UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
October 1, 1999
WERNER BAUM. We were saddened to learn of the death on September 4 of Dr. Werner Baum, in Tallahassee. Alumni of Florida State University are well aware of the many contributions Prof. Baum made to FSU, most notably as founder of the Meteorology Department in 1949. He was also Dean of the FSU Graduate School, vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Miami in 1963, and was named vice president of Scientific Affairs at New York University in 1965. In 1967, President Johnson appointed him deputy administrator of ESSA. From 1968 to 1973, he was president of the University of Rhode Island, and in 1977 he was appointed chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. In 1979, he returned to FSU as dean of Arts and Sciences, retiring in 1990. Dr. Baum was one of the many distinguished meteorologists associated with the "Chicago School," whose contributions to our science were many and lasting.
ISAAC M. CLINE AWARDS. I am proud to extend congratulations to the Southern Region recipients of the first annual Isaac M. Cline awards, both at the local office level (see attached list) and the region-wide level. These awards were established to identify and recognize operational excellence in the provision and/or enhancement of the National Weather Service mission. The awards are given in eight categories: 1) meteorology; 2) hydrometeorology; 3) engineering, electronics, or facilities; 4) hydrology; 5) support services; 6) program management and administration; 7) upper air observations; and 8) leadership.
The winners of the Region-wide Cline awards are as follows:
These Region-wide award recipients have been nominated for the National NWS Cline Awards.
JOHNSON SPACE CENTER OPEN HOUSE. Once again SMG supported Johnson Space Center's (JSC) Open House that is held annually in conjunction with the Balloonar Liftoff Festival, a hot air balloon festival held on the grounds of JSC. The combined events attracted 125,000 visitors. An estimated 5,000 people visited the SMG Operations Area to see how weather forecasts are made for the Space Shuttle. All of SMG's computer displays were up and running real time satellite loops, radar and other graphics. SMG personnel gave short briefings and answered questions. Besides the Shuttle specific displays, the visitors were very interested in a real-time satellite loop and NHC forecast track of Hurricane Dennis. Visitors received a variety of SMG handouts and NWS brochures on topics ranging from flash floods to hurricanes. SMG participants in Open House were Doris Rotzoll, Steve Sokol, Monica Sowell, Karl Silverman, Frank Brody, Tim Oram and Richard Lafosse. In addition, a few spouses of SMG staff members assisted.
PRODUCT TIPS OF THE MONTH. This month's focus is the Short Term Forecast, which can be one of the more difficult products to write. Instead of showing examples of good products, we will provide some tips on how you might improve the short term forecast. The recent WCM workshop featured some lively discussion about the NOW, and you will see some new guidance concerning the short term forecast in the near future.
To be truly effective, a short term forecast should...
...provide useful weather information (where, when, how much, how long, how bad)
...balance current radar locations with forecast information (customers seem to want both)
...provide a detailed forecast of the location and timing of precipitation
...be updated as frequently as possible
...fill the information gap between a watch and a warning
...paint a picture a listener can visualize
If you're having trouble writing the NOW, imagine your audience as a caller who wants to pour concrete or who is planning an afternoon wedding. Translate the information you would give them on the phone ("Well, it looks like showers will develop late in the afternoon. There won't be many of them, but you're most likely to get wet between 3 and 6 p.m.") and put it in the NOW. Give the customer as detailed a forecast as possible to help them make their plans.
SERVICE ASSESSMENT. The Oklahoma/Southern Kansas Tornado Outbreak of May 3, 1999 Service Assessment has been released and all Southern Region offices should have received a copy. As the report illustrates, the historic outbreak was handled very well by the Norman, Tulsa and Wichita offices. The assessment team made several recommendations designed to enhance and improve the warning services at all NWS offices, and specific action items have been forwarded to Southern Region offices based on these recommendations.
The Warning Improvement Project Web page (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/msd/html/wip.htm) includes a section devoted to the new service assessment with helpful links to assist offices in accomplishing the action items. Please forward any comments on the page to Rick Smith in MSD.
THE SOUTHERN REGION 1999 MARINE FORECASTING CONFERENCE. Marine focal points from each Southern Region marine office met on September 8 and 9 in St. Petersburg, Florida. With on-going service transfers and modernization, it was imperative for marine focal points to meet and coordinate the marine program of the future. The theme of the conference was "Where do we go from here?"
September 8 showcased technology and the current status of the marine program. Speakers included representatives from the Louisiana State University, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, National Ocean Service, National Data Buoy Center, Weather Service Headquarters and the University of South Florida.
September 9 was dedicated to the NWS Strategic Plan. Concentrating on the Strategic Vision, an open discussion mapped out the future of the marine program and how to make the marine portion of the Strategic Vision a reality. Marine focal points also concentrated on customer service and forecast consistency working toward One Marine Weather Service.
This was the first marine focal point meeting in Southern Region. From the success of the meeting, it was long overdue. We have mapped out the strategic plan for the Southern Region marine program. We now have a clear set of goals to lead the marine program into the next century. For success in the marine forecast arena, our marine program must speak to our customers with a single voice.
