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

Fort Worth, Texas

October 15, 1996



ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEWS. The first two weeks of October have been consumed with conducting annual performance reviews. This is an activity all Southern Region managers should be doing this month. I have asked the Chief of our Administrative Management Division, Betty Bales, to assure regional requirements have been met by the end of October. This includes having the new performance plans in place for the current rating year. Conducting this annual process serves to bring into mind the tremendous level of accomplishments this past rating year. Except for AWIPS, modernization is nearly complete in the Southern Region; and our big Olympics effort is now behind us. Let me toss out a big THANK YOU to all for a most successful year.

ALBUQUERQUE VISIT. On Friday, October 11, I visited the Albuquerque office as a continuation of my tour of the region. During the morning, Steven Cooper and I met with the Albuquerque staff for nearly four hours talking about happenings in the Weather Service these days and how we may provide the strongest public forecast and warning services in the future. Each of these meetings provided the office staff an opportunity to share their thoughts with me and other staff from the regional headquarters and perhaps influence the future of the National Weather Service organization. I appreciated the attendance during the Albuquerque meeting and the active dialogue.


THE LATEST NEWS. On Tuesday, October 15, Lou Boezi announced that the decision to move ahead with the full AWIPS deployment, a.k.a. "KDP4," would be delayed. This is based on Secretary of Commerce Kantor's concerns about the AWIPS program, including FY97 budget constraints, configuration management, and effects of the WFO Advanced integration into AWIPS.

The impact is still being worked out. The AWIPS program did not escape the axe, along with many other programs. Because of the tighter budget for FY 97, there have been some changes in the delivery schedule for this year. We will be able to deploy only 21 sites this year as opposed to the originally planned 38. So who does this impact? We will still deploy WFO/RFC Fort Worth, the Southern Region Headquarters, and WFO/RFC New Orleans. The sites that will be delayed are Houston/Galveston, Melbourne, the Spaceflight Meteorology Group, and WFO/RFC Atlanta or WFO Miami. These sites will be installed late in 1997.

NORMAN IN THE SPOTLIGHT. NWSFO Norman is in the spotlight again--this time with AWIPS and WFO-Advanced. The Norman office will now be moved up in the delivery schedule to January or February 1997. They will be equipped with the AWIPS hardware but run the WFO-Advanced software. This change is consistent with the recent decision to integrate WFO-Advanced with the AWIPS software.

REGIONAL TEAM. Southern Region Headquarters has put together a team to focus on the issues involved in the installation and operation of AWIPS. The Regional AWIPS Implementation Team will be working with the individual offices in an effort to make the transition a little easier. The team consists of Cyndie Abelman (SOD), Gordon Hammons (SSD), Mario Valverde (MSD), Ed May (HSD), Leon Minton (SOD), Bruce Marshak (SOD), Gene Witsman (SOD), and Stanley Saenz (SOD).

TULSA INSTALLATION. If you would like to see a little bit about the experiences NWSO Tulsa had with their AWIPS installation, surf to their Internet site. Tulsa has posted some of the pictures from the installation. The SRH home page also has a link to the Tulsa AWIPS page.



November 5, Commissioning of Key West WSR-88D

November 15, Facility Dedication at NWSO Brownsville

NWSO CORPUS CHRISTI DEDICATION AND OPEN HOUSE. Congratulations to Joe Arellano and his staff for carrying out a fine facility dedication and open house September 27-28. During Friday's dedication, more than 100 guests braved some fairly strong winds as several dignitaries sang the praises of the office's new capabilities. Tom Grayson represented Harry Hassel. News coverage by three major network TV affiliates and the local newspapers helped educate the public and stimulate public interest in Saturday's open house.

The open house was a tremendous success. The 800 people who toured the facilities received printed material about the NWS and its missions and witnessed demonstrations of the NWSO's enhanced capabilities. Thanks to Joe Arellano and his staff, the people who inhabit Texas' Coastal Bend area now have a much better understanding of the importance and scope of the services generated by the National Weather Service.

