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Fort Worth, Texas

January 15, 1997



WELCOME INTO 1997. We all wish the new year could begin with better news, but the budget subject must be pulled from 1996 into 1997, as it is the bell-ringing subject of the moment. The National Weather Service FY97 budget is causing consideration of some rather drastic measures to cut costs over the remainder of the fiscal year. As has been mentioned before, the FY98 budget development process does not look much better.

The reason we bring this to your attention is to focus proper importance on the letter received by all National Weather Service employees encouraging the updating of their personnel records. Please do yourself a favor and take the time to correct any mistakes in your record and, if necessary, update your work record by submission of an accurate SF-171.

Final decisions have not been announced regarding cost-cutting measures for this fiscal year; however, the information should be coming shortly. Southern Region managers should be extremely careful of expenditures, since the remainder of the year could become very tight.

CHRISTANNA W. ROBERSON (1946-1996). We are saddened at the loss of Chris Roberson, Administrative Assistant, NWSFO Memphis, who passed away on December 22, succumbing to severe pneumonia. She had suffered from respiratory ailments, but her death was a tragic shock. Chris joined the NWS as secretary at the Memphis WSFO in March 1986, after previous federal service with the IRS regional center in Memphis. Prior to that, Chris worked as a legal secretary in Denver and later in San Diego. Her contributions to the NWS and the Memphis office will be missed. Condolences may be addressed to her mother, Roxie Williamson, 5925 Hamlett Road, Millington, Tennessee 38053.

CECIL PALMER (1927-1996). We were saddened to learn that Cecil Palmer, who retired in 1982 after 36 years of federal service, passed away on New Year's Day. Cecil was MIC at Baton Rouge, Brownsville, Houston, and Nashville. He also served at Asheville, Wilmington, Memphis, and Southern Region Headquarters. While at SRH Cecil was instrumental in establishing the Weather Wire Service. After retirement at Nashville, he was very active in international missionary work, even learning Chinese in the process, we understand. Cecil was an energetic, "go to" individual who was always counted on to respond to any challenge. His contributions to the NWS and to the Southern Region were many, and he will be missed. Condolences may be addressed to his wife, Ethylene Palmer, 172 Heathersett Drive, Franklin, Tennessee 37064.


CERTIFICATIONS. At their December meeting the Modernization Transition Committee (MTC) endorsed five Southern Region automation certifications and two combined consolidation/automation certifications for spin-down WSOs. The automation certifications were for WSOs Waco, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Columbus, Macon, and Bristol. The combined consolidation/automation certifications were for WSOs Austin and Athens.

Remember that the consolidation certifications "certify" that no degradation of service has occurred as a result of commissioning a new WSR-88D and transferring services from a spin-down WSO to a NEXRAD office. The automation certifications "certify" that no degradation of service has occurred as a result of commissioning an ASOS. The closure certifications "certify" that no degradation of service will occur from closing a spin-down WSO.

The MTC has now endorsed 22 of 32 required consolidation certifications in the Southern Region. Four proposed consolidation certifications will be presented to the MTC at their March meeting. The MTC has endorsed seven of 29 required automation certifications. Fourteen automation certifications will be presented during the March meeting. The March MTC meeting will be the first time that the MTC will consult on closure certifications. Twenty-nine of the required 37 Southern Region closure certifications will be presented to the MTC at that time.

STAGE 2 STAFFING. Stage 2 staffing remains on hold. There are two reasons for this. First, the AWIPS delivery schedule cannot be updated until the Department of Commerce makes a deployment decision. Secondly, the Stage 2 meteorologist placement program is still under review.


REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL. The Southern Region RPC met on December 3, 1996. NWSEO attendees included Regional Chairperson Pat Brown, Tom Wright, Stanley Christmas, and Newton Skiles. Bill Proenza, Mac McLaughlin, and Steven Cooper represented management. Items discussed included a review of the actions from the September RPC meeting, alternate work schedules, office suggestion boxes, increasing intra-office communications, and an update on the latest plans by the FAA and the CWSU Houston project. José Garcia (MIC, NWSO Amarillo and Regional Diversity Coordinator) provided an overview of the Southern Region's diversity activities and a preview of planned accomplishments for FY97.

