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Fort Worth, Texas

November 2000



NOAA 30th ANNIVERSARY. I had the pleasure at our recent MIC/HIC meeting of handing out commemorative certificates to those individuals in attendance who had achieved the distinction of being NOAA employees since the birth of the agency in 1970. About 60 current Southern Region employees achieved that milestone. Attached to this month's Topics is a list of those individuals.

NATIONAL WEATHER ASSOCIATION AWARDS. It is a pleasure for me to note that among the recipients of the year 2000 NWA awards, presented at the association's 25th annual meeting last month, are the following Southern Region employees.

Operational Achievement Individual Award: Steven Piltz, former WCM and now MIC of WFO Tulsa. Steve was recognized for his many outstanding accomplishments over several years, including development of the StormReady program.

NWA Member of the Year Award: Bernard Meisner, SRH Scientific Services Division. Bernard was honored for many years of support to the NWA, and for his efforts to creatively link the NWA goals to those of the NWS modernization program.

In addition, WPBF-TV 25, West Palm Beach, was awarded the Public Education Award for their work in helping improve hurricane and tornado safety awareness. Also, Prof. Jim Moore at St. Louis

University, a frequent visitor to Southern Region offices and workshops, received the NWA's T. Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award.

Congratulations to those honored, and kudos to all SR employees who actively support the NWA, the American Meteorological Society, and other professional organizations. By contributing to meetings and publications of such groups, and maintaining strong ties through active participation as a member, we strengthen the NWS position as a science leader, and we enhance our individual professional development goals.

SCOTT WIGGINTON. We were saddened last month to learn of the death of Scott Wigginton at WFO Brownsville following a short illness. The NWS has lost a young, brilliant and enthusiastic forecaster and his co-workers have lost a great friend. On behalf of all of us in the Southern Region I extend our profound condolences to Scott's family, and I want to thank all in his Weather Service family who so graciously responded with donations of leave.



7-DAY ZONES IMPLEMENTED. November 16 was a historic day in terms of weather services in the region. That morning 7-Day zone forecasts were implemented in the Southern Region. The move from 5- to 7-Day public forecasts has been long anticipated and will provide better public service to our customers.

5-DAY MARINE FORECAST FOR RED TIDE OUTBREAK. For the first time, a forecast was made almost a week in advance of a red tide outbreak. The forecast was made by NOAA's National Ocean Service using the 5-Day marine weather forecast produced by WFO Tampa Bay Area. With such accurate forecasts of the red tide algae blooms, resources can be deployed prior to the outbreak. The Tampa Bay office has been testing the 5-Day marine forecast since last April and has received an overwhelmingly positive response.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEWS. The Georgia NWR expansion continues. During the last week of October, the La Grange, Georgia NWR was installed and is in a test operation. Two new MOAs have been processed for future NWR sites at Artesia, New Mexico and Eatonton, Georgia.

The New Mexico NWR transmitter and antenna refurbishment project has begun. During the last week of October, the Albuquerque NWR transmitter and antenna were installed. The Santa Fe antenna was also re-installed. A total of seven NWR sites will be refurbished by the end of December.

Richard Sterban, bass singer for the country group, the Oak Ridge Boys, recently recorded NWR PSAs for WFO Key West. These NWR PSAs are designed for both coastal and inland offices. Advance CDs will be distributed to country radio stations across portions of the southeast to further promote NWR. The PSAs are located on the Internet at:

WFO Little Rock MIC Renee Fair and WCM John Robinson represented the NWS at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Region XIII-X conference on October 18 in Little Rock. There were about 1500 persons in attendance. Renee and John answered many questions from Electric Cooperative Directors and others involving the NWR program and the process through which NWR transmitters are installed. This attendance by the NWS will likely pave the way for more cooperative efforts involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rural electric cooperatives and the NWS, involving NWR transmitter expansion across the southeast U.S. Great job, Renee and John.

CRS NEWS. Tim Troutman (CWWD), represented the region at the Voice Improvement Project (VIP) workshop at NWS headquarters the first week in October. At this workshop, specific, rigid requirements were developed for the new NWR voice and voicing system, which will be selected by mid-2001. Several text to speech vendors gave product demonstrations to the VIP team. The voices will be evaluated by third parties consisting of the public/marine and hearing impaired. An official evaluation team of EAS officials, emergency managers and WCMs will also provide input into the selection process for the final NWR voice. A tentative date for implementation of this final project will be early to mid-2002 nationwide.


