drought and fire weather. Prior to joining the meteorological services team in CWWD at Southern Region Headquarters Larry worked at WFOs Houston, Albuquerque and Lubbock. He was a member of the service assessment team for the May 3, 1999 Oklahoma/Kansas tornado outbreak, has received two Southern Region Director's Awards, and was recently selected to participate in the regional BLAST Program. Larry spent almost half of his NWS career as the WCM in Lubbock.

Jim Purpura, most recently the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at WFO Norman, will assume duties as MIC at WFO Corpus Christi later this month. Jim began his NWS career in 1981 as a meteorology instructor at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. In 1985 he moved on to the forecast office in Chicago where he worked in marine, aviation and public forecasting. Jim became the first NWS WCM when he assumed that position in 1990 at WFO Norman. He helped define the role of WCMs to follow as he worked to enhance media relationships and establish higher levels of confidence in the new NWS services across the Norman county warning area, which included storm-sensitive parts of north Texas. Jim spent more than a decade conducting classes, co-authoring training materials for and serving as a mentor to other WCMs who, in turn, trained tens of thousands of storm spotters. He was also instrumental in bringing EMWIN - The Emergency Manager's Weather Information Network - to emergency managers throughout Oklahoma and Texas.

Congratulations to both of these individuals for their accomplishments and selection to their new positions.

BLAST SELECTIONS. I am pleased to announce selections for the 2002 Southern Region BLAST (Building Leaders for A Solid Tomorrow) Program. Many excellent applications were received, and it was a challenging task for the field manager evaluation team and myself to make the final selections. I am proud of the accomplishments of all who applied and I strongly encourage those who were not selected to reapply for the next BLAST course. I also encourage all employees to participate in your local office BLAST Program. Remember: Leadership is a behavior, not a position. Special thanks to the five managers who worked so hard evaluating each application. Please join me in congratulating the individuals below. The enthusiastic reception BLAST has received is helping to ensure we improve leadership at all levels of the SR.

The 2002 Southern Region BLAST participants are (in alphabetical order):

Melinda Bailey, Program Manager SRH Fort Worth
James Belles, WCM WFO Memphis
Kandis Boyd, Program Manager SRH Fort Worth
Tom Bradshaw, Lead Forecaster WFO Birmingham
Alan Gerard, SOO WFO Jackson
Bradley Gimmestad, DOH SERFC Atlanta
Michael Mach, Lead Forecaster WFO Fort Worth
Victor Murphy, Program Manager SRH Fort Worth
Andrew Patrick, SOO WFO Corpus Christi
Richard Smith, WCM WFO Norman
Larry Vannozzi, MIC WFO Lubbock
Patrick Vesper, WCM WFO Midland

NATIONAL ISAAC CLINE AWARD WINNERS. Join me in congratulating the following individuals at WFO Corpus Christi who are the recipients of the 2001 NWS National Isaac Cline Award for Upper-Air Observations Team: Harold E. Davenport, Tommy L. Dever, Steven B. Smart, Lawrence E. Maifeld, Donald Parkerson, William D. Tomey, and William H. Harrison. Their accomplishments were exemplary in achieving the highest rating in the Nation for fiscal year 2001. Great job, fellows.

IFPS

REVISED DIGITAL FORECAST (RDF) WEB PAGE. A Web page has been created for the RDF which contains a sample PNS of the RDF, elements of the RDF and sample scripts/programs for the RDF- including an AWIPS version, an Internet version and an NWWS version. You can view this page on the Southern Region IFPS Web site at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/msd/scriptsprograms.html.

IFPS TRAINING HELP. Don't forget to also visit the Southern Region IFPS Web site (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/msd/ifps.html) for IFPS training help. Included in this section are:

Thanks to Jeff Medlin at WFO Mobile, Steve Taylor at WFO Lubbock, Pat Welsh at WFO Jacksonville, Mike Buchanan at WFO Corpus Christi and Chris Darden at WFO Memphis for all of this great, detailed and helpful information.

CLIMATE, WATER AND WEATHER DIVISION

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS

Texas NWR expansion continued in December as sites were installed at Gilmer, Cumby and Stephenville, Texas. Each of the sites will be undergoing a 30-day operational test phase before official acceptance. The antenna and associated cabling at the NWR site at Mobile was repaired and re-positioned in mid-December to improve NWR reception in the Mobile area.

Future NWR expansion sites to be completed in January include: Palestine and Sweetwater, Texas; Atoka, Oklahoma; Lecanto and Sebring, Florida; and the relocation of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Key West, Florida NWR sites.

Eleven locations in Southern Region have recently received USDA grants for NWR systems. They are: Lobelville, Centerville, and Vale, Tennessee; Atoka, Oklahoma; Sweetwater, Uvalde, D'Hanis, Dilley, and Rio Grande City, Texas; and Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Twenty-one 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.

Preparations continue involving the 22 NWS NWR sites which have been funded in this year's NWS budget. These locations are: Muskogee, Oklahoma; LaFollette, Linden, Fall Creek Falls State Park and Putnam County, Tennessee; Natchitoches, Many and Bogalusa, Louisiana; Harrison/Jasper, Arkansas; 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.

VOICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (VIP) UPDATE. Testing continues involving the new voice system at NWSH. WFO Melbourne is the initial Southern Region beta test site for the new voice system. Installation and testing will begin in mid-January, pending an initial successful installation at Mount Holly, New Jersey. 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.

MARINE

New Orleans WorkBoat Show Nov 28-30, 2001. WFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge provided support to the NWS display at the New Orleans WorkBoat Show held at the convention center November 28-30. Bob Jacobson and Wayne Weeks (NWSH Marine Branch) set up arrangements for the display at the work boat show and staffed the booth throughout the event. WFO senior forecasters Joel Schexnayder and Robert Ricks helped staff the display booth, and the WFO also supplied a projector for a PC-based video program as part of the display. Joel and Robert said the participation was worthwhile and allowed the forecasters to visit with the commercial and industrial portion of their marine user community.

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH

SKYWARN Recognition Day. Many Southern Region WFOs participated in the third annual special event in recognition of SKYWARN volunteers (November 30 and December 1, 2001). Some of the specifics:

WFO Nashville reported the event was a huge success. Michael Davis, IT (Outreach Team) organized and moderated the event. Amateur radio operators from all over the middle Tennessee area contributed to the success of the event. More than 25 participants from the CWA visited the WFO. Some of their accomplishments included:

WFO Fort Worth enjoyed a successful event, too. They made 438 contacts, up significantly from last year. They also added the support of the Azle Amateur Radio Club with the use of their emergency communications trailer and antennas. Also, the North Texas ARRL provided a complete PSK-31 station. The WFO reported the extensive setup and tear-down work was well worth the effort.

WFO Brownsville took advantage of SKYWARN Recognition Day as a chance to enhance their developing SKYWARN networks. The office served the hams some homemade "WCM Texas chili and cornbread." They also received advice from two SKYWARN HAMs who were visiting from Duluth and Green Bay (some snowbirds seeking warmth, we suspect!).

Alert Appreciation. WFO Birmingham MIC Ken Graham and WCM Brian Peters presented six certificates of appreciation to local amateur radio operators. The six worked at the office during the entire November 24, 2001 tornado outbreak - one of the biggest severe weather outbreaks in Alabama history. HAM operators play a critical role for the WFOs during severe weather. Storm reports, warnings, identifying new storms, and verifying the status of older storms are all relayed via HAM radio to forecasters. A strong thanks goes out to the amateur radio operators nationwide. Oh by the way, these folks are all volunteers!

Duval County Prepares. WFO Jacksonville participated in a StormReady ceremony (see next section) which was held in conjunction with the "Duval Prepares" partner signing ceremony. Mike McAllister, DAPM, and WCM Fred Johnson staffed a hazardous weather display in the lobby of the Jacksonville City Hall during the event. The mayor of Jacksonville attended the ceremony as did a number of other elected officials from nearby communities.

National Science Teachers Association. WFO Memphis helped staff a booth at the National Science Teachers Association regional meeting in December. Hundreds of eager science teachers, mainly from across the southeastern United States, picked up many NWS publications. The booth was also staffed with folks from the NOAA Office of Public and Constituent Affairs, NESDIS, and NCDC.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION

StormReady. WFO Jacksonville recently recognized Duval County, Florida, as a new StormReady community. State director Craig Fugate (Florida Department of Emergency Management) participated in the ceremony with WFO Jacksonville MIC Steve Letro and WCM Fred Johnson.

There are now seven new StormReady sites in Southern Region so far this fiscal year. By the way, the addition of Hobbs, New Mexico, at the end of November means there is at least one StormReady site in each of the ten states in the Southern Region.

Mississippi EM Meeting. Staff from WFOs New Orleans, Memphis, Jackson and Mobile, along with SRH, represented the NWS early last month at Mississippi's mid-year emergency management conference in Tunica, Mississippi. The NWS representatives discussed StormReady and other preparedness issues with emergency managers. The meeting was also an opportunity for the NWS attendees to discuss other issues of mutual interest.

MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT

WFO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian was interviewed by a reporter from Nashville's CBS-TV affiliate regarding the Henry County, Tennessee tornado in late November. Henry County is in the northeast corner of the WFO Memphis CWA; Jerry highlighted the WFO's 20 minute warning lead time for that tornado. He also discussed tornado safety tips and promoted NOAA Weather Radio as the best way to get NWS warnings.

Workshop for Broadcasters. WFO Lubbock SOO Loren Phillips and WCM Ed Calianese hosted a winter weather forecasting workshop for the Lubbock television weather broadcasters. Loren presented material from the "Ingredients-Based Winter Weather Forecasting" teletraining and supplemental material regarding precipitation efficiency. He also presented case study material for a recent West Texas winter storm. The informal atmosphere led to a good deal of discussion. The forum allowed the WFO and TV participants to learn more about each other's operations. After the seminar, forecaster Steve Taylor gave the attendees an overview of the upcoming NWS changes associated with IFPS and GFE.

