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

September 15, 1997

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

BUDGET STILL AWAITS CONGRESSIONAL ACTION. At this time, the Senate has passed an appropriations bill for funding the National Weather Service in FY 98, but the House of Representatives is still discussing their version of the funding bill. Anticipation is high the House will vote on NWS appropriations by the end of the week, which then allows the House/Senate Conference Committee to work out any differences and send the final version to floor vote before the end of September. Stay tuned, we have much at stake.

KELLY COMMITTEE WORKS ON. General Jack Kelly's committee established by the Secretary of Commerce continues on a rapid pace to prepare their recommendations on NWS future budgetary requirements and their thoughts on consolidation of the four mainland NWS regions. The report is due by the end of September or as shortly thereafter as possible. General Kelly's group has visited each of the mainland regional headquarters and received full function briefings. All regions expressed the importance of regional management to field operations.

A WEEK IN THE KEYS. Accompanied by Steven Cooper, MSD, and Buddy McIntyre, TMU, I spent a week in the Florida Keys discussing weather services and requirements. We are now ending a year and a half demonstration period requested by the Secretary of Commerce. During the demonstration period the NWS was to determine the reliability of communications systems in the Florida Keys, as well as the capabilities of the Miami office to meet weather requirements in the Keys. For the past year, the Miami office has provided all forecast material for the Florida Keys including operating the Key West NOAA Weather Radio program. The week was very informative and will result in a recommendation on what comes next.

While in Florida, we had the chance to meet with the staff of NWSFO Miami. Time was spent briefing the staff on the happenings in NWS and hearing some of their ideas on changes to the future of the NWS service programs. It was a very enjoyable session.

RETIREMENT LUNCHEON. Over the past few months, several dedicated and long-time Southern Region Headquarters employees have made the decision to retire. Their expertise and camaraderie will be missed. We are hosting a retirement luncheon in their honor on October 3, 1997. Details are included as an attachment in this issue of Topics. We hope you will be able to join us, but if not, I'm sure the retirees would appreciate hearing from you. We will gladly pass along to them any messages received.

AWIPS UPDATE

THE LATEST NEWS. The testing of AWIPS Build 3.0 continues at NWSH. Upon successful completion, Build 3.0 will be loaded onto systems beginning in October. The first sites to get these are Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh. The Operational Test and Evaluation will be in November. The first Southern Region site to receive the AWIPS with Build 3.0 will be Norman, and they are scheduled for the first week of December. Tulsa will also be loading Build 3.1 onto their AWIPS in December. The 3.1 Load will have the IFPS (Integrated Forecast Preparation System).

SITE SURVEYS. Several site surveys are scheduled for September and October. Melbourne is scheduled for September 15-16, Miami is September 17-18, Houston is September 29-30, and Amarillo is October 1-2. Atlanta WFO and RFC already completed a very successful site survey August 18-19. The office was very well prepared with locations of workstations, equipment racks, and the satellite. Kudos to the folks in Atlanta for their preparation for the survey.

BUILD 3.0 USERS CONFERENCE. The Build 3.0 Users Conference was held at NWSH the last week of August. ESAs, SOOs, DOHs, and AWIPS Focal Points(AFPs) from the offices receiving Build 3.0 were invited to discuss the functionality of the system, the architecture, local applications, and the maintenance.

AWIPS ON SRH HOMEPAGE. Wendy Wong, NWSO Houston, has developed an AWIPS page for Southern Region. On it, you will find installation dates as of the most current schedule, training dates, and links to the various other AWIPS sites. We will also be adding Local Applications with a link to SSD. Please keep in mind, it is still under construction. Let me (Cyndie Abelman) know what you think!

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION

REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL. Many NWS Southern Region employees have expressed concern over the lack of recognition of the government's role in providing the nation's forecast and warning services. Often, we don't get any of the credit when "good" forecasts and warnings are issued. However, when something goes wrong or is missed, we suddenly appear. Almost everyone associated with the NWS has been asked "what TV station do you work for?"

The media is the main conveyor of our products and services. We shouldn't be competing with them; rather, we should be working with them as part of the warning and forecast team! There is enough credit (and blame) for all.

The Southern Region Regional Partnership Council (RPC) has discussed this issue on several different occasions. We offer the following as suggestions that you might want to incorporate at your offices. None of these will suddenly make all aware of the NWS. However, it is the start of a long needed educational awareness program of who we are.