Annual Preparedness Report. Check out these numbers from the annual Warning Coordination and Hazard Awareness Report which the CWWD Meteorological Services Branch sent to NWSH in October. The report covers the total number of awareness/preparedness contacts conducted by Southern Region WFOs during FY00. Some highlights include:

- Spotters cooperating with SR WFOs: 47,200
- Spotters who received NWS training this year: 21,268
- New spotters trained this year: 5,000
- SR WFOs conducted 1,383 public safety presentations to a total of over 125,437 citizens.
- 1,165 face-to-face media contacts were made by staff across the SR.
- SR exceeded a Strategic Plan goal by establishing 8 new StormReady communities (this raised the SR total to 12 recognized StormReady sites).
- NOAA/FEMA preparedness courses were taught 17 times across the region to a total of 354 emergency management personnel.

WCMs, MICs, preparedness focal points and others spend many hours each year spreading messages about weather safety and the NWS to citizens across the Southern Region. The list of last year's accomplishments is outstanding!

The WFO Amarillo office staffed a weather display at the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo. During the 8-day affair they met face-to-face with over 1,500 customers. The booth featured a continually-playing presentation with information about CRS, radar, AWIPS and other NWS tools. Tornado videos with an interactive EMWIN system were also used. Of course, they listened to many interesting stories, the best of which came from an individual who was saved by NWR. Her home was destroyed by a tornado in western Randall County, in May 1995 after she sought shelter due to the NWR alarm.

WFOs Little Rock, Tulsa, Jackson, and Memphis sent representatives to the signing ceremony of the Arkansas Winter Weather Awareness Week proclamation by Arkansas Governor Huckabee.


WFO New Orleans WCM Frank Revitte visited the Pearl River County Civil Defense director to discuss EMWIN, the StormReady program, and severe weather coordination. The county sheriff's office listens to NWR and is an NWWS subscriber. Frank reports the visit went well and the director seemed pleased with the WFO services.

WFO Jackson MIC Jim Stefkovich, WCM Jim Butch, and SOO Alan Gerard provided a radar familiarization class to board members of the Mississippi Civil Defense Emergency Management Association at the WFO. Members from six different counties of WFO Jackson's CWA attended, as well as others from around the state, including Robert Lathum, Director of MEMA.

Florida NWS-DEM Meeting. WCMs from WFOs Mobile, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Tampa and Atlanta, as well as forecaster Tom Warner from WFO Miami met recently with Florida Division of Emergency Management officials. They discussed a potentially significant expansion of NWR, new systems to securely deliver emergency messages, StormReady, revisions to the brochure for next year's Florida Hazardous Weather Week, and the possibility of a National Hurricane Awareness Week. WFO Tallahassee WCM Bob Goree organized the group's extensive list of action items and reported that the meeting was very successful.


WFO Miami forecasters Harry Petaisto and Bernard Esposito attended a pre-harvest burn meeting sponsored by the Florida Sugar Cane League. The meeting was called to review problems related to sugar cane burning (smoke blanketing highways, smoke drifting over populated areas, etc.). Other attendees included the Florida Division of Forestry, Florida Highway Patrol, and the Palm Beach County Health Department.

WFO Nashville WCM Jerry Orchanian taught a three-hour aviation class to students studying aviation weather at Nashville Tech. Jerry's instruction covered fronts, icing, turbulence, microbursts, NWR, and weather watches and warnings. He also presented information about aviation weather hazards.

WFO CORPUS CHRISTI HONORS LOCAL ISAAC CLINE AWARD WINNERS. MIC Ken Graham WFO Corpus Christi, recently presented local Isaac Cline Awards to members of the WFO Corpus Christi team. During the ceremony, Ken highlighted many individual and team accomplishments which collectively have combined to make WFO Corpus Christi one of the top WFOs in the nation. Each award winner received a framed Isaac Cline Award certificate which included a special red matte to complement the red hurricane warning flags on the certificate. At the conclusion of the ceremony, everyone shared pieces of a single large chocolate chip cookie which boldly displayed "Great Job, Team!"