ANTICIPATE CHANGES IN CONGRESS. As we approach this year's national elections, it's important to prepare for the potential changes that may occur in Congress. Many offices can anticipate that there will be some turnover in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in many cases the Senatorial seats, that lie within their areas of responsibility. That means we'll have the opportunity and responsibility to educate many new members about the agency and the many services we provide.

Both houses of Congress are now on an extended recess. They have adjourned and are not scheduled to reconvene until January 7, 1997. That means we'll have two full months after election day to schedule and carry out briefings for representatives, senators, and their staffs. By now, most incumbents should be familiar with the NWS and our mission. Therefore, it's suggested that we focus our efforts on new members. So please monitor the elections closely, noting any changes that occur among federal seats within your county warning area. Chris Smith will work with Alma Ripps, our Congressional Liaison, to compile and distribute a list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the new members' key staffers as soon after the elections as possible.

You may want to evaluate and update your briefing packages now, including information about all your new technology, as well as any anticipated changes in staffing, equipment, or your area of responsibility. Please feel free to contact Chris Smith at 817-978-2654 if you want help planning or carrying out this important activity.


EXEMPLARY FAM REPORT. In the last edition of Topics, reference was made to an exemplary FAM Flight report from Karl Silverman (SMG Houston) that was to be included as an attachment. Unfortunately, the report was inadvertently omitted. We are providing that report as an attachment to this edition of Topics. With it, we extend our apologies, especially to Karl.

SMG ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL. A Weather Channel feature addressing weather support to the Space Shuttle program should be airing this week. The five-part series will showcase the JSC Spaceflight Meteorology Group and the USAF 45th Weather Squadron. A complete 20-minute feature should appear on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20, as part of the Weather Channel's Weather Scope segment. Earlier notice was provided by E:mail.

Assuming the programs aired as planned, we hope everyone had a chance to view this feature. MIC Frank Brody and his staff of dedicated meteorologists play a vital role in the success of the Shuttle program.

MID SOUTH AVIATION FORUM. The 4th annual Mid-South Aviation Forum was held August 26-28 in Memphis. Approximately 350 people representing industry, government, and military aviation interests were in attendance. The NWS was once again well represented by the staffs from the NWSFO and CWSU in Memphis.

The NWS booth was well outfitted with TVs, VCRs, and computers. Along with an ample supply of the various NWS brochures to hand out, videotapes addressing tornado and aviation weather themes were shown. In addition, computers were available to downlink information from the GOES satellite and demonstrate the type of imagery to which forecasters in our offices have access. Forum attendees also were introduced to the type of information that can be retrieved through the various NWS home pages.

With Hurricanes Edouard and Fran and Tropical Depression 8 churning in the Atlantic and Caribbean, the forum proved to be an advantageous time to showcase our mission. John White (WCM, NWSFO Memphis) and Larry Boatman and Mike Motta (CWSU Memphis) answered numerous questions regarding tropical and severe weather and the recent changeover to the international aviation codes.

Apparently the NWS presence was a forum favorite, with the Memphis booth being voted the best, and attracting the largest number of spectators, for the second consecutive year! Congratulations to everyone involved.


WORKSHOP IN TULSA A SUCCESS. The final of four Advanced Heavy Precipitation Forecasting and QPF workshops was held September 24-26 at the collocated ABRFC/NWSO Tulsa. Attendees included forecasters from Pueblo, Dodge City, Topeka, Wichita, and Springfield as well as Amarillo, Norman, Tulsa, and Little Rock. Guest speakers included Theresa Rossi (MIC, NWSFO Pittsburgh), who spoke on probabilistic QPF, and Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier from the Center for the Advanced Prediction of Storms (CAPS) at the University of Oklahoma who spoke about their ARPS model. As with the other Southern Region QPF workshops held last summer, the ABRFC workshop included an opportunity for all attendees to learn more about RFC operations, including HAS shift responsibilities and the hydrologic modeling process. The workshop also included spirited interaction among the participants. Much is to be gained when forecasters, hydrologic and meteorological, exchange ideas, thoughts, and opinions within the framework of an organized workshop. Many thanks for all those who helped organize this workshop, especially senior HAS forecaster Suzanne Fortin.

