Fort Worth, Texas

March 1, 1997



DAVE HELMS TO RETIRE. Congratulations to Charles David "Dave" Helms, Hydrologist in Charge at the Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC), as he retires March 29 after 39 years of federal service. Dave began his hydrometeorological career in 1952 when he entered the U.S. Air Force Weather School at Chanute AFB. He served at Kimpo, Korea, during the last months of the Korean war and for a period of time afterward. He later served in the 6th Weather Squadron (Mobile) as a member of the "Tornado Alley Project." Dave worked at a number of occupations following his discharge from the Air Force in 1956. He entered the U.S. Weather Bureau at WBAS, Fort Worth, in February 1962. While there, he enrolled as a student at the University of Texas at Arlington; and without NWS financial assistance, and juggling evening and midnight shifts to attend day classes, he was awarded a B.S. degree in Geology in 1969. Dave's next stop was at the River Forecast Center in Atlanta where he served as a hydrologist. While there, he earned his M.S. in Geophysical Sciences at Georgia Tech in 1976. In 1978 Dave moved to the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center where he became Deputy Hydrologist in Charge in 1979. He retraced his steps to Atlanta in May 1982 to become Hydrologist in Charge at the Southeast River Forecast Center.

Dave has been commended a number of times in his career, having recently shared in a Department of Commerce Silver Medal that was presented to the SERFC for its performance during the devastating flooding associated with tropical storm Alberto in July 1994. Dave was honored with the prestigious Max A. Kohler Award in 1995, and has also received many other expressions of commendation. He has been an active advocate of the NWS hydrology program, speaking to various groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Dave and his wife, Charline, plan to continue to reside at 2135 Masonwood Circle, Snellville, Georgia, 30278, and encourage their many NWS friends to keep in touch. E-mail at daveh@atlcom.net.


AWIPS PROGRAM. The AWIPS program continues to move forward. Our site in Tulsa will be installing Version 1.3 of the AWIPS operating software shortly. This version contains site specific map backgrounds, adds model display options, and modifies the way map displays are shown with WSR-88D data.

A review of the NWSFO Norman site survey report was conducted. Several items were identified for correction and/or change. Comments were received and compiled from Norman, the AWIPS program office, and several people in the regional office. The program office forwarded them to PRC for action. Other sites will go through a similar process when it is time for their AWIPS installation.

Some problems have been identified with the NOAAPort Receive System (NRS) that feeds satellite data to several sites throughout the region. PRC is in the process of changing the transponder assignment, changing the receivers and raising the transmit level to increase the reliability of data reception at all AWIPS and NRS sites. We have made a few adjustments in our network here at the regional office to increase the throughput of model data being FTPed by sites and satellite data being pushed to the sites by us. We are looking at additional improvements to help provide a reliable source of meteorological data.

AWIPS PROGRAM STATUS. Here are the highlights of an AWIPS status message that we received from NWSH. With Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley's decision of February 12, the program was granted permission to deploy 21 sites during 1997 and early 1998. In addition, the Secretary's decision provided for an option to acquire equipment for an additional 18 systems if appropriate development and deployment progress have been made by July 1997. After an Operational Test and Evaluation of AWIPS Build 3, which marks the integration of the Forecast Systems Laboratory's WFO Advanced software into the AWIPS baseline, a decision to proceed with a full-rate deployment will be sought in December 1997.

To date, seven software upgrade releases have been provided to the AWIPS Build 1 sites to fix deficiencies discovered during the Operational Test and Evaluation. A major release, software version 1.3, was scheduled for the week of March 3. It corrects 17 discrepancy reports and deficiencies found in the initial installation of site-specific map backgrounds at each of theDevelopment Phase sites.

The three Pathfinder sites will be upgraded in May and July. The schedule for delivering the NCEP system is still under development. Site surveys at the first 21 Deployment Phase sites have been completed, and Site Survey Reports are being sent to field sites and regional headquarters for review.

AWIPS Build 2 has been defined. Release 2.0 is expected to be completed by the end of March. It will contain upgrades to the Hewlett Packard UNIX Operating Systems and the Informix database, initial implementation of the X.400 Message Handling System, automated tape backup support, automated failover from processor to its backup, and upgrades to other commercial off-the-shelf software. Point releases for Build 2 will contain limited user capabilities for the Message Handling System (i.e., administrative messages), satellite-derived fog product, Interactive Computer Worded Forecast/LAMP at selected risk reduction sites, limited print capability, and broadcast of data collection platform products over NOAAPORT Channel 4. Routine upgrades to the hydrologic packages will continue.