AVIATION EFFORT. Brian LaMarre, WFO Corpus Christi senior forecaster/aviation program leader, represented the region in late October at a planning workshop for the COMET Distance Learning Aviation Course (DLAC). The two-day workshop solicited input from a wide range of individuals in the aviation community, including meteorologists from WFOs, CWSUs, the AWC, NESDIS, Mississippi State University, and UCAR/COMET staff. The distance-learning course will be a combination of teletraining and Web-based modules. Case studies will be oriented toward meteorological processes, versus specific climatic regions. As a result, all interests in aviation forecasting will benefit. The course should be complete by next summer. It is estimated the total time needed to complete the DLAC will be about 12 hours.

ENHANCING LEADERSHIP SKILLS. WFO Corpus Christi senior forecaster Brian LaMarre initiated a local effort to further the leadership skills of the WFO staff through the use of the National Seminars Group training materials. NSG is one of the nation's leading providers of continuing education. Through the use of the NSG home page, individuals interested in empowering themselves through rigorous self-paced education and training can benefit. Local seminars, on-site training, or online education pertaining to concepts of leadership, management, communication, and self-analysis, are available through the NSG Web site. Users need only to register on the Web site for email notifications, receive frequent articles and exercises, as well as schedules for future seminars available in your area.

Given the success of the region's BLAST program, NSG is one possibility for additional leadership training and exercises. It can also be used in conjunction with the Southern Region Leadership Library, to enhance local BLAST initiatives.

NEWS FROM THE NWS/FAA ACADEMY

FAA Academy EFAS. Gary Schmeling (CRH RAM) and Paul Fikes, a lead forecaster from the Aviation Weather Center, actively participated in the Enroute Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) course at the FAA Academy in December. Both received a quick orientation of FAA Academy operations and then spent a full afternoon and part of the next morning in the classroom interacting with 14 students who work at AFSSs throughout the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). This interaction was beneficial for EFAS students and for the NWS meteorologists. Participation from all six NWS regions is planned for future courses to provide NWS meteorologists with the opportunity to talk directly to FAA weather briefer specialists who use NWS aviation products daily. This candid exchange of information will result in improved aviation products and services which the NWS provides to one of our main customers.

T-1 Line Installed. The NWS facility at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City recently was linked to the SR frame relay network to obtain real-time weather data and an internet connection for use in oral pilot weather briefer examinations. Gary Petroski (SRH) visited the office in late November to provide support for the network. Soon a Web page will be added which will provide unique information on NWS operations at the FAA Academy.

Science Fair Judging. Robert Prentice, NWS lead instructor at the FAA Academy, was one of the judges for a science fair last November at the All Saints Catholic School. Project categories included physics, computer science, earth and space, mathematics, and environmental science. The event was a big success and the science fair coordinator indicated that Bobby represented the NWS in a very professional manner.

NWS Office Moves. During the last week of December, the offices of the NWS instructors at the FAA Academy were relocated to new quarters in the Flight Inspection Building. Although the move involved working space changes from Room 202 to Room 214, all telephone numbers for each staff member remain the same. As with any move, several glitches did occur, but main operations were handled with minimal disruption, and all telephone and network connections were back to normal before the end of the year.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH

RFC PROJECT TEAMS. A major outcome of our regional RFC Service Enhancement and Technology Transfer Workshop was the formation of four project teams. The team objectives and team representation are listed below.

1. RFC Web page presence/baseline (Team Leader - Dave Reed, HIC, LMRFC)

This team will review RFC Web pages and identify a baseline set of graphical/text product which can be presented in a consistent format. The methods for producing these products on the Web will also be reviewed for consistency. The primary team members are senior hydrologic forecasters Ethan Jolly from LMRFC, and Frank Bell fromWGRFC, James Paul, senior HAS forecaster from ABRFC, Jack Bushong, HAS forecaster from SERFC, and Kandis Boyd, hydrologic services program manager from SRH HSB.

Other team members include:

1. LMRFC - Keith Stellman, senior hydrologic forecaster, David Welch, hydrologic forecaster
2. WGRFC - Cyndie Abelman, senior HAS forecaster
3. ABRFC - John Schmidt, senior hydrologic forecaster and Bill Lawrence, DOH
4. SERFC - Jonathan Atwell, senior hydrologic forecaster

2. RFC computational backup on LINUX PCs (Team Leader - Billy Olsen, HIC, ABRFC)

This team will look at opportunities to develop a LINUX PC-based RFC computational backup capability which can run at the RFC, co-located WFO, or a remote WFO for various types of operational outage scenarios. The primary team members are senior hydrologic forecasters Eric Jones from LMRFC and Reggina Garza from SERFC, Jeff McMurphy, hydrologic forecaster from ABRFC, and Bob Corby, DOH from the WGRFC.

Other individuals who will provide technical assistance for this project include:

ABRFC - Bill Lawrence, DOH, Mike Pierce, hydrologic forecaster, and Mike Boehmke, HAS forecaster.
LMRFC - Jeff Graschel, senior HAS forecaster
WGRFC - Mike Thompson, senior hydrologic forecaster

3. Information sharing (Team Leader - John Feldt, HIC, SERFC)

This team will look at integrating new information dissemination technologies at the RFCs to coordinate/disseminate hydrologic information with/to our partners and customers. The primary team members are Jeff Graschel, senior HAS forecaster from LMRFC, Cyndie Abelman, senior HAS forecaster from WGRFC, Greg Stanley, senior hydrologic forecaster from ABRFC, Todd Hamill, hydrologic forecaster from SERFC, and Kandis Boyd, hydrologic services program manager from SRH HSB.

