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

September 1, 1996

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

OLYMPIC SUPPORT. The last week of August marked the end of the special support activity to Olympic events from our Peachtree City office. The Paralympic games came to a close, and the Olympic Weather Support Office began to be disassembled. I had the opportunity of recognizing the excellent effort of forecasters from around the NWS who comprised the paralympic forecast staff. Special thanks to Steven Cooper (SRH MSD) who served as Coordinator of the paralympic support effort.

From all accounts the NWS support to the Olympics and the Paralympics was a tremendous success. Letters from the Olympic Organizing Committee pointed to the importance of weather information to assist them in conducting safe and efficient games. The Southern Region set a high standard of support which will now shift to the Western Region and the 2002 Winter Olympic games. Good luck, Tom Potter.

MODERNIZATION AWARDS. A number of individuals and organizations from the Southern Region were selected to receive the NWS Modernization Award. To each we extend our congratulations. Award winners are identified in this weeks Topics.

HURRICANE THREATS CONTINUE. August and September have been weather-active months in the tropics. Fortunately, activity to date has missed most of the Southern Region, although as of this writing, Hurricane Fran is threatening Georgia. The most climatologically active time of the season still lies ahead, so we will keep our fingers crossed and our coastal facilities fully prepared.

AWIPS UPDATE

AWIPS UPDATE. The first field site, NWSO/RFC Kansas City, installed AWIPS the week of August 12. Reports from Kansas City mentioned the quickness of the installation and the professional and cooperative manner of the PRC representatives. Overall, the installation went well. The Kansas City office did experience some difficulties with the software, system stability, and in using the AWIPS to WSR-88D connection. These difficulties have been corrected in a later software version (Beta-2) that was loaded during the week of August 26. NWSFO/RFC Salt Lake City received AWIPS the week of August 19 and then loaded the latest version of software (Beta-2) onto their system. The Beta-2 version increases system stability, corrects some of the communication difficulties, i.e., AWIPS to WSR-88D connection, and includes the NWS River Forecast System (NWSRFS) and the WFO Hydrologic Forecast System (WHFS). PRC is already testing software version Beta-3 and moving very close to the final Build 1 software.

NWSFOs Tulsa and Topeka are next on the list to receive AWIPS. The installation at Tulsa will probably be set up in one day, since only the NWSFO side will be receiving the equipment. The remainder of the time the installation crew was on-site was spent with system check-out to ensure the software and hardware are still performing satisfactorily.

AWIPS CENTRALIZED USER TRAINING. Steve Amburn (SOO, NWSFO Tulsa), Isaiah Daniels (ESA, NWSFO Tulsa), and Gordon Hammons (SRH SSD) attended the AWIPS Centralized User Training (CUT) course at the NWS Training Center in Kansas City August 19- 23. Jamie Frederick, Tulsa AWIPS focal point (AFP), attended the course the week of August 25. This was the first formal AWIPS training offered to Southern Region staff.

The training consists of 18 modules divided into two parts. The first part (eight modules) is a duplication of the on-station training that all forecasters/HMTs will receive after site installation of the AWIPS system. The remainder of the course deals with system management issues aimed at the ESA, SOO, AFP and their system administrative duties.

Part one of the course included log in and log off procedures, the Workbench, selection and display of satellite, radar, model products (including animation, zoom, and roam), editing, saving, previewing and assigning color curves, contour manipulation, and the display and editing of the RPS list. The information gained in this part of the course will allow the attendees to assist in the on-station training after system installation.

Part two of the course included an overview of the AWIPS architecture management functions such as setup of user accounts, setup of notification messages, system editors (VUEPAD), and backup and recovery. Also covered were display, interpretation of various log and error files, and working with the Network Control Facility (NCF).