WFO CORPUS CHRISTI OBTAINS MARINE RADIO TRAINING. Ed L'Insalata and Anne Lockwood, the public education officers for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Rockport, Texas, conducted a training session entitled "Your Boat's Radio" at WFO Corpus Christi. During this training, the Corpus Christi staff learned how to operate a marine radio, which marine channels are available, how to call another station, and distress, urgency and safety calling. The training was extremely useful and will allow forecasters to receive valuable marine information from data void regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

USCG TO REBROADCAST MARINE WEATHER STATEMENTS AND WARNINGS. Kenneth Graham, MIC and John Metz, marine program leader, WFO Corpus Christi met TCC Johnson, telecommunications specialist in charge with the U.S. Coast Guard Group in Corpus Christi. Mr. Johnson provided a tour of the facility and explained how they communicate using marine radio. The U.S. Coast Guard Group in Corpus Christi maintains a 24-hour communications watch on the Gulf of Mexico from Port O'Connor to Port Isabel, out to over 200 miles offshore. Six transmitters, and both VHF and HF, are used in their search and rescue operations. The Coast Guard receives weather products by e-mail, however, they have no alert system to decipher the important life threatening products. WFO Corpus Christi reached an agreement with the USCG to call their 24-hour watch center whenever a MWS or SMW is issued. The Coast Guard has taken the responsibility to rebroadcast this information on all six of their transmitters.

GOLIAD COUNTY JUDGE AND COMMISSIONERS WELCOME WFO CORPUS CHRISTI MANAGEMENT. On October 23, Ken Graham, WFO Corpus Christi MIC, and Terry Huber, WCM, attended a monthly meeting of the Goliad County Commissioner's Court. During this meeting, the Goliad County Judge recognized Ken and Terry and gave them an opportunity to address the court. Ken introduced himself to the 15 people present and stressed our commitment to serving the people of Goliad County.


DATA QC APPLICATIONS. A new Web site has been developed to provide reference material about AWIPS data quality control (QC) applications which can assist offices with local observational data QC duties. The URL is

Questions about the information on the Web site should be directed to Ben Weiger, CWWD/HSB.

On a related matter, we are conducting a one-month pilot project to evaluate an observational data QC product developed by the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC to support WFO observational data QC duties. Lower Mississippi RFC will be issuing an NEWRRMSIL product containing a listing of river and rainfall observations edited by HAS shift forecasters to support RFC forecast operations. LMRFC plans to send out a questionnaire to WFOs in its service area and solicit feedback and comments on the utility of the product. Thanks to HICs Dave Reed of LMRFC and Billy Olsen of ABRFC for collaborating on this project.

UPDATED HADS USER HANDBOOK. The Office of Hydrology has updated the online Hydrometeorological Automated Data System (HADS) handbook. The most significant changes include updated references and links to the HADS Web pages, instructions for using the Internet to modify HADS user report definitions, updated HADS point-of-contact information, and information on the reorganization of the NWSH office of Hydrology. The updated handbook is in Adobe PDF format. Access the handbook at:

HEAVY RAIN POSTER. We are distributing to all offices a poster illustrating the climatology of heavy rains, based on figures and information in a paper by Harold Brooks and David Stensrud titled, "Climatology of Heavy Rain Events in the United States from Hourly Precipitation Observations." The paper appears in the April, 2000, Monthly Weather Review. Needless to say, the relatively high threat of heavy rains and resulting flooding across the Southern Region is well illustrated. We appreciate the willingness of the authors to allow us to reproduce their results "poster-sized," and thanks also to the staff at WFO Tallahassee for developing, printing and distributing the posters.


WFO TALLAHASSEE CONSTRUCTION. To see what the future WFO Tallahassee building will look like - an addition to the building which houses the Florida State University meteorology department - check out this site: Up-to-the minute construction progress can be seen on the FSU Webcam at: FSU alums - remember when this hole in the ground was the faculty parking lot?

