Note: The NWS provides links to certain external Web pages because they may contain related information of interest to you. These links do not constitute an endorsement by the NWS of any information, products or services on those external Web sites.

Fort Worth, Texas

June 2000



FIRE WEATHER SUPPORT IN NEW MEXICO. Both WFO Albuquerque and El Paso measured well to the challenges of the May fires in New Mexico. Both pleased their land management agency customers with excellent and vital support. The most notable event was the Cerro Grande fire in northern New Mexico, which also devastated a portion of Los Alamos. In addition to the nearly 50 thousand acres of forest destroyed, well over 200 homes and buildings were destroyed.

Noteworthy were the fire weather products and services issued by the Albuquerque staff. They included highlights of the extremely dry conditions and increasing breezes in their early forecasts, along with appropriate Red Flag Warnings as necessary. Our appreciation goes to the staff at Albuquerque for their superb work both prior to and during the event. They provided an excellent example of the tremendous value that NOAA National Weather Service is to the Nation.

WFO STATUS. As of mid-May, ten offices in the Southern Region were officially designated as "WFOs" - Warning and Forecast Offices. NWSOs or NWSFOs officially become WFOs once SRH has received and signed the WFO Declaration Sheet from the office. When I add my endorsing signature the deed is done. Congratulations to the following WFOs. They are the first in the region, but others will follow quickly.

Corpus Christi
El Paso
Tampa Bay

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE. By invitation, I had the pleasure of representing NOAA and the National Weather Service at an international environmental conference in Bogota, Colombia, last month. I also visited US Embassy officials, Pablo Leyva (IDEAM Director-our counterpart agency in Colombia), many colleagues in the earth sciences and I had several meetings with the media. We are working several initiatives with Colombia to expand our meteorological cooperation and to support bilateral objectives between our nations.

Although it was somewhat hectic at times, it was a fascinating trip for me as I met a very friendly and gracious people. Columbia is a beautiful country. Bogota, its capital, is located in the mountains at just under 8000 feet asl. Although just a few degrees north of the equator in northern South America, Bogota has a delightful climate - NOT at all tropical - sporting lows in the lower 50s and highs in the low to mid 70s each day. The country is just under twice the size of France with just over 40 million people and Bogota is quite a cosmopolitan city of 5 million. The city has many skyscrapers, a very energetic business dress posture, aggressive taxi traffic and cell phones everywhere.


US LIFESAVING ASSOCIATION FEATURES NWS METEOROLOGIST AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER. The Board of Directors meeting and educational conference of the U.S. Lifesaving Association was held in Hollywood, Florida on May 5. This association is dedicated to sharing information toward the goal of saving lives. Jim Lushine, WCM at WFO Miami, spoke on rip currents to an audience of around 100. His presentation focused on the NWS commitment to understanding rip currents, which kill many people each year, especially in Florida. Many deaths can be avoided by simply understanding how rip currents form and act. There is a move to change the International Death Classification Code to include rip currents as a subclassification. Jim Lushine is considered an expert on rip current formation, physics, and morphology.

NWR NEWS. The Venice, Florida, transmitter was upgraded to a dual 1000 watt system. At the end of May, many technical folks met in Valdosta, Georgia for training during the relocation and installation of a dual 1000 watt system. The Zener upgrade to previously installed systems began in May and should be completed early this month.

During the May lull in receipt of transmitters, T.L. Farrow conducted site surveys at numerous locations. Over 15 sites have been installed or relocated this fiscal year and we have identified another 15 sites with partnership funding available.

The Oklahoma City Operation Warn NWR sales program is doing great. As of May 25, more than 14,000 radios had been purchased. The target is for 100,000 specially priced radios to be sold in the Oklahoma metro area. For details on this program, visit NWSFO Oklahoma City/Norman's Web site at

THE SHOW WENT ON. The annual Hurricane Awareness Tour was certainly one of the most unusual on record. The tour started on May 1, in Harlingen, Texas. Over 900 school students toured the aircraft and received hurricane preparedness information to share with their classmates and families. Meanwhile, over 50 local emergency management, media and business representatives attended a workshop conducted by NHC and WFO Brownsville staff. Unfortunately, the P-3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft was damaged the following day at Galveston. We conducted our student programs and local workshops at Galveston, but restricted access to the aircraft. With the P-3 unable to continue on the tour, the remaining stops (Gulfport, Mississippi; Tallahassee and Fort Myers, Florida) focused on our media outreach and emergency management contacts. Despite the mishap with the aircraft, approximately 50 media interviews and nearly 300 emergency management contacts were made during the tour, along with presentations to nearly 1,500 students. Our thanks to the offices who put in several months work to ensure the success of this year's tour.

