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

March 2001

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

At the request of Florida governor Jeb Bush and his staff, week before last I briefed new FEMA director Joe Allbaugh on the southeastern U.S. drought, and especially on hardest-hit Florida. The briefing took place at FEMA Headquarters in Washington with representatives from most federal executive agencies present, including the DoD.

As forecast, the first widespread rains in months brought welcome relief to drought-plagued Florida on the weekend following my briefing. Every drop counts, but despite the to 2 inch rains which fell over much of the state there was little easing of the severe conditions. Rainfall deficits for the duration of the drought, which began in October 1998, continue at around 25 inches in the Tampa area to as much as 35 to 40 inches in the north-central regions. Central Florida rivers remain at or near daily record lows. The South Florida Water Management District calls this the worst drought since 1961, and it's second only to 1938 as the driest ever. A good chance for more rain was forecast for this weekend, but the Climate Prediction Center continues to depict the entire area in exceptional drought conditions - their most extreme rating. At least the latest rains slightly eased the fire danger, mainly north of Tampa, but improvement was only temporary as dry and windy conditions in the interim dried vegetation significantly.

NOMINATIONS FOR AMS AWARDS. All offices should have received my memo encouraging nominations for various awards presented annually by the American Meteorological Society. The F.W. Reichelderfer Award, the Charles Mitchell Award, and the Award for An Exceptional Specific Prediction are all intended to recognize forecast excellence and outstanding public service. Mother Nature provides Southern Region employees with many opportunities every year to earn such recognition, and we have taken full advantage. The Reichelderfer Award, for instance, which is appropriately named after the long-time Chief of the Weather Bureau, has gone to SR employees no fewer than eight times since the award was initiated 17 years ago. Two other individuals joined the region shortly after receiving the award. Nomination forms and more information are part of the memo. We have requested all nominations be submitted through SRH, with a deadline of April 16. Please contact SSD for more information.

DAVE HELMS. We were saddened to learn of the death early this month of Dave Helms, former HIC of the Southeast RFC in Atlanta. Dave retired from the NWS in March 1997. He began his NWS (Weather Bureau) career in 1962 at WBAS Fort Worth, following military service. He later worked at the River Forecast Center in Atlanta, then became the deputy HIC at the Lower Mississippi RFC in 1979. He returned to Atlanta as HIC in 1982. Under his leadership, the SERFC received a DoC Silver Medal for its performance during the devastating floods associated with Tropical Storm Alberto in July, 1994. Dave was personally honored when he received the Max A. Kohler Award for Excellence in Hydrologic Services in 1995. He was an active advocate of the NWS hydrology program, speaking to various groups in the U. S. and abroad. On behalf of all his NWS friends and colleagues, we send our condolences to his family.

IFPS

With this issue of Topics we begin a special section in which each month we will address issues related to IFPS - the Interactive Forecast Preparation System. Readers will recall we did the same several years ago when implementation of the WSR-88D was a critical project, and we followed that a couple of years ago when we highlighted AWIPS issues with a similar special section in Topics. Now, the third major technological component of NWS modernization is upon us - training for and implementation of IFPS at all offices.

Training for IFPS is well underway. About two-thirds of the SR MICs have attended the two-day IFPS Managers class at the NWSTC. The second of 11 planned two-week IFPS Focal Point classes at the NWSTC began this week. Attendees from all WFOs will have completed the latter training by the end of this fiscal year. That training begins the IFPS implementation process. To help facilitate and guide the process we are working on a regional implementation plan which will address three major areas of consideration.

The first area involves issues related to installation of IFPS and basic office familiarization with IFPS software and operations. Local training issues involve finding the time for the individuals who attended the focal point course to adequately train each forecaster on the software. A logical trail through the software must be established for this training. Experience from test-bed offices indicates that in order to get the most out of the new software, training should focus on editing grids and producing graphical and gridded products, not on using the software to produce zone forecasts. Zone forecasts are today's basic NWS products, but gridded products are the future. Our task this year is to maintain quality in the conventional zones, while at the same time we train for the coming shift to the latter.

The second area involves providing support for any necessary training beyond the NWSTC classes. We expect this training may likely involve smart tools for quick grid edits, smart initializations to tailor grids to a specific area, and text generation tweaking. As was done with early training for the WSR-88D, we expect there to be significant benefits if we arrange visits among offices to share ideas and techniques. Resources will have to be found for this, but details will be provided as part of the implementation plan.

The third major area will be assisting WFOs throughout the implementation process with prolonged support from a central source. Some mechanisms are already in place, such as an IFPS listserver and the AWIPS Local Applications Database, but we will be building on those in the coming months. For example, a depository of smart tools and smart initializations is also planned.

Various means will be used to share IFPS information and guidance, including this section of Southern Topics each month. We welcome questions and feedback. Please direct those to Matt Strahan or Melinda Bailey (CWWD).

CLIMATE, WATER AND WEATHER DIVISION

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES BRANCH

FIRE AND CLIMATE 2001. Charlie Liles, MIC at WFO Albuquerque, attended the "Fire and Climate 2001" workshop in Tucson in mid-February. The workshop was hosted by the Desert Research Institute, University of Arizona, and the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth. It was an excellent opportunity to meet with many land management customers from U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to discuss fire issues. It was made clear that land management agencies want more usable products for short- and long-term planning, one example being an expansion of seasonal forecast graphics to include the likelihood of below- and above-normal wind and humidity.

One of the more interesting presentations was on the program for Climate, Ecosystem, and Fire Applications. The program team will be introducing new fire weather products on the Web this month. Many of the products are aimed at helping forecasters better visualize the present state of the atmosphere. A list of partners involved in this project includes groups such as National Park Service, USFS, and BLM. The NWS, however, is not currently involved.

NEW ORLEANS BOAT SHOW. WFO New Orleans Area staffed a display at the 2001 New Orleans Boat Show last month. The display area was 10 ft by 8 ft and consisted of a large backdrop display from NWS Headquarters, a counter/table area for brochures, and several chairs. The booth was staffed by several from the WFO, a marine meteorologist from NWSH and a meteorologist from the TPC/NHC in Miami. Approximately 750 people visited the booth. The powerful trend of the Internet was quite evident as questions were frequently asked about how to receive weather information via the Web.

REGIONAL MARINE WORKSHOP. The Southern Region Marine Forecasters Workshop will be held March 27-29 at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi. Thanks to WFO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagen for the title of our workshop: "How to Stay Afloat." In addition to possible tours, the workshop will comprise many speakers on topics ranging from marine outreach, to Gulf waters, to wave models and policy issues. Forecasters from each of the SR coastal offices will participate.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS

Outreach. WFO Atlanta MIC Lans Rothfusz provided a press briefing February 20th to announce the near completion of the NWR expansion project in Georgia. Several press members attended and the story was well received throughout the area. Installation of the Eatonton, Georgia site occurred during the first week of February. This new site will provide improved coverage to areas in and near Macon, Georgia. The Georgia Emergency Management Association (GEMA) recently distributed 10,000 NWR receivers across the state in support of the expansion. A brochure was created by GEMA and WFO Atlanta and distributed to the public to clearly identify which transmitters cover the various Georgia counties.