WCM WORKSHOP. The Southern Region Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) Workshop was held on September 21-24, in Fort Worth. Twenty-seven of the Region's 31 WCMs were in attendance; the remaining four were absent due to family emergency or potential impacts from Tropical Storm Harvey.
The focus of the workshop was on the NWS Strategic Plan and future enhancements to our products and services. The workshop was a balance between program status updates, structured presentations, and open discussion periods. The participants developed numerous innovative suggestions for enhancing our outreach campaigns, our coordination efforts, and our products and services.
The workshop produced a tremendous number of action items (approximately 70), both for the regional and WSH staff and for the field WCMs. We will work over the coming months to implement as many of these action items as possible. Some will be basic concepts involving our public forecast format. Others may be more advanced, to make our warning and short-fuse products even more customer-oriented. We will also continue advancing our spotter training and awareness presentations, producing concise, pertinent materials which tell our preparedness message.
Thanks to all of the WCMs for making this one of the most successful WCM Workshops we have conducted.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS AND SUPPORT. September marks the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. In anticipation, our coastal offices have continued the strong hurricane awareness campaigns in their areas. As hurricanes Bret, Dennis, and Floyd threatened portions of our coastline, the offices swung into high gear with their support programs. Below are a few highlights:
NWSFO San Juan WCM Rafael Mojica gave a hurricane preparedness presentation to Antilles Auxiliary Power (AAP) in Carolina. Rafael provided an overview of hurricanes, the specific threats they pose, and other hazards which may impact the island. The presentation was well received, as the NWSFO later received a complimentary letter from the President of AAP.
NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge was well-represented at the September Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force meeting. MIC Paul Trotter, WCM Frank Revitte, and SOO Mike Koziara attended, along with 11 Parish emergency management agencies and representatives from the Louisiana Department of Transportation, State Police, Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the American Red Cross. Evacuation planning was a key point at this meeting, including rerouting outbound traffic and possible methods of strengthening evacuation routes.
NWSO Brownsville MIC Richard Hagan received kudos from the local media for their service during Hurricane Bret. A chief meteorologist from an area TV station noted: "your expertise and professionalism is second to none in this industry and we appreciate everything you do. Please, also, express my appreciation to your entire staff...we knew we could count on you and your staff for up-to-the-minute information."
NWSFO Atlanta WCM Barry Gooden provided extensive interviews to the media as Hurricane Dennis threatened the Georgia coast. Barry provided updates on the storm, potential impacts, and reviewed hurricane safety tips.
Congratulations and thanks to all for your efforts!
SEVERE WEATHER/SPOTTER SUPPORT. Although we are just leaving the peak of the hurricane season, many parts of the region must begin to prepare for the fall severe weather season. Below are some highlights:
NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM Jim Stefkovich assisted a manufacturing plant in Denton County to develop a disaster plan. Of course, Jim's input focused on the weather-related aspects of their plan. As many as 200 people work in the plant. Thus the need for such a plan is vital.
NWSO Shreveport DAPM Marion Kuykendall attended an appreciation luncheon for storm spotters and cooperative observers. The luncheon, hosted by a TV station in Alexandria, is an annual recognition for the effort the spotters and co-op observers make to help the community. After the luncheon, Marion was interviewed by the local newspaper regarding the Co-Op program and modernization at the NWSO.
NWSO Melbourne lead forecaster Tim Troutman and WCM Dennis Decker have developed a local Internet-based spotter training program. Over a dozen spotters have already been trained remotely using this Web page. Recognizing the need for face-to-face training, these spotters will be required to attend a final training session at the NWSO before being designated as spotters.
PUBLIC/MEDIA OUTREACH. Some noteworthy projects from around the Region:
NWSO Corpus Christi WCM Terry Huber and liaison officer John Metz visited the Victoria Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss an informational brochure the NWSO will produce. The brochure will describe the equipment enhancements at the NWSO and, perhaps more importantly, the commitment by the NWSO staff to provide the best possible services to the Victoria Crossroads area. The Chamber of Commerce was interested in the proposal and offered to provide input during the developmental stage.
NWSO Key West hosted a courtesy visit for city and county elected officials. Guests included the mayors of Key West and Monroe County, the Key West and Monroe County airport directors, and members of the Sheriff's Office. The purpose of the visit was to demonstrate the latest technology installed at the NWSO, including the WSR-88D and AWIPS.
NWSO Tallahassee WCM Bob Goree has developed a "weather challenge" game which has proven successful during public outreach presentations. While currently used only during in-person presentations, the game could easily be converted into a Web page format. This would provide additional background information to the subjects covered in the game's questions, and allow for a more widespread distribution of our preparedness message.
NWSO Lake Charles MIC Steve Rinard provided information to a front-page article in the Lake Charles newspaper. The article focused on the Heat Index and the dangers associated with heat. The article also featured a Heat Index table and safety tips to follow during excessive heat events. The reporter referred readers to the NWSO's Web site for additional information.
HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION
USGS STREAMFLOW MONITORING WORKSHOP. On September 27, the USGS district office in Oklahoma City conducted a streamflow monitoring workshop to review the cooperative stream gaging program in Oklahoma. The NWS attendees included service hydrologists Steve Kruckenberg and Al Hong from the Weather Forecast Offices in Norman and Tulsa, respectively, hydrologists John Schmidt and Janet McCormick from the Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center in Tulsa and Deputy Chief Ben Weiger from the regional Hydrologic Services Division. Other attendees included various state agencies from Oklahoma and Kansas with an interest in streamflow data. The intent of the workshop was to review the requirements for streamflow data at 28 stream gage station locations (19 of which are at NWS river forecast points) where certain USGS operations may be discontinued due to changing funding priorities at the Corps of Engineers district office in Tulsa.
Various federal and state agency representatives spoke about their requirements for streamflow data and the operational impacts that would occur if discharge measurements were not taken, associated stage/discharge relationships were not updated below flood flows, and streamflow data were not archived. The lack of low-flow information from these locations would severely impact water use apportionment in Oklahoma for irrigation, water supply, and livestock.
The participants shared their ideas and recommendations for ways to find cooperative funding to support these stream gage locations in FY 2000. The USGS district in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board are coordinating to determine if they can cooperatively fund some of these stations in FY 2000.
UPDATED WHFS LESSON PLANS. The NWSTC has updated lesson plans for on-station training of Hydroview and RiverPro on their hydrology Web site. These updates integrate the changes that occurred with the AWIPS Build 4.2 version of WHFS. These lessons can be downloaded from the Web site at http://www.nwstc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/HMD_HYD.HTML.
BASIN DELINEATION FUNDING. NWSH has identified funding to delineate flash flood watershed basins to support the AMBER functionalities that will be integrated into AWIPS Build 5.1. The NWS has contracted with the NSSL to perform the basin delineations for all WFOs. Regional offices are providing NWSH and NSSL with WFO rankings so NSSL can prioritize their basin delineation work efforts during the next year. A meeting is scheduled at the NSSL in late October to discuss the basin delineation methodology and other implementation issues.
DAILY RIVER SUMMARY PRODUCT IN AWIPS. WFO Hydrologic Forecast System Version 2.2 now allows one to construct tabular river data products using the WHFS river product formatter (RiverPro). Information about this capability is available on the OH's WHFS Web site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hod_whfs/template.html.
The information on this Web site will help HSA offices construct tabular products such as the daily river summary product and other tabular river products. The "RiverPro Tabular Template Primer" section of this Web site provides excellent detail on defining the various template sections used to generate the tabular products.
Dave Schwertz, service hydrologist from NWSO Houston, recently developed the template files necessary to generate his daily river summary. We will disseminate these template files to all SR HSA offices. Please note that tabular data products supporting other public programs at the WFO (e.g., AGO product) can be generated using the WHFS river product formatter only if the observational data required are defined and stored in the WFO AWIPS hydrologic database.
NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS
Below normal rainfall was recorded across most of the Southern Region HSAs during August. San Angelo tied a record for the fourth driest August on record with only 0.03 inches of rainfall measured at the airport. Drought conditions were severe to extreme across much of the Southern Region by the end August. Many co-op observing sites across the mid-south reported less than an inch of rain during the month.
A couple of HSAs did see some generous rainfall totals during August. Albuquerque International Airport measured slightly over three inches for the month of August which is the sixth wettest on record for the site. Much of the Albuquerque HSA had above normal rainfall for the month with statewide flood damages estimated over 2.8 million dollars in six counties. Several creeks and rivers flooded in the Corpus Christi HSA as a result of Hurricane Bret making landfall in the region. Several locations in the HSA recorded rainfall of five inches or greater for the month.
NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS
LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER FORECAST CENTER
Mississippi State Career Day. Ethan Jolly, senior hydrologist at LMRFC, represented the NWS and LMRFC at the Mississippi State University career day on September 14. Ethan provided information about the NWS hydrology program and potential job opportunities. About 10 students expressed interest in employment in the NWS.
Louisiana Conference. Dave Reed, HIC LMRFC, represented the NWS and LMRFC at the Louisiana American Society of Civil Engineers on September 16. Dave gave a 20-minute talk on the hydrologic services of the NWS and the LMRFC. About 30 people attended the session and over 300 attended the two-day conference.
TVA/NWS Coordination Meeting. On September 21, the NWS and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) held their annual coordination meeting at the LMRFC. The NWS was represented by LMRFC staff, Mary Lamm (SH WFO Paducah), John Wright (MIC WFO Roanoke), and Jerry Nunn (Chief SR HSD). Five representatives of the TVA attended. Topics included forecast operations, AWIPS, QPF, WSR-88D Stage III precipitation processing and the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System.
LMRFC to Use XSETS. On November 1, the LMRFC will begin issuing RVF products using the SHEF Encoding Time Series (XSETS) software instead of the locally developed and maintained program. The RVF will continue to be in SHEF format but will not include any SHEF-encoded observed stages at 12Z GMT. Instead of sending all forecasts to the WFO at one time, when a forecaster completes forecasting for a river system, these forecasts will be provided by basin in multiple versions. This method of disseminating RVFs is the same as that currently used by ABRFC and WGRFC. LMRFC will provide more information to the affected offices.