FLASH FLOOD CONFERENCE. On May 10-12, the Southern Region hosted Flash Flood Conference 2000, a gathering of NWS staff and customers to address the threats posed by flash flooding. Approximately 160 people from across the nation attended the conference, including representatives from each WFO in the region. The conference began with a review of the mortality statistics and economic impacts posed by flash flooding, and a look at the various factors contributing to flash flooding (mesoscale, tropical, orographic). We then reviewed the flash flood threat from the social and engineering perspectives, and heard from partners regarding their needs during times of flooding. We reviewed several success stories, where lives and property were saved through an effective warning system. Concurrent workshops allowed participants to express their priorities and concerns regarding NWS preparedness, programs, products and dissemination. Finally, we took a look at emerging technologies which may improve our ability to forecast heavy rain and flash flooding in the future. The conference committee is compiling the presentations and the input from participants. Electronic presentations will be posted on the conference Web site, and the issues and strategies developed in the workshop sessions will be shared with program leaders at NWS Headquarters.

EMWIN UPDATE. Jim Robinson of the Harris County Appraisal District reports continued progress on the development of a new EMWIN VHF transmitter. The transmitter is designed to rebroadcast the EMWIN datastream as received from a satellite downlink, enabling customers to receive the data using a modified radio scanner and a PC. This is the first transmitter designed to use the NWS-owned EMWIN retransmission frequencies, and it now meets the bandwidth specifications necessary for this purpose. Work is continuing to enhance the broadcast range of the transmitter.

NWSO Morristown WCM Howard Waldron worked with the Department of Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to establish a 9600 baud EMWIN rebroadcast site in eastern Tennessee. The system became operational in late May and has excellent coverage (users approximately 50 miles from the transmitter with an internal scanner antenna can receive 98% good data). Howard reports the broadcast will cover most of the NWSO CWA, with the Knoxville metro area receiving excellent coverage.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS. Mike Koziara, NWSFO New Orleans Area SOO, was interviewed last month by a local WWL-TV (CBS) reporter on the subject of the severe drought which is impacting Louisiana - and many other parts of the region. Ironically, the interview took place on the 5th anniversary of the May 9-10, 1995, severe flash flood which devastated metropolitan New Orleans. Mike used Web site graphics from the Southern Region Climate Center and NCDC as aids to explain the causes of the drought, mean circulation patterns associated with La Niña and El Niño, drought severity, and the drought's effects on urban and rural areas. He also described the latest three-month climate outlook. Bernard Meisner's (SSD) one-stop weather links page on the SRH Web site helped point Mike in the right direction for the graphics he needed. The interview went so well Mike was asked to do a telephone interview on the same subject for WWL radio.

Also in May, Mike provided an interview to WDSU-TV in New Orleans on the subject of the upcoming hurricane season. Topics discussed were hurricane climatology, TPC track and intensity forecasts, and related aspects of rainfall, wind, tornadoes, and storm surge. A SLOSH loop of Hurricane Betsy was used to illustrate storm surge and wind patterns. WSR-88D reflectivity and storm total precipitation images from Georges were utilized to detail where tornado and heavy rain threats were located. Finally, HurWin95 track, wind swath, and forecast error, and inland wind decay for a particular Georges advisory were used in discussing issues related to forecast accuracy. Various hurricane preparedness measures were also discussed.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS. With the beginning of hurricane season at hand, our coastal offices have continued their high level of preparedness and outreach activities. Below are a few highlights.

NWSFO San Juan WCM Rafael Mojica conducted a hurricane seminar for the U.S. Army base at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. Rafael reviewed the base's hurricane preparedness and action plan and gave two hurricane presentations for the base community. Presentation topics included hurricane climatology, the outlook for the 2000 hurricane season, and hurricane safety rules. A total of 150 people attended the presentations.

NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge WCM Frank Revitte, MIC Paul Trotter, and NWSO Lake Charles SOO Felix Navejar coordinated with Louisiana emergency management officials to conduct the statewide hurricane exercise. This year the state decided on a tabletop exercise but the exercise will involve many of the Parishes in southern Louisiana. Many Parishes activated their EOCs for the exercise and tested their communications systems. The NWS role in the exercise was to provide briefings regarding the scenario to the emergency management groups in southeast and southwest Louisiana.

WFO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan and WCM Hector Guerrero participated in the South Padre Island Hurricane Town Meeting. Others giving presentations during the meeting included the American Red Cross, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and representatives from the media. Over 150 people attended the meeting, which was covered by three television stations (including a Spanish-speaking station) and two radio stations.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT. Maintaining good relationships with our local and state emergency managers is a continuing but vitally important task. Below are some significant projects from across the region.

WFO Melbourne WCM Dennis Decker gave a presentation on NWS products and services to the national SALEMDUG (State and Local Emergency Managers Data Users Group) conference. The audience consisted of emergency managers from Florida and surrounding states. Dennis' presentation focused on graphical products and their expansion in the NWS. Dennis reports that his presentation was well received and that SALEMDUG is eagerly looking forward to the expansion of WFO-based graphical products.

NWSO Morristown MIC Jerry McDuffie and WCM Howard Waldron conducted their annual area-wide NWS workshops. The series of three workshops were attended by county emergency managers, television weathercasters, and representatives from radio stations. Topics covered at the workshops included the drought outlook, EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, and Doppler weather radar principles. NWSO staff emphasized that the graphics associated with weather radars are only as good as the physics of the radar unit itself, and that street-level identification of tornadoes and storm-scale features is generally risky.