Other team members include:

1. LMRFC - Keith Stellman, senior hydrologic forecaster
2. WGRFC - Greg Waller, hydrologic forecaster
3. ABRFC - Janet McCormick, hydrologic forecaster
4. SERFC - Jack Bushong, HAS forecaster

4. WHFS Data sharing (Team Leader - Jerry Nunn, HIC, WGRFC)

This team will look at ways for the RFCs and WFOs to share hydrologic information contained in their AWIPS hydrologic databases. The primary team representatives are hydrologic forecasters Janet McCormick, Amanda Roberts, and Christine Mcgehee from ABRFC, LMRFC, and SERFC, respectively, senior hydrologic forecaster Patrick Sneeringer from WGRFC, and Bob Carle, senior service hydrologist from the WFO in Fort Worth.

Other team members include:

1. WGRFC -Greg Shelton, HAS forecaster
2. LMRFC - Eric Jones, senior hydrologic forecaster
3. ABRFC - James Paul, senior hydrologic forecaster and Jeff McMurphy, hydrologic forecaster

Another team led by SR HSB will focus on facilitating coordination activities between NWSH and AWS Convergent Technologies to identify requirements for acquiring hydrometeorological data from the school data networks to support NWS warning and forecast operations.

GIS FLOOD MAPPING. Michael Shultz, hydrologic forecaster at WGRFC, has developed a flood inundation map using GIS technology based on a dynamic wave hydraulic model simulation (FLDWAV) of the October 1998 record flood on the Lower Guadalupe River. Mike's efforts mark one of the first instances where hydraulic results computed by FLDWAV have been successfully imported into a GIS environment. The computed water surface elevations were mapped onto detailed aerial photographic maps to provide a depiction of the areal extent of the record flood in the Cuero and Victoria, Texas areas. Mike is working on two technical memoranda, one on the use of FLDWAV model to simulate flows on the Guadalupe River, and the second on importing the output from FLDWAV to a GIS environment to produce flood inundation maps. Nice work, Mike.

AHPS PRODUCTS AND INFORMATION TEAM. NWS Headquarters has formed an Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services Products and Information Team. The SR representative on the team is Ethan Jolly, LMRFC senior hydrologic forecaster. The team's mission is to define a consistent core suite of graphical NWS hydrologic products and information which will support the full spectrum of hydrologic services, and to make them easily accessible to our partners and customers. The team will consider new and emerging technologies for product and information access and query (e.g., Internet, GIS, wireless communications). The team will provide recommendations and a team report to the NWS Corporate Board no later than next September.

RIVER FORECASTS FOR PDAs. LMRFC is now placing all of their river forecasts on a Web site in a format for a Personal Digital Assistant. These river forecasts are available through a Web clipping application and through the AvantGo service. The Web clipping application allows wireless users to access the forecasts through a cell phone connection and acquire up-to- the-minute forecasts and data. Using the free AvantGo service, a customer can "download" the files and display a simple Web page of the river forecasts at a later time. Nice work, LMRFC.

SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK DATES. We recently sent all offices a memorandum containing the dates for the Spring Flood Outlook issuance dates: February 22, March 22, and April 5. The memorandum has been posted to the SR HSB Web page for reference.

COE/USGS/NWS MEETING. The COE, USGS, and NWS held their annual Mississippi River Basin tri-agency meeting last month in New Orleans. NWS representatives attending the meeting included Ben Weiger from SRH HSB, Dave Reed and Ethan Jolly, HIC and senior hydrologic forecaster from LMRFC, and Greg Stanley, senior hydrologic forecaster from ABRFC. Ben gave presentations on the new SR River Flood Outlook product and the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services program. Dave gave presentations on the new national flood outlook graphical product, results of the RFC 24x7 operations test, and the mission of the new national hydrologic services team; Ethan gave presentations on the RIVERWATCH Web page status and LMRFC mainstem river forecasts for personal digital assistants, and Greg gave a status report on procedure development and operational activities at the ABRFC. Most of the discussion after the presentations focused on the need for a one-stop shop Web site for water resource information from all federal water resource agencies and the need to better combine resources and share information pertaining to flood inundation mapping activities. The agencies agreed to raise these subject matters with their respective headquarter offices.

FLASH FLOOD MONITORING AND PREDICTION STATUS. The Flash Flood Monitoring and Prediction (FFMP) system is an integrated suite of multi-sensor applications which generates short-term warning guidance for flash flooding automatically within AWIPS. WFO Knoxville service hydrologist Brian Boyd is currently beta testing the FFMP and will be meeting with developers in January to discuss potential enhancements to make the graphics interface more user friendly and to address other requirements. Each WFO will be receiving one high resolution basin data CD per radar in the HSA that will be installed in AWIPS. Additional FFMP information can be viewed at http://205.156.54.206/om/flashflood/ffmpinfo.shtml. This Web site will provide training and outreach materials. This Web site now contains the new FFMP 2.0 User's Guide available to download and which CDs have been completed for a specific WFO.