HYDROLOGIC UPDATE. Recent Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) tables indicate an end to drought conditions over Texas. However, Bob Corby (DOH, NWSFO Fort Worth) reports:

The fact is that rainfall has not been evenly distributed, and some portions of (Texas) have not improved as indicated by regional PDSI values. Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Lake Georgetown still remain very low. Rains on the Upper Trinity River have produced little runoff and reservoir levels have continued to fall. In the Nueces River Basin, the water supply lakes for Corpus Christi are at about 30% capacity. Falcon and Amistad Lakes are very low on the Rio Grande. From the perspective of water supply, Texas is very much dealing with a drought.

In Brownsville, the first seven months of 1996 resulted in 1.45 inches, less than 12 percent of normal. However, as of October 8, the total rainfall had jumped to 27.03 inches, actually more than normal for the year to date. Almost 26 inches of rain has fallen at Brownsville during August, September, and the first week of October! According to Richard Hagan (MIC, NWSO Brownsville), "Unfortunately, we still have a problem because the heavy rain did not get into our lakes, which are still about 40 feet below normal. So we remain only a few months away from a serious water shortage again!"


Oklahoma/Arkansas. September 25-26 saw heavy rains move across northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. Twenty-four-hour rain amounts associated with the event included 7.69 inches at Tahlequah, 7.66 inches at St. Paul, 7.46 inches at Fayetteville, and 7.09 inches at Dutch Mills. Flash flood watches and warnings were issued as widespread street flooding was reported throughout the area. In Muskogee, up to 30 homes in the Meadows subdivision were evacuated. Sadly, in Cherokee County a mother and her three children perished when their van was swept off a low water crossing on a county road west of Tahlequah and carried a quarter mile downstream.

Kansas/Oklahoma. Heavy rains fell over southeastern Kansas during the middle of October affecting the Tulsa HSA. Al Hong (Service Hydrologist, NWSFO Tulsa) reports 10.66 inches of rain fell at Columbus, Kansas, on August 16 and 17. In Osage County, Oklahoma, 6.2 inches of rain fell in two hours at Pawhuska. The deluge resulted in flash flooding with Main Street covered by 8 inches of water. Flash flood warnings were issued on time.

Texas/Louisiana. During the evening of September 26, up to 4 inches of rain fell over the northern tier of Louisiana parishes and adjacent sections of northeast Texas. The rains resulted in the closures of several roads with a washout of Louisiana State Highway 2 west of Bernice in Union Parish reported.

Alabama. A complex of slow-moving and back-building thunderstorms produced between 6 and 8 inches of rain over northwest Monroe, southwest Wilcox, and northeast Clarke counties of Alabama on August 30. The heavy rains resulted in a rise of 13.5 feet at the Claiborne Lock and Dam on the Alabama River.

Texas. In Central Texas, heavy rains fell September 14-15. NWSO San Angelo hydrologic focal point Amy McCullough reports that 8.5 inches of rain fell near Moran, with 6.85 inches recorded near Baird and 6.3 inches falling at Lawn. The rains caused Hubbard Creek below Albany to rise from 3 feet to 26 feet during the afternoon of the 15th. Bankfull stage is 32 feet for this point. The Colorado River and Elm Creek, both at Ballinger, crested above flood stage, causing numerous roads and low water crossing closures. In Abilene a car was washed down a creek with the occupants having to be rescued from the vehicle. Several homes were flooded in the Abilene area as well.


E-19 Team Forms in Birmingham. In Birmingham, Roger McNeil is part of a team including forecaster Tom Bradshaw and met intern Mark Linhares. The team will use topographic maps, site visits, and interviews with local officials to update stage damage information for the E-19s. Their intent is to ensure E-19 information included in river flood statements and flood warnings by shift forecasters is current and useful. Because site visits are planned, the team will incorporate the HMT staff into their game plan, since they frequently make visits to, or near the river forecast points.