NWSO Tallahassee WCM Bob Goree participated in FEMA's Integrated Emergency Management course. The course brings together emergency personnel from a community to receive training in emergency response. Bob was responsible for giving an overview of the NWS mission and our products and services. He also facilitated a weather-related emergency response exercise. This exercise was based on the south Georgia tornado outbreak of February 2000, and drew rave reviews from the trainees and from the FEMA instructors as well.

NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities in the Region's CWSU program:

CWSU Atlanta. On May 3-4, forecaster Paul Denault visited the Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina Air Traffic Control Towers. Paul discussed weather support with the tower personnel and became acquainted with topography and local weather effects in this part of the Atlanta airspace. At Charlotte, Paul discussed graphic weather briefings, which are provided three times daily, and cold air damming, a.k.a. the wedge, which often impacts CLT operations.

On May 13, MIC Art Ayers assisted personnel at both the RFC and NWSFO in Peachtree City with staffing a booth at the Wings Over Dixie Air Show. The show was held at Falcon Field in Peachtree City and drew a large crowd.

On May 20, Michelle Mueller, a high school sophomore interested in weather, visited the CWSU. During her 2 hour visit, she observed a stand-up briefing, became acquainted with the Center's airspace, and observed the use of WARP. She plans to visit the CWSU again.

CWSU Fort Worth. The testing on the new WARP 1 began at the Fort Worth Center on May 9. A controller demonstration of NEXRAD data on the controller displays took place from May 16-26. Testing appears to be going well.

CWSU Houston. The second in a series of Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) meetings was held in Houston on May 8-10. The purpose of the meeting was to prepare the Center for delivery of the system in November. The CWSU and Traffic Management Unit (TMU) personnel will receive 24 hours of training on the equipment.

CWSU Memphis. The CWSU completed its move to a new location within the Center in late April. The move presented a host of problems, most notable being a failure of the WARP hard drive. The failure resulted in a loss of product definitions, image enhancements, and other setup functions. All in all, about a years worth of work was lost. The last backup on the system by Harris was done about a year ago.

The Terminal Convective Weather Forecast (TCWF) system, developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, became operational during April. The CWSU staff will be conducting an evaluation of the system throughout the convective season to determine its effectiveness as a warning and forecast tool for the TRACON environment.

FIRE WEATHER INCIDENT RESPONSE. The recent rash of wildfires in New Mexico and Texas has certainly tested the resolve of our Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) and fire weather forecasters. The disastrous Cerro Grande fire in northern New Mexico alone required the support of 7 IMETs, and weather support is still being provided at this writing. Long stressful hours of collecting data, preparing forecasts, and conducting briefings to keep fire crews out of harms way is a true testimony of the training and dedication of these specialized weather experts.

Coordinating the efforts of Cerro Grande IMETs and several others deployed to various remote sites in New Mexico and Texas over the past few weeks fell on the shoulders of NWS IMETs working out of the Southwest Interagency Coordination Center. This group of IMETs were involved in consolidating the plethora of fire weather information from New Mexico and surrounding states, holding frequent briefings with fire officials from the various agencies involved in the wildfire control effort, and conducting daily conference calls to ensure that the IMETs at the various fire incidents were receiving needed logistical support.

Additional critical support to the fire control effort was provided by our fire weather forecasters at WFOs Albuquerque, El Paso and Midland. Their support was deemed most crucial during the early stages of the outbreak, before IMETs arrived on the scene. The issuance of timely and accurate routine and spot forecasts formed the bulk of their support effort, and provided fire officials with the necessary information to mobilize resources to attack the fires and minimize their impact.

The NWS support effort certainly would not have been as successful had it not been for the cooperation of each member of the team in performing the duties they have been trained to do. Working at times under extreme pressure, these dedicated individuals demonstrated an unique commitment to the job and went the extra mile in ensuring our fire customers received the highest quality of service. Our hats are off to our IMETs from across the country and the staffs at WFOs Albuquerque, El Paso and Midland. Congratulations on a job well done!


MODIFIED QPF PROCESS UPDATE. All SR RFCs have installed the NMAP local application on AWIPS and are using it to generate QPF for input to the NWS River Forecast System to support both pre-operations, test, and evaluations (pre-OT&E), and formal OT&E of the modified QPF process. Here is the schedule for the formal OT&E at each of the Southern Region RFCs:

1. ABRFC - June 1-June 22, 2000 (currently underway)

2. WGRFC - June 22-July 13, 2000

3. LMRFC and SERFC - July 13-July 31, 2000

During the formal OT&Es, the RFCs will officially test and evaluate (1) the NMAP software functionality; (2) transmission of gridded QPFs and quantitative precipitation estimates on the AWIPS communication system; (3) dissemination of QPF products on NWS dissemination systems; (4) QPF coordination between the RFCs, WFOs, and the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC); (5) QPF products and services provided to our partners and customers; and other related items. HPC will test and evaluate their backup plan to send the RFCs 6-hour QPF files for use in NMAP from other national centers in NCEP and will also test blastup conference calls with the RFCs. During these formal OT&Es, each of the RFCs will fill out shift logs to document any problems or suggestions associated with the process. The QPF Implementation Work Group (IWG) will conduct weekly conference calls to review summaries of these logs and address any potential problem areas. On or about July 27, 2000, the QPF IWG will make a decision whether or not to officially implement the modified QPF process at all RFCs east of the Continental Divide. We will keep you posted.