Work is continuing to integrate WFO-Advanced into AWIPS at Build 3. The functionality of AWIPS at Build 3 will include: acquisition of GOES data, model grids, and text products from the SBN; acquisition of WSR-88D RPG data via a synchronous communications interface; storage and management of data; processing, display, and animation of data; creation of official text products; dissemination of products through the AFOS communications network; and interface with the AWIPS Network Control Facility. Forecast Systems Laboratory, the developer of WFO-Advanced, will deliver the Build 3 version to NWS in mid-March after a few weeks of testing at the Denver WSFO. The integration of WFO Advanced into Build 3 is planned to be completed by August 31, 1997.

PRC has completed their schedule for conducting long lead site surveys for Deployment Phase sites. To date, eight Site Survey Reports have been delivered and sent to site and regional managers for review. The remainder are expected by the end of March 10.

The official schedule for installation of the 21 sites which are to be deployed in 1997 will be released soon. Also scheduled for 1997 are updates to the original Pathfinder sites in Pittsburgh and Taunton (Boston), and a new installation at the National Center for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs. Additionally, all Development Phase sites which received AWIPS Build 1 systems will be updated with Build 2 and Build 3 (WFO Advanced) software and associated hardware. Detailed schedules for these efforts are still being developed and will be released when available.


AWIPS Release 1.3 contains additions to the internal grid catalog which will allow the display of additional derived grids at existing levels which will appear in the Global and Local Product Selectors lists. Many of these changes were required to accommodate future data changes from NCEP; some deletions were made to derived parameters which could not be calculated. Also, in this release, a correction was made so that contour preferences for surface grids can now be saved. Previously, after going through the steps to set up and save a set of contour preferences for any surface (SFC) parameter, the user preference was not saved. A total of 17 Discrepancy Reports (DRs) were corrected and successfully validated.

AWIPS Release 1.3 also incorporates changes to the site-specific map background Graphics Display Language (GDL) files such as correcting duplicate entries for cities and towns, improved progressive disclosure display of map features, improved map data resolution differences, map centering corrections for NEXRAD Radar sites and map backgrounds for specific sites and scales, and the implementation of government-provided data that applies to all maps.




CERTIFICATIONS. The Modernization Transition Committee (MTC) met in Astoria, Oregon, March 18. At the meeting, the MTC heard first-hand from community members about the proposed consolidation certification for WSO Astoria. From the Southern Region, the MTC was consulted on combined consolidation/automation/closure certifications for WSOs Augusta, Meridian, and Savannah. They also considered combined automation/closure certifications for WSOs Baton Rouge, Daytona Beach, Knoxville, Montgomery, and West Palm Beach, and Residual WSOs Atlanta, El Paso, Lubbock, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Tulsa. Closure certifications were presented for WSOs Apalachicola, Athens, Austin, Bristol, Columbus, Del Rio, Fort Myers, Galveston, Macon, Orlando, Pensacola, Port Arthur, Roswell, and Waco, and for Residual WSO New Orleans. Additionally, the consolidation certification for WSO Wichita Falls was considered.

As a reminder, consolidation certifications "certify" that no degradation of service has occurred as a result of commissioning new WSR-88Ds and transferring services from spin-down WSOs to NEXRAD offices. Automation certifications "certify" that no degradation of service has occurred as a result of commissioning ASOSs. The closure certifications "certify" that no degradation of service will occur from closing spin-down WSOs.

DOME-LIFTING. The dome of the new WSR-88D in Fort Smith was lifted into place March 11. The event received considerable media coverage with MIC Lans Rothfusz and WCM Steve Piltz on hand for interviews.


MORGAN CITY AND FORT WORTH NWRs RELOCATED. During the last week in February and first week in March, two NWRs were relocated to new sites. In Morgan City, Louisiana, the NWR tower was scheduled to be torn down. The new site is within 5 miles of the old location. In Fort Worth, the NWR was moved from a vacant building on the south side of town to a high terrain area (Cedar Hill) south of Arlington, along the Tarrant/Dallas County line. Relocations require essentially the same efforts as establishing new expansion sites. A heartfelt thanks is extended to all involved in these important tasks.

NWR SURVEYS ON SRH HOME PAGE. A recently conducted NWR survey by NWSO Melbourne has been received and is now on the SRH home page. This is a new feature which we hope to continue.

SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEKS. Congratulations are extended to all offices for their successful severe weather awareness week campaigns which were recently completed. Extra kudos go out to those offices who had to adjust or reschedule activities due to the aftermath of the March 1 event and/or the threat of severe weather on the days of statewide tornado drills. A more complete summary of SWAW activities will appear in the next edition of Topics.

MARINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE. John Cole (WCM), Joe Arellano (MIC), Andy Patrick (SOO), Steve Pfaff (forecaster) and Larry Maifeld (HMT) participated in a meeting of the local Marine Advisory Committee in the Corpus Christi area. This group also includes representatives of the Navy, Coast Guard, marine operators, and local industry. During the meeting, Joe spoke about the NWSO's transition to marine forecasting and the status of data buoys. John described the NWS marine products and gave an outlook for the 1997 hurricane season. Andy described training initiatives for the NWSO staff, while Steve addressed a variety of marine-related questions and issues.

SPOTTER TRAINING SESSIONS. Several large-scale severe weather spotter/education programs have been conducted in the region over the past few weeks. Some of the highlights are listed below:

Al Moller (FIC, NWSFO Fort Worth) and Dr. Charles Doswell (Professor at Oklahoma University) gave an advanced SKYWARN presentation in Garland, just outside of Dallas. Approximately 500 people from across North Texas attended the session, during which Al gave a presentation on intermediate and advanced storm spotting concepts, including footage from some of the more significant tornado events of the past few years. Dr. Doswell discussed some theories regarding tornado formation, some of the early findings regarding the VORTEX project, and the prospects of weather research and forecasting in the future.

Larry Eblen (WCM, NWSFO Austin/San Antonio) recently conducted a day-long spotter training session in Austin. The program also featured presentations by NWSFO Austin/San Antonio MIC Al Dreumont, service hydrologist John Patton, local TV meteorologists, local emergency management officials, and amateur radio operators. Subjects covered included severe weather climatology, flooding and heavy rain events, non-supercell tornadoes, storm spotting concepts, and weather sources on the World Wide Web. The program was attended by 150 spotters from the central Texas area, and Larry reports that the date for the 1998 session has already been set.

Richard May (WCM, NWSO San Angelo) and forecaster Phillip Baker have presented a series of all-day training sessions in the San Angelo CWA. Over 100 spotters have participated in the two most recent sessions at Brownwood and San Angelo. The programs feature basic spotter training sessions in the morning, with advanced spotter sessions and operational reviews during the afternoon. Richard reported that the Brownwood session was videotaped in its entirety, allowing spotters who missed the program to review its contents at a later date.

Doug Crowley (WCM, NWSO Amarillo) is finishing plans for his upcoming biennial Severe Weather Workshop. Doug has lined up some heavy hitters to make presentations at the meeting. Included on the agenda are Bob Johns (SPC), Erik Rasmussen (NSSL), Warren Faidley (Weatherstock, Inc.), Phil Weigant (EMWIN), along with Ed Andrade, John Cockrell, and Todd Lindley from the NWSO. This should prove to be an excellent program, and Doug is expecting more than 500 attendees from across the Amarillo CWA.

Fred Johnson (WCM, NWSO Jacksonville) has started a certification program for their local emergency managers. Entitled "Introduction to the Severe Weather Warning Process," the program is designed to train the EMA staffs on severe weather operations at NWSO Jacksonville. The training includes an introduction and tour of the NWSO, observing and remote sensing technology, the severe weather warning process, the importance of storm spotters, and ongoing research projects. During the seminar, students are given the opportunity to analyze WSR-88D products, interpret short-term forecasts, and issue practice warnings.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS AND COORDINATION. It seems hard to believe, but as of our press date, there are only 78 days until the start of hurricane season! Coastal offices are already starting to gear up their hurricane programs.

Bill Read, Gene Hafele, Dan Darbe, and Josh Lichter of NWSO Houston/Galveston participated in a hurricane planning seminar for emergency management officials along the Texas Coast. A total of 25 people attended the seminar. Reference material was based on the Hurricane Planning Guide developed by FEMA and the NWS in 1995. Dan described the structure and life cycle of a hurricane, while Gene covered the hazards associated with a hurricane and demonstrated the SLOSH model and inland wind software. Josh gave an overview of the NWS hurricane-related products issued by TPC/NHC and the local office, and Bill described the problems associated with tracking and forecasting hurricanes. The seminar ended with a short scenario, in which an Opal-type storm made landfall on the upper Texas Coast.

