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Fort Worth, Texas

June 1, 1999



KEY WEST BECOMES NWSO. At 11 a.m. EDT on May 18, Key West, Florida, became the nation's newest NWSO by assuming aviation and short-fused warning responsibility for lower Monroe County (the Keys). The office will issue many new products including tornado, severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings; short-term forecasts; severe and special weather statements; coastal flood, non-precipitation, climate, and hurricane local statements; and special marine warnings and statements. Key West is scheduled to assume WFO duties next November 15, once they have AWIPS and have completed the other required steps toward full modernization. At that time, the Key West NWSO will issue zone and coastal marine forecasts, and other longer-fused products for the Florida Keys.

The Key West staff has worked hard to make this transfer a reality through training of new personnel, operational visits to the Miami NWSFO, and by working closely as a team with SRH staff members to prepare the new facility, plan products and meet with local users. Also, the upper air program was returned to NWS control from the contractor. The SRH staff will continue to work closely with the Key West office toward achieving WFO status in November. Congratulations to all who have been involved to make that an achievable goal.

CLINE AWARDS. Attached to this month's Topics is a summary of the NWS Isaac M. Cline Award program. Please read it carefully. This new program was developed through NWS and NWSEO partnership in order to recognize those employees who have made significant contributions to furthering the NWS mission in eight different areas. The awards are suitably named after Dr. Isaac Cline, who did so much during his remarkable Weather Bureau career to improve forecasting, the dissemination of products, and enhance public service.

Awards will be presented at the local office level, regionally, and nationally. Note the deadline for MICs and HICs to receive nominations for Local Level awards is July 1. Selections should be made in time to forward names to the regional headquarters by August 7. The Regional Level awards will be decided by September 15, when names must be submitted to the national level.

MODERNIZATION AWARD RECIPIENTS. I am pleased to announce the following Southern Region employees received NWS Modernization Awards for 1999.

Ernest L. (Buddy) McIntyre, II, WCM, NWSO San Angelo. Buddy was recognized for his outstanding leadership while Regional Transition Program Manager at SRH. His work facilitated NWS modernization activities across the entire Southern Region.

NWSFO Tulsa. The staff was recognized for providing superior weather services to the citizens of eastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas while implementing new technologies associated with the NWS modernization.

Dave Schwertz, service hydrologist, NWSO Houston/Galveston and Ed May (retired), former Chief of the SRH Hydrologic Services Division were recognized as members of the WHFS Tiger Team for the exceptional effort in training NWSOs and NWSFOs in utilizing the WFO Hydrologic Forecast System (WHFS) as part of AWIPS Build 1 delivery.

Thomas M. Hicks, MIC, CWSU Fort Worth, was recognized for his significant efforts in addressing critical needs of the NWS Aviation Services Program, and for improving the quality of service to the commercial aviation industry.

Gerald R. Rigdon, SOO, NWSFO Memphis, was cited for his major contributions to the NWS warning program by creating and implementing Pager-Warn software.

Congratulations to all of the above for these well-deserved honors.


AWIPS build 4.2 OT&E began in earnest this month. By the last week of May, the two Southern Region offices participating, Tulsa and Corpus Christi, were completing the final configuration of their external interfaces, such as CRS, ASOS, ROSA, and upper air. After this configuration phase is over, the sites will rely on AFOS only for official transmission of products. During the testing phase, which is slowly taking over from the configuration phase, two copies of products will be transmitted from the sites. The official copy will be sent from AWIPS to AFOS, while a dummy copy will be sent to the communications gateway over the AWIPS WAN. A major concern of the OT&E is that these dummy copies arrive reliably at the gateway. So far, this seems to be occurring.

Additionally, another AWIPS milestone has been reached. Every Southern Region office except NWSO Key West will have AWIPS installed at the end of this month. Key West will receive theirs in July. Build 4.2 is scheduled to begin arriving at the non-OT&E offices by the end of June.


CRS KUDOS. We would like to congratulate Rod Heckel (ESA, NWSO El Paso) for his fine work in developing the CrsComms program. Rod's hard work and dedication to making the program user-friendly have earned the respect of many CRS users across the Southern Region, and the praise of those who have worked with him in fine-tuning the program. CrsComms is a product formatter which assists NWR personnel in formatting and composing products for broadcast. It also facilitates managing the NWR broadcast cycle. As CRS focal points who have worked with Rod on the program know, he is receptive to ideas from the field and he has, in fact, tailored the program based on input he has received from them. Mark Rose, CRS focal point NWSO Nashville, is an enthusiastic supporter of Rod's program and he provided a helpful summary which we have included as a technical attachment this month.

NEW NWR AND DISSEMINATION PROGRAM MANAGER. Doug Crowley, currently the WCM at NWSO Amarillo, has been named the new NWR and Dissemination Program Manager for the Southern Region. Doug will be joining the MSD staff the week of June 20. He replaces Rick Dittmann who recently transferred to the Western Region to become the WCM at NWSFO Great Falls, Montana.