Roger has also been working on a method to more efficiently collect hydrologic data from the Alabama Power Company and the Corps of Engineers. Roger, Tom Bradshaw, and Ron Murphy have nearly completed a C++ program that will replace the current phone dial-up system with an ftp collection vehicle.

Texas Panhandle News. Steve Drillette (service hydrologist, NWSFO Lubbock) wrote two public information statements updating his users on the current level of drought in West Texas, climatological conditions and normals, and the trends of the area's reservoirs. Steve, accompanied by Lubbock met intern Fred Ziegler and hydrologic focal point Lance Goehring (NWSFO Amarillo), also surveyed a flash flood/flood event site with representatives from Lipscomb and Ochiltree counties and the Wolf Creek Park concessionaires. The flood event occurred, in part, in Wolf Creek which is located near Lipscomb in the northeast Texas Panhandle.


Coordinated Effort During Fausto. The remains of Hurricane Fausto moved across the Arkansas Basin RFC area of responsibility September 14-15. Experience at the ABRFC has shown that radars underestimate rainfall much more often than they overestimate it. The HAS forecaster at the ABRFC sent out a Hydrologic Coordination Message (HCM) requesting that the WFOs in the area switch Z-R relationships in the WSR-88Ds to one that accumulates tropical rainfall better. Lubbock, Amarillo, and Norman all changed their algorithms for this storm. HAS forecasters at the ABRFC were very pleased with the resulting rainfall estimates that came from these radars. This represents a good exchange of information between the RFC and the WFOs. Kudos to Ken Pavelle of the ABRFC for suggesting the change.


SOO NEWS. Pat Welsh (Jacksonville SOO) reported that the Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology (CITM) at FSU has undertaken a novel study of the structure and rainfall amounts associated with hurricane Hortense over Puerto Rico. They have begun data initialization of Prof. Krishnamurti's High Resolution (25 km) Hurricane Model and will use its fields to initialize the MM5 non-hydrostatic mesoscale nested model at 36, 12, and 4 km scales, and then use the latter to initialize the cloud scale Oklahoma model. It is a unique idea and is being done rapidly.

Goals of this effort are to:

(1) See what we can learn from the process.

(2) Reconstruct rainfall and compare model results with observed amounts, as well as WSR-88D rainfall estimates.

Shawn Bennett (San Juan SOO) is collaborating with data from the storm. Although communication with the WSR-88D was lost during the storm, limited data were available to the Navy at Roosevelt Roads.

WSR-88D LEVEL II DATA REQUESTS. SSD forwards requests from field offices to NCDC for data from the WSR-88D Level II archive. The system works well, and data are available at no cost to the NWS (or NOAA-supported researchers), but adhering to the following will improve things even more. Tom Ross, at the NCDC Research Customer Service Group, has asked:

Could you have your folks check our inventory pages via the WWW to see the inventory ranges for the WSR-88D sites being requested. We try and update this frequently at the following address:

An even better idea would be to go to the following:

From that point you can click on a station listed under the "standard Station Names and see the inventory." If requestors tell us what "NXXXX" tape numbers they want, we can get the orders in quicker. From the archive lists, requestors can also see how our receipt of data is running.

GETTING READY FOR BUILD 9.0. The OSF Operations Training Branch has provided all PUP sites with precursor training materials and an updated UCP simulator to help prepare for the installation of Build 9.0 software at WSR-88D sites. Materials include CD ROMs which contain the training material and UCP simulator, a color hard copy of the training material, and an addendum sheet with late-breaking Level III information. If needed, technical support for loading and using the materials can be obtained from the OSF/OTB (Tony Marci, 405/366-6560, Ext. 4275, or John Ferree, Ext. 4266). Installation instructions were also placed on the OSF home page at Please consult the materials in the mailout for more information.