Frank Revitte (WCM, NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge) participated in a meeting of the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force. This brought together about 50 people from a variety of state and local emergency management agencies. Highlights of the meeting included a prioritization of shelters in the area in an effort to assemble a computerized database of hurricane shelters in a seven-state area. Also, the State Office of Emergency Preparedness has contracted with officials at Louisiana State University to develop a GIS software application integrating flood maps and shelter locations.

OUTREACH AND EDUCATION ACTIVITIES. Some highlights from across the Region:

Scott Plischke and Jim Caruso (forecasters, NWSO Amarillo) staffed a table at a local school's Computer/Career Day Fair. In an effort to demonstrate a larger subset of the electronics used by the NWSO, Scott and Jim's display featured a laptop running PC-GRIDDS and the NWSO's digital camera. The table was popular with the students, and Scott reports he is planning some improvements for the display in the future.

Walt Zaleski (WCM, NWSO Tampa Bay) is assisting Hillsborough County emergency management staff in planning and organizing the county's first Hurricane Expo in Tampa. Walt has provided input into the developmental and planning stages of the Expo, and the NWSO has agreed to be an active participant. The office will staff a booth at the expo and has already arranged for NOAA Weather Radios to be provided for giveaways and raffles. NWSO Tampa Bay staff will also distribute hurricane brochures and information to attendees and expo planners, as well.

Dennis Decker (WCM, NWSO Melbourne) visited Disney University, the internal training venue for Walt Disney World. Dennis provided the crisis management personnel with an overview of severe thunderstorms in central Florida and a review of their emergency plans. Dennis went on to review the basic concepts of storm spotting and the important role communications plays in the severe weather warning process. The meeting was appreciated by all involved and helped reinforce the long-standing relationship between NWSO Melbourne and the staff at Walt Disney World.



A Wet Spring Outlook. A wet weather regime continued over a large portion of the Southern Region in February. According to the March 8 Palmer Drought Index, soil moisture conditions were unusually to extremely wet over most of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, the Tennessee River Valley, northern Texas, and all of Oklahoma. NWSO Shreveport service hydrologist Craig Ross reports that his entire hydrologic service area (HSA) received well above normal rainfall for February, with some areas receiving 10 to 11 inches of rain. NWSFO Fort Worth service hydrologist Ernie Cathey revealed that record February rains were recorded at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (7.06 inches) and at Waco (7.62 inches).

The Ohio River flooding continues to propagate downstream and is expected to reach southern Louisiana toward the end of March. With the antecedent soil conditions near saturation, a flood wave working its way down the Mississippi River and many rivers and streams near or above bankfull in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and eastern Texas, the stage has been set for a hydrologically active late March and April.

Too Much Sunshine in the Sunshine State. Yet, with all this talk of soggy ground and flooding rivers, there remain a few areas concerned with drought. In Florida, the area of moderate drought has expanded to include all but the northern sections of the state. NWSO Tampa Bay service hydrologist Frank Alsheimer reports another below normal month of precipitation in February, with the Tampa International Airport receiving 0.66 inches of rain compared to the normal of 3.08 inches. This marks seven of the past eight months where Tampa has received below normal rainfall. Water levels have declined to below normal levels on all 75 lakes that the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) monitors. Lake levels in the immediate Tampa Bay area are below minimum low management levels. A weekly ground water index provided by SWFWMD has dropped to a rating of 30 where 100 rates good and ten or less rates poor.

South Texas Drought. Elsewhere, an area of southern Texas along the Rio Grande continues to experience prolonged moderate drought. NWSO Brownsville hydrologic focal point Freddy Vega writes that the capacity of the Falcon Reservoir was down to 22 per cent by the end of February. Lake Amistad near Del Rio was near 42 per cent of capacity. NWSFO San Antonio senior service hydrologist John Patton elaborates,

The South Texas area that has not received significant rain since the spring of 1995 is the area from San Antonio to Choke Canyon Reservoir (24 per cent capacity) to Cotulla to Eagle Pass to the Balcones Escarpment. Without enough rainfall this spring to put moisture several feet deep into the soil, fill the stock tanks, saturate the Frio and Nueces river channels and put large amounts of runoff down these rivers into the lakes, water prospects for this area look grim.