NEW PRECIPITATION WEB PAGES FOR WFO MORRISTOWN. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has teamed up with WFO Morristown to create Web pages which portray basin precipitation for various upper Tennessee River basins. The Web pages begin at the following URL: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mrx/hydro/tvarainfall.htm. Note only upper Tennessee River basins are currently available, and some of the basins actually extend into parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee, areas which are not in the Morristown HSA. The TVA plans to include the rest of the upper Tennessee basins in this project as well.

HISTORIC FLOODING IN LITTLE ROCK HSA. Prior to November, most of the hydrologic activities at WFO Little Rock were related to drought and extremely low stream levels. Drought conditions began to improve in late November when several strong storm events occurred across southern Arkansas.

Although tornados in western and northern Arkansas were the focal point of the first severe weather event, all but the extreme northwest portion of the state received moderate to heavy rainfall. Tornados skipped across portions of at least four counties in the southeast on November 26. This event also left 1 to 3 inch rainfall amounts across the southeast counties of the CWA.

Moderate rain fell on December 15 with total accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. The heaviest rainfall amounts occurred on the evening of the 16th. Flash flood warnings and general inundation flood problems were common during the evening and overnight. Three to five inches fell on ground saturated by previous rainfall events. As of December 16, 26 of 35 river forecast points were forecast to exceed flood stage. Twenty-two of these locations eventually exceeded flood stage and several sites crested within a foot of flood stage. While most river flooding was minor, this was the highest level recorded in several years for most points.

The Cache River also experienced an impressive historic crest of 12.7 feet on the evening of December 18, the highest stage since 1937. The crest at the gauge near Grubbs (Cache River near Pitts) reported the highest flood level in recent history of approximately 33.5 feet. Eighteen levees broke in one day, covering many roads and state highways in Jackson and Woodruff counties. At least five houses in the Grubbs vicinity were flooded with many more accessible only by boat. Downstream at Patterson, homes on the western edge of town flooded.

Overall, several severe weather events across southern and southeastern Arkansas produced 7 to 10 inches of rain on November 27, with amounts up to 9 inches in 24 hours. Flooding was reported in Monticello, Dumas, and rural areas in six counties in southeast Arkansas. Overall, the precipitation over the three week period ranged from 8 to 12 inches.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

THUNDERSTORM BOOKLET. Copies of an interesting and attractive new booklet titled Thunderstorms Across the Nation - An Atlas of Storms, Hail, and Their Damages in the 20th Century, by Stanley Changnon, have been distributed to all offices. Support for the booklet was provided by NOAA and it was prepared in conjunction with NCDC. Copies are available from NCDC.

PAPERS OF SEASONAL INTEREST. The December 2001 issue of the AMS journal Weather and Forecasting contains two short papers of seasonal interest for forecasters:

"Analysis of the Record Mesosnowfall Event of 1997 in Central Mississippi," by Paul Croft (Jackson State University) and Alan Gerard (SOO, WFO Jackson). Surprisingly, there were few if any telltale surface features associated with this rare eight-inch snowfall. Careful post-analysis suggests real-time use of a local mesoscale model (the MM5) may have made a significant difference in forecasts up to 18 hours prior to the event.

"Standardized Anomalies Applied to Significant Cold Season Weather Events: Preliminary Findings," by Richard Grumm (SOO, WFO State College) and Robert Hart (Penn State University). Recognizing the potential for significant outbreaks by analyzing conventional height and temperature fields is complicated by the high variability which naturally exists in these fields. An important factor (examined in this paper) is recognizing significant departures from normal, and how those may be related to extreme events.

Look out for ... the following additional papers by Southern Region authors which will soon appear in Weather and Forecasting:

"Warm Season Lightning Distributions over the Florida Peninsula as Related to Synoptic Patterns," by Todd Lericos (WFO Tallahassee), Henry Fuelberg (Florida State University), Irv Watson (WFO Tallahassee), and Ron Holle (Global Atmospherics, Inc. [formerly NSSL]).

"Local Data Integration over East-Central Florida using the ARPS Data Analysis System," by Jonathan Case and John Manobianco (ENSCO, Inc., NASA/AMU Kennedy Space Center), Timothy Oram and Tim Garner (NASA/NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group, Houston), and Peter Blottman and Scott Spratt (WFO Melbourne).

"Some Meteorological Characteristics of Significant Tornado Events Occurring in Proximity to Flash Flooding," Joseph Rogash (WFO El Paso), and Jonathan Racy (NCEP/SPC, Norman).

NEW COMET CASE STUDY. As part of its NWP training efforts COMET has announced the release of Tropical Storm Allison in the Southeast U.S., a brief case study which examines the possible role of initial conditions, resolution and precipitation processes in the predictability of Allison's movements from Louisiana to North Carolina from June 11-14, 2001. The case is available from the MetEd home page at http://meted.ucar.edu. As part of the overall NWP Professional Development Series (PDS), this is just one of many planned short case studies which will demonstrate critical thinking in the use of model products, based on an understanding of the characteristics and limitations of numerical models and the NWP forecast process.