These are just a few examples. If you have other ideas on ways to promote your office, and you'd like to share them, please send them to Steven Cooper at SRH. We'll put them in Topics for others to consider.

SPACEFLIGHT METEOROLOGY GROUP. The Space Shuttle Discovery landed at Florida's Kennedy Space Center (K.C.) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at 1108 UTC [7:08 AM EDT] on Tuesday, August 19, 1997, after a successful 12 days in space. The shuttle was to land on the 18th, but unfavorable weather conditions caused a wave-off and gave the six astronauts an extra day in space. Discovery's 23rd flight began with an on-time launch from K.C.'s Pad 39A on Thursday, August 7. While in orbit, the crew deployed and retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS satellite which was used to study earth's atmosphere, manipulated a small robotic arm that will be a part of the new international space station, and performed a host of other experiments.

On launch day, the visibility dropped to three miles in fog at sunrise and improved to five miles in haze by launch time, above the four-mile flight rule restriction, contributing to an on-time launch. Weather at the primary Trans-oceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site, Zaragoza, Spain, was "no-go" due to thunderstorms within 20 NM. However, both back-up sites, Moron, Spain and Ben Guerir, Morocco had "go" conditions, meeting the landing weather flight rule required for launch.

The landing weather would prove to be more of a challenge. Just hours before the scheduled landing time, the temperature/dew point spread at the surface remained at or near zero degrees. The weather recon aircraft indicated that there was a fog bank about 10 miles west of the SLF. At final de-orbit decision time, the risk of fog formation at the SLF could not be discounted. The Flight Director waved off the landing at 1000Z, 17 minutes before the burn.

Weather conditions were slightly more favorable for the landing attempt on the next day. While light rain showers had fallen around Meritt Island the previous afternoon, amounts were significantly lower than the day before. The temperature/dew point spread from the surface to 500 feet averaged one to two degrees higher. While the surface winds were light south to southwest, the winds at 500 feet were southerly 10 to 12 knots. Between TD-4 and TD-3 hours the wind speed at 500 feet increased to 12 to 14 knots, decreasing the chance of fog. By 0900Z, about TD-2 hours, the wind speed at 500 feet increased to 13-15 knots, and the surface winds became more southerly. The chance of fog was removed from the forecast. At 1000Z the Flight Director gave a "go" for the de-orbit burn. The shuttle touched down at 1108Z. Weather conditions were nearly ideal with the surface winds from 200 degrees at six, peaking to nine knots, scattered clouds at 10 and 28 thousand feet, and a visibility of nine statute miles. This was the 10th consecutive Shuttle landing at K.C.

Lead Meteorologist for STS-85 was Karl A. Silverman, working his 24th mission, fourth as Lead. Steve Sokol was Assistant Lead and Tim Oram was the Lead Techniques Development Unit (TDU) Meteorologist.

SMART. Nathan Mayes and Brian Burgess of the Peachtree City office have been playing it SMART! They are awaiting a return on their Smart suggestion of a paperless weather wire. They say it has been a great help. No time required for changing paper or ribbons, no noise, and very inexpensive to operate. If you'd like more information on their project, give either of them a call. Thanks to both for sharing their idea!

FAA AUTOMATED ACCIDENT NOTIFICATION SYSTEM. On July 1 of this year, the Eastern Region of the FAA commissioned its new Regional Automated Notification System (RANS) to speed the process of notifying agencies of aircraft accidents. The system, which is personal computer-based, can contact an unlimited number of offices and perform simultaneous real-time notifications by way of multiples devices, i.e., telephone, pager, cellular telephone, etc. Each office carries a unique identification code which allows them access into the system.

Jerry McDuffie and his staff at NWSO Morristown, which has warning and forecast responsibility for counties in the FAA Eastern Region, are cooperating with the FAA in a test of the RANS. The system is designed to alert the appropriate NWS office on the basis of an internal CWA map that compares office responsibility to accident location. The preliminary results point to the system being quite reliable, easy to operate and much more responsive than the manual process currently in use.

We first learned of the development of this system several months ago from Carlos Garza and his staff at NWSFO Peachtree City. Apparently, plans are for the FAA to extend the use of RANS to other FAA Regions soon. The next one may be the FAA Southern Region. We'll keep you posted.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT DOCUMENTATION. The contract to provide international flight documentation to major air carriers at many of our nation's airports is expected to be awarded early this fall (end of September?). Once the award is granted, the contractor will have approximately 60-120 days to implement the service, which will carry current service provisions into the early part of CY 98.