Doug will bring a wealth of field operational and management experience to the Regional Headquarters staff and we look forward to his arrival.

SENIOR FORECASTER WARNING SYMPOSIUM. MSD is planning a Senior Forecaster Warning and Short Term Forecaster Symposium, to be held during the last week of July in Fort Worth. The goal of the four day meeting is to provide offices with information to improve the quality, accuracy and effectiveness of our short fuse warnings and forecasts. A senior forecaster will be invited from each WFO. The agenda is still being finalized, but some of the participants will be Don Burgess and Liz Quoetone (OSF/OTB), Steve Weiss (NCEP/SPC), Chuck Doswell and Greg Stumpf (NSSL), and Paul Markowski (Univ. of Oklahoma). Southern Region presenters so far will be Steve Piltz (NWSFO Tulsa), Dave Sharp (NWSO Melbourne) and Pat Welsh (NWSO Jacksonville).

This is the first in what we hope will be a series of meetings geared toward SR senior forecasters. If you have comments or suggestions, please contact Rick Smith, SR Performance and Evaluations Meteorologist. We will provide more details, including the complete agenda, in next month's Topics.

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH. We are calling attention to more outstanding products this month. It is impossible for us to review every product issued, but we are routinely looking at all short fuse warnings and short term forecasts. As time permits, we will also review other products. If someone in your office wrote a product that you feel deserves special attention, please let us know. We are also interested in tips, suggestions or questions you may have regarding NWS products and services. Submit your ideas to Rick Smith, Performance and Evaluations Meteorologist.

First, here is a short term forecast from NWSFO Fort Worth:







We sometimes forget the NOW is a short term FORECAST, and not just a radar summary. This NOW from Fort Worth provides excellent forecast information - when this was released there were no storms on radar. It includes specific timing and locations, and gives customers valuable heads-up information on the potential for severe weather in the next several hours. While such a precise forecast may not always be possible, this is just what the short term forecast is designed to convey.

Next, a severe weather statement written by David Andra, SOO at NWSFO Norman:



700 PM CDT MON MAY 3 1999






LAT...LON 3524 9784 3511 9769 3536 9735 3552 9754

David made it into the "Hall of Fame" again this month, thanks to this very effective SVS written during the historic May 3 tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. This dramatic statement was an instant attention-getter - the extreme wording made it stand out among the many other products being issued during the event, and drew attention from the media and others. Of course, a statement like this would be far less effective if this serious wording were used for every tornado warning. Save such statements for especially dangerous and life-threatening situations.

Many other excellent products were issued by Southern Region offices last month. We congratulate all of the offices who maintained a flow of high quality information during extremely active weather.

NEWS FROM THE CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS. The following is a report of recent noteworthy activities at CWSUs across the region:

At a meeting held the week of May 24-27 in Fort Worth, the CWSU RTA (Remote-to-AFOS) Team began construction of an enhanced prototype system to replace the current RTA computer system at the CWSUs. Initial testing demonstrated the promise of this system to deliver enhanced graphics to both supplement and backup the FAA's Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) which is currently operating in the CWSUs. Full-scale testing and evaluation of the system at the Fort Worth CWSU is being negotiated with the FAA and is expected to commence in the next few weeks.

Installation of the FAA's new Airman's Information System (AIS) as a replacement to the GS-200 is continuing at CWSUs. The AIS is expected to operate in tandem with the GS-200 until operational testing and evaluation of the system has been completed. This is expected later this summer.

The WARP Y2K upgrade was installed at many CWSUs. Initially, the upgrade caused severe problems in the operation of WARP, due primarily to a memory allocation problem. That problem has since been corrected. Other problems, albeit minor, still persist. Several units report printing problems, including excessive printing, and occasional lockups in the system.

CWSU Albuquerque. Albuquerque Center's William Gonzales, supervisory traffic management coordinator, commented on a particularly critical forecast by CWSU meteorologist Alberta Viera which highlighted the important CWSU role in supporting safe and efficient air traffic flow. On the morning of April 30, Alberta advised the Traffic Management Unit (TMU) of a break in a line of thunderstorms which would remain in place for a specified period of time. Her forecast of the location and timing of the break proved to be quite accurate, and prompted the issuance of national traffic advisories which allowed TMU to efficiently plan the flow of traffic through Albuquerque's airspace. Alberta's forecast of the filling in of that opening in the line of thunderstorms proved very accurate, as well. Great job, Alberta.

CWSU Atlanta. On April 6-11, the CWSU provided special support to Air Traffic Control personnel assigned to Augusta for the Masters Golf Tournament. Forecasts were faxed to the FAA coordinator three times a day and on-demand briefings were provided whenever IFR conditions or convection impacted the Augusta area.

On April 20, meteorologist Melvin Murrell and MIC Art Ayers visited the AFSS and RAPCON in Macon, Georgia. At the AFSS, they were briefed by specialists Lisa Bradford and Mickey Powers on the five primary positions and learned that 80% of En Route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) briefings support IFR traffic and 20% of these involve airline pilots, especially pilots of Continental Airlines. The other four AFSS specialist positions support primarily VFR aircraft. They also discussed pre-shift briefings with training officer Dennie Taylor. These briefings are now done by specialists who work the midnight shift. Mr. Taylor noted that Meteorological Impact Statements issued by the CWSU can be used as a self-briefing aid. He pointed out that Center Weather Advisories are alerted at all specialist positions.