This case examines the Eta model forecasts of movement and precipitation as Allison moved through the Southeast. After looping through east Texas and flooding the Houston metropolitan area with as much as 36 inches of rain over four days, the circulation associated with Allison moved back over the Gulf of Mexico, only to make landfall again in southern Louisiana. The storm then moved steadily, if slowly, across the Southeast and up the Atlantic Coast. Three Allison cases are anticipated, and this one focuses on Allison's impact on the Southeast. This portion of the storm's history was remarkable for the persistence of its circulation, maintenance of some aspects of its tropical characteristics, and inability of mesoscale models at NCEP (both Eta-22 and 10-km nests) to capture the storm's behavior.

COMET encourages feedback on this material. Email the NWP PDS development team at nwp12@comet.ucar.edu, or send comments directly to the developers of this case, Bill.Bua@noaa.gov or Stephen.Jascourt@noaa.gov. For technical support assistance for this module contact support@comet.ucar.edu.

DROUGHT UPDATE. Rich Tinker of the NCEP Climate Prediction Center provided maps which put into perspective the multi-year precipitation shortage which has plagued much of the U.S. Long-term drought has been a serious problem in many parts of the Southern Region, and things were not necessarily ameliorated by last year's rains. Attached to this month's Topics are sections of Rich's maps showing one-, three-, and five-year departures from normal precipitation through December 2001. The normal is based on the 1971-2000 average. (Full U.S. maps, along with two-, and four-year departure maps, can be accessed from links on the SR Drought Links Web site at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ssd/html/drought.htm.)

Note from the three-year departure map that the most extreme rainfall shortages extend from southern Louisiana, across the southern portions of Mississippi and Alabama, in Georgia, and in north Florida. Departures in those areas are 20-60 inches below normal...as if, over the past three years, as much as a full year of normal rainfall was "missed" in some areas! The five-year departure map shows similar conditions had pre-existed. Last year brought significant relief to some of the region, however, particularly in east Texas and Louisiana. The one-year departure map reflects the impact last June of the heavy rains associated with tropical storm Allison and her remnants, as the circulation drifted slowly eastward across the region. Large areas of east Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi experienced as much as 10-20 inches above normal rainfall for the year, although north Florida and south Georgia still fell 5-10 inches below normal. We all know that long-term drought isn't ended by a single storm, or even one wet year, but at least we seem to be catching up on that missing year of rain. Unfortunately, the long term outlook for the coming year indicates any significant additional relief for the north Florida/south Georgia area may not come until next winter (barring tropical storms, of course).

NCEP QUARTERLY BACKUP TEST. A quarterly test of the NCEP/AWIPS backup processing has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, 2002. The test will occur during the 1200 UTC model cycle and last approximately six hours. If critical weather develops on January 23, the backup test will be attempted on the following day.

During the backup test, the Air Force Weather Agency's MM5 output is sent as a replacement for the Meso Eta model; the Navy's NOGAPS and U.K. Meteorological Office's global model replace the AVN model, the FSL RUC replaces the NCEP RUC, and the Navy's Wave Watch 3 model replaces the NCEP version. At the conclusion of the test, the 1200 UTC NGM and NGM MOS products will be disseminated approximately six hours late.

Additional information regarding the NCEP's site outage backup processing is available at: http://www.ncep.noaa.gov/NCO/PMB/docs/ncep_backup.html

This exercise is necessary to ensure continue flow of model guidance in case of a site outage. Your continued patience and cooperation during these quarterly tests is greatly appreciated by the NCEP Central Operations staff.

PRECIPITATION TYPE FORECASTING TRAINING ON DEMAND. The teletraining session "Precipitation Type Forecasting" by Dan Baumgardt (SOO, WFO La Crosse) is now available with instructor's audio. To download the session with audio, go to the user's guide (Section 4): http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/ptype.html

The Precipitation Type Forecasting session has two objectives:

To obtain a certificate for the Precipitation Type session with audio, work with your SOO to complete the post session exercise found in Section 5. After completing the exercise, the SOO (or training focal point) can send an e-mail message to visit-cert@comet.ucar.edu and tell us who completed the session in your office. If you have questions on this session, send email to: visit-ptype@comet.ucar.edu

BUFKIT UPGRADE TO SUPPORT 60 LEVEL MESO ETA MODEL SOUNDINGS. A few folks have noticed problems displaying Meso Eta model output soundings using BUFKIT. Recall the number of levels in NCEP's operational Meso Eta was increased to 60 on November 27th, and previous versions of BUFKIT do not support that many levels. Release 23 of BUFKIT3, which supports up to 65 levels and forecasts out to 84 hours, is available on the Warning Decision Training Branch's Web site at:
http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/resources/projects/BUFKIT/distribution.html

NEW WINTER WEATHER PRODUCTS AT NCEP SREF WEB SITE. The Short-Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) group at NCEP has added new winter weather products to their Web site. These were developed to support the NCEP Hydrometeorological Prediction Center's Winter Weather Experiment.