CWSU ATLANTA SUPPORTS MAGNET SCHOOL PROGRAM. Staff at the CWSU in Atlanta recently provided a 30-minute briefing to 20 students from South Atlanta High School. The briefing focused on operations of the WSR-88D and the new Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) workstation. The students are enrolled in the Aviation/Transportation Magnet program in the Atlanta metropolitan area and are under the watchful eye of their instructor, Jim Berto, who has been involved with the program for a number of years.

NWR INFORMATION (INCLUDING SPECIFIC AREA MESSAGE ENCODING /SAME/) NOW AVAILABLE ON WWW. Information on NWR-SAME and NWR signal coverage areas is now available on the world wide web at the following URL:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr

Data provided contains an explanation of NWR and NWR-SAME operations, a nationwide database that includes NWR-SAME codes, transmitter locations, and frequencies for all counties and parishes covered by existing NWR stations.

The six-digit NWR-SAME code is an important new warning service from the NWS. It will allow an owner of the new NWR-SAME receiver to program it to receive urgent weather and non-weather related broadcast messages only for the county/s of his/her choosing. This will prevent a listener from being awakened in the middle of the night with alerts that don't apply to his or her area of interest, thus eliminating the appearance of over warning. The web site will be updated periodically to incorporate needed changes.

Favorable responses from several Southern Region offices have been received regarding SAME and the NWR-SAME receivers now on the market. In addition to the web page described above, many field offices are responding in various ways to handling inquiries about FIPs/SAME codes from users in their service area. For example, WCM Walt Zaleski at NWSO Tampa Bay/Ruskin (TBW), FL:

1) Put together a list of ALL Florida FIPS codes on one sheet.

2) Put together a list of FIPS codes that are SAME'd/1050'd for the 4 transmitters in TBW's county warning area (CWA).

3) Sent a one page letter to the district managers within TBW's CWA of the manufacturer with SAME receivers on the market listing the INTERNET address and TOLL-FREE number for obtaining FIPS codes, including copies of the above information for distribution to their stores and customers.

FIPS NUMBERS CHANGE IN PUERTO RICO/U. S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. Effective, Wednesday, October 1, 1997, at 10:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time (1400 UTC), the NWS will utilize the new Federal Information Processing System (FIPS) and Universal Generic Codes (UGC) for warning products issued by the San Juan NWS office, and for use with the Emergency Alert System (EAS). A Public Information Statement regarding this important change was issued September 2, 1997.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION

A BOUNTY OF SUMMER RAIN. While a great deal of the Southern Region HSAs reported at or below normal rainfall during August, above normal rains did occur. NWSO Tulsa service hydrologist Al Hong reports that within his HSA, Claremore received 10.41 inches of rain, Skiatook registered 9.26 inches, and Bixby checked in with 9.05 inches of rain. The Tulsa International Airport measured 7.86 inches placing this past August as the 5th wettest since records began. Further, Al says that the rainfall at Tulsa was running 5.25 inches below normal after May, but with a combined 19.49 inches of precipitation measured in June, July, and August, the station is now 3.36 inches above normal for the year to date.

FLASH FLOODING. Another area that received above normal August rainfall was the Angelina River Basin in the Shreveport HSA. Service hydrologist Craig Ross says that a stalled cold front helped focus showers and thunderstorms during the evening of August 8 and the morning of August 9. Center, Texas, received a 30 hour rain total of 12.75 inches for the event. Center finished the month with 15.10 inches of rain, their wettest August ever. The flash flooding resulting from the August 8-9 event was most extensive over Shelby, Panola, and Nacogdoches counties of east Texas. Several Farm to Market roads were washed out, with U.S. highways 87, 59, and 96 also closed due to high water.

AWIPS QPF MEETING. A meeting was held at the Salt Lake City RFC/WFO September 3-5 to define the requirements for the QPF preparation software in AWIPS. Attendees included representatives from all six regions, TDL, NCEP (HPC), FSL, OH, and OM. The capabilities of WinQPF and Mountain Mapper (which is used in Western Region) were demonstrated, and TDL demonstrated the ICWF QPF capabilities. FSL then demonstrated the capabilities currently being developed in IFPS (which is the joining of ICWF and the FSL AFPS) for AWIPS Build 5, which will be fielded in approximately one year. Some very nice tools are being developed to assist the WFO forecaster in preparing QPF forecasts.

NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS

Beta Test Scheduled for Norman. The Office of Hydrology recently requested that the NWSFO Norman be used as a beta test site for the WFO-Advanced Hydrologic Forecast System (WHFS) version 2.0. The plan is to install the WHFS on the GDP platforms in the Norman office so useful field feedback can be obtained.

Site Survey. NWSO Shreveport MIC Lee Harrison and service hydrologist Craig Ross visited Lake D'Arbonne in Farmerville, Louisiana, with USGS hydrologist Benton McGhee. They toured several areas flooded from spring rains and viewed the Lake D'Arbonne satellite data collection platform (DCP). Lake D'Arbonne has experienced increasing flood problems as development continues along its shore.

Drill Sergeant. Some hydrology training sessions were completed at the NWSFO Austin/San Antonio office in August. Nyzette Rydell and Larry Peabody were the latest victims of senior service hydrologist John Patton's tough on-station hydrology training course. The training includes work with automated gauges and ALERT systems, writing statements and warnings, procedure development (unit hydrographs and rainfall/runoff matrices), field trips to flood prone areas and a realistic drill. Word is both forecasters faired well.

Hazardous Duty. On August 20, while admiring the beautiful surroundings of his lakeside office, NWSO Nashville service hydrologist Mike Murphy stumbled over a rock and broke his leg. He will be in a cast for six to eight weeks. Hope you get to feeling better, Mike. We're sure your leg will heal faster than your ego!

NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS

X-NAV Update. ABRFC recently placed version 1.0 of the XNAV software on their server for all RFCs in the country to use. This version is the result of some extensive work and implementation of feedback from many sources. Among other features, it has the ability to use the new database format that OH initiated in their new release of Stage III precipitation processing. The ABRFC folks are not resting on their laurels, though. A questionnaire has already been distributed requesting more feedback from the RFCs. Among the new features for the next version are the ability to create GIF images and the ability to view QPF.

Interagency and Interoffice Coordination. A meeting between members of the Water Resources Division (WRD) of the USGS and the NWSFO New Orleans and LMRFC is being arranged for September as a precursor to a national meeting in Virginia this fall. Topics up for discussion include HYDROMET 4, InterNet use by educators, state and parish governments, AWIPS deployment and capability, NWS WSR-88D precipitation algorithms, USGS base station interrogation, and USGS gauging site installations (proposed and in progress). A member of the WRD stated that he felt their relationship with the LMRFC and NWSFO NEW is so good, it should be showcased at the national meeting!

Station Visit. On August 12 and 13, LMRFC staff members Ethan Jolly, Suzanne Nichols, Mike Shields, and Janet Spurgeon visited senior service hydrologist Tom Thompson and the NWSFO Jackson. Tom gave the group an office tour and showed them areas affected during the Easter flood of 1979.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

STORM PREDICTION CENTER GEARS UP FOR WINTER. The SPC Winter Mesoscale Discussion (MCD) program will start on November 10. To prepare for this they have set up a comprehensive training program for the Assistant Mesoscale Forecasters. Rusty Pfost (SOO, NWSFO Jackson) recently provided them with a hands-on workshop detailing freezing rain events in the South. Rusty also provided excellent advice concerning the type of information that should be included in SPC winter products. This kind of interaction among WFO and NCEP forecasters will help guarantee the public is well served by this phase of NWS modernization.

In addition, Dr. Paul Kocin (NCEP/Hydrometeorological Prediction Center) recently briefed SPC forecasters on snowstorms in the Northeast. In the past, he has focused on the big events, but he has plans to start looking more at smaller, mesoscale events that are much more frequent. Mike Branick (NWSFO Norman forecaster) has compiled an extensive 13-year climatology of such events (see Mike's paper in the June 1997 issue of Weather and Forecasting), and he provided that to Paul during his Norman visit. In response, Paul noted "It will probably make my life a lot easier as I get into questions of mesoscale phenomena. Keep up the good work!" We agree, Paul.