The next RPC meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 4, 1997.

KUDOS. Kudos go to Kerry Jones of NWSFO Albuquerque and his family. Last year Kerry spent 48 days out of the office and away from his family as an Incident Response Meteorologist in support of the NWS Fire Weather Program. No one else this year spent more time on fires, and only one other I-MET had an equal number of days away on fires. Our hats are off to you, Kerry, for your support and dedication to the program; and give Julie a special thanks from all of us.

EVENT-DRIVEN ZONES. In November we reduced the number of mandatory zone packages from four to two per day issuances. This helps eliminate the often seemingly needless updates during benign weather situations. This does, however, place the burden on the forecasters to keep the product fresh and in line with the Short Term Forecasts. We strongly believe this is important as our emphasis is becoming more focused on the first few hours.

ALBUQUERQUE SUPPORTS BALLOON PROJECT. The staff at NWSFO Albuquerque received praise from the National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) for support of their 1996 spring and fall balloon campaigns at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. They were especially grateful for the responsiveness of DAPM Grady Svoboda in assisting in the coordinating of NSBF's launch requirements during periods when they were experiencing difficulties with their tracking radar at Fort Sumner.

Of particular note during the campaigns was the successful launch of the French Space Agency scientific payload in the fall "turnaround" period. The flight was reportedly a great success with all scientific objectives satisfied. Congratulations to the staff for a fine effort!

NEW EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM (EAS). The Emergency Alert System (EAS), which replaces the Emergency Broadcast System, went into effect at 0000 UTC, January 1, 1997. Cable TV systems are expected to begin participation in EAS by July 1.

The EAS utilizes the Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) equipment installed on NWR consoles. An estimated 70+ per cent of EAS activations are weather-related. Except for national emergencies (Presidential declarations, etc.), participation in EAS by the media is voluntary.

The first SAME in the Southern Region was installed at NWSFO Fort Worth in 1989, and the second was at Little Rock in 1990. In 1995, 12 SAMEs were installed (78 in 1996). T.L. Farrow has done an outstanding job of installing the equipment and providing SAME training. Meetings have been held the past 12-18 months between media-FCC/FEMA and NWS officials, drafting and finalizing State/Local EAS Plans.

Since its implementation on New Year's Eve, NWR-SAME has been used in the Southern Region due to winter and convective weather events. Overall, things have gone well so far. Obviously, some unexpected things occurred, but there will be growing pains with any new program as things evolve and mature. The whole program (new Digital consoles, SAME, and EAS) represents an important step forward in disseminating life-saving information to users in the fastest, most updated technological manner possible.

ALABAMA NWRs DEDICATED. All the NWRs in Alabama (upgraded and expansion sites) were formally dedicated December 6, 1996, at a ceremony held at the Birmingham NWSFO. The 18 months of work on this huge, but important, project took place following the March 1994 tornados which killed 22 people and led to the Vice President Albert Gore NWR expansion initiative. By December 1994, a new NWR was in operation in northeast Alabama (Fort Payne). During 1995 and 1996, four new NWRs were added (Cullman, Winfield, Jackson, and Auburn), as well as an upgrade to the state's existing NWRs. Well deserved appreciation is given to all involved.

FLORIDA NOAA WEATHER RADIO AWARENESS WEEK. Governor Lawton Chiles proclaimed the week of December 16-20, 1996, NOAA Weather Awareness Week in Florida. Along with the NWS, the event was in cooperation with Florida's Department of Community Affairs Division of Emergency Management and all 67 county emergency management offices.