DACFO. Below is a list of Southern Region local office focal points for the Director's Advisory Committee on Forecast Operations (DACFO). Jesse Moore (WFO Fort Worth) is beginning the second year of his two-year term as the regional DACFO representative. His job during the coming months will be to contact the local focal points to gather input for the annual DACFO process. The annual DACFO report is at

There are national DACFO representatives for HMTs, interns, RFCs and CWSUs. Dave Jacobs (WFO Melbourne) is the national representative for HMTs, and we appreciate the efforts of Mark Fox (WFO Fort Worth) who handled those responsibilities during the past year for the interns.

San Juan Scott Stripling Miami Bernie Esposito
Melbourne Randy Lascody Tampa Bay Dan Sobien
Jacksonville Al Sandrik Tallahassee Ron Block
Atlanta Shirley Lamback Mobile Don Shepard
Birmingham Mark Linhares Morristown Hal Austin
Nashville Scott Dickson Memphis Joe Lowrey
Jackson Eric Carpenter Little Rock John Lewis
Lake Charles Donovan Landreneau New Orleans Suzanne Van Cooten
Shreveport Matt Foster Norman Ken Gallant
Houston (SMG) Steve Sokol El Paso John Chambers
Houston (CWSU) Leslie Petersen Brownsville Jeff Philo
Austin/San Antonio Jim Ellis Lubbock Tim Tinsley
Corpus Christi Michael Buchanan Albuquerque Roy Pennington
Key West Joe Barrett Amarillo Edward Andrade
San Angelo Mark Tew Midland Greg Murdoch
Tulsa RFC Larry Lowe Tulsa Bart Haake
Fort Worth Jesse Moore
(SR Representative)
Atlanta RFC Todd Hamill

SOUTHWEST WEATHER SYMPOSIUM. In late September WFO Albuquerque staff members participated in the Southwest Weather Symposium in Tucson, hosted by the NWS office in Tucson and the University of Arizona Department of Atmospheric Sciences, with support from COMET. The more than 130 registered participants were from the NWS, DoD, universities, the private sector, and the Mexican Institute of Water Technology. Presentations by the WFO Albuquerque staff included "Supplementing Operational Guidance Using the Workstation Eta Model," initial results reported by Deirdre Kann (SOO); "Quantitative Precipitation Monitoring and Forecasting," a poster by senior forecaster Morris Webb; and "Relationships Between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Seasonal and Annual Precipitation in New Mexico," a poster presented by MIC Charlie Liles. The symposium focused on issues related to the Southwest, and it also included a panel discussion featuring numerical modelers from NSSL and NCEP concerning national changes which are planned over the next five years.

Also participating in the symposium was WFO Brownsville SOO Shawn Bennett. Shawn chaired a session and also presented a poster titled, "High Resolution Local Modeling at WFO Brownsville: An Operational Application of NCEP's Workstation Eta." The attractive poster drew several favorable comments and thanks are due to SOO Irv Watson at WFO Tallahassee who assisted in its printing, using the large-format WFO/CITM printer at Tallahassee.

SEVERE STORMS CONFERENCE PREPRINTS. Copies of the preprint volume which accompanied the AMS 20th Conference on Severe Local Storms, held last September in Orlando, have been distributed to all offices. A summary of contributions to the SLS conference by Southern Region participants was attached to the July 2000 Topics.

PRE-SEASON READING. As winter approaches we call forecasters' attention to a paper by Ben Bernstein in the latest (October 2000) issue of Weather and Forecasting, titled "Regional and Local Influences on Freezing Drizzle, Freezing Rain, and Ice Pellet Events." Although freezing precipitation is not frequently a major problem in the region, it is certainly significant when and where it occurs. In one of his figures (page 490) Ben shows that the Texas Panhandle has the highest average annual number of hours in the Southern Region with freezing precip of all types (about 40 hours - not far from the 50-60 hour maxima found in the Northeast and western Great Lakes areas).

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONFERENCE. On October 20, WFO Corpus Christi SOO Andy Patrick and forecaster John Metz attended the South Texas Environmental Engineering Conference at the Omni Bayfront Hotel in Corpus Christi. Andy discussed NWS efforts to provide air dispersion forecasts to our customers, emphasizing the importance of both large and small scale features that are relevant to air pollution forecasting. He also stressed the importance of local modeling to better diagnose mesoscale features affecting dispersion. Texas State Senator Carlos Truan attended the conference and was the keynote luncheon speaker.