Record Low Water Levels. As a result of dry weather in the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the Mississippi River is below normal for this time of year. While above all-time record low levels, the Mississippi River at New Madrid and Memphis are lower than previously measured levels for the last week of September. Extremely low levels cause trouble for barge operators. On the lower reach of the Mississippi River below New Orleans, salt water intrusion due to low river stages and flow is causing salinity levels to rise above acceptable levels at some water intake plants. The Corps of Engineers have projects to stop the movement of this salt water upstream.
SUPER ENSEMBLE FORECASTS. Prof. T. N. Krishnamurti, former director of the NWS/NOAA Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology at Florida State, has achieved what many have referred to as breakthrough work on improving numerical model guidance skill by means of a real-time "super-ensemble" forecast scheme. The scheme has shown remarkable results for a variety of parameters, including tropical storm track forecasts. In fact, Krish and his student Eric Williford were recently featured on the CBS Evening News. Their Day One through Day Three precipitation forecasts are available at: http://estero.met.fsu.edu:2080/trmm/ (use the "Click Here to Navigate" selection near the top of the page). They are providing results of the super-ensemble to NHC for guidance and evaluation.
Krish contacted SSD for suggestions on how best to provide results from his research which would be most useful to NWS forecasters. SSD suggested that he produce graphics identical to those on the NCEP EMC Precipitation Forecast Verification page (http://sgi62.wwb.noaa.gov:8080/verf/pcpgifs.html). This would facilitate comparison of the results of his super-ensemble with those of the operational and experimental NCEP models. A link to Krish's page is also available on the NWS Southern Region Numerical Weather Prediction Links page:
This is another good example of how research results are quickly making their way into the operational environment for real-time evaluation and possible application.
DACFO. Following is a list of Southern Region local focal points for the Director's Advisory Committee on Forecast Operations (DACFO). Mark Fox (NWSFO Fort Worth) is the National Intern Representative.
|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||Knoxville||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||Leslie Petersen||Brownsville (CWSU)||Jeff Philo|
|Austin/San Antonio||Jim Ellis||Lubbock||Tim Tinsley|
|Fort Worth||Jesse Moore (SR Representative)||Albuquerque||Neil Haley|
|Corpus Christi||Michael Buchanan||Amarillo||Edward Andrade|
|Key West||Joe Barrett||Midland||Greg Murdoch|
|San Angelo||Patrick McCullough||Tulsa||Bart Haake|
NWA ANNUAL MEETING. Southern Region offices should be well represented again this year at the National Weather Association Annual Meeting, to be held in Biloxi October 18-22. In addition to the many oral and poster presentations that were submitted, a number of Southern Region employees are involved as NWA elected offices, committee members and session chairmen. We have included a summary of Southern Region presentations as a technical attachment this month.
HURRICANE FLOYD...WHAT IF? Mike Koziara, SOO NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge, was interviewed by a New Orleans television (WWL TV) reporter while Floyd was moving northward along the Atlantic coast. The obvious question was "What if Hurricane Floyd made a direct strike on New Orleans?" Mike used AWIPS time-lapse satellite, model, and surface data to show the storm's past, current, and forecast track while it was in the Caribbean. Then he utilized the application program HURWIN95 with a direct strike option to shift the National Hurricane Center's official forecast track from the Bahamas to New Orleans, and he ran that output in a time-lapsed mode. Finally, he displayed a SLOSH MEOW (Maximum Envelope of Water) which indicated deep storm surge inundation of eastern New Orleans and the Slidell, Louisiana area. Having the tools to graphically display such a "what if?" scenario greatly enhances our ability to drive home our preparedness message. Nice work, Mike.
SOUTHERN REGION WEB SERVER ENHANCED. Increased traffic due to the public's interest in Hurricanes Floyd and Gert a couple of weeks ago severely taxed NWS Web servers system-wide. The Southern Region Headquarters server was no exception. We found our server "maxed out" and running at near 100% CPU utilization, just as Floyd approached the Florida coast. Very little information was getting out to our Internet customers via our server. Fortunately, we were able to significantly upgrade the capability of the Web server system on-the-fly, without losing service, by adding an additional high-powered server. This feat was like trying to change a tire on a moving vehicle! Congratulations to Susan Beckwith (SSD) and Bruce Marshak (SOD) who accomplished that delicate and demanding task. Bernard Meisner (SSD) ensured the NHC text and graphics products on the server were always current and SRH staff in the Regional Operations Center generated the track forecast charts.
The Southern Region's Web site (http://www.srh.noaa.gov) hosts a complete set of current TPC/NHC tropical cyclone discussions, advisories, and other products of interest to the public and emergency personnel. A click on the "Tropical Weather" link will display to the Tropical Weather page. Please share this information with your offices, emergency management officials, other customers, and any one else who may be having difficulty accessing the latest official NWS forecasts and information regarding tropical cyclones via the World Wide Web.