Other new NWR transmitters recently installed include the Gonzales and Burkeville (Toledo Bend), Texas sites. All three of the above mentioned sites are undergoing a 30-day test before they will be accepted.

Also last month, SRH NWR program leader Tim Troutman visited Tallahassee and completed a series of projects involving NWR public education and finalizing of the expansion with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM). Florida DEM and SRH are working on a tri-fold pamphlet describing correct NWR placement in homes, schools and buildings which will be distributed throughout the state. On February 22, Tim described the Florida NWR expansion and the StormReady program to the Florida Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) steering committee. SRH and FLASH have just completed an NWR FLASH card project. These FLASH cards contain information on NWR frequencies and where to place your NWR in a home for maximum reception. As part of the Florida hazardous weather awareness week, 1,000 of the NWR FLASH cards were sent to all Florida WFOs and 5,000 were sent to the Florida DEM for public distribution.

On February 6, WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos and WCM Rafael Mojica met with members of the Puerto Rico Governor's Office of Special Counsel for People with Disabilities. The discussion centered on WFO services to the blind and deaf/hard of hearing community. CRS Spanish language voice and the need for a concatenated voice was discussed.

CRS NEWS. CRS Main Processor replacement will continue through March. During the latter part of February, replacements were sent out to WFOs Birmingham, Jackson and Norman. WFOs Knoxville/Tri-Cities and Shreveport should have received their replacement systems early this month. As a reminder to all WFOs, CAFÉ formatter implementation is set for May 1 throughout the SR. The CAFÉ resource home page is at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/oso1/oso12/crscafe.html and the CRS help desk is at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/oso1/oso12/crshelp.html. As of February, at least ten WFOs in the region were using CAFÉ operationally as their CRS formatter. WWA CRS formatter implementation is set at each WFO at 60 days after AWIPS Build 5.0 is completed at the site.

VOICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT UPDATE. The VIP team, comprising representatives from each region and NWSH, is in the process of reviewing the Request for Proposals, to be sent to all interested voice companies early this month. The interested companies will reply to the RFP by mid-April. The VIP team will then evaluate the replies, then shortly thereafter a Voice Evaluation Team led by Joanne Swanson at NWSH will complete the technical and voice evaluations. The VET will include a few WCMs, regional VIP representatives, and representation of the public and developed focus groups. Selection of the voice will be made by this fall with the first stages of deployment occurring by early 2002. Final deployment to all WFOs should be completed by June 2002.

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND OUTREACH

WFO Memphis WCM Jim Belles, meteorologist Andy Sniezak, service hydrologist Buzz Merchlewitz and CWSU Memphis meteorologist Larry Boatman visited with 400 middle school students in Memphis. They were accompanied by the educational outreach coordinator for the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. They discussed how NWS meteorologists help decision-makers in aviation, land management, and emergency services. The students enjoyed the presentation about the Mount Washington Observatory and had a lot of fun watching people trying to walk around in 90 mph winds during a blizzard on the top of the mountain.

StormReady in Mississippi. WFO Jackson MIC Jim Stefkovich and WCM Jim Butch traveled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to present the mayor and the local EOC director with their StormReady recognition. Hattiesburg is the second city in Mississippi to receive this recognition. As of late February, 22 Southern Region communities have earned StormReady recognition, with a total of 74 communities recognized across the country.

Got Water? Get a Weather Service Brochure. John Metz (WFO Corpus Christi) met with city emergency management officials on an exciting project. A locally designed brochure will be sent with every water bill to help customers prepare for hurricane season. These brochures will detail hurricane preparedness, The WFO Web site, a tracking map, and the products and services provided to area citizens. Most important, residents will learn where to receive vital NWS products and services, and it will reach over 300,000 residents.

The Weather-Resistant School. WFO Austin/San Antonio WCM Larry Eblen gave a one-hour presentation regarding weather-resistant schools to the Texas Education Agency Annual Conference. The program focused around activities to help administrators prepare their facilities, staff and students for weather threats. He discussed how to develop disaster plans and drills, how to select the best storm shelters, and how to receive and distribute weather warnings effectively (emphasizing NOAA Weather Radio). Larry also included a quick overview of the training of outdoor staffs for personal safety, as well as training toward developing a cadre of Skywarn Spotters for school protection. About 35 school districts attended the workshops.

WFO San Juan WCM Rafael Mojica conducted a three-hour workshop and office tour on weather related marine hazards and flash flood preparedness to a group marine officers from the Central American University and the Agricultural Zamoran Institute from Honduras and Nicaragua. The group was very impressed by AWIPS and WHFS.

Severe Weather Awareness Week. Most of the states in the east half of the Southern Region recognized Severe Weather Awareness Week in late February. All offices were active in releasing informative statements, providing interviews and meeting with officials. WFO New Orleans WCM Frank Revitte participated in a live, half-hour segment on WAFB-TV's (Baton Rouge) weekly emergency management/public safety series. Frank covered severe weather safety, NWS definitions, and the differences between watches and warnings. WFO Jackson WCM Jim Butch gave a 30-minute statewide radio interview about Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Meet the NWS. WFO Brownsville helped sponsor a "Meet Your Local Weather Person Day" during the first ever Winter Texan Expos. Four local TV weathercasters shared a booth with several WFO Brownsville staff (Tony Abbott, Jim Campbell, Hector Guerrero, Rachel Gutierrez, Sam Martinez, and Paul Yura) during this two day event. Hector participated in two live TV interviews and discussed the crucial partnership between the NWS and the media. The local TV stations were very supportive and helped the NWS educate these 'Winter Texans' on NOAA Weather Radio and the hazards associated with severe thunderstorms.

Midland's Spanish Products. WFO Midland has been experimenting with software which translates English products into Spanish, which are then posted to the Southern Region Web server. In order to facilitate public access to these products WFO Midland has developed a Spanish language Web site. To date, it includes the hourly weather roundup, zone forecast, and special weather statements. Warnings, watches, advisories, short-term forecasts, and hydrologic products will be added in the future. Senior forecaster Perry Martin and WCM Pat Vesper have been working closely with the Hispanic media to promote this new accomplishment. Community feedback from the media, local emergency managers, and the public has been positive.