At Macon RAPCON, Melvin and Art met with supervisors Ramey Pace and Bill Horton who briefed them on daily operations and traffic patterns. Mr. Pace noted their ASR-8 radar does not provide contoured weather returns. Thus, they are quite interested in information provided by the CWSU, and use it to direct traffic and keep pilots informed. Mr. Pace also demonstrated use of the Systems Atlanta Information Display System (SAIDS), which ingests data via a drop on the CWSU RTA line.

CWSU Fort Worth. Tom Hicks, MIC, traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to take part in a kickoff meeting of the WARP OT&E Team. While there, Tom received training on the next generation of WARP at the FAA's Technical Training Center.

CWSU Houston. The CWSU moved into the new DSR control room on June 2. The move took place during the overnight hours and meteorologist Chris Peek was present to ensure proper placement of the Unit's equipment.

CWSU Memphis. Tom Amis, MIC, completed his temporary assignment at SRH, but he continues to help facilitate activities of the national RTA Team. In addition to his important work on the RTA Team, Tom continues in his role as the NWS national representative to the WARP program.

Larry Boatman attended the annual NWS DACFO (Director's Advisory Committee on Forecast Operations) meeting in Washington, and represented the CWSUs on aviation issues.

FORECASTER INCENTIVE PROGRAM. David Schumacher, aviation focal point at NWSFO Austin/San Antonio, is setting out to prove that the path to error-free TAFs is through the stomach. David rewarded the NWSFO's recent efforts in maintaining low TAF error rates by organizing an office pizza party. The party was held on May 18 and was open to all office personnel. Nice idea, David. Now we understand he and the rest of the NWSFO staff will soon be expanding their efforts to include verification of the aviation forecasts. We can't wait to see what incentives he has in mind for high skill scores.

SYMPOSIUM ON FIRE AND FOREST METEOROLOGY - CALL FOR PAPERS. The Third Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology, co-sponsored by the AMS and Society of American Foresters, will be held January 9-14, 2000 in Long Beach, California. The call for papers can be found in any recent issue of the AMS Bulletin. Note July 1, 1999 is the deadline for abstracts and October 1, 1999 is the deadline for final manuscripts. The theme of the symposium will be to share experiences, new techniques, and technologies in areas of: coupled fire-atmospheric modeling; use of atmospheric gridded model data for short-term fire planning; use of weather forecasts for prescribed burning; techniques in smoke management and air quality mitigation related to fire policy and EPA standards; mid- and long-range forecasting for fire control and use planning; operational fire weather forecasting techniques; and applications for operational fire behavior assessment and forecasts.

For more information on the symposium, visit the AMS Web site at

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS. June 1 marked the beginning of what could be an active Atlantic hurricane season. In anticipation of the season and its impacts, Southern Region coastal offices have made great strides in their hurricane preparedness campaigns. Below are some highlights.

•NHC representatives and a NOAA WP-3D research aircraft stopped at San Juan, as part of a pre-season hurricane preparedness tour. NWSFO San Juan WCM Rafael Mojica reports that approximately 1,500 people toured the aircraft and visited the other exhibits at the site. The event was hosted by the NWSFO, the Puerto Rico Civil Defense Agency, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, and American Eagle. Despite the hot sun and the long lines, those who attended found it to be a very positive experience.

•Jim Butch, WCM at NWSFO Jackson and Frank Revitte, WCM at NWSFO New Orleans/ Baton Rouge, attended a Hurricane Working Group meeting of state and county emergency managers and other concerned agencies. The main topic of the meeting was EAS use during hurricane emergencies. Jim and Frank explained the procedures for tone alerting and EAS-bursting when the initial watches and warnings are issued. The emergency managers then discussed methods for using EAS to broadcast evacuation information. The attendees agreed to continue working to improve the information flow in these areas.

•Tim Troutman, NWSO Melbourne forecaster, has coordinated with Ace Hardware stores and Save-A-Lot grocery stores to include hurricane safety tips in their advertising circulars. The Ace Hardware circulars will be available in 12 central Florida counties, with an estimated 500,000 copies. After distribution in Florida, the Save-A-Lot advertisements will appear in several coastal states.

•The U.S. Virgin Islands played host to an Air Force WC-130 and NHC personnel as part of a second pre-season preparedness tour to visit the Caribbean Basin. The tour stop featured tours of the aircraft by school student groups, electronic and print media interviews, and meetings with local governmental officials. The tour also participated in several live television and radio talk shows.