WEB WORKSHOP. WFO Corpus Christi hosted a one-day Web workshop in October. Forecaster Mike Coyne and SOO Andy Patrick organized the event, which included participants from WFOs Brownsville and Austin/San Antonio. Mike discussed basic Web design principles and use of the Web site for dissemination of NWS products. Mike also gave a presentation on emerging Internet technologies, such as the use of Flash and Palm Pilots. The afternoon session included discussions on other WFO Web-related issues.

COMET OUTREACH RFP. The Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) has announced its 2001 Outreach Program request for proposals for NWS Cooperative Projects. A description of the program and proposal submission requirements can be found at Bonnie Slagel at COMET ( can provide more information, or contact SSD. Proposals must include an endorsement from the regional director and are due to the COMET Outreach Program by March 16, 2001. It is critically important that proposals reflect collaboration between one (or more) NWS office and the researcher(s) submitting the proposal.

Applications for COMET Partners Projects are accepted at any time. These are usually one-year projects of more limited scope than the multi-year Cooperative Projects. Information, including submission procedures, is at



TELECOMMUNICATIONS. The transition of the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) circuits from FTS2000 to FTS2001 continues to move slowly forward. MCI has had several problems processing the orders through the Local Exchange Carriers (LEC). The main problems stem from the coding of the orders that MCI provides to the LEC describing what type of circuit is to be installed. MCI has assured us that these problems will be alleviated in the near future. During the weekly conference calls with MCI, we monitor and track the status of each circuit order for NWR. We are very concerned with these activities, as we will soon begin the transition of our frame relay network to MCI and then the AWIPS network. We have also been tracking and monitoring the progress of the transition orders for our long distance services. MCI has been helpful in getting these orders through their processing system in a timely manner.

Southern Region recently submitted a frequency proposal for WFO Corpus Christi, for the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) program. The emergency manager for Corpus Christi, in an agreement with NOAA/NWS, will use approved frequencies for the rebroadcast of EMWIN information in the local area.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO. NOAA Weather Radio Program continues to be very active despite the telecomms issues. This month a major refurbishment program began for all of the old Motorola transmitters in New Mexico. The old systems will be replaced with new SRS transmitters and new antennas. These systems will continue to be maintained by the state and should improve our NWR service to New Mexico.

A new dual 1000 watt NWR transmitter site was brought online this month in Sandersville, Georgia. This site is operated in cooperation with the Georgia Emergency Management Association (GEMA). Other sites within Georgia will continue to come online over the next few months.

UPPER AIR. Several issues were resolved last month. First was Maintenance Note 17 which was released in June 1996, standardizing the wiring of the reference generator for an ART-2 system. After some investigation by Charlie Lake SOD/SIB and the staff at WFO Little Rock it became apparent two different types of reference generators existed. When trying to wire an ARPI generator for use in an ART-2 system, the azimuth would be 180 deg out of phase. Findings were forwarded to the program manager at NWSH who informed us that changes would be made to maintenance notes and NRC would also be alerted.

WFOs Tampa Bay and Tallahassee have ART-1 systems and pylons which were failing frequently. Either motors were burning up or the pylon would just quit running. At Tampa Bay, Van Jester (RMS) and Charlie Lake (SOD/SIB) investigated the problem and found no system anomalies; i.e., loose or corroded pins/contacts, frayed wires, or current/voltage problems. They did find that a new and more powerful motor was being installed in the pylons. With the information from the motor ID plate, and via the Internet, Charlie Lake contacted the company and talked with one of their engineers. After several days of exchanging information and faxing diagrams back and forth, it was determined that the capacitor on the motor was wired incorrectly. The findings were forwarded to the program manager at NWSH who then forwarded the correct drawings to NRC.

NETSCAPE EMAIL. We continue to experience problems with our Netscape mail system. Leon Minton developed an Auto-Start script to keep the Netscape Messaging system running when services fail and no one is present to manually handle the problem. Yet this only works when the particular service actually fails and stops running. Sometimes these services just stop working and then someone has to manually intervene. This script is also being used in Eastern, Central and Pacific Regions, and has been passed onto Weather Service Headquarters (WSH). WSH is working on this and other issues with Netscape.