North Texas Spotters. Two large spotter training classes were recently held by WFO Fort Worth. A half-day event in Waco drew 250 people. WCM Gary Woodall presented basic spotter training while Haag Engineering's Tim Marshall reviewed building performance in high winds. In Dallas, 550 people attended the class which featured forecaster Alan Moller and Gary's spotter training sessions, and KFDW-TV chief weathercaster Tim Heller's review of how the media covers severe weather.

Expanding Your Horizons. WFO Houston/Galveston meteorologist intern Carolyn Levert participated in the Clear Lake Expanding Your Horizons in Math and Sciences Conference. The workshop was for young girls (grades 6 through 8) who are interested in learning more about career opportunities in math- and science-related fields. The conference was attended by several hundred young girls.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATION

Texas Annual Emergency Management Conference. The Texas Division of Emergency Management held its 40th annual conference in Austin in late February. Southern Region director Bill Proenza delivered the opening presentation to the crowd of over 600 emergency management and state officials. He reviewed last year's weather and the factors likely to influence this year's weather. The RD primarily emphasized the strong commitment to service on the part of all the Texas NWS offices, including the Regional Operations Center at SRH. Later, several WCMs gave presentations at conference workshops, including WFO Lubbock's Ed Calianese (spotter training), WFO Brownsville's Hector Guerrero (StormReady), WFO Houston/Galveston's Gene Hafele (tropical training), and regional WCM Larry Vannozzi (northeast Texas ice storm of December 2000).

WFO San Juan. MIC Israel Matos visited the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency office to meet their new executive director, Ileana Rivera. This meeting, the first of a series, served to maintain liaison between the NWS and EMA in dealing with weather related preparedness and disaster mitigation issues. Following the meeting the EMA director toured WFO San Juan to become familiar with NWS operations.

More from Puerto Rico. MIC Israel Matos spent several days in February participating in meetings with newly appointed city mayors and their local EM teams to discuss NWS programs and services. These meetings were conducted in partnership with the Commonwealth EMA and the FEMA Caribbean Office. Israel visited ten counties and has a goal to reach the remaining 58 counties on the island before the start of hurricane season.

Mississippi Hurricane Evacuation Committee. SOO Mike Koziara, (WFO New Orleans Area), attended a Mississippi hurricane evacuation meeting with 25 other officials representing counties, the state, highway emergency planners, and directors. New clearance times have been calculated for Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties, and a joint Mississippi/Louisiana hurricane evacuation study has been funded for this year. Also, a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency official announced that automated weather stations are operational at Bay St. Louis, Pascagoula, and Ocean Springs. The Mississippi State Hurricane Conference will be held in Gulfport in late May.

MEDIA/PUBLIC/EXTERNAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT

WFO Jackson. MIC Jim Stefkovich and WCM Jim Butch gave an extensive four-hour presentation on radar and NWS products and services to 37 Mississippi emergency managers.

WFO Mobile. Senior forecaster Jeff Garmon has instituted a successful media outreach-exchange program, which helps familiarize local TV meteorologists with NWS products and operations by allowing them to work alongside WFO forecasters (primarily Jeff) during a shift. So far, two TV meteorologists have participated and several others have plans to join. This exchange program will also allow WFO forecasters to spend time at the TV stations to gain insight into their operations. All this will help WFO Mobile staff to know their customers better, which in turn will allow them to provide better products and services.

Severe Weather Seminar. WFO Fort Worth/Dallas SOO Mike Vescio recently conducted a severe weather forecasting exercise which was helpful to local TV meteorologists who attended. One sent a note of thanks stating how much he and his coworker enjoyed Mike's presentation. He also stated, "Along with our recent Skywarn seminar, this is just another wonderful example of the spirit of cooperation that exists between the media and the NWS in our area. We really do appreciate your efforts." Great job, Mike.

WFO Jackson. Tom Thompson and Steve Miller visited the Pearl River Water Control District office to inform office personnel about data available on the Lower Mississippi RFC's home page, the new availability of NWS radar data on the WFO's Web site, and to train them on how to access the KJAN LDAD.

WFO Houston/Galveston. WCM Gene Hafele and senior forecaster Jon Zeitler participated in a teacher training workshop on meteorology at the Rice University Pre-college Education Program. The 50 teachers and training staff were split into three groups which rotated through activities. One activity was a combination presentation by Gene (hurricanes) and Jon (ENSO). The teachers in training were primarily from predominantly minority schools in the Houston Independent School District.

SOUTHWEST U.S. WCM MEETING. Several WCMs from the southwest U.S., including WFO El Paso WCM John Fausett, recently met in Phoenix to discuss common issues. Discussion items included an AWIPS/IFPS/ICWF/GFE/Matrix initiative, StormReady, fire weather, special campaign weeks, storm surveys, and the Emergency Alert System.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH

NATIONAL RFC RIVER FORECAST VERIFICATION WORKSHOP. A three-day national RFC river forecast verification training workshop was held at NWS Headquarters last month. Southern Region attendees included HIC Billy Olsen and hydrologic forecaster Renee Wasko from ABRFC, Christine McGehee, hydrologic forecaster from SERFC, DOH Bob Corby from WGRFC, HAS forecaster Steve Listemaa from LMRFC, and Ben Weiger, chief of HSB. The objectives of this workshop were to train RFC personnel about the new national RFC river forecast verification software and to review other local RFC river forecast verification software which could potentially become part of the national RFC verification baseline system.

Billy Olsen's presentation on the Southern Region RFC categorical flood forecast verification software was well received. Many of the participants agreed there should be a categorical component to the national RFC river forecast verification baseline system. Billy is representing the region on a national RFC verification team which will recommend additional verification methods/metrics for the national RFC verification system baseline.

This new RFC forecast verification software will run locally at the RFCs. The goal is to have all RFCs send monthly verification statistics directly to the Office of Service's (OS) Performance and Awareness Division at NWSH for posting on the NWS Verification home page. Web page posting of RFC verification statistics will occur early next calendar year. RFCs will also provide a quarterly set of metrics to the regions. These quarterly metrics will be shared with the regions and the OS/Hydrologic Services Division for coordination purposes and will ultimately be used nationally to brief the NWS corporate board.

WFO HYDROLOGY PROGRAM MANAGEMENT VISIT. WFO Birmingham service hydrologist Roger McNeil visited WFO Mobile last month to provide hydrology program management support. Roger spent time with Keith Williams, hydrology focal point, discussing efforts to establish new river forecast points in the WFO hydrologic service area. Preliminary efforts have been completed for a forecast point on the Fish River near Silver Hill. Keith and Roger visited the proposed forecast site and discussed the work required to establish river forecast services on the Perdido River at Barrineau Park, the Alabama River at Choctaw Bluff and the Burnt Corn Creek in Brewton. Mobile DAPM Ron Ferguson, and FIC Dan Darby joined Keith and Roger in reviewing hydrologic product templates defined in RIVERPRO.