A silver lining may be shining through, though. In early March, heavy rains developed over a large part of southern Texas, including the Rio Grande Valley. Widespread soaking rains during the second week of the month will likely have provided enough moisture to soak the ground and provide enough runoff in area rivers for waters to actually reach the reservoirs. Ironically, March is normally the driest month of the year in deep South Texas.


Flood Threat in Mississippi Keeps NWSFO Jackson Busy. Tice Wagner (MIC, NWSFO Jackson) reports that his office has been participating in nearly continuous briefings (interagency and media) for the past couple of weeks as a result of the expected flooding across Mississippi and Louisiana. In one of the briefings, over 50 people attended from federal, state, and local agencies. Included among this list were staff from the offices of Senators Lott and Cochran and from the governor's office. Besides presentations from Mr. Wagner and Jackson senior service hydrologist Tommy Thompson, the Corps of Engineers (COE) briefed the attendees on their operations, assistance, and levee status.

Additionally, Donell Woods (MIC, Vicksburg) has been providing daily briefings to Major General Flowers and his staff. Mr. Woods has been doing an outstanding job, and the General and his staff have had nothing but praise for his efforts.

There is grave concern by all interests in the state of Mississippi at this time. As Tice says,

Not only is the Mississippi expected to experience the worst flooding in several decades, but most of the other rivers in the area are in flood. The COE has closed the Steele Bayou structure near Vicksburg which keeps the Mississippi from backing up the Yazoo River, but also keeps the Yazoo from draining. This can also be a problem with heavy rains in the Yazoo Basin.

All in all, this is going to have a very serious impact on the economy of the area. Evacuations are already taking place, while expected crests are still a couple of weeks away.

River Spotter Roundup in Western Texas. NWSO Amarillo hydrologic focal point Lance Goehring teamed up with NWSFO Lubbock service hydrologist Steve Drillette to recruit a "river spotter" for the Sweetwater Creek near Kelton, Texas. Lance and Steve have begun the process of recruiting volunteers to read wire weight gages during times of flooding. As Lance says, "In the Panhandles, the rivers sometimes rise and fall too fast for our DCP's to catch, and this is a good way to get the very-close-to-real-time data that we need."

The two have planned future recruiting trips where they intend to arm their "river spotters" with rain gages so they can call in rainfall amounts as well.

More West Texas Rainfall Networking. NWSO Midland hydrologic focal point T.J. Turnage coordinated with the Glasscock County Underground Water Conservation District to obtain rainfall observers for Glasscock and Reagan counties. Additionally, T.J. and HMTs Susan Griffith and Mike Wrinkle are endeavoring to consolidate the station's volunteer rainfall observer program with the cooperative observer program.

Tampa Tours. NWSO Tampa Bay service hydrologist Frank Alsheimer continues his numerous site visits throughout his HSA to update E-19 information. In February, Frank visited his river forecast points in Polk County. When possible, Frank brings fellow staff members on his field trips to familiarize them with some of the service hydrologist duties and the SHIMS database.

Frank also toured the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Tampa Bypass Canal and Harney Canal. These are the main flood control and reservoir control structures for Tampa and its suburbs. Frank's tour guide told him that the biggest problem occurs with tropical weather systems; because as the heavy rains cause high streamflow, tidal surges push the water from Tampa upstream. The timing of when to open and close the structures becomes critical during these periods.


Southern Region RFCs' Operations. Wet late winter weather has kept the RFCs very active in operational forecasting. Flooding has occurred over parts of the WGRFC Fort Worth and LMRFC Slidell areas almost continuously since early February, and has also affected portions of the ABRFC Tulsa and SERFC Atlanta areas.

End of an Era. The end of an era is approaching at the SERFC with the impending retirement of HIC Dave Helms on March 29 (see page 1). We will miss his expertise as a hydrologist and his good humor and charm that have made him such an effective ambassador for the NWS and the NWS hydrologic program. Best wishes for a long and happy retirement, Dave!!

Kudos From the Red Cross. During a recent flood event in North Texas, staff from the WGRFC and the NWSFO Fort Worth coordinated with the Tarrant County Chapter of the American Red Cross. In a letter to one of the WGRFC senior hydrologists, Miss Debbie Esselman says,

Thank you very much for working with us during the recent flooding in Parker and Tarrant counties. As always, we needed up-to-date information on the weather conditions and on the river conditions. The opening of the flood gates and the timing of the opening was crucial to our disaster aid planning. We are very appreciative that you kept us informed.

We were able to assist 39 families who were affected by the storm with their disaster-related problems. The problems could have been so much worse, and we used your information to judge our volunteer needs, as well as our equipment needs.