•The Florida East Coast Hurricane Preparedness Tour kicked off in Daytona Beach. NWSO Melbourne MIC Bart Hagemeyer, WCM Dennis Decker, WSO Daytona Beach WCO Terry Ingoldsby, SRH WCM Gary Woodall, and the Melbourne staff organized the logistics of the stop. As in the Virgin Islands, an Air Force WC-130 was the featured attraction. Approximately 450 school students and 400 members of the general public turned out to tour the aircraft and ask questions of the flight crew. NHC personnel were on hand and granted approximately 15 media interviews (television, radio, and newspaper) during the day.

•NWSO Houston/Galveston, partnered with the East Harris County Manufacturers Association to host the annual Houston/Galveston Hurricane Workshop. WCM Gene Hafele reported that over 400 people attended the workshop, which was covered by all four major television stations and the two Spanish TV stations in the area. The theme of the workshop was "It was JUST a Tropical Storm," and focused on Tropical Storms Charlie and Frances. The NWSO prepared a videotape which reviewed these storms and distributed copies of the video (in English and Spanish) to the area TV stations. In addition to the wide variety of speakers, 20 vendors were on hand providing services from receipt of weather information to preparing homes and businesses for the hazards of a tropical cyclone.

•NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge MIC Paul Trotter participated in the 1999 Hurricane Preparedness Program hosted by a major New Orleans television station. The conference attracted emergency managers from across southeastern Louisiana, the American Red Cross, and members of the media. Paul's presentation focused on preparedness activities, NHC/TPC forecasts, effects of inland winds and flooding, and the risks involved with not evacuating when a storm threatens. About 90 attendees expressed their satisfaction with how all of the elements of the warning system work together during tropical weather events.

•NWSO Brownsville hosted their annual South Texas Hurricane Preparedness Meeting. Nearly 100 people from the lower Rio Grande Valley attended. NHC Director Jerry Jarrell and Texas Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Millwee were the featured speakers. Others on the agenda included representatives from the American Red Cross, local TV weathercasters, and the chairman of the Deep South Texas Disaster Committee.

•NWSO Key West participated in the Florida Keys Hurricane Preparedness Week. During the week, MIC Bobby McDaniel, WCM Wayne Presnell, and forecaster Jon Rizzo conducted a series of media interviews describing hurricane preparedness and the NWSO role during tropical threats. Jon and forecaster John Koch conducted a series of school presentations during the week. These talks also covered hurricane preparedness and safety.

•NWSO Jacksonville representatives Pete Keegan, Pablo Santos, Al Sandrik, Mike McAllister and Fred Johnson participated in the North Central Florida Hurricane Response Exhibition. The main attraction was a U.S. Air Force WC-130 hurricane hunter aircraft from Keesler AFB. The NWSO also set up a hazardous weather information display featuring live weather data from an EMWIN system. The goals of the exhibition were to increase awareness of hurricanes and other large-scale weather hazards; and to educate the many hurricane relief agencies who come together during or after a disaster. The success of the exhibition was evident in the more than 5000 people who attended.

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS. May is the most active month for tornadoes in the southern Plains. While the overall severe weather campaigns are winding down, several significant projects were completed. Below are some notes from around the Region.

•NWSFO Norman developed an interesting component to their hazardous weather safety talks, especially those at schools, nursing homes, hospitals and large businesses. They promote a "Designated Weather Watcher;" one or more individuals who are tasked to monitor the weather during threatening times via NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or TV, amateur radio spotters, or other methods. Other staff members at the establishment are free to continue their normal activities. If a weather threat materializes, the Designated Weather Watcher is responsible for notifying supervisors and/or initiating the local response procedures. Over time, this concept should become more popular and help save lives, much like the "Designated Driver" concept.

•NWSO Corpus Christi hosted the first-ever Victoria Crossroads SKYWARN Conference, which drew nearly 200 people from Victoria and the surrounding counties. Attendees included emergency managers, congressional staffers, the Victoria County Judge, and the President of the Greater Victoria Area Chamber of Commerce. Speakers at the conference included NWSFO Austin/San Antonio WCM Larry Eblen, NWSO Houston/Galveston WCM Gene Hafele, NWSO Corpus Christi WCM Terry Huber, and Calhoun County EMC, Billy Zwerschke. Overall, the event was an outstanding success as all attendees had positive feedback for the conference, the associated banquet, and the information which was provided.

•NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich gave a series of interviews to local TV stations on tornado safety. The taped segments included a walk-through of a home and apartment complex demonstrating the safest locations and safety procedures in each structure. The series concluded with two live interviews at an elementary school. The live interviews emphasized the need for disaster planning at all levels. Jim talked extensively about NOAA Weather Radio throughout the series.

•NWSO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian was featured in an extensive severe weather safety article written by The Tennessee, the magazine of the Tennessee Electric Co-Op. In the article, Jerry described the Fujita scale, benefits of NWS Modernization, watches and warnings, and safety tips. The Tennessee has a circulation of approximately 700,000.