IT SECURITY. We are working to provide more support for IT security issues to our field sites. One of our first steps in this direction was to send three SOD program managers for more security training. Leon Minton, IT focal point and email administrator, was sent to Windows Security training. Steve Baker, electronics program manager, was sent to Securing UNIX Systems training and Bruce Marshak, network administrator, obtained training on Firewalls, Perimeter Protection and VPN. We plan to apply and share what they have learned to enhance our overall security immediately.

AWIPS. We have been working with other regions and WSH to develop priorities for AWIPS build 5.x. During this process, we have discovered that many of the priorities would severely impact the performance of the system if they were implemented without any system modifications. For example, the NWS strategic plan states that we will provide our customers with high-resolution gridded data and graphical products. While high resolution is not defined, experience has shown that about a 2 km data field is required to resolve terrain features, as well as produce smooth graphics.

Another priority is for AWIPS to database and display new NCEP model data, as it becomes available. However, we are finding that increased model data can impact the ability of the database

to perform and display text and radar data in a timely manner. We also desire greater automated quality control of our products, which also affects system performance.

CWSU SUPPORT. CWSU AWIPS Remote Display (ARD) computers have been installed at all of the Southern Region CWSUs. Regional and field personnel have worked to improve the system in areas of performance and security. For example at WFO Atlanta, Brian Burgess (ESA) did extensive testing before deployment and found a potentially dangerous configuration error. While issuing a warning from one AWIPS workstation, the text product was displayed on the CWSU system instead of the text workstation for AWIPS. Brian worked with WSH to resolve this problem and document the solution. This was sent to all WFOs that host a CWSU.

We have found that the ARD as it is configured now provides reduced performance for D2D operations. Additionally, the system adversely impacts the WFO workstation to which it is connected. We feel that other options, such as Linux D2D, should be explored right away to better utilize the T1 bandwidth provided by the FAA.


DEL RIO UPPER AIR SITE CONSTRUCTION. SRH was notified in mid-October by Mr. S. W. Cauthorn of the Texas Border Weather Modification Corporation that they would honor our request to locate their former WSR-74 radar tower beyond a 475-foot radius to the southwest of the Del Rio upper air inflation building (UAIB). Limiting angles at their previously designated construction site 176 feet northwest of the UAIB would have impaired both upper air launches and data collection. The 475-foot value was calculated using the NWS Design Criterion Manual in combination with local terrain features.

Southern Region plans to have an NWS representative present at the Del Rio City Council meeting when the Texas Border Weather Modification Corporation presents their new construction plans to the city prior to receiving a building permit, which should occur after they receive FAA and FCC siting approvals. To illustrate the NWS commitment to the importance of the Del Rio upper air facility, SRH will be performing facility upgrades and restoration to the existing structures, including roofing repairs, fencing, and interior remodeling, possibly including floor tile asbestos abatement.

ASOS SOFTWARE VERSION 2.6 INSTALLATION CONTINUES. Many FAA sponsored staffed ASOS sites still do not have the ASOS software version 2.6 installed. This is due to the fact that prior to V2.6 software installation, FAA air traffic controllers must complete all required training on how to interface with the ASOS. SRH is identifying these sites and working with the appropriate FAA regions in an attempt to get the training and subsequent V2.6 installation expedited.

ASOS COMMISSIONINGS CONTINUE. During October, ASOS commissionings continued at FAA sponsored sites at the pace of about one per week. ASOSs commissioned in October included Crossville, Tennessee; Las Vegas and Gallup, New Mexico; Palacios, Texas; and Saint Simons Island, Georgia. Observations from all these sites are now being ingested at the NWS GATEWAY via the FAA ADAS/WMSCR system. In turn, they are being sent to NWS field offices by the GATEWAY via the SAUS70 collective. SHEF data from these sites is also available.

WDSS INSTALLED AT TWO SR WFOs FOR EXPERIMENTAL USE. The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) has collaborated with SRH by installing a Warning Decision Support System (WDSS) at two SR WFOs. Each of these installations was/is used by NSSL and the OSF Applications Branch to test new algorithms. The WDSS at WFO Tallahassee was installed last summer with the intent of testing new algorithms in an environment conducive to landfalling tropical systems. The WDSS at WFO Amarillo will be used this winter to test new algorithms related to freezing rain events. Thus far, each WFO has made good use of the WDSS operationally. Once NSSL and the OSF have concluded their testing, the WDSS will move on to other sites.