Under the "Mean and Spread" link
(http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/mmb/SREF/FCST/COM/today.t09z/com_mean.html) are:

Under the "Probability Charts" link
(http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/mmb/SREF/FCST/COM/today.t09z/com_prob.html) are

The above products are available for the combined Meso Eta/Regional Spectral Model ensemble and the individual model (Eta or RSM) sub-ensembles. Comments or suggestions concerning these products should be directed to: Dr. Jun Du <Jun.Du@noaa.gov>

WFO JACKSONVILLE PARTICIPATES IN NOAA'S COASTAL STORM INITIATIVE. WFO Jacksonville will participate in the initial phase of new NOAA-wide program to help dramatically reduce the loss of property and life from Coastal Storms in the pilot region of Florida's St. John's River watershed. NOAA's Coastal Storms Initiative will apply a cross-section of NOAA capabilities to: ensure the safety of the coastal population; support and enhance the coastal economy; and sustain the environmental health of coastal communities and resources. Pat Welsh (SOO, WFO Jacksonville) and Bernard Meisner (SSD) participated in the initial project leaders' meeting at NWS Headquarters last month. The initiative involves several groups with the National Ocean Service and the NWS. A technical attachment to this issue month's Topics provides additional information.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

TELECOMMUNICATIONS. Early this month, our BLAST-UP account information was distributed to each of our field offices. These are the instant-meeting accounts set up through MCI WorldCom for sites to use in coordinating warnings and watches with neighboring sites and emergency managers at a moment's notice. Each office has an 800 number and passcode they can issue to other offices to dial into a phone conference to coordinate strategy.

We are still working a few post-transition issues with MCI, mainly concerning long distance services to some of our remote locations. These issues should be resolved soon.

The WFO Tallahassee move (concerning comms circuits and phone lines) is progressing smoothly. We had to delay the installation of some of the remote NWR circuit installations until this month because of availability of personnel. These installations are now going forward. All other communications for Tallahassee are progressing and on-time.

At the same time, we still have NWR orders open with telcos in Florida, Tennessee and Texas. MCI is also processing a few orders for NWR on the FTS2001 contract. We are continually coordinating with our NWR Program Management team here in SRH to insure these are installed on time and without problems.

Information is being gathered from each field site to update inventories and renew current orders for telecommunications services. This is an ongoing project which will require much time and effort in order to adequately catalog the communications for each office. The progress of this task will be updated periodically as we go forward.

IT SECURITY. In December Gary Petroski, Southern Region IT security officer, participated in an IT security seminar in Amarillo. This course was sponsored by SRH and hosted at WFO Amarillo. WFO Nashville ESA Steve Clark was the instructor. Other students attending the course were Martin Garcia (ESA), Scott Plischke (ITO) and Rich Wynne (SOO) from WFO Amarillo; Jeff Williams (ET) WFO Ft. Worth; Rod Heckel (ESA) WFO El Paso; and Justin Weaver (ITO) WFO Lubbock. All the students were instructed on the basics of IT security, ways hackers can infiltrate our networks, and simple ways we can prevent this from happening. Also discussed were router security, PC security, Network security and how to set up a Network Address Translations (NAT) Firewall on existing hardware. As a result of the seminar, everyone involved felt more confident about IT security at our offices, and feedback from the students was very good.

We have been monitoring the progress of our students enrolled in the SANS security online training. Feedback from the field on the course is very positive. Six people have finished this training so far.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

ASOS SOFTWARE UPGRADE TESTING. ASOS software version 2.62I was installed at Chattanooga, Tennessee last month in anticipation of the Operational Test and Evaluation of the new Ice Accretion Algorithm. This new algorithm, to be reviewed by the local WFO, will provide field forecasters with real-time operational estimates of ice accretion on planar surfaces.

SURFACE OBSERVATION TRANSITION. As of December 1, 2001, the FAA has assumed the responsibility for Service Level A and B ASOS Augmentation and Backup at all locations in Southern Region. 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 in November. It is expected that the CWO will relocate to the FAA leased office in Tallahassee and Shreveport within the next two weeks.

OPEN RPG INSTALLATION. The Open RPG (ORPG) installation has been successfully completed at 16 WSR-88D locations in Southern Region. Thus far, all reports back 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 took place between WFO Norman and the Frederick, Oklahoma DOD site the last week of November, and was successful.

ARCHIVE-4 REQUIREMENTS. NWS Headquarters and SRH are coordinating on a test which will allow WFOs to archive real-time WSR-88D data on site, and in turn also allow them to play back the data on the new Weather Event Simulator (WES). Each CONUS region has designated at least two test sites for this test. The beta test sites will be monitored by the AWIPS program office and NWSH for any impact on the AWIPS System.

SRH has also submitted the requirement that a mechanism must be found for converting 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 5 to 10 years of data, is in a JAZ drive format which is not compatible with the WES. Developing the means for conversion is a priority item being worked on at WSH, the WDTB, and within the regions.

RELOCATION OF THE KEESLER WSR-88D TO JACKSON. SRH attended a preliminary meeting with the Radar Operations Center (ROC) and DOD personnel concerning the logistics, action items, and time frame for relocating the DOD Keesler AFB WSR-88D to a location near Jackson, Mississippi. A robust discussion of actions required occurred with the project now fully underway. Initial efforts are centered around securing one of two preferred sites in Brandon, Mississippi and having an environmental/siting analysis performed at each of these two sites.

NAPLES, FLORIDA ASOS INSTALLED. Electronics technicians from WFO Miami in conjunction with NWS contractors have installed a new ASOS at Naples to meet FAA reporting requirements. Regional/local coordination is currently taking place between the FAA and the NWS so longline data dissemination can occur. Once this is in place, the commissioning process can begin. In addition to meeting FAA requirements, this ASOS will also greatly assist WFO Miami in providing weather data and services to the residents of the rapidly growing coastal sections of extreme southwest Florida.