•NWSO Amarillo WCM Doug Crowley helped organized the biennial Texas/Oklahoma Panhandle Severe Weather Workshop, conducted in Amarillo. Partners who assisted with the workshop included the Amarillo Office of Emergency Management and all three of the local TV stations. Featured speakers at the workshop were Dr. Joshua Wurman (NSSL), Dr. Ernst Kiesling (Texas Tech University), and Ron Holle (NSSL). NWSO Amarillo staffers Ed Andrade, Matt Duplantis, Lance Goehring, and Neil Dipasquale made presentations on El Niño/La Niña, the Amarillo tornado of 1949, and storm spotting concepts.


MAP CLIMATOLOGY ANALYSIS. Lori Bovitz, West Gulf RFC has provided Mean Areal Precipitation (MAP) climatology analyses for 3 basins in the Houston-Galveston HSA (Lake Livingston, LVDT2; Splendora, SPDT2; Bay City, BACT2). An analysis of MAPs and recurrence intervals for seven levels from zero to five inches, including seasonal variation, is presented. The paper is patterned after earlier work done by Lower Mississippi RFC. Keep up the good work, Lori.

SERFC HYDROLOGIST TO ASSIST IN VIDEO PRODUCTION. Southeast RFC senior hydrologist Reggina Garza has been asked to assist the Office of Hydrology in developing a videotape presentation that will encourage junior high school students to select hydrology as a career. An initial planning teleconference took place recently.

SERFC HIC PRESENTS PAPER. John Feldt, Southeast RFC HIC, presented a paper at the recent American Water Resource Association (AWRA) Specialty Conference on "Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change to Water Resources of the United States." The paper and presentation titled, "An Analysis of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Climatic Events and Associated Flooding Across the Southeast U.S.," was presented at the May 12 meeting held in Atlanta.

COOPERATIVE EFFORT RESULTS IN SOIL PROFILE DISPLAY. Daniel Garza and Patrick Feldt recently researched and constructed a soil profile display for the Southeast RFC. This display was built by the (recently retired) SERFC DOH Jerry Curnutt. It will be used for office tours to show how surface and ground water interact. Daniel is the son of SERFC senior hydrologist, Reggina Garza, and NWSFO Atlanta MIC Carlos Garza; and Patrick is the son of SERFC HIC, John Feldt. Congratulations to all on their successful cooperative efforts.

WGRFC HYDROLOGIST SELECTED TO WATER COUNCIL. Frank Bell, senior hydrologist at West Gulf RFC, has been selected as a member of the Texas Water Monitoring Council's Data Management Committee. The Council is composed of representatives of groups that represent water interests in Texas. Included are private groups as well as local, state, and federal government agencies. The Data Management Committee charter is to examine various methods to establish a data clearinghouse for water resource data.

NHWC CONFERENCE. Southern Region hydrologic program leader Bob Carle attended the National Hydrologic Warning Council (NHWC) Conference May 11-14 in San Diego. The sponsors, the Southwest Association of ALERT Systems, the ALERT Users Group, and the U.S. Geological Survey, use these annual meetings as a forum for discussion of issues relating to notification and measurement of hydrologic events.

ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR HYDROLOGICAL PRODUCTS. Our work with Eastern and Central region continues in developing a one-stop shopping site for hydrological products covering the Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and a few smaller rivers. Development of Software for Phase I is complete and supports the Web site which will allow customers to point and click on a river map or tabular list. Once a river system is selected, daily river forecasts for selected river reaches are attainable. An e-mail feature also is available for customers to provide comments. This Web site is integrated into the Southern Region's server and will be accessible from our home page. The temporary Web site may be accessed at Thanks to the One-Stop Shopping Team for their successful efforts.

RFC-WFO COORDINATION ACTIVITIES. Recent meetings have taken place between RFCs and WFOs in their areas. At Southeast RFC, recent NWSO/NWSFO Forecaster Visitation Programs and RFC-NWSO-NWSFO seminars were conducted. Arkansas-Red Basin RFC recently sent a staff hydrologist and a HAS forecaster to a Central Region WFO for a seminar on ABRFC operations. ABRFC plans to visit WFOs Amarillo and Norman in the near future. West Gulf RFC has scheduled a Service Hydrologist/Hydro Focal Point seminar in June, and ABRFC plans such an activity before October. These are effective means for the RFCs and their primary customers- the NWSOs/NWSFOs - to interface and discuss issues with each other. When possible, Southern Region HSD will try to attend these sessions, as they are very important to the Southern Region hydro program.

NEW HYDROLOGY SAFETY VIDEO. The Office of Hydrology just released a new safety video entitled Moving Water: Adventures or Danger? One copy of the video will be sent to each WFO and RFC. The video describes potential flood hazards in the following five areas: canyons, arroyos, white water, caving, and storm drains. Each section is approximately three minutes in length, with a 30-second public service announcement following each section. A related brochure and Web page will be forthcoming.

External customers can acquire a copy of the video for $3.50 (covers postage and handling). They may contact Larry Wenzel, Office of Hydrology, at or (301)713-0006, ext. 147.