LOWEST ERROR RATE/QUALITY CODING. Each month for over the past two years, the "error log" from "First Alert" has been shared with all field offices. In general, the Southern Region has had the lowest error rate of which we're all proud. Larry Vannozzi (WCM, NWSFO Lubbock) has also taken a look at the statistics. He reports that for 1996, the Southern Region had a 6 per cent error rate, the Lubbock node 2 per cent, and NWSFO Lubbock 1 per cent. The 1 per cent equated to just four improperly coded products. Not bad at all. Way to go! Perhaps the other offices might want to challenge the Lubbock claim or give them a little competition in 1997.

WEATHERLINE, INC., IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. Weatherline, Inc., began providing phone forecast recording service in Jacksonville last November. The NWS had two phone lines for the public to access recorded forecast by phone. Weatherline, Inc., and their sponsor established nine lines to access the forecast. They now have service in 23 Souther Region cities.


SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOKS. The Southern Region HSA offices need to issue their Flood Potential Outlooks by the following dates so that the information will be available for the National Hydrologic Outlooks:

		February 28, 1997	(Friday)
March 14, 1997 (Friday)
April 22, 1997 (Friday)
A memorandum to all HSA offices with further instructions will be issued soon.

ALERT USER GROUPS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB. The fall edition of ALERT Transmission included a listing of the following ALERT user group URLs:

	ALERT Users Group
Southwestern Association of ALERT Systems (SAAS)

RiverPro Update. Al Hong (service hydrologist, NWSO Tulsa) reports that a meeting was held recently at NWSO Tulsa to discuss the future use of RiverPro in the operational environment. Recent problems with the application caused concern among the staff. The meeting, attended by Al, the MIC, SOO, and WCM of NWSO Tulsa, and the HIC and DOH from ABRFC, concluded with a decision to continue using RiverPro as the first choice of product generation. Much time has been spent improving the operational use of RiverPro at Tulsa. Al reports that Jamie Frederick, Greg Patrick, Steve Amburn, Steve Piltz, and Steve Nelson have contributed greatly to the improvement in the operational use of RiverPro at NWSO Tulsa.

Precipitation Estimation Problems in Nashville. In Nashville, a persistent problem of underestimation of WSR-88D precipitation estimates is being resolved. Service hydrologist Mike Murphy sent a number of hard copies of reflectivity data and precipitation estimates to Greg Hanson at the OSF in Norman. The hard copies were from an event where Nashville staff found WSR-88D estimates two to three times lower than ground truth. A helpful and prompt response was received from Mr. Hanson. According to Greg, the different hybrid scans used by the precipitation processing system caused a loss of data at 19 nm and 27 nm from the antenna. The next step for the Nashville staff is for the WSR-88D technician to create a calibration check to ensure base data is accurate. The office will then assess whether to make any changes to the radar's adaptable parameters.

Weather Modification in West Texas. Steve Drillette (service hydrologist, NWSFO Lubbock) attended the High Plains Ogallala Area Regional Water Management Planning meeting at Texas Tech University in December. Topics discussed focused on "rain enhancement" activities across Texas. Steve was able to procure a video titled "Harvesting the Skies of Texas" for office viewing.

Tallahassee Traveling Show. NWSO Tallahassee senior service hydrologist Bob Carle and some fellow staff members traveled to NWSO Mobile for a NEXRAD build 9 seminar. Several days later Bob went to Geneva, Alabama, for an ALERT training course. The course was canceled, but Bob and SERFC senior hydrologist Brad Gimmestad met and toured the three southeast Alabama river forecast points in Bob's NWSO Tallahassee HSA. The two also visited some ALERT gage sites with Bob briefing Brad on planned gage improvements slated for the future.

San Antonio Activities. NWSFO San Antonio senior service hydrologist John Patton coordinated the proper placement of a wire weight gage over the San Marcos River in the Palmetto Bend State Park. John also reports that ESA Mark Oliver successfully installed and programmed the Hydromet computer so that John can now set up the Hydromet software applications.