Bill Lawrence, the DOH at the ABRFC, continues to provide excellent support to the RFCs in their efforts to implement the modified QPF process. During the past month, Bill wrote scripts to transmit RFC gridded quantitative precipitation estimates products on the AWIPS communication system. This will support QPF verification activities at the HPC and data assimilation for the ETA model runs at NCEP's Environmental Modeling Center. He shared these scripts with the RFCs and provided them with technical assistance. He also worked closely with the HPC to ensure successful receipt of these products at HPC. Thanks for all your support, Bill.

We plan to coordinate with the WFOs and RFCs soon on a draft ROML that will provide new guidelines regarding QPF and hydrologic forecast operations.

DROUGHT PREPAREDNESS COUNCIL MEETING. On June 1, Ben Weiger (HSD) represented the NWS at a Texas monthly drought preparedness council meeting held in Austin at the Texas Department of Emergency Management. Ben gave a presentation about the Southern Region drought product pilot project being conducted at WFOs that provide warning and forecast services in Texas. The presentation was well received. Our partners and customers in Texas are keenly interested in our hydrometeorological outlooks so local and state agencies can take the necessary actions and responses to mitigate the drought impacts affecting the State. Ben also provided the council with the Southern Region Web site location that contains drought-related information.

HYDROLOGY PROGRAM MANAGEMENT COURSE UPDATE. Lower Mississippi RFC HIC Dave Reed has agreed to work with the NWS Training Center and the OH on developing a portion of the new Hydrology Program Management course that will spin up during the late fall of 2000. Dave will work with other RFC and NWSH personnel to develop objectives, lesson plans, and presentation graphics for the "Interacting with the RFC" section of the course. Thanks for your help, Dave.



AHPS Activities. On May 22, the Southeast RFC hosted a meeting with some of its internal and external partners and customers to discuss proposed activities associated with implementing Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS) on the Flint River at Albany, Georgia. Those in attendance included personnel from the RFC, three engineers from the city of Albany, a representative from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and Joel Lanier, senior service hydrologist from NWSO Tallahassee, and Glenn Austin from the Office of Hydrology. The morning session focused on an AHPS Web site for Albany and output graphics from AHPS and other graphical information that could be posted on the Web site. The afternoon session was held in the Georgia Tech Research Institute for a meeting with USGS, FEMA Region IV, and GTRI officials for a demonstration of GIS three-dimensional visual graphics and inundation mapping for the Flint River Basin.

Tar River Forecast Service Improvements. John Feldt, HIC, and Mark Fuchs, hydrologic forecaster at SERFC, compiled a list of work projects to be addressed during the next several years relating to river forecast service improvements in the Tar River Basin. This list was submitted to the North Carolina Governor's task force investigating the effectiveness of river forecasts in the aftermath of the 500-year flood in this basin last September resulting from Hurricane Floyd. These work efforts include rating curve updates, model calibration, the segment definitions in the NWS River Forecast System, and the development of ensemble streamflow predictions for the Tar River Basin.


Graphical Flood Potential Product. The Lower Mississippi RFC (LMRFC) began work to develop a graphical flood potential product to provide enhanced services to WFOs in its service domain, emergency managers, and FEMA about landfalling hurricanes. The product would be similar to the one used last year by SERFC during Hurricane Floyd. LMRFC plans to have this product ready for dissemination on their home page by June 15. Nice work.

Hurricane Conference Presentation. On May 24, Dave Reed, HIC, and Bob Stucky, development and operations hydrologist at LMRFC, attended a hurricane conference at New Orleans CBS Affiliate WWL-TV4 studio. In attendance were over 70 people representing the WWL-TV4 Weather Media Team and station management, area emergency managers, various law enforcement personnel, LSU researchers and professors, American Red Cross, and local community participants.

Bob Stucky presented information about the (1) use of the dynamic wave model in the NWS River Forecast System to simulate the impact of hurricane storm surges on the flows and associated river levels upstream from the mouth of the Mississippi River; (2) the impact of the storm surge associated with Hurricane Betsy upstream from the mouth of the mainstem Mississippi River; and (3) river forecast verification and skill associated with Hurricane Georges storm surge impacts up the mainstem Mississippi. The presentation was well received. Many of the conference participants were unaware of the significant impacts that hurricane storm surges have on river forecasts upstream along the Mississippi River from its outlet in the Gulf of Mexico.


Educational Outreach. HIC Billy Olsen recently coordinated with Tulsa public schools to establish a teacher "internship" program. The purpose of this program is to give math & science teachers the opportunity to learn how science & math are used in the "working world" and then to pass along appropriate experiences to their classroom setting. This program allows teachers to "work" (approximately 40 hours over a few weeks to a couple months) with staff at the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC to learn what practical knowledge and skills students need to obtain in order to accomplish the work involved in a career in hydrology. An eighth grade science and math teacher has now started in this program. Nice work, Billy.