THE U.S. WEATHER BUREAU, 1901. As we approach the turn of a new century, it's interesting to look back at the nature of America's weather service when this century dawned. What was the U.S. Weather Bureau like 100 years ago? It may not be surprising that our basic mission has changed little, but how did the fewer than 700 Weather Bureau employees approach that mission back then? Thanks to NWSFO Birmingham MIC Gary Petti, we can find out by reading The Weather Bureau, a small pamphlet published in 1901 and prepared under the direction of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Bureau. Read and enjoy it at:
MEMORANDUM FOR: Distribution
FROM: John J. Kelly, Jr.
SUBJECT: NWS Radiosonde Second Release Policy
REFERENCES: W/NP12:CAN memorandum dated December 10, 1996,subject: NWS Policy for Second Release of Radiosondes
Radiosonde observations support operational analysis and forecasting at local offices and National Centers. When a radiosonde fails to provide data up to 400 hPa, a decision to attempt a second release is needed. The Lead Forecaster (LF) at the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) responsible for the observation and the Senior Duty Meteorologist (SDM) of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction will make a decision following the procedures described below. The LF and SDM will weigh potential meteorological and service value of the observation against the expense of a second release.
Specifically, when a routine radiosonde flight fails to reach 400 hPa, the following shall be done:
This policy becomes effective October 1, 1999.
COMET CASE STUDY 19-OKLAHOMA TORNADO OUTBREAK. COMET Case Study 19 focuses on the May 3, 1999 severe convective event that affected much of northern and central Oklahoma and south central Kansas. Tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas resulted in 48 deaths and several hundred injuries. This case provides data from these deadly tornadoes to allow in-depth study of the event. Case Study 19 is the first case for which the data are available in netCDF, the AWIPS compatible format, when ordered as a complete dataset through the CODIAC WWW system. The COMET Case Studies are available at:
LIGHTNING AWARENESS. The staff at NWSO Melbourne has been very active in exploring ways to promote lightning safety and incorporate lightning threat information in their products. Their links to NASA and nearby Patrick AFB provide them with lightning data not available at other NWS offices. In addition, Chief Staff Meteorologist Bill Roeder (PAFB) has become a valuable partner with the NWSO by providing numerous lightning safety briefings to many organizations on the Cape, as well as to off-base groups and organizations, along with a couple of interviews. In his presentations he notes the USAF/NWS collaboration, incorporates results of work done at the NWS office, and informs listeners how to access the NWSO Web site. Bill's outstanding work in this area was recognized by the National Weather Association, and he will receive the NWA's Public Education Award at their annual meeting next month.
Along the same line, we encourage everyone to read the paper "Updated Recommendations for Lightning Safety - 1998," by Ron Holle, Raul Lopez and Christopher Zimmermann, which appears in the latest (October 1999) issue of the Bulletin of the AMS. This is a good summary of the latest information regarding lightning safety precautions.
ASSISTANCE TO USAF DURING FLOYD. Hurricane Floyd's track along the Florida east coast last month prompted the evacuation of facilities at Cape Canaveral. By prior agreement, NWSO Melbourne provided space and facilities for two USAF meteorologists so they could continue uninterrupted support to the USAF (Patrick AFB and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station) and NASA (Kennedy Space Center) during the hurricane threat. Such an event was anticipated, and a plan for such remote emergency operations was formalized several years ago by Letter of Agreement between the USAF and the NWS office. Col. David Urbanski, commander of the 45th Weather Squadron, sent the following to MIC Bart Hagemeyer:
Many thanks to you and your folks for all the assistance provided to Bill Roeder and Clif Stargardt during their stay in your facility as Floyd threatened the area last week. I've received kudos from the wing leadership for the great support Bill and Clif provided to the evacuated wing battle staff, but I know they could not have done it without your help. This was a fine example of superb teamwork under extremely stressful and trying conditions. Your efforts are truly appreciated--thanks again!
STUDENT ASSISTANCE. AMBER (Areal Mean Basin Estimated Rainfall) is a computer program which integrates scan-by-scan WSR-88D rainfall estimates with high-resolution digitized stream basins. The likelihood of flash flooding is determined by comparing rainfall estimates with RFC flash flood guidance values. The program is used at only a few NWS offices so far, but should eventually be part of AWIPS operations. Last summer SSD helped initiate a project at NWSFO Jackson to begin testing AMBER using the WDSS (Warning Decision Support System) at the office. To create the necessary high-resolution digitized basin maps we enlisted the help of Michelle Webb, a student at nearby Jackson State University. Michelle completed the work with results that will benefit everyone involved. A summary is provided as a technical attachment this month.
Michelle gained valuable experience in computer skills, particularly the process of downloading and manipulating various types of geophysical data, and using the ArcView software. She also was involved in extensive interaction with NSSL personnel who assisted in troubleshooting the setup process. Additionally, during times when AMBER work had to be halted due to unavoidable circumstances, she was able to interact extensively with NWS meteorologists and HMTs, learning about NWS operations and forecasting. Michelle happens to be a meteorology major at JSU, but her work in this case shows that computer applications development is another area in which we can benefit greatly from student projects.