Precipitation Deficits in Midland. NWSO Midland hydrologic focal point T.J. Turnage reports that Midland received 8.84 inches of precipitation in 1996. This is well below the annual normal of 14.96 inches. This marks the third consecutive year Midland has experienced below normal rainfall. In 1994, only 10.69 inches fell; and in 1995, only 10.70 inches was recorded.

Restrictions in the Sunshine State. The Southwest Florida Water Management District has mandated water restrictions for its customers. Due to unusually dry weather, residents are limited to two days a week for lawn and landscape watering. Also, irrigation between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. has been banned. NWSO Tampa Bay service hydrologist Frank Alsheimer reports December was another month with below normal rainfall.

Frank made a presentation on the role of the service hydrologist in central and southern Florida to a Fort Myers Ham radio gathering.

Great Focal Point Work in San Angelo. Amy McCullough (hydrologic focal point, NWSO San Angelo) was quite busy before the holidays. She compiled a complete list of river and rainfall gages in the San Angelo HSA listed by county with phone numbers staff members can use when gathering rainfall reports during flood events. She also reprogrammed a couple of LARCs to call the office during heavy rain events. She completed a river warning checklist to be used when flood warnings are issued. She then wrote a memo to let the staff know of the changes.


Technical Attachment. Appended to this edition of Topics is a technical attachment entitled Stage III Precipitation Processing at the West Gulf River Forecast Center written by HAS forecaster Greg Story of the WGRFC. It is an excellent resource for those wishing to learn more about one of the primary duties of the HAS function at a Southern Region RFC.

Test to Begin in Tulsa. The ABRFC will begin issuing both QPF stage forecasts and non-QPF stage forecasts as part of a six-month test beginning February 3, 1997. This new forecast format will also include the 6 hourly QPF values used in the RFC hydrologic model for specific basins. Both forecasts and the actual QPF will be included on a single AFOS message with the official QPF forecast listed first. It is to be stressed that the QPF forecast is the official forecast and the one to be sent out for public use by the WFO. There are various reasons the ABRFC has decided to send out QPF and non-QPF forecasts:

  1. This is expected to help WFOs decide whether to issue Watches vs. Warnings (i.e., was this rise caused totally by QPF). This, in turn, is expected to reduce false alarms of River Flood Warnings.

  2. This is expected to help WFOs see the responsiveness of rivers due to QPF, thereby increasing the knowledge of hydrology at local WFOs.

  3. This will support RFC verification of QPF stage forecasts.

ABRFC is sending representatives to its WFOs to help explain the test. ABRFC staff will also talk about HAS operations and show some preliminary QPF verification numbers. Already, senior HAS forecaster Suzanne Fortin has visited the NWSO Springfield, while DOH Bill Lawrence has visited weather offices in Shreveport and Little Rock. Numerous other visits are planned for the remaining WFOs through the month of January (budget willing).

Training in Tulsa. During the week of December 9-13, the ABRFC hosted Office of Hydrology trainers Donna Page and Edwin Wells. The training involved the use of the National Weather Service's River Forecast System (NWSRFS) and the Operational Forecast System (OFS). These are the computer algorithms that allow each RFC in the Weather Service to run their hydrologic models. Most of the ABRFC staff attended this training, as well as staff members from many other RFCs. The training was well appreciated by the ABRFC staff who, along with HSD, send kudos to Office of Hydrology for this training.

Also, the ABRFC and WFO Tulsa have started a comprehensive cross-training program between the two offices. Training is expected to last three to five days for each forecaster. Al Hong, the new Tulsa service hydrologist, has just completed a week of training at the RFC. Other WFO staff members will receive training on the RFC as staffing levels permit. A schedule has already been set up to allow RFC forecasters to receive training on the WFO side. One RFC forecaster will train for one week, with training scheduled to be completed by mid-March. Response from each side has been enthusiastic and will improve the continued cooperation between the two disciplines in the future.