SUMMER STUDENTS AT NWSO TALLAHASSEE. In association with the Meteorology Department at Florida State University, NWSO Tallahassee is offering a three-semester hour internship course for two students this summer. The students are learning more about operations of the NWS by working alongside forecasters and HMTs during their normal duty schedules. Mark Jarvis and Brad McFarland are the initial students participating in the course. Two other FSU students, Todd Lericos and Tammy Green, will be working with the NWS at Tallahassee as part of the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), which provides experience directly related to a student's educational program and career goals. It will be a full house at the NWSO this summer, as three others will be student volunteers: Ben Brinkley will be working with WCM Bob Goree, Angel Martinez will be working with SOO Irv Watson and forecaster Ron Block, and Eric Richardson will be working with DAPM Mike Vise and service hydrologist Joel Lanier.

DEVELOPING TRAINING FOR FY2000. Through a series of conference calls which began several weeks ago, the regions have been coordinating closely with NWS Headquarters and the training centers (NWSTC, COMET and the OSF Operations Training Branch) to finalize plans for NWS training during the coming fiscal year. Following the guidelines laid out in the National Strategic Training and Education Plan (NSTEP), great care is being given to ensuring field needs are adequately addressed. The role of the regions has been to prioritize and communicate training needs, as determined from interaction with their field offices, to the NWSH level; then to work with NWSH and the training centers to determine how best to address those requirements. What training needs to be developed or provided, by whom, and in what form (in-residence classes, distance-learning, etc.) are the issues to be resolved.

The process is nearing an end, and we expect within the next few weeks to provide training calendars and other information to all offices. For more about NSTEP, read the plan at

COMET COOPERATIVE PROPOSALS APPROVED. Three new Southern Region COMET Cooperative Proposals have been approved. They are:

Wildfire Forecasting in Florida, linking NWSO Tampa Bay Area and Prof. Arlene Laing at the University of South Florida. Other Florida NWS offices and NWSFO Albuquerque will be involved as well in developing techniques to better handle fire weather support.

Evolution of Warm-Season MCS Activity over the Great Plains: Insights into Short-Term Forecasting, will involve forecasters at NWSFOs Norman and Dodge City in research led by Dr. Carl Hane (NSSL/CIMMS/University of Oklahoma).

Why and When Lightning Ground Flash 'Hot Spots' Occur in the NWS Southern Region: The Road to Improved Warnings, will utilize years of lightning research by Prof. Richard Orville at Texas A&M (CIAMS) and the newly acquired AWIPS lightning data availability at NWSO Lake Charles.

These multi-year applied research projects provide opportunities for significant science and service enhancements at our offices. For example, thanks in part to results of Prof. Henry Fuelberg's (FSU) Cooperative Project over the past couple of years, spin-up training for new forecasters at NWSO Tallahassee has been greatly facilitated. Collaborative projects included a severe weather climatology for the local CWA, as well as lightning, visible satellite, hourly digital precipitation (hdp), and WSR-88D hail algorithm studies.

NEW HURRICANE REFERENCE BOOK. A copy of Hurricanes of the North Atlantic: Climate and Society, by James B. Elsner and A. Birol Kara at Florida State University, has been provided to all WFOs. In addition to providing a meteorological and climatological review of hurricanes, and discussion of associated prediction models, another major theme of this book is societal vulnerability to hurricanes. Risks associated with changes in population and property are presented, along with ideas on risk management and catastrophe insurance. Coastal offices, in particular, should find this new text a valuable reference. Overall, the authors provide many new perspectives on hurricane problems.

Prof. Elsner has been associated with the NWS Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology at FSU since its inception, and we're pleased this book represents yet another way in which results of our CITM sponsored research can find its way into NWS offices and operations.

OSF RADAR TRAINING. By mid-summer the Operations Training Branch at the OSF must begin processing enrollment for the AWIPS versions of the WSR-88D Distance Learning Operations Course (DLOC), and the HMT Radar Course. The next renditions of these courses will be delivered beginning late summer/early fall. It is necessary to have the current courses closed in order to process enrollment for the upcoming versions, therefore, all students currently enrolled must complete the testing phase of the courses by July 16. The OTB will continue to process exams until that time. Those who do not complete their tests by July 16 will have to re-enroll in the fall offerings of the DLOC and the HMT course.

To clarify regarding the DLOC: only meteorologists and hydrologists who have not yet completed the WSR-88D operations course - either in-residence at the OSF or through the DLOC version - need to enroll in the next offering. That course will be AWIPS-based, but it is assumed those who have already completed an earlier operations course will pick up the necessary "delta" training for the WSR-88D products on AWIPS by taking advantage of the Web-based material provided by the OTB. A link to that on-line training ("From the PUP to AWIPS - A Transition in Using Radar Data") is on the SSD Training and Professional Development Web page ( HMTs, of course, may also avail themselves of that Web-based material.

NEW TECHNICAL MEMORANDA. Three new Southern Region NOAA Technical Memoranda have been distributed to all offices. They are:

A Preliminary Evaluation of a Verification Scheme to Compare Mean Areal Precipitation to Local Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts During Widespread Rainfall Events (NWS SR-200), by Michael A. Mach (NWSFO Fort Worth) and Wendell Hohman (NWSFO Memphis).