Great work WGRFC and NWSFO Fort Worth!

Bo Knows IFP? Does Bo know about NWSRFS and the Interactive Forecast Program? Probably not, but many New Orleans area residents now do. On February 26, television reporters visited the LMRFC to obtain a briefing on how the RFC prepares forecasts and decides how high the rivers are expected to rise. They received a briefing on RFC operations and showed the IFP on the 10 p.m. newscast.

Louisiana Officials Briefed. On March 5, Dave Reed of LMRFC and Dave Smith and Frank Revitt of NWSFO New Orleans briefed the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness on the flood crest moving down the Mississippi River. In addition to the NWS presentations, the USGS, Corps of Engineers, and LSU officials also made presentations and answered questions about the potential for flooding in the state.

Coordination Calls Held. On March 2, officials from the Corps of Engineers, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, LMRFC, North Central RFC (NCRFC), and Ohio Basin RFC (OHRFC) started daily coordination calls to share information during the major flooding on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The calls have proven beneficial to all participants.


NEW TECHNICAL MEMORANDA. Three new Southern Region technical memoranda have been distributed to all offices in the last couple of weeks. They are:

Severe Weather Statistics for the Warning Area of the Modernized Weather Forecast Office at Little Rock, Arkansas (NWS SR-182), by Nelson A. de Villiers (NWSFO Little Rock).

The Historic Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi Flood Event of May 8-10, 1995 (NWS SR-183), by Robert J. Ricks, Jr., Paul S. Trotter, G. Alan Johnson, Frank J. Revitte, and John L. Guiney (NWSFO New Orleans); Russell Pfost (NWSFO Jackson); and David B. Reed (LMRFC Slidell).

Weather Support for the XXVI Olympiad (NWS SR-184), by Lans P. Rothfusz (NWSFO Tulsa) and Melvin R. McLaughlin (NWS SRH Fort Worth).

Congratulations to all the authors for these excellent contributions to our tech memo series. Several others are also in the works.

UPDATE ON COMET PDW MODULES. Here is a summary recently provided by COMET showing status of several new computer training modules (CBLs).

Fire Weather - Should be distributed to offices later this month.

Anticipating Convective Storm Structure and Evolution - In final stages of testing; should go to publisher by the end of this month.

Marine Meteorology (convert to CD-ROM) - Should be available to field offices in May.

NWP (conversion) - On hold.

Extratropical Cyclone Series (conversion) - On hold.

Case Studies Using GOES Imager Data - Distribution possible next summer.

The Headwater Forecast Process - Moved back to fall 1997.

Aviation I: Forecasting Icing - Cancelled; the topic will be covered using alternative means.

GOES 8 Sounder - Planned for the last quarter of 1997.

As emphasis on training techniques shifts away from in-residence classes and more toward facilitated on-site training, plans for the COMET CBLs are being reviewed carefully. Greater emphasis will be put in on-line modules that may be accessed by Internet, or perhaps via the frame-relay system. There may be fewer conventional CBLs, in favor of shorter, more job-specific modules that can be accessed easily when needed. Training for skills needed as part of the watch decentralization may be the first "track" developed--or packaged--with that in mind.

SSD VISIT TO CITM. Dan Smith and Bernard Meisner travelled to Tallahassee and Florida State University at the end of February to meet individually and as a group with CITM staff. They discussed current and future activities of the Cooperative Institute, including the convective initiation workshop for Florida and neighboring SOOs that is being planned for late April. They also discussed the status of the CITM contributions to the special Southern Region issue of Weather and Forecasting scheduled for publication in September. Bernard presented a CITM seminar on GOES images and derived products and where on the Internet they can be found.

TECHNICAL ATTACHMENTS. Irv Watson (SOO, NWSO Tallahassee) was one of several Southern Region attendees at a recent USAF Gulf Coast Weather Workshop held at Eglin AFB in the Florida Panhandle. Irv summarized the workshop in a report that we've included as a tech attachment this week.

Vince Papol and Tim Brice (NWSO El Paso) shared their analysis of a recent snow event in West Texas that showed interesting features related to CSI-Conditional Symmetric Instability--our second tech attachment.



RADAR DECOMMISSIONING. Two more radars have been decommissioned in the Southern Region. Corpus Christi and Victoria were decommissioned on March 10. The countdown is now at seven. Next in the queue are San Angelo and Abilene. Fort Smith, Huntsville, and Chattanooga are awaiting for the installation of the new WSR-88Ds. Key West is waiting for the completion of the communications study, and San Juan is waiting for the commissioning of the FAA radar on the island.