Annual NWS/IBWC Meeting. The annual International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) meeting is scheduled to take place in El Paso on June 7. The agenda will include discussion about the current drought situation along the Rio Grande, the status of the satellite data collection platform network in Mexico, and efforts to develop and implement a river forecast service by the Mexican Water Commission. Jerry Nunn, HIC, coordinated with Joe Arellano, Ken Graham, and David Billingsly, the recently selected MICs at WFOs Austin/San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Lubbock respectively, and Nezette Rydell, the new senior service hydrologist at WFO Austin/San Antonio, to inform them of this interagency meeting. Thanks for setting up this meeting, Jerry.


Several WFOs across the Southern Region finally experienced enough rainfall during April to cause some minor river flooding in their HSAs. Many HSAs in the southeast area of the region saw rivers crest several feet above flood stages. In the Jackson HSA, a crest of 25.74 ft on the Black River at West, Mississippi was the third highest on record and was almost 14 ft above flood stage. The Birmingham and Mobile HSAs also had forecast points reach crests greater than 12 ft above flood stage. April was the first month since January 1999 that Nashville HSA had recorded above normal rainfall.

SERVICE HYDROLOGIST CONFERENCE JUNE 19-22. The Southern Region Service Hydrologist/Hydro Focal Point Conference will be held in Fort Worth June 19-22. Several guest speakers have been confirmed with a few of the presentations coming from people outside of our agency. We look forward to seeing everyone there.


RECENT CHANGES TO NCEP MODEL OUTPUT. The files numbers of the ETA, AVN and MRF models -- and in the case of the ETA and AVN, the extent of model output -- recently changed on the OSO and regional model output servers.

On March 29, the model number for the ETA forecast files changed from 89 (for the 0000 and 1200 UTC runs) and 85 (for the 0600 and 1800 UTC runs) to 84 for all four runs. Eta model output is now available on the 40 km (AWIPS 212 "R") and 20 km (AWIPS 215 "U") grids, in addition to the 80 km (AWIPS 211 "Q") grid, with forecast files available out to 60 hr for the 0000 and 1200 UTC runs. Details of the Eta model change, which included the extended range to 60 hr, new input data and output fields, and changes to the convective parameterization are summarized at:

On May 16, the model number for the AVN forecast files changed from 77 to 96, and the forecast files now extend to 120 hr for all four model runs. (The model number for the AVN analysis file remains 081.)

On May 18, the model number for the MRF files changed from 78 for all model runs to 82 for the analysis file, 94 for the forecast files out to 108 hr, and 80 for the forecast files from 120 to 240 hr.

The AVN and MRF changes were announced in a May 12 NCEP "JIF" memo: (available at

Necessary modifications to the gribmaster script configuration file (used to download the model output to the Science Application Computers), and affected PC-GRIDDS files, were e-mailed to all Southern Region SOOs.

NEW MOS GUIDANCE. Last week saw a milestone, of sorts, when TDL implemented (on May 30) new MOS guidance products from the Aviation (AVN) model for sites in the contiguous U.S., and (for the first time) for Puerto Rico and Hawaii. The new AVN-based MOS will be available every three hours for projections from 6 through 72-hr for temperature, dew-point temperature, max/min temperature, and wind speed and direction. More elements will be added over the coming summer. The new products will be sent out in ten bulletins. This new package will eventually replace the NGM MOS guidance. There will be a period of at least one year when both messages will be produced, to allow forecasters to become familiar with the new messages.

The new AVN/MOS products are being posted on the Southern Region Webserver as captured right off the SBN. The new files can be found in:

New MRF-based MOS guidance is also now available for projections of 24 through 192-hr (including sites in Puerto Rico). The first implementation will contain guidance for temperature, dew-point temperature, and max/min temperature. More elements will be added during the summer. This package will eventually replace the current MRF MOS guidance, but the old MRF message (otherwise known as the FOX bulletins) will continue to be produced for at least a year.

More information about the new AVN/MRF guidance, including a "slide show" description, locations for which guidance is produced, and definition of forecast elements is available at

NWP TRAINING. On April 26, WFO Corpus Christi hosted an office seminar on numerical weather prediction (NWP). Staff members from the WFO and NWSO Brownsville participated. Corpus Christi SOO, Andy Patrick, discussed NWP principles and the NCEP models, and senior forecaster Waylon Collins gave an overview of mesoscale modeling, including the various mesoscale models run at NWS offices and universities. Brownsville SOO Shawn Bennett made a presentation on the workstation-Eta. Finally, Corpus Christi senior forecaster Greg Wilk discussed the equations used in deriving MOS guidance products. Numerous Internet Web sites were also provided so that the forecasters can stay informed of the latest information on the numerical models.

GOES UPDATE. After a successful launch in early May, GOES-L, which has been renamed GOES-11, has begun an instrument and science checkout period which will include continuous five-minute CONUS scanning, with optional targeted scanning strategies for more rapid scans during tropical storms or other interesting events (mesoscale systems, volcanoes, etc). GOES-11 is positioned at 104 W and on-orbit verification and performance testing will take place through August 13. The satellite will then be placed in storage mode as an immediate backup for GOES East or West. The spacecraft will be declared operational following scheduled handover to NOAA on August 16.