FLORIDA WEATHER INFORMATION NETWORK. In the fall of 1998 the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) received a grant from FEMA to fund improvements to the warning system within the state. This project is called Florida Warning and Information Network (FWIN). Part of the grant was designated to improve river forecasts and warning services. This was accomplished by installing real-time river and precipitation gauges in areas of sparse data. The DEM partnered with the NWS, the USGS, and several of the Water Management Districts in Florida to plan and implement these new gauges. The NWS offices involved were the SERFC, and WFOs Mobile, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, and Melbourne. FWIN is now operational with 16 river gauge sites either established or upgraded from this project. Most of the sites also report precipitation. Because several of the rivers originate outside of Florida, some sites are actually in Georgia. The following rivers now have gauging from FWIN: Yellow, Blackwater, Big Coldwater, Perdido, Escambia, Shoal, Choctawhatchee, Chipola, Ochlockonee, St. Marks, Little, Okapilco, Withlacoochee, Manatee, and Lake Jesup Outlet (St. Johns). Thanks to all the SERFC and all the WFOs involved in providing assistance for the siting of these gauges.

INTERAGENCY FLOOD EVENT EXERCISE. The Nashville District Army Corps of Engineers (COE) conducted a flood exercise on February 16, the purpose of which was to ensure all agencies involved with providing public safety during a major flood event on the Lower Cumberland River are aware of their roles and responsibilities. Agencies represented at the exercise were the Nashville EMA, Tennessee EMA, Tennessee Valley Authority, NWS, and the Nashville District of the COE.

WFO Nashville service hydrologist Michael Murphy represented the NWS and briefed those in attendance on RFC/WFO river forecast operations. The importance of hydrologic forecast coordination between the RFC, WFO, and COE during flood events was discussed. Flood forecasts based on an historical QPF scenario were generated by the Ohio RFC for this flood exercise. The river forecasts were used by WFO Nashville to generate mock flood warnings/statements and by the COE to simulate reservoir operations on their system of reservoirs. Nice job, Mike.

AHPS VIDEO. We recently distributed a set of Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services videos/CDs to all offices. The video is called "Water Predictions for Life's Decisions, The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS)," and was developed to heighten internal awareness of the capabilities and concepts of AHPS for WFOs and RFCs. It also provides information to help partners and customers learn about NWS plans to improve water prediction. On a related note, we recently posted the national AHPS Vision Team report to the HSB home page at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/hsd/html/ahpsvision.htm.

The NWSH Office of Service Hydrologic Services Division, in collaboration with the regional HSDs and the Office of Hydrologic Development will translate these prioritized objectives into a set of more detailed issues and requirements that will be presented to the corporate board for approval. This information will also be used to update the national AHPS operations concept and marketing plans and the AHPS FY02 implementation plan.

HSB WEB SITE ADDITIONS. We recently added two new links to our HSB Web site:

USGS National Streamflow Program provides access to the USGS real-time hazards initiative map and associated text containing information about streamgauging locations that received enhancements in FY00 or will receive enhancements in FY01. These enhancements include establishment of new gauging stations, reactivation of discontinued stations, addition of satellite telemetry at a station, and flood-hardened stations. This link also provides information about the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP). One of the objectives of NSIP is to obtain full federal funding support to operate and maintain a national baseline streamgaging network We recommend that you click on "Fact Sheet 005-01" and "NSIP Federal Streamgaging Network Map" for further information about NSIP.

Precipitation Frequency Atlas Maps is highlighted for emphasis. We want to bring this link to your attention since your office probably receives requests for extreme precipitation climatology information. Information on this Web site came from Weather Bureau Technical Paper No. 40, "Rainfall Frequency Atlas of the U.S." Please share this information with your customers who have an interest. John Lipe, senior service hydrologist at WFO Lubbock scanned TP 40 and made it available online. Thanks John.

NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS

Several Southern Region HSAs recorded some minor flood events during January. River crests were generally one to four feet above flood stage at most locations. Deep South Texas continues to see below normal rainfall and low water supplies in the area reservoirs. Falcon Reservoir was 46 feet below their conservation level and Lake Amistad was 37 feet below its conservation pool. Both of these reservoirs supply much of the municipal and irrigation water for the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The continuing drought conditions in the Southeast were highlighted in the RD's section of this Topics.

WEB COLLABORATION. WFO Morristown service hydrologist Brian Boyd reported his office has teamed up with the TVA to create Web pages portraying basin precipitation across several upper Tennessee River basins.

WHFS LOCAL APPLICATION. An AWIPS Local Application has been developed at WFO Taunton, Massachusetts which allows you to separate your WHFS forecast points from your back-up offices forecast points. It also separates the product templates as well and allows you to make them active with a GUI interface. The application is called WHFSBackup and is available for download from the AWIPS Local Application Web site. Information via e-mail will be sent out shortly on changes you need to make if you are running Build 5.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

NEW AND RECENT PUBLICATIONS. Two new Southern Region technical memoranda have been distributed to all offices. They are:

NWS SR-208 The Easter Weekend Tornadoes of April 3, 1999, by Mike Berry (WFO Shreveport),
and
NWS SR-209 Corrections to the Historic Tornado Database, by Doug Speheger (WFO Norman).

The following paper appears in the Journal of Hydrology, 239, (2000), and summarizes results from a collaborative NWS/CITM (FSU) research project. Support was also provided for this effort by COMET, in the form of a Cooperative project. Congratulations, Shawn.

"A Quantitative Precipitation Forecast Experiment for Puerto Rico,"
by M.M. Carter and J.B. Elsner (Florida State University/CITM),
and S.P. Bennett (WFO Brownsville).

The latest issue (February 2001) of Weather and Forecasting contains the following papers by Southern Region employees:

"Subjective Tornado Probability Forecasts in Severe Weather Watches," by
Mike Vescio (SOO, WFO Fort Worth) and Richard Thompson (NCEP/SPC).

Rich also visited Fort Worth last month and provided seminars on the subject at the WFO, SRH and the local AMS chapter meeting.

"An Examination of Radar and Rain Gauge-Derived Mean Areal Precipitation
over Georgia Watersheds," by Keith Stellman (LMRFC Slidell), Henry Fuelberg
(Florida State University), Reggina Garza (SERFC Atlanta) and Mary Mullusky
(NWSH/HRL).

We have provided all offices with a copy of NOAA Technical Report NESDIS 99, The Use of Water Vapor for Detecting Environments that Lead to Convectively Produced Heavy Precipitation and Flash Floods, by Rod Scofield (NESDIS), Gilberto Vicente (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center), and Mike Hodges (NESDIS). This report, which includes examples and case studies from the Southern Region, summarizes the authors' years of experience utilizing remote sensing for QPE and QPF. Those who attended last year's SR Senior Forecaster Workshop in conjunction with the flash flood conference in Atlanta will recognize some of the examples Rod presented as part of that workshop.