A Severe Weather and Tropical Cyclone Climatology for the NWSO Shreveport, Louisiana County and Parish Warning Area (NWS SR-201), by Bruce Burkman, Michael Berry, Timothy Doyle and Donovan Landreneau (NWSO Shreveport).

A Precipitation Climatology for the Hydrologic Service Area of NWSO Nashville, Tennessee (NWS SR-202), by Timothy W. Troutman (NWSO Melbourne) and Mark A. Rose (NWSO Nashville).


NWR CONSOLE REPLACEMENT SYSTEM. Please note the attachment to this month's Topics which was prepared by CRS focal point Mark Rose at NWSO Nashville. It provides helpful tips and guidance for successful implementation and use of CRS.

NWR DIGITAL CONSOLES FIND A NEW LIFE. Recently, Southern Region was able to help both the Central Region and Alaska Region NWR programs. Both regions were in need of digital consoles to replace old AMPRO equipment. All Southern Region offices have received their Console Replacement Systems (CRS) and are moving away from the digital consoles for NWR programing. Through the efforts of T.L. Farrow (SR), Larry Krudwig (CR), and Bob Brauch (AR) these old digital systems have found a new lease on life. Alaska needed a few systems for sites that would not be getting CRS. Central Region needed a complete console for an expansion site. Good work, guys.


NWS MESSAGING CONFERENCE. Leon Minton attended the three-day NWS Messaging Conference May 18-20 as a regional volunteer to the Headquarters team as well as representing Southern and Pacific region interests. Representatives from other regions including other NWS line offices were also in attendance and there were many lively discussions as they all tackled the challenging agenda. The goals for the conference were to achieve agreement on the minimum requirements and criteria upon which the messaging topology will be designed, and to identify key or critical components toward the development of a project plan. With the help of Michael Brown, a Netscape Professional Services representative, the group tackled configuration issues, migration issues, technical hurdles, and many other questions which provided a better understanding of how to meet the conference goals and begin deployment of a Netscape Messaging Solution.

At the end of the meeting the group members felt they had a better understanding of what the minimum topology would need to be, what hardware was required at each line office to meet that requirement, a consensus on certain standards such as message size limits, and a general agreement on an aggressive time line to accomplish the migration. For example, all agreed that a maximum message size could be expanded from the current 512kb limit to around 2mb (still to be finalized). The training issues were also tackled, involving training for both administrators and end users. There were many very detailed technical issues involved with moving to the Netscape Messaging Solution including the final formulation of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Directory Schema, etc., which are too involved and lengthy to include in this article.

Southern Region should be able to begin procurement of the hardware soon with the earliest possible start for migration around August of this year. The goal will be to finish migrating Southern Region by the end of the calendar year, but not later than April 1, 2000. This time line was adopted by the other group members with a few contingencies where required. Offices would be phased over one by one during this period to minimize the impact on personnel supporting the effort, including those at NWS Headquarters that must handle the Mail*Hub switch required when each mail user leaves the cc:Mail domain and enters the Netscape Mail domain.

With any major change of this magnitude, there will need to be a spirit of teamwork and cooperation as individuals go through a paradigm shift and leave old ways of doing things and adopt new ways of doing things. There will be some things in cc:Mail which are not used in Netscape, others that are done in a different manner, and new things in Netscape which were never available in cc:Mail. Patience will be the buzz word during this process. When all is complete, we will have a messaging system capable of carrying us into the next millennia.


MIAMI SEWAGE SMOKE TEST. The local Miami wastewater authority, Dade Environmental Resource Management (DERM), now requires owners of private sewage pumping stations to check their systems for leaks by pressurizing the property owner's sewage lines with smoke. This test was successfully performed at the building housing the National Hurricane Center and NWSFO Miami on Tuesday, May 25, and will not be required again for another ten years under the new regulations. In the worst-case scenario, there was a possibility that the building could have been filled with malodorous smoke prior to the scheduled meetings to announce the start of the 1999 hurricane season. Southern Region personnel, including John Moss, facilities technician and Terry Brisbin, facilities engineer, with assistance from ESA Phil Judd, located and filled all floor drains in the building with water and disabled the smoke alarm system prior to the test in coordination with the alarm company and the Miami Fire Department. No leaks were observed during the test and the test results will be sent to DERM prior to the July 1, 1999 deadline. Following the sewage test, the 10,000 gallon diesel fuel storage tank was also inspected and certified by a Florida-registered professional engineer, as required by EPA regulations.

NEW BATTERY BACK UP SYSTEMS. The Southern Region has purchased new Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) to replace older models at Key West, Melbourne, Amarillo, Norman and Houston. Key West has received the first unit. The remaining installations are scheduled for June and July. New models provide a higher quality of power and longer ride-through time in the event of an electrical outage.


Monthly Reports. The Cooperative Program monthly reports must be submitted to SRH in a timely manner. These reports were previously done manually but an electronic format for the monthly report is available for use as part of the Data Acquisition Program Manager (DAPM) Resource Page. (Passwords are required to use this system and have already been distributed to the DAPMs. For assistance in accessing this resource page, contact the Regional Cooperative Program Manager [RCPM].) Several other report formats and links to other interesting sites are also available from this Web site.