Build 9.0 is the first OSF software release which contains major changes in functions at the RPG and PUP. All WSR-88D users are strongly encouraged to review the materials in order to become familiar with new products, displays, capabilities, and other changes in the system software before the software is loaded on the local system. Installations are expected to begin later this month. Experience at test sites has shown that users who reviewed the materials were much better prepared to use the new capabilities Build 9.0 provides. Southern Region test sites for the new software were NWSFOs Memphis, Albuquerque, and Austin/San Antonio; RFCs Fort Worth, Slidell, Tulsa, and Atlanta; and USAF bases Laughlin and Kirkland. Thanks for their help with the beta testing.

TECHNICAL ATTACHMENTS. Included this week are three technical attachments dealing with local significant weather events. They are:

Analysis of an excessive rainfall event associated with synoptic forcing of tropical moisture, by Michael Mach (NWSFO Fort Worth).

An analysis of the Selma/Montgomery, Alabama, severe weather outbreak - 6 March 1996, by Mark Rose (NWSFO Birmingham).

Waskom, Texas, single cell microburst detected on National Weather Service Doppler radar - July 23, 1996, by Kenneth Falk and Lee Harrison (NWSO Shreveport).

A fourth technical attachment lists the Southern Region papers which were presented at the recent NWS National Heavy Precipitation Workshop in State College, Pennsylvania. Congratulations to all who contributed to making the workshop so successful.

INTERNET ADVICE. In a memo to all employees dated September 11, 1996, NWS Director Joe Friday reminded everyone that when used in the office E-mail and Internet can be a significant boon to operations. They are also covered by the same standards of employee conduct that apply to other government equipment or systems. In essence, the standards prohibit personal use, or the use of E-mail or Internet for anything but authorized purposes. In particular, we call attention to the following caveat from Dr. Friday's memo:

It is evident that many NWS employees are using the Weathertalk bulletin board available on the Internet. Weathertalk is a good vehicle for the exchange of official information and for the official discussion of various issues between the user community and NWS employees. However, I want all employees to be aware that the use of government computers, modems, telephone lines, local area networks, servers, software, etc. for posting messages on Weathertalk or other similar bulletin boards (as well as for all Internet uses) must be restricted to official duties and activities. Because of the informal nature of Internet bulletin boards and the tendency for those posting messages to express a wide variety of opinions, it is especially important to exercise caution when using bulletin boards in your official capacity.

As Americans, we all have the right to express our opinions. However, using government equipment and systems to express personal views, opinions, and speculation is strictly prohibited.


Hurricane Bertha Images on NCDC Web Pages. NCDC has placed a number of stills and four animations of Hurricane Bertha, made from GOES-8 rapid scan imagery, on their Web pages. Point your browser to and select the Online Data Access menu option.

Placing Your Conference or Training Presentation on the Web. If you develop presentations using Powerpoint, Astound, or similar software packages, you can now share those presentations with others through your office Web pages. Most vendors have developed free Web publishers and players for their programs.

Microsoft's Powerpoint Animation Player and Publisher

is a free extension to Powerpoint for Windows 95 that allows you to publish animated and interactive Web pages using special compression techniques which significantly reduces browser waiting time. Astound ( offers separate free Web Installer and Web Player software for both Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Both vendors' sites include sample presentations and also hints for producing successful Web presentations.

GOES 3.9 Micron Channel Tutorial Available Online. Most Southern Region future WFOs are now receiving GOES-8 3.9 micron (IR2) imagery via the regional frame relay network. The NESDIS Regional Mesoscale Meteorology Team has developed an online tutorial concerning the use of this imagery ( The tutorial covers topics such as Basic Radiation Science, Currently Developed Imagery Applications, and Applications Under Development.

Software Available for Constructing Clickable World Wide Web Image Maps. Two PC programs--one freeware and the other shareware--for creating World Wide Web clickable image maps have been placed on the SRH server. Map This! is the freeware program; MapEdit (both Windows 3.x and Windows95 version) is the shareware program.

Recall that not all Web browsers support client-side image maps--and some browsers are text only, or have the graphics turned off--so always include alternates to any image maps you place in your Web documents.