SCIENCE OUTREACH. Jackson MIC Jim Stefkovich provided a Doppler radar seminar last month to the Mississippi State University chapter of the National Weather Association. Twenty-eight students and three MSU professors participated. Jim's presentation should have been particularly helpful for two of the students who are also weekend weathercasters, one with the Jackson NBC affiliate and the other with the Meridian, Mississippi NBC affiliate.

NSSL CHANGES. The National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman was recently restructured to better reflect NSSL's current and pending research programs. There are now three science and technology divisions. These represent only part of NSSL's overall operations, but they comprise groups with whom forecasters interact frequently, so we want to make sure everyone is up to date on changes.

The Warning Research and Development Division, managed by Don Burgess, performs research to gain understanding of severe and hazardous weather such as wind, hail, tornado, and rain; identifies severe weather signatures in observational data; and develops and transfers new scientific understanding, applications and techniques to the NWS and other customers to enhance their capability in providing accurate forecasts and warnings for hazardous weather.

The Radar Research and Development Division, managed by former NSSL deputy director Doug Forsyth, will develop advanced radar systems such as dual-polarized radar and phased array radar, as well as lead the NWS development and migration of the WSR-88D to open systems technology.

The Forecast Research and Development Division, formerly the Mesoscale Research and Applications Division, will continue to be managed by Dave Rust and will conduct basic and applied research which leads to the improvement of forecast services within the NWS for hazardous and severe weather events. The division uses a combination of observations and modeling to research and test new forecast techniques.

Kevin Kelleher, newly appointed deputy director of NSSL, will be responsible for the day to day operation of the lab as well as managing administrative and information technology services groups. More information about the NSSL is available online at http://www.nssl.noaa.gov.

ON-LINE PAPERS AND STUDIES. A study co-authored by Tim Troutman (SRH/CWWD) and Mark Rose (WFO Nashville) has been published electronically on the National Weather Association's new Electronic Journal of Operational Meteorology Web site. The study is titled A Comprehensive Heavy Precipitation Climatology for Middle Tennessee. Alan Gerard (SOO at WFO Jackson is the e-journal editor. We encourage others to take advantage of this new publishing opportunity. Find out more about it - along with manuscript submission procedures - at http://www.nwas.org/ej/e-j.html. You can also locate Tim and Mark's paper and view an index of other submissions at the same site.

The NWA is not the only one posting "e-papers" on-line. Most of our offices do the same with their Web sites. This is an excellent way to share results of local studies, and it offers several obvious advantages over conventional means such as tech attachments or more formal (paper) publications. It's quick, it allows use of extensive color (and even animation), and it's free. We want to encourage use of this medium, but we also want to stress the importance of maintaining quality standards. Just as with anything which appears on the NWS Web sites, when we present results of studies or projects underway at an office we should strive for the highest levels of accuracy, clarity and precision in writing. In other words, the advantages of e-publication should not compromise the standards expected with conventional forms of publication.

NWP COURSE AVAILABLE ON-LINE. A new distance learning course on Numerical Weather Prediction is available on-line. All forecasters are encouraged to complete the course, which can help them make the best use of NWP model guidance. The course adds to and organizes a variety of modules that have been under development by COMET for some time, and the result is a structured training program to provide forecasters with a better understanding of numerical model fundamentals. The course is self-study and can be completed at the learner's own pace. The estimated time for completion is 15-20 hours. The course can be found at http://meted.ucar.edu/nwp/course. Here is an outline of its major sections:

- Model Fundamentals
- Impact of Model Structure and Dynamics
- How Models Produce Precipitation and Clouds
- Influence of Model Physics on NWP Forecasts
- Intelligent Use of Model-Derived Products
- Understanding Data Assimilation: How Models Create Their Initial Conditions

The NWP distance learning course is designed to be completed in sequence, but a built-in feature is a "minimum path" which guides those who already have a good basic knowledge of the subjects covered by each module through core material which even experienced forecasters will find beneficial for refreshing their understanding of NWP. After completing all sections learners are expected to take a short on-line exam based on the questions which were presented in the course. Successful course participants will be issued a certificate.

To kick off the course Stephen Jascourt and Bill Bua, COMET post-docs assigned to NCEP, will deliver a teletraining lesson entitled: "NWP Top 10 Misconceptions" throughout March and April. This teletraining will:

1. Discuss the "top ten" misconceptions about how numerical models really work and why having a better understanding of models can help forecasters make better use of numerical guidance,
2. Introduce NWS offices to new online COMET Web courses about numerical model fundamentals, and
3. Provide quick updates on upcoming NWP Professional Development Series activities, such as short on-line cases that illustrate key fundamentals of the models and how to better interpret model output, and an email server to ask about model questions.

To register for a teletraining session, follow the "Top Ten Misconceptions" link from the Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) home page (http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/visit/visithome.asp). After March 1, the session can be reviewed in advance by following the instructions in the student guides available from the VISIT home page.

The modules which comprise this NWP distance learning course are the result of an 18-month development effort under the guidance of Western Region SSD chief Andy Edman (executive producer of the NWP Professional Development Series). Many others in the NWS and at COMET contributed to development of the course materials and produced the Web-based modules. Their knowledge and skills will be obvious to anyone who undertakes the training.

KUDOS. Congratulations to WFO Mobile SOO, Jeff Medlin, on completing all the requirements for an MS Degree in atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Jeff successfully defended his thesis last week and will graduate next May. The title of his thesis is A Single-Doppler Radar Analysis of the Outer Rainband Mesocyclones Associated with Hurricane Opal of 4 October 1995.

SHORT-RANGE ENSEMBLE FORECASTS. The NCEP Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) has been developing a Short Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) system. That system is now in place and running routinely for test and evaluation purposes. Routinely here means twice daily (0000 and 1200 UTC) to 60 hours, but lags real time (i.e., availability of Eta) by about nine hours. Further background information, references, and forecast products are available at:
http://lnx48.wwb.noaa.gov/SREF/SREF.html.

The EMC strongly encourages NWS field office personnel to regularly examine and assess the SREF products and provide feedback on their skill, utility, as well as any suggestions or recommendations on the design and content of the product suite. (The EMC expects to add meteograms and clusters in the near future.) Please direct your comments and questions to: Steve Tracton (Steve.Tracton@noaa.gov; 301-763-8000 X7222) and Jun Du (Jun.Du@noaa.gov; 301 763-8000 X7277)

NCEP PLANS FOR 22 KM ETA & USE OF RADIANCES IN 3DVAR. The NCEP has announced plans to increase to both the horizontal and vertical resolution of all runs of the Eta model from 32 km/45 levels to 22 km/50 levels, and include the direct use of satellite (geostationary and polar orbiting) radiances in the Three-Dimensional Variational (3DVAR) analysis later this year. They also plan an increase in the size of the Eta domain (mostly by extending the western boundary) and implement minor changes to the grid-scale cloud and sub-grid-scale convection algorithms.