Radiosonde Replacement System. Information on the Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS) is attached to this issue of Southern Topics. A meeting was held at NWS Headquarters in early June to discuss the modernization of the Upper Air Program and preview the new software which will be associated with the RRS. Complete deployment of the RRS is not expected before FY 2001.

Site surveys are being completed by the offices with upper air observations in anticipation of the RRS deployment. These surveys need to be completed as accurately as possible to ensure proper contractor information is available.



NWSO MORRISTOWN. Service hydrologist Brian Boyd gave several weather talks to approximately 180 fifth grade students at West Elementary School. Over half the students were females, one-fourth were black, 15 Hispanics, and eight Asian-Americans. Brian discussed east Tennessee weather events and demonstrated some experiments to the classes. He does a great job, since he is asked back each year. Keep up the good work, Brian!

CWSU MIAMI. Meteorologist Stan Holland has been busy since the beginning of the year giving weather safety talks to more than 1200 students in schools in north and south Miami. These schools have a predominant minority attendance. Stan has received many certificates of appreciation from these schools for his efforts. Good work Stan!

NWSO BROWNSVILLE. Jim Campbell, DAPM, Paul Yura, senior forecaster, and Sam Martinez, HMT, participated in a career day for 100 seventh and eighth grade students at Besteiro Middle School in Brownsville. They each discussed how they came to work for the NWS and the responsibilities of their current positions. Weather topics centered on the recent severe weather outbreaks in the Brownsville area and in Oklahoma. Emphasis was also placed on the upcoming hurricane season. Demonstrations included NOAA Weather Radio as well as a radiosonde and sounding balloon. Hurricane handouts, which were made at the NWSO, were given to each class.

Scott Valone, senior forecaster, gave a talk to a class of approximately 25 fourth-graders at Yturria Elementary School in Brownsville. Subjects included what a weather forecaster does, what the NWS does, what causes weather, and the types of severe weather and precautions to take. Owlie Skywarn pamphlets were handed out, and a tornado video was shown.

CWSU ATLANTA. On April 21, meteorologist Melvin Murrell made another visit to Atkinson Elementary School in Griffin, Georgia. The subject of this month's presentation, held in the new media center, was NWS operations and services. The talk prepared the students for an upcoming visit to the WFO in Peachtree City. On April 30, MIC Art Ayers participated in Math Career Day at Fayette County High School. His six 50-minute presentations covered the physics of Doppler radar, detection of severe weather, and Internet weather sites. One student expressed a sincere desire to become a meteorologist.


MAY 1 - 31, 1999

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Jerry Curnutt RFC ATR Retirement DOH, GS-14
Brent Wachter NWSO SHV Reas to WR Met Intern, GS-7
Paul Spaulding NWSO CRP Resignation Asst. Forecaster, GS-11
Ryan Jewell NWSFO ABQ Reas To WR Met Intern, GS-7
Richard Dittmann SRH MSD Reas to WR NWR Program Mgr, GS-13
Ronald Perkins NWSO LCH Resignation Forecaster, GS-12
Glenda Gooden NWSFO FFC Resignation ASA, GS-7
Suzanne Fortin RFC TUR Reas to CR Senior HAS, GS-13
Bradley Regan NWSFO JAN Resignation Lead Forecaster, GS-13

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Daniel Melendez-Alvira NWSFO SJU New Hire Forecaster, GS-12
Montra Lockwood NWSFO JAN New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Robert Burton NWSO CRP Prom from ER Forecaster, GS-12
Tim Jahnsen NWSFO FWD New Hire SFT, GS-7
Ernest Duxbury NWSO TBW Reas from CR El Tech, GS-11
George Fislar NWSO TBW Prom from ER ESA, GS-13
Kurt Van Speybroeck NWSFO ABQ Prom from SPC Lead Forecaster, GS-13
Stephen Hubbert NWSO LCH Prom from AR HMT, GS-11
Barry Baxter NWSFO FFC New Hire Met Intern, GS-5
James Wallmann NWSFO ABQ New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Beth Lewandowski WSO HSV New Hire Met Tech, GS-5
Robert Gibson NWSFO MEG New Hire Met Intern, GS-5
Augustin Busschaert NWSFO JAN New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Martin Mayeaux NWSO MOB New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Jason Elliott NWSFO MEG New Hire Met Intern, GS-7

Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Scott Carroll NWSO JAX Reas from MFL Forecaster, GS-12
Faith Borden NWSFO BMX Reas from MFL Met Intern, GS-7
Daryl Williams NWSFO OUN Reas from EWX HMT, GS-11
Edward Tirado NWSFO SJU Prom from SJU Lead Forecaster, GS-13
Andy Roche NWSFO SJU Prom from SJU Forecaster, GS-12
Anita Dye NWSO TAE Prom from TAE Lead Forecaster, GS-13

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