NIDS REPLACEMENT. Reliability testing continues on the new central collection server for NIDS products at NWSH. After an initial rough start on September 1, 2000, some upgrading of the NCF servers was done. The test of the new central collection server was restarted on September 19, and was to continue through October 18, 2000. The most recent statistics indicate that data were available at the central collection server 99.8% of the time within a 50 sec gate to gate period from the AWIPS at the WFO to the central server. The stated availability requirement is 95% availability within 1 minute.

The NIDS contracts are slated to terminate at the end of this year, on December 31. All three NIDS vendors and a few other users are already receiving WSR-88D products from the central collection server on a test or experimental basis only. They must sign a written agreement in which they acknowledge that this system is non-operational, and cannot be redistributed to other users.

MIAMI HURRICANE CENTER SEWAGE LIFT STATION. Due to a construction error, the current location of the TPC sewage lift station is in the city right-of-way for 117th Avenue, which is now being expanded northward toward the Florida International University campus where the Hurricane Center is located. Southern Region Facilities Branch is working with CASC to identify a local sanitation engineering contractor to determine if the lift station needs to be moved, and if so, the best method to accomplish the move to minimize any disruption to NOAA and National Weather Service operations.

EHB-15 PRESENTATION AT SR MIC/HIC CONFERENCE. The contents of the draft EHB-15 safety procedures was reviewed with Southern Region MICs and HICs at the conference the end of last month. The 32 chapters of EHB-15 are not yet formally released, but OSHA regulations on which they are based are already law. The chapters have been reorganized with most of the high-impact requirements appearing first. Due to the limited amount of time available, the early chapters will get the most attention with regard to manpower impacts and training/record keeping issues that will tax already busy WFO/RFC staffs.

THE MAX/MIN TEMPERATURE SYSTEM (MMTS). The MMTS display unit (C450-1) has been redesigned, and improved, with a new micro-processor. New displays are stocked at NLSC as C450-7 (referred to as DASH7 units) and are ready to be deployed. The necessary documentation to detail the modifications, and provide operator instructions, is in review and currently unavailable. This documentation will be provided to all SR offices as soon as possible.

CSSA TRAINING WORKSHOP. A new CSSA Training Workshop was conducted at the NWS Training Center in Kansas City on October 16-19. The workshop helped establish a training plan for the new CSSA software. The plan features initial training using Web-based instruction with on-line exercises. Upon completion of this initial training NWS staff members will be qualified to update the cooperative station metadata online using a browser interface. Follow-up training will be developed to enhance user performance and provide training to future NWS representatives of the Cooperative Observer Network. The CSSA modernization project remains on schedule with deployment scheduled in January, 2001.


TRAINING ROML REVISION. Southern Region ROML S-09-2000, "Training Policies and Procedures" has been distributed to all offices. The ROML updates and replaces S-02-96. We encourage everyone to read and familiarize themselves with this ROML.


Southern Region participated in the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Atlanta, October 12-15. CWSU Albuquerque meteorologist, Alberta Vieira, was involved from the beginning planning stages of NOAA/NWS involvement in the conference. Alberta served as a facilitator/speaker in one of the K-12 Teacher Workshop Sessions entitled "Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Earth with NOAA's Meteorological Investigations," where K-12 teachers had hands-on learning activities exploring the atmosphere, hydrology, and the earth as a system. Alberta also helped staff the NOAA booth.

Pablo Santos, SOO at WFO Miami, was a scientific session speaker, speaking on "Earth Sciences: Assessment, Prediction and Stewardship of the Environment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

The staffs at the WFO and RFC in Atlanta also participated by providing a tour of the facilities to about 100 teachers on the first day of the conference. The teachers calculated the flood potential for a fictitious land basin and watched the release of a weather balloon. According to Jerry Beat, NOAA Office of Civil Rights, the tour was a big hit, as the teachers talked about it throughout the rest of the conference. Kudos to all involved who helped make the NWS portion of the conference a success.