JUNE TELETRAINING. Several teletraining sessions are being offered this month which address subjects in the Professional Development Series (PDS) related to Integrated Sensor Training. The sessions vary from one to two hours in length and offices can register for them at: The sessions can be reviewed in advance by following the download instructions available off the same site. For technical information on what is needed to run a session, see the VISITview QuickStart page at: The June sessions are:

Diagnosing Elevated Mesoscale Ascent June 5, 19
Natural Disaster Information Cards June 7, 21
Using AWIPS to Detect Surface Boundaries June 27
Using GOES Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) June 22
Imagery in AWIPS
The Enhanced-V: A Satellite Severe Storm June 12
Detecting Low-level Thunderstorm Outflow June 15
Boundaries Using GOES at Night

New sessions on Tropical Weather and Boundaries are being reviewed and should be available before the end of June.

MESOSCALE MODELING WORKSHOP AT JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY. In late April Jackson State University, in cooperation with the NWSFO Jackson, held a workshop on mesoscale modeling. In addition to personnel from the Jackson office, NWS meteorologists from SRH, Mobile, New Orleans, and Birmingham also attended, along with personnel from NASA's Stennis Space Center, DOD, and other local agencies. The focus of the workshop was on ongoing efforts at JSU to develop operational runs of the MM5 mesoscale model which could be used by NWS offices and agencies such as NASA and DOD. Additionally, JSU modeling efforts with other mesoscale models such as the Navy COAMPS model and the RAMS model were discussed. As a part of the workshop, NWSFO Jackson SOO Alan Gerard and SSD's Bernard Meisner facilitated a discussion on how JSU could best develop products from the MM5 for effective use in operations, as well as a general discussion about the operational use of mesoscale models.

SATELLITE SOUNDINGS: TRAINING MODULE. COMET has announced a new Web-based training module titled Polar Satellite Products for the Operational Forecaster, Module 4: Soundings. This is the fourth module in the POES series and describes the different sounding products available from NOAA polar-orbiting satellites. It begins by addressing frequently asked questions about NOAA satellite soundings and their applications. The module also features an interactive table summarizing differences among satellite (both POES and GOES) and RAOB soundings, with a clickable image where collocated comparisons highlight the strengths and limitations of each observing system. Another table describes and shows examples of different products available from POES sounders. The module also includes a review of the POES sounder retrieval process, a resources section with links to real-time data, and a self-evaluation test. The module is at



NETSCAPE MIGRATION UNDERWAY. By the end of May, eight Southern Region offices and about a dozen SRH individuals migrated to Netscape from cc:Mail. Several more offices are ready, and by mid-June over half of the Southern Region will be using Netscape mail. The goal is to have everyone in Southern Region using Netscape by the end of July.

The transition period will create several inconveniences for cc:Mail users until everyone is converted to Netscape. When a user is deleted from the cc:Mail directory it causes that user to be dropped from cc:Mail type mailing lists. Every effort is made to add that user back, but some additions fall through the cracks. The sooner we are all on Netscape, the quicker these problems can be avoided in Southern Region.

Please remember, all Netscape mail lists begin with _NWS and the Southern Region lists all begin with either _NWS SR or _NWS SRH. This makes it very easy to search and select the appropriate list to use when addressing a message using Netscape.

NEXRAD RF RADIATION HAZARD. On a recent maintenance assistance visit to NWSFO El Paso, an RF radiation leak approximately three times the allowable exposure limit was discovered coming from the NEXRAD waveguide. The most significant aspect of the discovery was that this hazardous radiation leak was not detected by NEXRAD diagnostics, and there was no apparent system degradation.

The RF leak was discovered through a distorted MMI display. When the display was replaced, the new display exhibited the exact same symptoms. An RF leak was immediately suspected. An RF Radiation Hazard Meter was obtained from the OSF and the RF leak was confirmed.

The leak appears to be the result of excessive strain on the mounting flange of the flexible waveguide attached to the waveguide switch. The strain on the mounting appears to have caused the solder joint on the mounting flange to split.

SRH is in the process of procuring RF Radiation Hazard meters for each regional maintenance specialist to share within their area of responsibility. Funding constraints prevent procuring a meter for each WSR-88D site at this time, but that is a future goal.

The RF Radiation Hazard meters should be available very soon, and we recommend that once available, each site get an initial reading, and then schedule periodic checks for RF leaks. Readings should also be made after maintenance has been performed on the klystron and/or the system waveguide.


IMPACTS OF DRAFT SAFETY PROCEDURES IN EHB-15. During the week of May 15-18 the NWS Regional environmental focal points met with the NWSH Safety and Environmental staff from OSO3 to discuss the implementation of the new safety initiative now in draft form as Engineering Handbook 15 (EHB-15), in addition to related budget and schedule issues. EHB-15 consists of 31 chapters on varied topics such as small boat safety, ergonomics, blood-borne pathogens, and fall protection. Most of the safety requirements are rooted in OSHA regulations and are not optional.