.The class sensed that the on-site training will not be an undue burden. The routine features should be easily learned during the on-site training; and the SOOs/DOHs, ESAs, and AFPs should be able to fill in any gaps in the training (such as staff members on leave, etc). A strong sense of how much work system management will require is more difficult to assess, since many of the features are still under development. However, it is envisioned that the NCF will have a very active role in system monitoring, recovery procedures, software updates, and the coordination of contract support technicians.

TRANSITION MANAGEMENT UNIT

SOUTHERN REGION MAR EVENTS

September 3                       Corpus Christi WSR-88D
commissioning

September 6                       Facility dedication at NWSO San
Angelo

September 27                      Facility dedication at NWSO
Corpus Christi

SITE SELECTED FOR NEW WESTERN ARKANSAS/EASTERN OKLAHOMA WSR- 88D. Slatington Mountain has been selected as the site of the new western Arkansas/eastern Oklahoma WSR-88D. The radar was recommended in the October 1995 Secretary's Report to Congress on Adequacy of NEXRAD Coverage and Degradation of Weather Services under National Weather Service Modernization for 32 Areas of Concern. Slatington Mountain is 18 miles southwest of Mt. Ida, Arkansas, and 72 miles south-southeast of Fort Smith.

The Secretary's Report determined that decommissioning of the Fort Smith WSR-74C would result in a degradation of radar coverage in Scott and Polk counties of Arkansas and Le Flore County in Oklahoma. Coverage of these counties was the primary objective in selecting the site. A secondary objective was to balance the coverage by the new radar with the coverage by the existing WSR-88Ds in Tulsa, Little Rock, Shreveport, and Fort Worth. The new WSR-88D will provide redundant coverage of the Fort Smith and Little Rock metropolitan areas and will also enhance WSR-88D coverage in southeastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas.

If the remainder of the siting process goes smoothly, the equipment delivery date for the radar is expected in February 1997, with the radar becoming operational in late April 1997.

NWS MODERNIZATION AWARDS. The following are the Southern Region recipients of 1996 NWS Modernization Awards. These awards recognize individuals and groups for their exceptionally skilled and dedicated efforts in the NWS modernization and associated restructuring.

NWSFO San Juan for exceptional and unique transition efforts to implement modernized operational technologies and hydrometeorological forecasting services.

Southeast River Forecast Center for exceptional efforts to implement modernized operational technologies and river forecasting services.

Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center for exceptional efforts to implement modernized operational technologies and river forecasting services.

West Gulf River Forecast Center for exceptional efforts to implement modernized operational technologies and river forecasting services.

NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge in recognition of giving a little extra■the Louisiana Lagniappe■to their customers.

Gene Witsman, Southern Region Headquarters Systems Integration Branch, in recognition of effectively carrying out the crucial responsibilities and the personal effort displayed in the management of the Southern Region Communications Program.

Southern Region Technology Transition Committee (Gordon Hammons, Mario Valverde, Bruce Marshak, Gene Witsman, Leon Minton, Bill Reed, Bernard Meisner, Steven Cooper, and Glenn Austin) for effectively assisting in the planning, and implementation of new, high-speed computing and communications technologies in the NWS Southern Region.

Southern Region Headquarters Hydrologic Services Division in recognition for their leadership and proficient management of the transition to modernized hydrologic field operations.

Karen S. Fago, Administrative Assistant NWSO Midland/Odessa, for extraordinary work toward the enhancement of severe weather safety precautions and procedures by directly contributing to modernization efforts through a unique public awareness program.

Scott Plischke, Lead Forecaster NWSO Amarillo, for development of the PC-NOW software program which has allowed operational forecasters to prepare modernized weather products as efficiently as possible.

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION

NWR RECEIVER MANUFACTURERS' LIST. The latest list of known NWR radio receiver manufacturers from NWSH has been distributed to all Southern Region NWS offices. This information will be useful in answering inquiries. As always, the NWS cannot endorse any one brand over another, but it is permissible to pass on known NWR receiver sources. There has not been any announcement that anyone has a Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) receiver available for the general public.