WFO LITTLE ROCK PROVIDES VITAL LINK. Vital Link is a program in Little Rock which provides young people with real-world experiences outside the school system. Recently the local WFO hosted 6th graders for a 5-day (mornings only) course in meteorology. SOO George Wilken shared the following feedback from two of the students.

Dear Mr. Wilken:

How are you? I was one of the people that came to the first Vital Link that the National Weather Service sponsored. Lately I have been thinking about how that week was. I enjoyed that week a lot and I was wondering if one day after school my dad and I could come up to the National Weather Service so we could see how things were going.

Sincerely, Tyler Newton


Dear Mr. Wilken:

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to spend a day at the National Weather Service. I really appreciate you for making the arrangements for me to shadow Mr. John Lewis, Senior Forecaster. He was so helpful in providing me with information about meteorology. He even took the time to let me look at the Doppler Radar.

Now that I am convinced that meteorology should be my focus, I will be able to set some goals for my education plan. I plan to take as many math and science classes as possible to help in my preparation for this field. Again, thank you for your part in enabling me to plan for my future.

Sincerely, Brittany L. Bailey

Congratulations, George, John, and all the others at the WFO, and thanks for working so hard to make programs such as this a successful part of our outreach activities.

WFO TALLAHASSEE. During October, WFO Tallahassee's Outreach Program remained active with an emphasis on Hispanic Heritage and National Disability Employment Awareness Months. At Florida State University, senior forecaster and EEO focal point Ron Block discussed hurricanes, especially its effects in the Caribbean, at the International Student and Scholar Center and careers in science, with special opportunities for minorities, at the African Students Association's "Celebrating Africa" festival. At a workshop for Florida State workers, Ron dispensed literature on careers in the NWS focusing on special opportunities for the physically challenged. He also participated in the Hispanic Festival in Quincy, Florida, and Tallahassee's Desoto Trails Elementary School Earthquest day.

WFO BROWNSVILLE. Senior forecaster Paul Yura gave six 45-minute presentations on hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms and instruments to groups of 70 at Besteiro Middle School. Paul also discussed safety rules to a total of 400 students.

Senior forecaster Ken Newman, forecaster Greg Flatt, and HMT Sam Martinez gave two tours to 77 elementary students from the Harlingen, Texas, ISD, and to 67 students from Castanada Elementary in the Brownsville ISD. The students learned about the forecast and warning process and some severe weather safety rules. They also learned how to launch balloons.

WFO HOUSTON. Service hydrologist Dave Schwertz and forecaster Robert Van Hoven provided a five hour weather seminar to nearly 700 students and teachers at Hughes Elementary School in Dickinson, Texas. About 20 percent of the students and faculty are minorities.

WFO SHREVEPORT. Jason Hansford, met intern, attended the mid-term meeting for the DataStreme course which is sponsored by the AMS. Jason served as a mentor to the teachers taking the course.


OCTOBER 1-31, 2000

Southern Region Losses
Name From (Office) Action/Transfer From Title/Grade
Shawn Rossi WFO EPZ Reassignment to WR Met Intern, GS-9
Lori Bovitz RFC FWR Resignation HAS Forecaster, GS-12
Christopher Bovitz RFC FWR Resignation Hydrologist, GS-12
Gloria Becker SRH Retirement Secretary, GS-8

Southern Region Gains
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Jason Hess WFO JAX Reassignment from ER Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Paul Witsaman SRH MSD Promotion from CR Regional Aviation Met, GS-13
Heather Orow WFO EPZ New Hire Met Intern, GS-7
Doug Cramer WFO JAN New Hire Met Intern, GS-5

Within Region Transfers/Actions
Name To (Office) Action/Transfer To Title/Grade
Jeffrey Williams WFO FWD Promotion from AMA Electronics Technician, GS-12
Cody Lindsey WFO TSA Reassignment from SHV Met Intern, GS-7
Scott Kelly WFO MLB Promotion from MLB Senior Forecaster, GS-13
Bruce Bradley WFO EPZ Promotion from EPZ DAPM, GS-12
Charles Roeseler WFO HGX Promotion from HGX Senior Forecaster, GS-13

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