NEW TECH MEMO. Andrew Haner, NWSO Tulsa, has authored the most recent Southern Region Technical Memorandum (NWS SR-203). Entitled, "A Severe Weather Climatology for the WFO Tulsa County Warning Area," this Tech Memo provides valuable information on the diurnal, annual and inter-annual variations in severe wind, hail and tornadoes across NWSO Tulsa's County Warning Area.
NATIONAL WEATHER ASSOCIATION AWARDS. I am pleased to note that among the recipients of 1999 NWA awards were the following from the Southern Region:
Operational Achievement Individual Award: David Andra, SOO NWSFO Norman, for his issuance of a tornado emergency in an operational forecast to the citizens in south Oklahoma City, before the devastating F5 tornado outbreak on May 3, 1999.
Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award: Amateur Radio Skywarn Team, Fort Worth, for their hard work and self-sacrificing attitude, especially for their spotter reports critical to the warning process for an approaching F4 tornado in Lancaster, Texas, on April 26, 1994.
Local NWA Chapter Award: Arkansas Local Chapter, Little Rock, for their active and productive membership that fosters the science of meteorology, and which serves as a model for other areas nationwide. NWSFO Little Rock staff members are integral to the success of the chapter.
Congratulations to all of the above, and kudos to all employees who actively support the National Weather Association, American Meteorological Society, and other professional organizations. By maintaining strong ties to such groups we strengthen the NWS position as a science leader and we enhance our ability to provide service to all our partners and customers.
FIRE IN NCEP CRAY COMPUTER. On the afternoon of September 27 there was a fire in the power supply of the primary NCEP computer, known as the Cray C90. The chemical fire extinguishers used to suppress the fire rendered the computer at least temporarily inoperable.
The NWS has taken all steps necessary to minimize potential impacts to NWS forecasters and those outside of the NWS who rely on our products. All critical operations at NCEP continue to be supported. The NWS forecasters continue to perform their duties utilizing numerical models run on other NWS computers and accessed from other national centers. The NCEP has implemented pre-arranged backup support procedures using Air Force, Navy, and FSL forecast products.
As of this writing the Eta and AVN models, which usually run four times daily, are now running twice daily. The resolution of the Eta model has been reduced from 32km to 80km with static initialization instead of the four-dimensional data assimilation. The NGM continues to run twice a day at full (80 km) resolution, but with static initialization. The RUC model is being run at FSL, with output transferred to NCEP. The MRF continues to be run, although output from the model is not available until several hours after the normal time. No ensemble runs are being made.
The Navy's Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Meteorology Center (FNMOC) is providing NOGAPS products in support of the NCEP AVN model and is running the GFDL hurricane model. Full access to products on the FNMOC Internet Web site has been granted to all NWS offices.
The new NCEP Class VIII computer is being moved this month to its new location. It is expected to be operational in early November. Shortly thereafter the full NCEP model site should again be available.
SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION
Y2K SECURITY ALERT. A technical article in INFOWORLD indicates the virus writers and hackers are already planning to take advantage of the chaos expected to ensue at the start of the millennium. Many of the viruses will be set to activate on January 1 including the possibility of destroying a system. The best we can do is to continue our practice of loading the very latest virus definition (dat) files onto our systems so that the McAfee (Network Associates) virus scanning software has the best chance of catching new viruses. It is also prudent to scan any e-mail attachment if it is to be run on the system. This would include executable files and macros.
NWS MESSAGING PROJECT MIGRATION PLAN. During a teleconference of the NWS Messaging focal points held September 22, a draft of the NWS Messaging Project Migration Plan was discussed. There are still issues to be resolved including the final delivery of Netscape Messaging Server 4.1 for NT, the NOAA capability to replicate the directory, the conversion tools for legacy e-mail systems, and the training of administrators, account managers, and end users, just to name a few. It now looks like Southern Region might begin migrating to Netscape from cc:Mail early next year but that is only a preliminary guess. There is a desire to have all NWS converted by June 30, 2000, if possible. The Southern Region servers are on board and waiting for the other pieces of the puzzle to fall into place.
FY2000 PMI SCHEDULE. The FY2000 PMI schedule for Southern Region (below) was developed based on input from NWS Southern Region sites. Every effort was made to accommodate all requests. However, most sites specified only a narrow window of time for the PMI team, with approximately 85% requesting the September and October time frame. Nancy E. Bernigaud, logistics engineer at OSF did the best she could in picking alternate time slots. The Hill AFB PMI team intends to proceed according to the following schedule:
FY2000 Southern Region PMI Schedule - Hill AFB PMI Team
Trip # 5
El Paso, TX 1/10/00-1/16/00 PMI and Radome Recoat
San Angelo, TX 1/17/00-1/26/00 PMI and Radome Recoat
Amarillo, TX 1/27/00-2/05/00 PMI and Radome Recoat
Trip # 6
Hunstville, AL 1/10/00-1/16/00 PMI only
Shreveport, LA 1/17/00-1/23/00 PMI and Radome Recoat
Trip # 11
Albuquerque, NM 8/15/00-8/22/00 PMI and Radome Recoat
ASOS AND SURFACE TOPICS. Three Handar 555SB Data Collection Platforms have been purchased to replace old DARDC systems. Two of the Handar systems will be delivered to NWSO Brownsville and one system will be delivered to NWSFO Miami. A fourth Handar system is being ordered to replace the DARDC system at NWSO Tallahassee.