There are NO changes planned for the resolution of the AWIPS grids (except in Alaska where they will receive over the OCONUS SBN channel a 22.5 km grid set equivalent to what the CONUS users get on grid #215). Similarly, there will be NO change to the WMO headers. Expected implementation of these changes, pending CAFTI approval, is August 2000

The real-time 22 km parallel runs are being produced daily from a 22 km EDAS cycle with forecasts to 60 hours made twice daily. Eric Rogers has established a site where they can be viewed at http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/ETAPLL/. For the most current run, this Web site provides four panel displays of the 32 km Eta (upper left), AVN (upper right), 22 km Eta (labeled ETAX in the lower left) and the NGM (on the lower right). Displays are available every six hours of the forecast for 1000-500 thickness + MSL pressure, QPF, 850 z & T, 700 z & RH, 500 z & vorticity, 250 z & isotachs. Because the expected impact of resolution change may be greatest near the surface, Eric has also created another site where surface variables are displayed at higher resolution (~20 km via grid #215) for limited domains at http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/ETAPLL_SFC/. A 14-day period in January-February 2000 is being rerun with the 22 km test system. This period contains the 25 January blizzard along the east coast.

Anticipated impact on forecasts. Overall, the increases in resolution will provide an incremental improvement in skill (or reduction in error depending on your point of view). The use of satellite radiances will make the forecasts more consistent from run to run as the uncertainty in the eastern Pacific will be reduced and a more uniform quality of analysis should be achieved. The cloud scheme changes should reduce very light precipitation over the eastern Pacific and raise the overall level of RH fields forecast from the operational Eta.

In addition to the Web pages listed above, output grids from the real-time parallel runs are also available for anonymous ftp from ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/emc/eta22.t00z/ and from ftp://ftp.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/emc/eta22.t12z/ in which AWIP20xx files contain grid #215, AWIP3Dxx files contain #212, AWIPAKxx files contain Alaska grid #216 and AWP217 files contain the new 22.5 km Alaska grid #217 (identical domain coverage as #216 but double resolution) where xx in all of the above file names is the forecast hour. The BUFR soundings are in the directory bufrsnd.

AWIPS VALIDATION EFFORT. The AWIPS Validation Effort (AVE) Web page has been updated with the latest variables that have been validated. Users may note the discrepancy found with Potential Vorticity (PV) and Equivalent PV in a layer (see the Latest Issue page for specifics). Also, there is a page describing Equivalent PV and how it relates to Conditional Symmetric Instability (CSI). References to journal articles and a COMET Web module regarding CSI and Equivalent PV can also be found on that page at http://meted.ucar.edu/awips/validate/index.htm.

CARIBBEAN CLIMATE WORKSHOP. WFO San Juan MIC Israel Matos and forecasters Daniel Melendez and Scott Stripling participated last month in the 2nd Climate Modeling Workshop on Strategies to Study the Caribbean Regional Climate. The workshop was hosted by the University of Puerto Rico NASA EPSCOR Climate Modeling Group with the purpose of sharing research experiences on modeling and atmospheric dynamics. It was attended by several NOAA, NASA, and international community scientists. Common goals were to develop a regional climate model and establish an Atmospheric Science Program in Puerto Rico. Dr. Melendez co-chaired and moderated the second day's session. His presentation dealt with operational tropical meteorology, including an overview of the instrumentation, data sources, and numerical models in use and upcoming at WFO San Juan. Opportunities for collaboration between academia and the WFO forecasters were also discussed, with the aim of maximizing the science behind operations.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

AWIPS. Early last month we halted the Build 5.0 installation in the region due to a major error which could have adversely impacted warning operations in the event of a fail-over situation. Fortunately, working with PRC and NWS Headquarters, our offices were able to develop and test a solution within a few days. We now have 18 offices which have completed Build 5.0 installation. A few minor problems are still being encountered. The goal is to have all sites completed by the end of March, however a few offices have had to reschedule due to weather, and with the increasing threat of severe weather across the region the likelihood of more postponements increases.

Two offices are currently running Linux D2D. SRH and Morristown are continuing to test the software. Several areas require better documentation and we are working with FSL on this. We should be ready to implement at other offices later this month. We will be using these systems to support the CWSUs, and will be testing this configuration at WFOs Fort Worth and Memphis.

UPPER AIR. On February 21, the Upper Air Risk Assessment team made a presentation at NWS Headquarters. Charlie Lake from Southern Region briefed on problems with parts not being available when ordered, such as pylons, azimuth and elevation drive units, and logic cards. Charlie also commented on the occurrence of parts that are shipped but last only a few hours before failure, and how all of these issues result in lost data. Although the percentages are small now, the trend is for more and more data being lost each year.

NWS Headquarters has been made aware of several examples, and they are working on a solution.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS. The FTS 2001 migration continues at an agonizing pace. All of our frame relay services were to have been completed by mid-February. We have been working closely with MCI, but the process has been delayed because on several occasions MCI has had to send technicians back out to our sites to reconfigure equipment. During our activation we have had numerous problems which have slowed the process, but we are still expecting to have all the frame relay service converted to MCI by the end of this month.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

ASOS COMMISSIONINGS CONTINUE AT FAA SPONSORED SITES. The FAA sponsored ASOS at Valdosta, Georgia (KVLD) was commissioned on February 27. This leaves five remaining FAA sponsored sites to be commissioned in Southern Region. We continue to work closely with the FAA Southern and Southwest Regions in attempting to implement procedural work-arounds at staffed sites that are exhibiting the one minute false thunderstorm reports. It is our collective hope the work-arounds will soon be embraced nationally.

DOD WSR-88D DATA AVAILABILITY INCREASING. Southern Region has been working closely with the Radar Operations Center (ROC) and the DOD NEXRAD program manager to see if data availability figures for DOD sponsored WSR-88D locations could be improved at certain locations. The data availability for all DOD radars in Southern Region now exceeds 85 percent.

COOPERATIVE OBSERVER PROGRAM. The new CSSA became operational on February 12. This new system utilizes Web-based technology and an Oracle database to archive the metadata related to the volunteer observer network. Draft operating manuals, on a CD, were to be distributed to each office by NWSH. Many of the FedEx packages were lost preventing some offices from providing timely metadata updates. Replacement CDs have been delivered last month. The lost FedEx packages are being investigated by NWSH.