TECHNICAL ATTACHMENT INDEX. As usual in the first issue of Topics for the year, we have included this week an index of technical attachments published in 1996. Of the 55 numbered attachments, nearly 40 were provided by authors from Southern Region field offices! Thanks, and congratulations to the many individuals whose work that represents.

The first of our attachments for this year is by Alan Gerard at NWSFO Jackson and describes the rapid evolution of a bow echo in the Arklatex region.

GORDON HAMMONS' RETIREMENT. After more than 30 years of federal service, Gordon Hammons retired last week. We will miss the exceptional skill he brought to many programs during his tenure at Southern Region Headquarters, not the least of which was in support of AFOS and its applications. Gordon began and ended his SRH assignment in SSD--and in between was part of the region's unique Regional Computer Management Group, then Systems Operations Division. Prior to joining the SRH team in 1980, Gordon was at Fort Smith, Midland, Amarillo, NWS Headquarters (TDL), and Albuquerque. We know that staff at all Southern Region field offices have come to know Gordon well, and they will join us in offering him and his family best wishes for a long and productive retirement.

SOO NEWS. The American Meteorological Society Project Atmosphere "DataStreme Project's" first semester concluded with a meeting at NWSFO Lubbock just before Christmas. (See the October 1, 1996, issue of Topics for more information.) Local implementation team leader Joe Willey (Plainview High School) addressed student questions and handed out framed certificates to the student-teachers as well as to NWSFO team advisors, Loren Phillips (SOO) and Larry Vannozzi (WCM).

The students (area junior high school teachers) had nothing but praise for the course. They appreciated its comprehensiveness and seemed to understand most topics well. They enjoyed the way the course was delivered (over the DataStreme Web page) and its attention to current weather. The AMS has done a nice job getting this course started. The second DataStreme semester has now begun, with teacher participation totalling a maximum of eight. Joe, Loren, and Larry will again serve as the local implementation team.

SOO Henry Steigerwaldt and Forecaster Bobby Boyd (NWSO Nashville) attended a Winter Weather Workshop at NWSFO Louisville, Kentucky, December 17, 1996. Dr. Jim Moore (St. Louis University) presented the workshop which dealt with such things as frontogenesis, including Q and F vectors; jet streak dynamics; isentropic analysis; elevated convection; and CSI. Using PCGRIDDS, Dr. Moore used some previous winter weather events to illustrate some of the points he discussed. (See the reference below to a recent paper by Dr. Moore.)

PAPERS OF NOTE. The most recent (December 1996) issue of Weather and Forecasting contains several papers which should be of interest to forecasters. They include:

Lightning during Two Central U.S. Winter Precipitation Events, by Ronald Holle (NSSL) and Andrew (Irv) Watson (SOO, NWSO Tallahassee). The two events showed interesting differences in timing and location of lightning, relative to sub-freezing surface temperatures.

Flash Flood Forecasting: An Ingredients-Based Methodology, by Charles Doswell, Harold Brooks, and Robert Maddox (NSSL). An approach to the subject using the notion of basic ingredients--high rainfall rates, precipitation efficiency and duration--and what processes bring these all together.

The Complex Relationship between Forecast Skill and Forecast Value: A Real-World Analysis, by Paul Roebber (University of Wisconsin) and Lance Bosart (SUNY Albany). Cases examined include concrete pouring, newspaper delivery, outdoor ice-skating, Double-A baseball, and a gas utility company.

Initiation of an Elevated Mesoscale Convective System Associated with Heavy Rainfall, by Scott Rochette and James Moore (St. Louis Univ.). Many will recognize Prof. Moore's work from seminars he provided as part of our recent Southern Region QPF workshops.

Storm-Relative Winds and Helicity in the Tornadic Thunderstorm Environment, by Brynn Kerr (NCEP/SPC) and Grant Darkow (University of Missouri). Although it is apparent that a number of tornadoes occur independent of the large-scale flow, the mean storm-relative wind profiles suggest that there is a preferred storm-relative flow structure for tornadic thunderstorms.