Ten Tekscope THS720A portable oscilloscopes have been purchased for the ASOS maintenance program. This test equipment will improve the electronics technician's ability to troubleshoot and align the ASOS GTA radios. The oscilloscopes will be delivered to NWSOs Corpus Christi, Houston, Melbourne and Morristown, and NWSFOs Atlanta, Albuquerque (2), Fort Worth, Norman and Tulsa. As funds become available oscilloscopes will be purchased and delivered to all remaining offices.
The ASOS system at Venice (7R1), Louisiana will be relocated to the spin-down weather office site in Boothville, Louisiana. The system relocation is required due to the shutdown of the current location. It was also necessary to relocate the sensors to higher ground to prevent water damage from high tides. TDS Incorporated has been contracted to perform and publish a site survey for the new ASOS location. The site survey is scheduled for the week of October 4. Once the site survey is complete, a contract will be let for the site preparation and system relocation. We expect the system relocation to be completed by the end of the year.
The OT&E for ASOS firmware v2.60 has been successfully completed. The firmware EPROMs and a high speed (28.8Kbps) modem for each ASOS site are being issued by NWSH. The new firmware will initially be installed at all noncommissioned sites, non-staffed sites and NWS staffed sites. There is no specific timetable for the firmware installation, but each office should try to install the new firmware within 30 days of receipt of parts. The installation of the new firmware at FAA staffed sites will require close coordination between the local weather office and the local air traffic control facility. At FAA staffed sites, the firmware must be installed within thirty days of the completion of operator training on the new firmware. The installation status of the v2.60 firmware will be posted on the following Web site: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/aomc/vers260.htm.
NIDS REPLACEMENT. NWS Headquarters has advised all Family of Services subscribers and NOAAPORT users that the NWS is in the process of replacing NIDS with a government operated radar product central collection and distribution system. Once implemented, this system will be accessible by all users without data redistribution restrictions. To allow for a successful transition to this new NWS system, the current NIDS agreement, with three private vendors for the distribution of WSR-88D products, will be extended through September 30, 2000. Once the new system is operational the NIDS agreement will be terminated, but no sooner than October 1, 2000.
DOD UCP RELOCATION TO NWS WFOs. OSF Engineering is completing the Engineering Change Proposal documentation for this implementation. The anticipated schedule currently shows that the UCP for Moody AFB will be the first one transferred over to an NWSFO for UCP functionality. The transition of UCP control of the KVAX 88-D from Moody AFB over to NWSFO Jacksonville is expected to occur on or about November 15. Subsequent sites will follow in January of 2000.
RPG COMMUNICATIONS. A configuration change request (CCR) has been proposed to upgrade all existing 14.4K modems to 33.6K modems and to provide the hardware necessary at the RPG to make digital service possible.
OPEN RPG (ORPG) INSTALLED AT NWSTC. Open Systems personnel installed an ORPG at the NWS Training Center in Kansas City. The ORPG will be used by the NWSTC for familiarization with the system, and in support of the development of maintenance training materials.
ARCHIVE II SUCCESSES. Kudos to NWSFOs Corpus Christi (CRP) and Brownsville (BRO) for being able to successfully archive NEXRAD 88-D Level II data during the landfall of Hurricane Bret near Port Mansfield, Texas in late August. In cooperation with the NOAA Hurricane Research Lab (HRL), the Archive II data are shared with HRL. The HRL was able to fly their P-3 research aircraft into Bret right up until landfall and is optimistic that the P-3 radar data as well as Archive II data from NWSFOs CRP and BRO will allow them to study hurricane three-dimensional characteristics.
STAND-ALONE WEATHER SENSORS SYSTEM (SAWS). One of the issues still active in the ASOS Program and the Surface Observation Program is the ability of FAA LAWRS towered locations to report temperature and dew point in the event of an ASOS temp/dew point malfunction. Due to equipment and operational constraints, this has not been done at many Service Level C LAWRS towered sites in the past. The FAA is fielding the SAWS to solve this problem. The SAWS consists of a digital temp/dew point readout and wind direction/wind speed readout in the ATCT cab. It will be installed to backup the ASOS at up to 270 Service Level C sites nationally. The contract for deployment of this system is expected to occur in January 2000, with implementation beginning in December 2000. The fielding of the SAWS will ameliorate the problem of missing temp/dew point data at FAA LAWRS ATCT observing sites.
TUPELO OBSERVATION DUTIES TRANSFERRED TO THE FAA. On October 1, the NWS transferred the responsibility of ASOS augmentation and backup to the FAA. This means the FAA Contract Air Traffic Control Tower will assume these functions. SRH NWSFOs Jackson and Memphis worked closely with each other, the FAA Southern Region, and the new controllers to make this transition a smooth one.