COOP AWARD NOMINATIONS. Coop award nominations for the 2001 Thomas Jefferson and John Companious Holm selections are due at SRH by April 10 to be forwarded to NWSH before April 15. An NWSH review committee will select the winners by late summer. The Jefferson and Holm awards, the highest awards presented to the volunteer observers, are normally presented by the nominating WFO in a local ceremony during the late fall or early winter.

SURFACE OBSERVATION PROGRAM. Southern Region received 25 requests from the aviation community for new certificates, cancellations or changes in type of surface certificates.

In mid-February we submitted final comments on the draft of WSOM Chapter B-13, Federal Aviation Administration Non-Federal Observations Programs, to WSH.

Results from the survey request sent out to all offices on how mesonets and all non-NWS weather data sources in their CWA are being utilized were forwarded to NWS Headquarters for review.

UPPER AIR OBSERVATION PROGRAM. Southern Region upper air offices are now ordering all their upper air supplies from NLSC, including radiosondes. The new process of ordering radiosondes was implemented, starting with Vaisala in December 2000 and VIZ-B2 in February 2001.

Since the first of last month seven offices in Southern Region began sending upper air archive data to NCDC via e-mail. This new method of data transmission has greatly reduced the problems of lost data which the offices were experiencing with the floppy disks. To date the data received from offices using this method is 100% complete. In February, NCDC reported this process had reduced by half the time it requires NCDC to archive the upper air data they receive.

Southern Region recently completed office reviews at WFOs Jackson, Mobile, and Fort Worth. Several minor concerns in the upper air programs were noted at both Jackson and Fort Worth, primarily involving launch procedures. Major concerns were noted involving equipment outages from a backlog of replacement parts from NLSC, or problems with replacement parts received from NRC that did not work. As noted above, a detailed report has been made to NWSH and we are working with them to seek solutions.

FACILITIES COMPUTERIZED MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMMS). In the previous 30 days, 42 work requests have been submitted, 36 work orders have been issued, and 59 work orders were completed and closed. There are 174 facility work orders open.

ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS. The facilities maintenance group completed the installation of two new Mitsubishi uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems in the Southern Region Headquarters and in San Juan. Nineteen units have been installed to date.

Replacement of the Transition Power Source (TPS) with the PowerWare Static UPS is now underway at the Tallahassee, Tampa Bay and El Paso Doppler radar sites. Six units throughout Southern Region have been installed since 1999.

KEY WEST ISSUES

NOAA Briefing on Key West. Key West siting background information was prepared for presentation in advance of the Southern Region director's meeting with the Acting NOAA Director, Scott Gudes. This activity also included a preview meeting with the architects at NWS Headquarters on February 14, where concepts were presented for the Truman Annex, site of the proposed National Ocean Service facility.

Key West Property Search. Discussions were held with the Navy and the city and county of Key West to identify alternatives to the coastal sites now under consideration at the Truman Annex and airport locations. With the Navy close to determining the BRAC property transfer recipient at the White Street property in downtown Key West, a formal request for consideration of NWS was prepared for the Navy. A decision by the Navy was anticipated early this month.

Key West DP1 Package Signed. The Key West Decision Point 1 (DP1) program plan for the construction of a new WFO at Key West was signed by the Southern Region and returned to NWS Headquarters on February 22. The DP1 package contains project justifications, alternative sites, a program plan, and approximate size, cost, and schedule information. The next phase, DP2, is a concept study and will include requirements, an economic analysis of alternatives, an environmental assessment, concept sketches, and rough order magnitude estimates for size, cost and schedule.

Facilities Drafting Support. Graphics on storm tide/wave action and upper air launch obstructions were prepared for a Key West WFO siting briefing. Schematic drawings were created for the electronics program manager showing digital recorder connections to the CRS. A radio signal coverage map for Florida NWR was completed, and the NWR coverage map for Georgia was updated.

DEL RIO ASBESTOS ABATEMENT. The electrical power modifications and cable rerouting for the ASOS ACU and upper air electronics cabinets is complete, in preparation for the removal of half of the asbestos floor tiles. The installation of new tile will occur before the electronics cabinets will be relocated the first week of March, and the remaining floor tile will then be removed and replaced.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND SAFETY POLICY COMMITTEE. The Southern Region Environmental Compliance and Safety program manager was invited to participate in the semi-annual NOAA ECS Policy Committee meeting in Silver Spring. The present goals are to organize the existing ECS policies in NOAA to a standard format to be used with minimal modifications by all line offices and select the policies to implement NOAA-wide in a priority order.

ROC DUCTING MODIFICATIONS FOR RDA SHELTERS. Ducting drawings were received and distributed to five field sites for bids to incorporate on an optional basis. Additional sites with high summer operating temperatures will be included as funding permits. An expected cost per site is estimated at $2500 to $3000, and funding is to be borne by the regions.

SAFETY ALERTS. Two Safety Alerts were issued to all Southern Region field offices last month. The first was for all sites to cease any painting operations using compressed air spray gun systems due to the OSHA required respiratory protection regulations, which require resources beyond NWS funding capability at this time. If spray painting is required, a suitably-equipped contractor must be hired. Ordinary spray paint used from cans is not affected, as long as the work is done with adequate ventilation in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

The second Safety Alert was for the WFOs with Ham radio antennas on their towers. The radio antennas must be installed and removed by qualified climbers only, such as NWSTC-trained personnel or persons having OSHA-approved climbing certification presented to NWS personnel in advance of any work.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

WFO BROWNSVILLE. HMT Fred Vega, Paul Yura, and Hector Guerrero attended IBWC meetings at Falcon Dam and Mercedes with officials from the government of Mexico. Frank Bell, service hydrologist from WGRFC was also present. The purpose of these meetings was to enhance coordination between the various agencies who would be involved with a flood situation on the Rio Grande. Paul provided a presentation on WFO Brownsville hydrological products and services. Fred Vega provided Spanish translation. A translator from the IBWC was also present.

Fifth graders from several elementary schools in the Brownsville ISD gathered at Jacob Brown Auditorium for a career day. WFO staff participants included Jim Campbell, HMTs Dana Watkins, Sam Martinez and Fred Vega, and ASA Rachel Gutierrez. Sam, Fred, and Rachel gave several presentations in Spanish.

Hector Guerrero had an opportunity to talk to about 60 Principals in the Brownsville Independent School District about the upcoming practice tornado warning drill and NOAA Weather Radio.

Sam Martinez participated in the Port Isabel Junior High Career Day and spoke to around 100 sixth graders about his career in the Weather Service. He showed a weather balloon and radiosonde, and gave handouts, prepared here on station, to each class.