Also, note in particular how WSR-88D reflectivity products are reproduced in black-and-white in some of the above papers.

AIRCRAFT SOUNDINGS. Most forecasters are at least familiar with ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Recording System), which provides a means for near-continuous inflight observations of wind and temperature from aircraft. Today, only about 10 percent of the U.S. and Canadian fleet of 4200 commercial aircraft are providing real-time data, yet what is available has had a positive impact on meteorological analysis and prediction. The United States is the only country with an operational 3-hr analysis/forecast cycle--primarily because of ACARS data. New developments in technology and support from the FAA promise significant increases in the amount of data, including the possibility of moisture profiles, in the near future. A good summary of these developments was provided by Rex Fleming (NOAA/ERL) in the October 1996 issue of the AMS Bulletin (The Use of Commercial Aircraft as Platforms for Environmental Measurements).

PIONEER FUND. Information concerning the 1997 Department of Commerce Pioneer Fund--including an application--has been mailed to all offices. This is an innovative program that provides funds (up to $50,000) to DOC employees who can propose bright and creative ways to solve operational problems and enhance our service to the public. Check it out.

CANCELLATION OF CLASSES. Because of severe budget restrictions, both the NWS Training Center in Kansas City and COMET in Boulder have cancelled several in-residence classes that were scheduled for the remainder of FY 1997. Detailed information has been sent to all offices, but here is a summary of cancellations of classes in which Southern Region employees had been scheduled.


Meteorology and Management Division

Engineering and Electronics Division


It is possible that some changes may also occur in WSR-88D Operations classes at the OSF in Norman for the remainder of FY 1997, but so far we have not assigned anyone for classes planned beyond this month.

AVIATION WEATHER CENTER. In October 1995, as one part of the new National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the Aviation Weather Center was formed in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a consolidation of the National Aviation Weather Advisory Unit (NAWAU), formerly part of NSSFC, and the aviation component of the former NMC Meteorological Operations Division (MOD) near Washington, DC. The AWC is designed to be a single point of contact for operational weather support for both domestic and international aviation. Recently, Dave Rodenhuis (Director) and Jim Henderson from the AWC visited SRH to provide a briefing on plans and operations of the new center. A summary is contained in a paper they prepared (with co-authors Melvin Mathews and Fred Mosher) for presentation at the AMS Annual Meeting next month in Long Beach. The paper is included as a technical attachment to this week's Topics.

WEB SITES. With our SSD home page we attempt to provide easy access to a variety of information and material that is related to our mission. Primarily that involves training and education in one form or another. The SSDs in the other regions do likewise. In the past, cost and the workload involved have prohibited us from routinely sharing among all field offices such things as technical attachments and other materials produced by the individual SSDs. Internet access to home pages solves that. We encourage everyone to browse through what is available. For example, the Western Region SSD home page contains a wealth of information concerning NCEP model developments and performance, including tutorials on ensemble forecasting, Eta models, the RUC--and links to other sources at NCEP.

A CHANGE OF ERAS. Installation of the WSR-88D network--a cornerstone of NWS modernization--is now essentially complete. With it, a new era begins. Many in the NWS may not realize, however, that the "ancient" WSR-57s which are being hauled off for scrap were themselves once harbingers of a new era. The parallels are remarkable and worth taking note of. A technical attachment in this week's Southern Topics reproduces an article from the October 1958 issue of Weather Bureau Topics (no, the similarities of title are not just coincidental). Key words and phrases in the attachment are:

Flash Flood Warning Program
Specially trained radar operators
Four weeks' training course
Most modern weather radar in the world

Sound familiar? The new radar was also "so sensitive and powerful that we expect to see many clear-air phenomena such as pressure-jumps." (If the name Morris Tepper doesn't come immediately to mind, then all of the above is probably news to you!) Subsequent issues of Topics confirmed that the month-long course was initiated at the University of Miami in March 1959 and that the first (preproduction) WSR-57 was installed at Miami in the last week of May 1959. And the rest really is history.