WFO KEY WEST ASSUMES ASOS AUGMENTATION/BACKUP DUTIES. On October 1, the NWSO Key West spun up its surface program, taking over the duties associated with ASOS augmentation/backup at Key West International Airport. The NWSO Key West staff will provide Service Level C augmentation/backup.
COOPERATIVE PROGRAM. Monthly reports must be submitted to SRH in a timely manner. These reports were previously done manually but now an electronic format for the monthly report is available for use as part of the DAPM Resource Page. The URL for this page is http://srhawips.srh.noaa.gov/dapm/. Passwords required to use this system have been distributed to the DAPMs. If you need assistance accessing this resource page contact the RCPM. Several other report formats and links to other interesting sites are also available from this Internet site.
Modernization of the co-op program is moving forward. Several Joint Action Groups (JAG) have been formed at the NWSH level to establish the requirements and standards for the new equipment. A JAG is looking at a short term replacement of the MMTS display as well as developing requirements and specification for the replacement of the entire MMTS system in the future. Another JAG is developing requirements and specification for a data logger which will be attached to the F&P to replace the punch tape feature of the recording gauge. A group is also working to update the CSSA to a more user-friendly platform which will allow the information to be provided to all interested users in a more timely manner.
Replacement Global Position System (GPS) receivers have been purchased by SRH for each office. These units are provided primarily for use by the Data Acquisition Team to document Cooperative Stations. Other working teams within each office will also find these units helpful in documenting weather events or performing hydrologic studies. The GPS units should be available at the offices by the end of this month.
UPPER AIR PROGRAM. Information on the Radiosonde Replacement System and monthly performance statistics are available on the Internet. The URL is: http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/. This information source is kept as current as possible and all upper air offices should access this information on a routine basis.
The Southern Region winner of the Isaac Cline Award for Upper Air performance is the team from the NWSO Corpus Christi. Congratulation to all members of this fine team.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION
NEW METEOROLOGIST REGISTER OPEN. The new OPM vacancy announcement for NWS Southern Region entry-level meteorologists (GS-1340-5/7) opened October 1, 1999 and will close after 60 days (November 30). It may be extended if there are not a sufficient number of applications. The vacancy is Number DD91340. It can be accessed on OPM's home page, or through the MASC home page. It is also highlighted on our Southern Region home page at http://www.srh.noaa.gov
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
NWSFO TALLAHASSEE. Paul Duval, MIC, Ron Block, lead forecaster, and Joel Lanier, service hydrologist, participated in Florida State University Career Day at the Leon County Civic Center where many of the more than 1,000 students visited the NWS/NOAA table. This included about 20 aspiring meteorologists who discussed NWS careers and resources.
Bob Goree, WCM, provided disaster preparedness and coordination talks to the Panama City Florida News Herald, emergency managers and WALB TV in Albany, Georgia, and Bond Elementary School in Tallahassee where he debuted his "weather challenge" game to 70 kindergarten to fifth graders.
NWSFO SHREVEPORT. Forecaster Bill Parker gave an office tour to the Rutherford House (a group home for disciplinary youngsters) of Shreveport. The operations of the NWS were discussed and encouragement was given to the students on reaching their career goals.
Meteorologists Pat Omundson, Clarissa Emrick, Steve Carboni, Bill Parker and Craig Ross gave an office tour to 60 students from Arthur Circle Elementary School from Shreveport.
NWSFO MELBOURNE. Last month, Melbourne forecasters gave talks on meteorology careers and opportunities in the NWS to the 105 Introductory Meteorology students at Brevard Community College. This course is one of the college's most popular electives and the WFO forecasters have been giving their talks for about 10 years.
SOUTHERN REGION WORKFORCE TRANSACTIONS
September 1-30, 1999
|Southern Region Losses|
|Name||From (Office)||Action/Transfer||From Title/Grade|
|Charles Terrell||NWSFO BMX||Retirement||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Gene Witsman||SRH SOD||Retirement||Met Tech, GS-12|
|Joe Ramey||NWSO EPZ||Reas to CR||Lead Fcstr, GS-13|
|Andrew Pace||NWSFO FFC||Reas to ER||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Dale Copes||WSO VCT||Resignation||Met Tech, GS-9|
|Southern Region Gains|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Christine McGehee||RFC ATR||Reas from AR||Hydrologist, GS-12|
|Kristen Craven||NWSO EYW||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Shawn Ellis||NWSFO LUB||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Kandis Boyd||RFC TUR||Prom from CR||Hydrologist, GS-9|
|Michael Marcotte||NWSO LCH||Reinstatement||Forecaster, GS-11|
|Jason Deese||NWSO JAX||New Hire||Met Intern, GS-7|
|Within Region Transfers/Actions|
|Name||To (Office)||Action/Transfer||To Title/Grade|
|Carl E. Wright||NWSO SJT||Prom from EPZ||Forecaster, GS-12|
|Thomas Bird||NWSO EPZ||Prom from EPZ||Lead Forecaster, GS-13|
|Cecil Tevis||SRH OFB||SRH SIB||Telecom Spec, GS-12|
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