NWS is presently not in compliance in several areas. This will become more critical with pending legislation that will impose fines and penalties on agencies and individuals which previously applied only to the non-government private sector. Some provisions of EHB-15 requiring trained safety observers for hazardous duty will be a departure from present NWS business practices and has the potential to create staffing shortages, recognized by all regions in a first-look impact response provided to Walt Telesetsky. There will also be a staffing impact at the regional level to manage the program and provide extensive record-keeping. It is imperative that MICs, HICs, and others in the management chain receive a detailed briefing as soon as EHB-15 is released in final form, because the OSHA regulations on which EHB-15 is based are in effect now and the impacts will be extensive.

SOUTHERN REGION COMPUTERIZED MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (SR CMMS) TRAINING. Southern Region will conduct Facilities Engineering Technician training on using the Facilities Computerized Maintenance Management System June 5-9. The goal of the course it to familiarize the technician with the use and features of the database client. Also covered will be the Web interface used to submit and track work requests by all field offices. Once training is complete, SRH will begin the elimination of Monthly Project Reports, Trip Reports, E-mail work requests, and other time and resource consuming tasks.

TPMS REPLACEMENT TESTING. SRH will participate in the testing of a 50 KW static (battery) UPS system in El Paso. The test is currently scheduled for June 12-16. Stanley Saenz SRH, Steve Davis, facility engineering technician in Lubbock, and Al Ruffin, technician supervisor in Ft. Worth will prepare the site and assist in the testing. Additional testing procedures which evaluate long term reliability and maintenance costs will be added.

NIDS AGREEMENT TO EXPIRE SHORTLY. On October 1, this year the existing agreement between the NWS and the current NEXRAD Information and Dissemination Service (NIDS) vendors will terminate. The plan on how users will be able to access WSR-88D data in the post-NIDS era is starting to take shape.

If needed, provisions have been made for the existing NIDS contract to be extended on a month to month basis until the above plan is implemented. For users who continue to contract with existing NIDS vendors for their products, this change should be transparent to them, since all existing NIDS vendors will remain participants in the new plan.

NEW "B" CHAPTERS TO BE OUT SOON. The NWS Headquarters Surface Observing Program has completed the final documentation, and the Regional Directors have signed off on the completion of three new Weather Service Operations Manual (WSOM) Chapters. These should be reaching the field very shortly. The 3 chapters and their titles are:

WSOM Chapter B-10, "Surface Observing Programs (Land)"
WSOM Chapter B-11, "Instrument Requirements and Standards for the NWS
Surface Observing Programs (Land)"
WSOM Chapter B-61, "Certification of Observers"

FAA WEATHER AND RADAR PROCESSOR (WARP). In mid-May, the FAA conducted an Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) of the new FAA Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) at Ft. Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZFW ARTCC). During the OT&E, live WSR-88D data from NWS WSR-88Ds in the Fort Worth airspace was displayed on simulators at the ARTCC.

ASOS DAILY AND MONTHLY SUMMARY MESSAGE ACTIVATION. The Office of Meteorology has signed off on an interim procedure for implementation of the Daily Summary Message (DSM) and Monthly Summary Message (MSM) for sites with ASOS Software Version 2.6 installed.

The interim procedure will expire on November 1, 2000, and be replaced by a National Weather Service Operational Manual (WSOM) Letter to Chapter C-21.

Each WFO should consult with the Regional ASOS program manager to ensure that the DSM and MSM are activated for all applicable sites in your County Warning Area by July 1, 2000.


ASA TRAINING. During the week of May 15 the Southern Region conducted the first of two one-week ASA training workshops, in conjunction with the MASC staff. The second workshop is being held this week. The curriculum is extensive, and covers a broad range of duties and responsibilities associated with the ASA position. Conducting the workshops in Boulder allows the ASAs to meet those MASC staff members with whom they interact almost daily - and vice-versa. We are very pleased with feedback from the first workshop, including the following from three participants:


WFO BROWNSVILLE. MIC Richard Hagan reported the WFO had two Hispanic students "shadow" the staff for a day for experience in careers in which they had expressed an interest. One was interested in meteorology and shadowed the forecasters, SOO, and WCM. The other was interested in computers and electronics and shadowed the electronics staff.

The staff has also been very busy with career days and talks at local schools.

NWSFO FORT WORTH. Forecaster Roland Nunez visited Worth Heights Elementary School and presented a career/safety talk to 240 students. Ninety-five percent of the students were Hispanic.

WFO SHREVEPORT. Forecaster Bill Parker participated in Career Day at Martin High School in Coushatta, Louisiana. Topics discussed were "A Career in Meteorology," and NWS operations.

Forecaster Michael Berry gave a presentation of the April 3, 1999, tornado outbreak across East Texas and Northwest Louisiana to the atmospheric science students/supervisors/teachers at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Warning techniques were discussed as well as tornadogenesis and theories of why these storms developed.

Met intern Bill Murrell provided tours for the Hot Air Balloon Club, West Shreveport Lions Club, Mangum United Methodist Church, and the Red River Employment Services, all from Shreveport. The groups also observed an upper-air release as well as the operations of the NWS.