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NWS and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) is under review by DOC General Counsel. We received conceptual approval of the MOA from NOAA last month and expect the same from DOC. Signature on both the MOA and MOU with the UAH should take place this month. The SRH Huntsville project team, led by Gary Grice, is close to establishing the project budget and timeline. The budget will be a working document which will vary until still unknown costs such as the acquisition of the AWIPS are negotiated and finalized.

Arrangements for temporary offices for the MIC, SOO, WCM, ASA, ESA, ET, and ITO, prior to the permanent office space, are nearing completion. UAH will provide the space, furniture, telephones, and Internet connection for the employees from April 2002 until the permanent office is complete later this year. Costs for the temporary space and equipment are currently being negotiated.

NOAA ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY ASSESSMENTS. The site selection committee for the NOAA assessment team visits has yet to meet to determine which sites will be visited in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Where and when the NOAA assessments will occur will be conveyed to the field as soon as it is known.

HVAC INSPECTIONS AT AMARILLO AND HOUSTON. HVAC consultants, local contractors and facility engineering technicians Steve Davis of Lubbock and Tom Kovack of Austin/San Antonio met to review outstanding deficiencies in the Amarillo and Houston-Galveston WFOs. Some items identified were corrected while the team was on location and the remainder will be completed by local contractors.

LOUISIANA WASTEWATER TREATMENT PERMITS. All three Southern Region sites in Louisiana have had their wastewater effluents tested by independent laboratories and were found to be in compliance with EPA standards for biological oxygen demand, total suspended solids, fecal coliforms, and pH levels. This is required annually since Lake Charles, Shreveport and Slidell have their own waste treatment systems and do not discharge into municipal wastewater treatment plants. The reports were sent to the state Department of Environmental Quality with copies forwarded to the respective offices to be maintained on file for possible DEQ inspections.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

WFO BROWNSVILLE. DAPM Jim Campbell and HMT Fred Vega gave a presentation on their office operations to16 students at Stell Middle School. These students were identified by state assessment tests as "at-risk" of dropping out before they graduate. In an effort to keep the students in school, their teacher, Mr. Simon Puente, has enrolled them in the Coca-Cola Valued Program. Through this program, the students tutor Martin Elementary students, enabling the older students to make a difference in the younger students' lives. Each tutor works with three students from grades K- 2nd grade, four times a week for 45 minutes each day. With a growing sense of responsibility and pride, the hope is the students will stay and do better in school. The program supports them with positive recognition, instruction and support, as well as a small monthly payment for their efforts. Photos of the presentation and group are on the local Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Web site at:
http://198.213.156.3/stell/Spuente-Comp%20Lit/CCVYP_FOLDER/ccvyp.htm

WFO TALLAHASSEE. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block represented the NWS at the North Florida Hispanic Association Educational Fair where he discussed careers in science. Ron and SOO Irv Watson interfaced with Orlando area high school senior Aimee Kohn on her Junior Focus project, a mentor program that focuses on shadowing prospective future employees. Aimee, who aspires to be a meteorologist, spent a shift with Ron and Irv learning about the mission and career potential of the NWS and then worked with Ron, her chosen mentor, in developing his forecast package.

WFO TAMPA BAY received a Gold Unit Award for their participation in the 2001 CFC Campaign. The requirements for this award were to receive a minimum donation of $80.00 from each participant, an average donation of $140.00 from all participants and a 60% participation from the office. The staff met the minimum donation and exceeded the average donation with 76% office participation. The person most responsible for generating the interest and motivation for this achievement was Tony Harper, the office's CFC Campaign Coordinator for 2001. Congratulations to all the WFO participants.

SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS

DECEMBER 1-31, 2001

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Louis Jones III WFO OUN Retirement HMT, GS-11
Gary Butler WFO FFC Retirement Service Hydrologist, GS-12
Richard Pollman WFO MRX Reassignment to CR Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Walter Cowan WFO MFL Promotion to CR El Tech, GS-11
Gar Nelson WFO OHX Reassignment to WR El Tech, GS-11
Roy Pennington WFO ABQ Retirement Forecaster, GS-12
Rusty Billingsley WFO LUB Reassignment to WR MIC, GS-14
Michael Motta WFO LZK Retirement Forecaster, GS-12
Amy Hausmann WFO ABQ Resignation Met Intern, GS-5
Terry Morse WFO JAX Reassignment to WR HMT, GS-11

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Matthew Sardi WFO FWD Promotion from NWSH ITO, GS-13
Charles Thomas Miller WFO BMX New Hire El Tech, GS-10
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Kurt Vanspeybroeck WFO BRO Reassignment from ABQ Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Doug Butts WFO JAN Reassignment from MOB Forecaster, GS-9
John Cohen WFO OHX Reassignment from SJT Forecaster, GS-12
Dan Gregoria WFO SJU Reassignment from LZK Forecaster, GS-7
Brian Read WFO EWX Promotion from SHV ESA, GS-12
Brian Smith WFO LZK Reassignment from LZK Forecaster, GS-7

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