SAC UPGRADE TO HP-UX VERSION 10.20. We have just shipped the HP-UX 10.20 upgrade materials to those stations who qualified for a free upgrade. Those stations not receiving the free upgrade should purchase an upgrade per instructions from SSD and the national SOO/SAC coordinator, Peggy Breuhl. Support for this upgrade in Southern Region Headquarters will be a combined effort of SSD and SOD.

The ESA should perform the actual upgrade, since it is an inherent Systems Administrator function. If any problems or questions arise, please contact Bruce Marshak or Thad Lindsey in SOD or Bernard Meisner in SSD.

TWO FOR ONE. While on the second leg of the PC-ROSA installation journey at San Angelo, Leon Minton was also able to work with ESA Paul Burke to connect cc:Mail over the Frame Relay. Since they already had Windows NT 4.0 Server running, it was just a matter of installing the NTROUTER program and configuring the cc:Mail Call List. San Angelo became the thirteenth Southern Region office to exchange cc:Mail messages over the Frame Relay every 15 minutes.

TERMINATION OF TELEPHONE SERVICES. Just a reminder to everyone on canceling telephone service or disconnecting circuits: When any local telephone service provided by a local telephone company is terminated or service is transferred to FTS2000 (i.e., long distance and/or 800 service), the WFO is responsible for contacting the local telephone company or the commercial long distance carrier and canceling the service.

If you do not cancel the service locally, you will continue to be billed and the government is responsible for payment. You should back up any phone conversation with your local telephone company with a memorandum, letter, or NOAA 37-1 when canceling the service. Forward a copy of this correspondence to the SRH Telecommunications Manager. Please call Gene Witsman at (817) 978-4967 if you have any questions.

BILLING QUESTIONS (AKA, EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT TELEPHONE BILLING ON NWSH PHONE SERVICES). Copies of the certified bills are to be sent to NWSH on any billing you receive for telephone services or circuits that are paid by NWSH. These almost always have a purchase order with an "ACF" in the purchase order number (i.e., NA86ACF60653) (NOAA 37-1). Please contact Gene Witsman at (817) 978-4967 for any questions concerning billing of communications services.

COMMERCIAL LONG DISTANCE CHARGES. Many stations continue to receive bills from AT&T for long distance charges. Sometimes a site will suddenly start receiving bills from AT&T on lines that are supposed to be FTS2000 for long distance calls. Most of the time this is a result of a computer run by your local telco which changes the PIC code for the intra-LATA toll calls, adjacent LATA calls, and sometimes your inter-LATA calls.

Each month, long distance carriers send a computer tape to most of the local telcos which updates the long distance PIC codes on the local telephone numbers. The PIC code determines which long distance carrier your calls will be carried by. There are PIC codes for intra-LATA calls, LATA to adjacent LATA calls, and all other long distance calls. This computer tape update started in Florida in our region and is now spreading across the Southern Region.

Last year after we finally figured out what was happening in Florida, we sent a message to all offices recommending that they send a letter to their local telephone company which requested that all the telephone numbers at the office have their PIC codes frozen to the FTS2000 PIC code, and only the designated persons in the letter were authorized to change the long distance carrier. Authorized persons should be the MIC and Gene Witsman (for SRH). Additionally, a sample letter to FTS2000 which appoints FTS2000 as agent to local telco for "Local Toll" service was attached to this message. If you have not completed these letters for your office, you should do them as soon as possible to avoid the heartbreak of being "PICed on" in your next telephone bill.


GENERAL INFORMATION FOR UPPER AIR INSPECTIONS. Upper air inspections are being done again to bring every station in compliance with the mandated inspection schedule. Five inspections have been completed in the past few months. The SRH Upper Air Program Manager (Gene Witsman) will complete upper air inspections for all coastal stations that are not current before April 4. The only coastal sites which are currently out-of-date on inspections are Ruskin, Tallahassee, and Brownsville. A schedule of the remaining upper air sites which need to be updated will be forwarded in mid-May.

The following items have been noted during these inspections and are passed on for your information:

If the DAPM would like a copy of the new Upper Air Inspection Checklist, please contact Gene Witsman at (817) 978-4967.