Jason Hansford, met intern, gave a tour to Carroll High School from Monroe. The operations of the NWS were discussed and visitors saw an upper-air release.

NWSFO SAN JUAN. WCM Rafael Mojica represented the NWS at the 5th Symposium on Meteorology Science and Applications sponsored by the University of Puerto Rico. Rafael gave a presentation on "Hurricanes of the Past Decade: Advances in Tropical Cyclone Prediction."

Senior forecaster Miguel Sierra gave a talk on hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods and NWS operations to 30 junior high school students at a local parochial school. Forecaster Daniel Melendez presented a hurricane preparedness talk to members of the Puerto Rico Methodist Church.

NWSFO San Juan hosted visits by five classes of junior high school students participating in the local Red Cross/San Juan NWS Meteorology Project. Local Red Cross sponsors provided five schools in different parts of Puerto Rico were provided with weather stations. Sites were pre-selected by the NWSFO. The students were given an office tour in addition to two hours of meteorology training on climate and hurricanes. Staff members Andy Roche, Francisco Balleste, Vidal Santiago, and Rafael Mojica participated.

Senior forecaster Brian Seeley gave a talk on natural disasters to 30 fifth grade students from the University of Puerto Rico Elementary School. Forecaster Andy Roche conducted an office tour for 15 students from Loiza, Puerto Rico participating in the ASPIRA program, which focuses on education and leadership training for Latino youths.

NWSO TALLAHASSEE. During May, the NWSO Tallahassee outreach program focused on the Days of Remembrance and Cinco de Mayo events. The Department of Commerce designated the first week of May as "Days of Remembrance for the Holocaust Victims." Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block presented lectures, mainly to children and the elderly at three area synagogues to commemorate the occasion. The presentations (partially in Hebrew) to more than 150 people (65% female) at Temples Israel in Tallahassee, Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and at the Albany, Georgia, Hebrew Congregation focused on the contributions of Jewish scientists, careers in meteorology, and the special impacts of hazardous weather on the elderly.

Mexican Independence Day was celebrated on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) and Ron lectured in Spanish on hazardous weather preparedness and careers in meteorology to a group of Hispanics, mainly farm workers and their families, in Monticello, Florida (90 percent minority). He also attended the Sixth Annual Girl Scout Benefit for Disadvantaged Girl Scouts of the Florida Big Bend in Crawfordville, where assistance in gaining weather merit badges was combined with a talk on severe weather and careers in weather (88% minority). Ron conducted several televison interviews on the drought and on advances in NWS computer technology for the Tallahassee ABC and NBC television affiliates.

MIC Paul Duval participated in various school events. This included an outdoor Tallahassee area career day fair, a lecture and office tour for about 40 students from Tallahassee's Oak Ridge Elementary School (80% minority), and leading a severe weather roundtable discussion of students, teachers, administrators, and county officials at Pelham, Georgia, Elementary School. Forecaster Greg Mollere presented a series of office talks to around 100 students from Crawfordville's Medart Elementary School. All these focused on the NWS mission, careers, and technology.

ARKANSAS-RED BASIN RFC, TULSA. The RFC installed a Diversity Board during May 2000. The purpose of this board is to give the staff a central location to receive information about diversity activities on the local, regional and national levels. The Diversity Board will be updated periodically as more information and articles are received.

The RFC and the WFO Tulsa gave a joint tour to Leisure Park Elementary Students. Approximately 100 fourth and fifth grade students of various ethnic backgrounds were in attendance.

HAS forecaster Larry Lowe and hydrologist Kandis Boyd attended the Phillips Elementary Career Day in Tulsa. Larry and Kandis gave five presentations about ABRFC operations and flood/flash flood safety. There were about 75 fourth graders in attendance.

The ABRFC ordered 100 stickers commemorating the 30th anniversary of NOAA. They plan to distribute the stickers to students during tours.

The ABRFC coordinated with the Tulsa public school system concerning the Teacher Internship Program (TIP). The purpose of this program is to give math and science teachers the opportunity to learn how science and math are used in the "working world" and then to pass along appropriate experiences to their classroom setting. Ellis Martin, a science teacher at Hamilton Middle School in Tulsa is going to job shadow for two weeks with ABRFC hydrologists and HAS forecasters.

NWSFO JACKSON. Alana McCants, a SCEP student at NWSFO Jackson, attended the region's Flash Flood Conference 2000 in Atlanta last month. Alana is a recent graduate from the Jackson State University meteorology program, and is currently in graduate school at Mississippi State University. Along with the learning experience of participating in a conference which drew participants from around the country and specialists in a broad range of related fields, Alana got the opportunity to work on her presentation skills. She and the NWSFO's other attendee, forecaster Marc McAllister, presented a seminar at the office on what they learned at the conference. While in Atlanta, Alana also had the opportunity to visit the RFC and learn more about the NWS hydrology program.


May 1 - 31, 2000

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Justin Johndrow WFO EYW Promotion to WR Met Intern, GS-9

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
John Purdy WFO MOB Reassignment from ER Forecaster, GS-12
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Timothy Brice WFO EPZ Promotion to EPZ Lead Forecaster, GS-13

Return to Southern Region Home Page