WFO CORPUS CHRISTI. MIC Ken Graham gave an hour talk to the Corpus Christi Women's Business Association. About 40 ladies listened to Ken give a history of weather forecasting and services provided during the major 1919 hurricane. The 1919 hurricane killed over 600 Corpus Christi residents and destroyed much of the city. The talk compared these services to the services and technology provided by their National Weather Service office today. Several major contacts resulted from the talk. The editors of two newspapers and the Thrifty Nickel agreed to run severe weather and preparedness articles during upcoming issues.

On February 2, hundreds of students around the school district ventured out to spend the day at various businesses. Students chose a career field and got assigned to various local businesses and government agencies. The Weather Forecast Office in Corpus Christi hosted five students for the day. Students learned about managing a weather office, weather forecasting, upper air observations, severe weather responsibilities, observing duties, and how the electronics staff work hard to keep the whole operation running smoothly.

WFO LAKE CHARLES. The WFO staff recently participated in "Groundhog Job Shadow Day." An eighth grade student who was interested in computers and weather "shadowed" several individuals in the office, observing their tasks at work. This included collecting observations and inputting data into computers, learning how computers are used for weather forecasting, and observing a computer software project under development. Under direction of the webmaster, she added her digital picture to the visitors section of the WFO's Web page.

WFO LITTLE ROCK. Staff at WFO Little Rock also participated in "Groundhog Job Shadow Day." This program was developed and coordinated by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education. SOO George Wilken attended an orientation meeting in January for the event. Although the office has hosted individual students for job shadowing, this was the first time the office had participated in the national initiative. One school asked to participate on February 1 with four students, while five other schools sent students to the office on February 2. Students were shown the NOAA 30th Anniversary video to acquaint them with jobs in NOAA. A brief presentation explained how the Little Rock office operates, followed by an office tour and then a "round robin" where students sat with forecasters and other operational personnel, spending about 20 minutes at each position. During the three sessions, student participation was limited to six students for each session to provide a more personal visit. Students received a pamphlet further explaining the jobs in the WFO and the educational requirements for the jobs. Most of the students indicated an interest in a career in meteorology.

WFO SAN JUAN. Senior forecaster Miguel Sierra and DAPM Francisco Balleste gave a tour of the WFO to 33 sixth and ninth grade students from the central interior town of Lares. This activity was part of Puerto Rico's Department of Education Job Shadow Day.

MIC Israel Matos and WCM Rafael Mojica met with members of the Governors' of Puerto Rico Office of Special Counsel for People with Disabilities. The discussion centered on WFO services to the Blind and Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, such as CRS Spanish language voice and the need for a concatenated voice. Rafael agreed to conduct a workshop on weather terminology for sign language interpreters next month.

WFO SHREVEPORT. MIC Lee Harrison, DAPM Marion Kuykendall, forecaster Bill Parker and Bill's son, Trey, celebrated Black History Month by participating in the Shreveport African American History Parade. They drove the government vehicle with a sign displaying the National Weather Service. Along the parade route, they handed out pens, rulers, and key chains displaying NOAA and the NWS, and also gave out severe weather preparedness guides to the police officers on duty to hand out to the crowd. The parade was broadcast locally on the CBS TV affiliate.

Bill Parker participated as a judge for the Science Fair at Saline High School in Saline, Louisiana; meteorologist Bill Murrell and HMT Christian Stapleton participated as judges for the Science Fair at Edens Gardens Elementary School; and Bill Murrell participated as a judge for the Science Fair at Pineview High School in Lisbon, Louisiana.

WFO TALLAHASSEE. During February, WFO Tallahassee's Outreach Program remained active with a focus on African American History month. Senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block dispensed NWS literature and discussed careers in meteorology at the Black History Month Festival at the Walker-Ford Community Center and at the Tallahassee Urban League's Unity in the Community. He also attended the Florida State University International Center monthly brown bag lunch series where he discussed careers in meteorology with a wide range of minority students. Ron also served as a judge at the Regional Middle and High School Science and Engineering Fair.

MIC Paul Duval discussed weather with an emphasis on storm surges with Reudiger Elementary School; WCM Bob Goree interfaced with the "special needs" class from Brevard Elementary School and provided interviews on weather to WTVY-TV in Dothan, Alabama, and to the Enterprise, Alabama Ledger newspaper. ET Ron Eimiller was interviewed on NWS ASOS technology by WTWC-TV in Tallahassee. On the one year anniversary of the deadly tornadoes in southwest Georgia, various staff members provided interviews highlighting this event and WFO's Silver Medal winning performance.

RFC TULSA. Hydrologist Kandis Boyd attended the Creek County spotter talk with the WFO Tulsa WCM. Kandis also gave a flood/flash flood safety presentation during the Eastern Oklahoma Emergency Managers Workshop; and conducted an ABRFC staff diversity exercise at the monthly staff meeting.

Chris VonSchriltz, a senior from Broken Arrow High School, participated in the Junior Achievement of America for Ground Hog's Day 2001. Chris spent the day job shadowing hydrologists and HAS forecasters to learn about daily hydrologic operations.

The ABRFC participated in the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville internship fair. Hydrologists John Schmidt and Gregory Stanley, and DOH Bill Lawrence attended this outreach event to help publicize the ABRFC.

Hydrologist Jeff McMurphy participated in the Sequoia Elementary Career Fair, speaking to over 100 students of various ethnic backgrounds about careers in the National Weather Service.

The ABRFC brochure was updated and an additional 500 copies were made for outreach activities.

SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS

February 1-28, 2001

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Ashley Kells WFO LZK Promotion to NWSH Forecaster, GS-12
Thomas Birchard WFO EYW Reassignment to PR Forecaster, GS-9
Jonathan Rizzo WFO EYW Promotion to WR Met Intern, GS-9
Neal DiPasquale WFO AMA Promotion to ER Forecaster, GS-12
Charles McDonald WFO LZK Retirement HMT, GS-11

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Terrie Sabato WFO EYW New Hire ASA, GS-7
Stephen Grove WFO EYW Reassignment from AR El Tech, GS-11
William Nardi WFO OUN New Hire El Tech, GS-10
Jason Johnson RFC FWR New Hire Hydrologist, GS-11
Michael Motta WFO LZK Reassignment from AR Forecaster, GS-12
Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Gregory Flatt WFO LCH Promotion from BRO Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Michael Gittinger WFO MLB Reassignment from CRP Forecaster, GS-11
Terry Huber WFO SJT Reassignment from CRP Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Paul Kirkwood SRH Promotion from MRX AWIPS Program Mgr. GS-13
Marco Bohorquez FAA OKC Promotion from FAA Met Instructor, GS-13
Warren Rodie CWSU ZTL Promotion from ZME MIC, GS-13
Attachment

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