NWR UPDATE. As of September 1, 85 Digital consoles have been installed. Ten Digitals remain to be installed in six offices. Forty-seven SAMEs have been installed. There are 126 NWRs in the Southern Region (about 30 percent of the nationwide total). Seven more expansion sites may be operational by the end of the year.

AVIATION SPIN-UP. Effective at 1200 UTC on Thursday, September 5, NWSOs Corpus Christi and San Angelo assumed TAF responsibility for their County Warning Areas. These two offices are the last regional sites to assume this responsibility.

With the TAF transfer completed, efforts will soon shift toward spin-up of TWEB services at appropriate NWSOs. However, we have yet to receive final approval from the FAA regarding the new route structure that effectively eliminates over 100 route forecasts nationwide.

OPERATION RAINCHECK. Dave Davenport (DAPM) and John Cole (WCM) at NWSO Corpus Christi were guest speakers at the semi-annual meeting of the FAA's Operation Raincheck at Corpus Christi International Airport August 5-6. Dave's presentations focused on ASOS and METAR, whereas John emphasized the NWS modernization and provided instruction on the TAF code. The meeting presented an excellent opportunity for the NWSO to get the word out regarding their upcoming assumption of TAF responsibility.

On August 8, other NWSO personnel, Steve Pfaff (forecaster) and Steve Smart (HMT), delivered a 45-minute METAR/TAF slide presentation to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Coastal Bend Chapter 191, meeting located at the Corpus Christi School of Aviation. The presentation was attended by 20 pilots and reportedly was well received.

GOES WOES. Both the GOES-8 and GOES-9 spacecraft suffer from motor winding problems. The problem is in the sounder of GOES-8 and the imager of GOES-9. A two-week motor winding protection operation for GOES-9 aimed at reducing the temperature of the instrument■s scan mirrors, will end on September 2, with a short period of abbreviated full disk imagery being run during the maneuver recovery phase on September 3. The post-test maneuver is necessary to recover navigational accuracy. Normal operations should resume on the GOES-9 on September 4.

Preliminary results indicate that the test is successfully reducing the mirror temperature (about 6 deg C since the start of the test). No special operations have been, or are expected to be, conducted on GOES-8, other than having placed the imagery schedule on full-disk scanning during the GOES-9 test.

ACCIDENT NOTIFICATION. A recent e-Mail was sent to the field offices asking for comments regarding a change in procedures for reporting aircraft accidents to the SRH staff. The most significant change involves the number of fatalities. Offices will no longer be required to alert SRH personnel unless a general aviation accident, not involving important persons or shrouded by unusual public interest, results in five or more deaths. We are asking for those comments to be returned by September 4. Another update to ROML S-5-92 (now renumbered as S- 24-96) will follow soon after the comment period ends.

SMG SUPPORTS JOHNSON SPACE CENTER OPEN HOUSE. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group helped support a Johnson Space Center "Open House" on August 24. An estimated 55,000 people visited JSC to tour the Mission Control Center, astronaut training facilities, view the Mars and moon rocks, and see other behind-the-scenes activities. Approximately 10,000 people visited the SMG weather display booth in the Mission Control Center lobby. SMG staffers (and in some cases, their spouses, too) handed out hurricane, flood, and thunderstorm brochures, displayed Space Shuttle mission photographs of hurricanes and thunderstorms, ran a live TV display from MIDDS workstations showing Shuttle landing site weather and Hurricane Eduoard, displayed WSR-88D images of a tornado in Houston, and distributed promotional information on SMG. Open house participants included Frank Brody, Karl Silverman, Steve Sokol, Mark Keehn, Doris Rotzoll, and Monica Sowell.