CITM SUPPORT FOR NCEP. As part of a project supported by the Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology (CITM) at Florida State University, graduate student Shaoqing Zhang, working with Dr. Jon Ahlquist, recently completed a major project for NCEP. Mr. Zhang started this project two years ago during a one-year residency at NCEP prior to enrolling at FSU. Under the direction of NCEP scientists Dr. Joseph Sela and Dr. Eugenia Kalnay, Mr. Zhang has written two large pieces of software--the Tangent Linear Model and the Adjoint Model--that will help NCEP meteorologists understand and improve their global spectral model forecasts. The processes involved are large-scale condensation, shallow convection, deep convection, vertical diffusion, gravity-wave drag, boundary layer processes, and surface processes.

The Tangent Linear Model and Adjoint Model are tools to improve the assimilation of observations to create better initial conditions for forecasting. They also provide a way to determine more accurate values of parameters within the model. In a congratulatory note to Mr. Zhang, Dr. Kalnay, who until recently headed NCEP's Environmental Modeling Center, described this as "a monumental piece of work which will have many applications."

DACFO. Nezette Rydell (NWSFO Austin/San Antonio), who ably represented the Southern Region for the past two years on the Director's Advisory Committee on Forecast Operations (DACFO), has moved up to become the National DACFO Chairperson. Greg Patrick (NWSO Tulsa) will succeed Nezette as the regional representative. It's time again for all NWSFOs/NWSOs, RFCs and the CWSUs to identify (or indicate changes in) local DACFO contacts with whom Greg can coordinate as he prepares input for the DACFO process. A list of current office focal points is attached to the June 1, 1997, issue of Southern Topics. The same tech attachment also describes the DACFO process and the annual reports prepared by the committee.

CLASSES AT COMET NEXT YEAR. Following is a list of courses and workshops that are tentatively planned for the COMET classroom facility in Boulder during FY 98. Note that OSF/Operations Training Branch workshops will be held in Boulder instead of in Norman, since the Norman classroom was closed following the last of the WSR-88D operations classes.

Course/Workshop Classes Duration

Winter Weather Workshop* 1 2 days

Satellite Mesoscale Meteorology 5 2 weeks

COMAP Symposium 4 1 week

OSF/OTB Workshop 4 1 week

Aviation Hazards Workshop** 1 1 week

Hydrometeorology 2 3 weeks

University Faculty Course 1 2 weeks

* Winter Weather Workshop run by NWSFO Cheyenne

** Aviation Hazards Workshop run by NWS Alaska Region


The first SatMet classes were held last fall. The intent is to provide that training for at least one individual (SOO or satellite focal point) from each office. Selections will be made for attendees in those and the other classes as soon as the schedule is finalized and the number of seats available to the region is known.

TECHNICAL ATTACHMENTS. Travel funds permitting, the Southern Region should be well represented at the National Weather Association's 22nd Annual Meeting next month in Reno, NV. A technical attachment this week lists the SR presentations which are on the agenda. Congratulations to all the participants for the work this represents.

Charles Paxton (NWSO Tampa Bay Area SOO) provided a summary of the recent NWSO coastal flood seminar which is included as a second technical attachment this week.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

PROGRESS OF THE ORPG PROJECT CONTINUES. Software development continues at NSSL, and the results have been very encouraging. NSSL and the OSF have brought in several field operators to test the software and make recommendations. Our next step is to bring field maintenance personnel into Norman to review the diagnostic capabilities of the new computer. One very promising sign is that with the bulk of the software running, CPU usage is still below 10%. This means that there will be plenty of capability for advanced algorithms in the future.

RADAR UPDATE. Steve Amburn, NWSO Tulsa, and Vince DiCarlo, SRH, met with OSF personnel to propose some changes to WSR-88D products. These are long term proposals. In a couple of cases we do not expect to see results until implementation of the Open Systems Architecture in three to four years. A short list of the recommendations includes displaying maximum wind values on base velocity products, cleaning up the scales and displayed data levels, and displaying the best resolution out to 124 miles. We may be able to work in some of these changes earlier, if there is justification for another software build on the Concurrent Computer. Right now there are no plans for an intermediate software load after 10.0. But with three years between Build 10 and ORPG implementation, we may be able to justify some small upgrades of the software.

DONATED RADAR EQUIPMENT. Several of our offices have been approached by Baron Services concerning evaluation of their equipment in our offices. Baron is marketing high resolution data to a variety of markets in the Southern Region. We are waiting on a ruling from the General Counsel on exactly how to handle these offers. Until then, if approached by Baron Services, MICs should refer to the WSOM Chapter A-33 and contact Mac McLaughlin at (817) 978-2367 x 104, or Vince DiCarlo at (817) 978-2367 x112 in Southern Region Headquarters.