SUBMISSION OF THE LIST OF PROJECTS, CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND REPAIRS. In February, Facilities asked each forecast office to submit a list of projects, capital improvements, and repairs for future reference. I would like to thank each office for their time and effort to produce this list. When the 1997 project list is formalized, I will copy each MIC and ESA.

Our plans are to maintain a continuous inventory of outstanding projects and repairs for each facility. In March of each year we will formally request each office to update the list. This is not meant to be the only time to submit projects. Each office can submit any project at any time. Please contact your assigned SFT for details.

FACILITIES SFT CONFERENCE. Facilities will be conducting an SFT conference April 28-May 2 in Fort Worth. Please note that during the conference the SFT resource will not be readily available. You will be able to contact them through the Regional Office if it is an emergency.

PC-ROSA UPDATE. Leon Minton and Mike Asmus installed the first Southern Region PC-ROSA system at Shreveport February 26-28. As part of the process, several DAPMs and HMTs from surrounding offices received system orientation in the coding of observations for entry to the system. These DAPMs and HMTs will train the cooperative observers whose data is collected with the system.

An additional system was installed at San Angelo March 3-5. Again, DAPMs and HMTs from surrounding offices were in attendance for training and system orientation.

The remaining systems for Jacksonville and San Juan are scheduled to be installed by the end of March. Additional DAPM/HMT orientation will also be performed at these offices. Once all equipment is installed, additional training sessions for DAPM/HMT teams will be conducted across the region. We hope that all DAPM/HMT teams will have received training in the coding of the cooperative observation by the end of the summer.

DIGIQUARTZ CALIBRATION. Most of the DAPMs have had the office digiquartz recalibrated during the month of February. This calibration is done once a year to be certain these pressure standards maintain their accuracy. These units are used to support the inspection of SAWRS and LAWRS sites across the region as well as support the operation of the local office. These digiquartz units have replaced the mercurial barometer for the surface program. The mercurial barometer is still required to be on-site for upper air locations.


NWSO SHREVEPORT. Marion Kuykendall (DAPM), Tim Doyle (intern), Patrick Omundson (forecaster), and Mary Navarre (Co-op student) gave office tours to groups ranging from an Indian Guide Troop to high school students.

NWSFO FORT WORTH. Alan Moller (forecaster) discussed weather disasters and safety to 1st and 2nd graders at Louella Merrett Elementary School. The students were very interested in severe storms and tornadoes--Alan's favorite topics!

Back by popular demand--Roland Nuñez (forecaster) participated in the 2nd Annual North Hi Mount Elementary School Career Day on March 12. Roland discussed the radiosonde program, tornadoes, and flash flood safety rules. North Hi Mount celebrated its 60th birthday on March 11.

NWSO HOUSTON/GALVESTON. High School/High Tech is a community-based partnership of parents, educators, rehabilitation professionals, and business/government representatives. The goals are:

Robert Van Hoven (Special Emphasis Employment Program Manager for the Southern Region) is also a member of Houston's High School/High Tech Program advisory committee. Under initial sponsorship by NASA and with support from United Cerebral Palsy of Texas, the local program in the Houston area started last year. Disabled students toured the weather office, and a qualified student volunteer worked in the office during the summer. A tour of NWSO Houston/Galveston by disabled students is scheduled for April, and hopefully a volunteer student will work in the office next summer.

Staff members of NWSO Houston/Galveston (Greg Waller, Chuck Roeseler, Gene Hafele, and Brian Kyle) are all actively involved with outreach activities among several school districts in the Houston/Galveston area. Districts being visited include Houston Independent School District, Clear Creek Independent School District, and Friendswood Independent School District.

Friendswood High School had a career day February 5 providing an opportunity for Robert to talk to 400 students about pursuing a career in meteorology.

VOLUNTEERING. Martin Garcia, Bruce Marshak, and their wives recently volunteered to work a water stop during the recently held Cowtown Marathon. The stop, sponsored by the Fort Worth Runner's Club, provided water, electrolytic beverages, and snacks to Cowtown participants at mile 24. This is the third or fourth time they have volunteered to help with events such as the marathon. It will make you feel good to donate time and have people say "thank you" for your efforts.

We are aware of other people throughout the region donating time to good causes. Several schools in Louisiana have been assisted by the electronics staff at NWSFO Slidell. These gentlemen have donated time by wiring schools to support NETDAY 2000, President Clinton's initiative to have every school wired for the Internet by the year 2000. Mario Valverde is in the process of organizing a similar NETDAY 2000 effort here at Southern Region Headquarters.

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