UPDATE DISKS FOR HAWK SYSTEMS. A few weeks ago, each NWSFO and RFC received one or two Hawk update disks from NWSH. One disk is the new MSDOS Installation disk #2, v1.4, which replaces earlier versions. This new version deletes some files from the AUTOEXEC.BAT, adds enhanced versions of the NWS menu utilities, and incorporates all previous updates. NWSOs received this update with their Hawk installation kits last fall. The other disk is the RFC update on which changes were made to the macros for recovery of the hard drive. This update will replace the recovery macros on the DZO BACKUP diskette with the revised macros. RFCs will receive both the MSDOS and the RFC update disks. Please call Cyndie Abelman at (817) 978-2367, Ext. 124, when the update at your office is complete.

MANAGEMENT UTILIZATION REPORTING SYSTEM (MURS). The major updates to the MURS system used to track personnel actions in Southern Region have been completed by Leon Minton. This also includes an update to the SF-52 tracking report sent out to the WFO and RFC managers each week. The report shows when the action is received and later when it is approved. By moving the whole system to Microsoft Access, the users and data entry personnel are able to take advantage of the superior Windows environment and network handling of the databases. The report and query capabilities are also far superior to what was available on the old system.


UPPER AIR STATISTICS. Graphs of the NCEP upper air observation citations (August-November 1996) for all regions are attached (SOD Attachments 1 and 2). Also attached are the Southern Region Headquarters Upper Air Statistics for November 1996 (SOD Attachment 3).

JEFFERSON AND HOLM AWARD NOMINATIONS. The 1997 Jefferson and Holm Award nomination packages will need to be submitted to the RCPS by the end of January. With this in mind, DAPM/HMT teams should begin preparing the nomination packages now. As in the past, the national committee will review the nominations, make the selections, and notify the region of the award winners. The awards will be presented next fall. Extra time invested by the DAPM/HMT team now will greatly improve the chances of your observer being selected for one of these prestigious awards.

PC-ROSA UPDATE. The Black-Box DTMF-ASCII converters have been tested at CRH and passed all tests and have been accepted by NLSC. The hardware should be shipped to SRH by the middle of January. We hope to be able to begin the installation in late January and be completed by early summer.

A test system has been set up at SRH and is connected to AFOS. We have been able to transmit data via the telephone and have the SHEF message available on AFOS. We still need to work out problems with database management and remote system monitoring. Everything appears to be moving forward as expected.

1997 LENGTH-OF-SERVICE AWARDS. The 1997 length-of-service awards for the cooperative observers have been sent to each DAPM. These certificates and pins should be presented to the observers during the anniversary month if possible. If additional certificates or pins are needed, please contact Jerry Wolfe at the RCPS.


NWSO HOUSTON/GALVESTON. Carolyn Levert, a senior at Northeast Louisiana University and an NWS Co-op student, has been pursuing her career experience program by working at NWSO Houston/Galveston during school breaks since June 1995. Carolyn participated with the NWSO in the January 1997 Houston Boat Show. She is an excellent example of how students can pursue a career as a meteorologist.

NWSO Houston/Galveston's participation in the High School/HI-TECH program is off to a good start this year. The High School/HI-TECH program is a special program for physically handicapped students. The NWSO will host visiting students in the program later this month.

WCM Gene Hafele will coordinate NWSO Houston/Galveston's participation in the Galveston Independent School District's career days. Numerous schools within the district will be involved. The NWSO's staff will provide career talks for the school district during the next several months.

NWSFO/RFC SLIDELL. During this past Christmas season, NWSFO/RFC Slidell participated in several Christmas fund raisers. One was in cooperation with a local sign company and Bowling USA. The sign company painted a NOAA Weather Radio sign above the end of one of the lanes. Donations were designated for Toys for Tots. The second fund raiser was held within the office where the employees donated food, toys, and cash for the YMCA and the Battered Women's Foundation.

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