If you connect to the SRH server via modem, you can download these programs by choosing Menu Option 10. Or you can use the PC in your office which has ftp permission to the server to get the programs from the /ext1/download/HTML directory. As a reminder, there are also shareware versions of four HTML editors available (in the same location) on the SRH server.

PC APPLICATION PROGRAM UPDATES. We are making a concerted effort to place recently updated PC applications programs on the SRH server (bill). The files are located in the /ext1/download directory and are either -.ZIP files or self-extracting -.EXE files. Users may access the files either by FTP or by logging in as a PC-GRIDDS user and selecting menu item 15 (PC Applications). You will then be presented with a submenu containing a list of available applications. We will primarily concentrate on new or recently updated programs. We will consider other programs for inclusion if there is a high demand for them. Here is the latest list of programs available for downloading:

Download PC Application Programs Menu

0. Return to Main Menu.

1. Download Tom Hicks' TAF Check Program (TAFCHECK.ZIP).

2. Download Greg Jackson's SHARP II patches (SHARPII.ZIP).

3. Download PCWXR program (two ZIP files).

4. Download Rich Leblang's TWEB program (Vers. 5.00).

5. Download Tom Hick's PCVERIFY Program (Vers. 2.30 - PCVERIFY.ZIP).

6. Download PCAFOS Program (PCAFOSZ.EXE).

7. Download WISE Program, Version 5.04 (WISE504.ZIP).

8. Download SCDGEN Program, Version 1.5.1 (SCDGNV15.EXE)

Most files have documentation embedded in them; but if not, please give Gordon Hammons a call. Further questions should be directed to Bernard Meisner or Gordon Hammons in SSD (817-978-2671).

NEW PATCHES FOR SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS COMPUTER (SAC). We have been alerted to two more software patches that should be applied to your SAC computers. Both patches deal with security vulnerability; the patches are PHCO_6363 and PHNE_7342. Please see the associated -.text files for full descriptions of the patches, as well as the installation instructions. We have stored these two new patches in the same directories of the SRH server (bill) as the previous ones, so all SOOs should be familiar with the download and installation procedures. Any questions should be directed to Bernard Meisner or Gordon Hammons in SSD.



THE NWSO HAWK. The Hawks have landed! Southern Region NWSOs are in the process of receiving the new Hawk system hardware and software to upgrade their AFOSs. Offices were mailed the hardware and software the week of October 7, and implementation will occur over the next several weeks.

COMPUTER VIRUS. A computer virus known as NATAS.4744.A-E was discovered on at least three computers in Southern Region Headquarters. Version 3.52 of the Norman Virus Software was used to detect the virus. The Norman program called NVCLEAN.EXE was used to clean out the virus. All ESAs have been provided with the information for downloading this latest NWS-licensed software. Please be aware that a virus can easily and quickly enter your work place and spread.

The characteristics of the virus are as follows:

In one infected computer, the boot sector and several critical files, such as COMMAND.COM, WIN.COM, SETVER.COM, and so on, had to be cleaned. The virus caused all DOS type programs to fail.


THOMAS JEFFERSON AWARD PRESENTATION. On October 1, Mike Asmus and Jerry Wolfe attended the Thomas Jefferson Award presentation in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma. Cooperative Observer Edward Penny received this award and a 30-year length-of-service award. MIC Dennis McCarthy and HMT Johnny Roberts (NWSFO Norman) presented these awards. State Representative Randall L. Erwin attended the presentation and delivered Governor Frank Keating's proclamation. This day became "Edward Penny Day" in Oklahoma. Along with Tuskahoma's citizens and news media, retired DAPM Tom Davis and retired CPM John Lambert of NWSFO Oklahoma City attended the ceremony.

P-C ROSA UPDATE. The Black-Box DTMF-ASCII converters for the P-C ROSA installations failed testing at Kansas City. To correct the problem, all units were returned for retrofitting. The length of this delay is uncertain. We will inform you when a time estimate becomes available.

The following offices are scheduled for PC-ROSA: NWSO Jacksonville, NWSO San Angelo, NWSFO San Juan, and NWSO Shreveport.

Return to Southern Region Home Page