BACKUP SOFTWARE. It's time for our routine reminder to check the last time your software was backed up on your computers. With more computers in the field and increased reliance on these systems, a good set of backups is critical. Every so often we find a case where a lot of data is lost because the backup tape/disk is over a year old. This happen on operational and administrative computers.

In that same light, don't forget to run a virus scan on your computers on a regular basis. Viruses are getting more sophisticated. Now that we are all connected to the network and with the infinite number of ways the Internet can complicate our security, it is imperative that we all take the initiative in policing our computers.

NEW BULLETIN BOARDS. Leon Minton has implemented five new bulletin boards in an effort to cut down on too much traffic of messages going into the in boxes of ESAs. Those messages of a general nature can now reside in the bulletin boards, and the electronics staff that need to have access to the information can now do so. The bulletin boards are titled:

SR_ASOS_XXX

SR_EMRS_XXX

SR_OSO_STAFF_NOTES_XXX

SR_AOMC_LOGS_XXX

SR_UPPER_AIR_XXX

where the XXX is the last three characters of the cc:Mail post office name. The use of these bulletin boards will begin on Monday, September 15, 1997. On the SRH LAN, all messages sent to these bulletin boards will be retained for 30 days and then deleted.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

NATIONAL UPPER AIR STATISTICS. The NCEP Quality Control graphs are attached to this issue. Southern Region upper air statistics for August 1997 will be in the next issue of Topics.

AUTOMATION OF THE B-29 AND B-85 FORMS. We have received the first draft of the Informs version of the B-29 form. This form will replace the current B-29 form for Southern Region as early as October 1, 1997. We are conducting an inspection of the form and making sure everything works as it is supposed to. Once this form is made available to the field, all calculations on the form will be automated, including the calculations for the monthly totals. Additionally, the form can be "mailed" electronically via cc:Mail.

Instructions for the installation of the form into Informs 4.2 will be forwarded as soon as we are confident that the form will function properly and the cc:Mail function has been tested. Stay tuned.

COMPARATIVE OBSERVATIONS/THEODOLITE GENERAL TEST. Comparative obs are required every quarter in SR (not to exceed 90 days). The theodolite general test should also be done each quarter, before the comparative observation. RMS values greater than .050 require maintenance actions. The tolerance for the elevation and azimuth comparisons is + or - .2 degrees. All upper air sites should ensure that the schedule for these tests is maintained.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT DIVISION

EMPLOYMENT AND SALARY VERIFICATION. MASC Human Resources Office no longer verifies salary or employment. Use the following procedures or refer to DOC memo to ALL COMMERCE EMPLOYEES dated August 20, 1997.

Call 1) 1-800-367-2884

2) 10342 - Commerce Code

3) Your Social Security #

4) TALX Pin - (4 Digit # = day/month of your birth)

The system will voice you an authorization code. Then give the following information to your creditor:

1) Number to call: 1-900-555-9675

2) Authorization Code received from TALX

3) Commerce Code of 10342

4) Your Social Security Number

THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN. Attached is a Thrift Savings Plan Fact Sheet Update. The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) open season begins 11/15/97 through 1/31/98.

HEALTH BENEFITS. Open season for health benefits is 11/10/97 through 12/08/97. As a reminder, health and TSP changes must be processed by using Employee Express which requires your having a Pin Number. If you do not have one, call the employee express help desk at 912-757-3030 to request your new number.

DIVERSITY/EEO and COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

NWSO SHREVEPORT, LA. Marion Kuykendall, DAPM, reports that Craig Ross (hydrologist) and Mark Murphy (meteorologist) gave a tour to summer school students from Minden, LA, and to a group of Rangers. Everyone wanted to know about the NWS Modernization and what it meant to them.

NWSO MELBOURNE, FL. Bart Hagemeyer, MIC, reports Julie Bishop, Administrative Assistant, set up an NWS booth at Brevard County "Back to School Expo." Also, Bart is in the process of setting up a Student Volunteer program with Cocoa High School. Usually, once one student leads the way and is successful, the program will remain viable for the future.

NWSO BROWNSVILLE, TX. Richard Hagen, MIC, and his office staff are participating in the "Adopt a School" program this year. They adopted El Jardin elementary school, which is conveniently located just across the street from their office! The staff has been doing most of the activities associated with adoption since moving to their new quarters in March 1995. This school year, it will be official.

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