WCM JOB AID REVISION. During late June and early July, Jim Purpura (NWSFO Norman) and Gary Woodall (SRH) traveled to WSH to revise the WCM Job Aid. The original version of the Job Aid had been out for over a year, and several of the contacts had become outdated. Many agencies now have Internet and/or e-Mail addresses, replacing the electronic bulletin boards in some cases. New dissemination systems (SAME, EMWIN, etc.) have come into being; these systems needed to be described in the Job Aid. Production of the revised Job Aid is nearly complete. When finished, copies of the Job Aid will be sent to all WCMs and their MICs.

NEW ORLEANS MEDIA WORKSHOP. The staff of NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge and the Lower Mississippi RFC hosted a half- day workshop for the broadcast meteorologists within the NWSFO■s CWA. All four of the major network stations were in attendance, with a total of six chief meteorologists, one intern, and several summer aides at the workshop. The workshop concentrated on NWS operations and included sessions on TPC and local products, tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones, data acquisition (WSR-88D and ASOS), and forecast discussion terminology.

EMWIN NEWS. Jim Stefkovich (NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas WCM) reported that EMWIN is making inroads in Central Texas. Jim and MIC Skip Ely have given briefings to Emergency Management officials in McLennan, Falls, Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Mills, and Lampasas Counties. All of the officials have been impressed with EMWIN■s combination of capabilities and low cost. In fact, the Bell County EMC and the Army unit at Fort Hood (near Killeen) have already purchased EMWIN systems.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS. Some highlights from across the region:

John Cole (NWSO Corpus Christi WCM) gave a preparedness talk to staff members from the area State Park and Wildlife Managers. John■s program covered all major aspects of hurricane preparedness, including forecasting, the impacts of hurricanes, and evacuation. The staff members were appreciative of the information and indicated an awareness of the potential problems caused by high-profile recreational vehicles.

Al Dreumont (NWSFO Austin/San Antonio MIC) gave an in-depth interview to Ms. Carolina Teran, a Hispanic TV Weathercaster in Houston. Approximately 20 minutes of the interview were devoted to hurricane preparedness, including a review of the station■s hurricane tracking chart and safety rules. The entire interview was conducted in Spanish since Ms. Teran■s station has a largely Hispanic viewing audience.

MIC Paul Trotter and WCM Frank Revitte (NWSFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge) attended the Stennis Space Center's first annual Hurricane Preparedness Seminar. Approximately 40 people representing federal agencies and contractors attended the seminar. The seminar included a detailed review of Stennis' hurricane action plans and sheltering capacity. Frank gave an overview of hurricane hazards and the analysis/forecasting tools available to meteorologists and Emergency Managers.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION

SECOND HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL WORKSHOP A SUCCESS. The second of four Advanced Techniques in Heavy Precipitation Forecasting and QPF Workshops was held August 26-28 in Fort Worth. Lecture sessions were held mostly in the large conference room at Southern Region Headquarters, while a half-day session was held at the collocated WGRFC/NWSFO Fort Worth. Guest speakers featured Drs. James Moore of St. Louis University, Mike Biggerstaff of Texas A&M University and Ken Crawford of the University of Oklahoma. Members of the participating field offices and our host NWSFO and RFC also gave informative talks. High marks were given to the interactive half-day at the NWSFO and WGRFC where demonstrations of stage III precipitation processing, hydrologic modeling and HASQPF mosaicking were shown.

The final two of our workshop series are scheduled for September. The collocated NWSFO/SERFC Peachtree City will host the "Hydro Olympics" September 16-18, and the NWSFO/ABRFC Tulsa will host the final workshop September 24-26.

HEAVY PRECIP WORKSHOP. The Fifth National Heavy Precipitation Workshop will be held at State College, Pennsylvania, September 9-13. Fifteen Southern Region employees, representing ten field offices as well as SSD and HSD, will be participating. Special emphasis will be placed on addressing issues and concerns regarding the current and future use of Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF) and Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE).

DROUGHT UPDATE. The end of August was marked by moist weather over almost all of Texas. Most significantly, widespread heavy rains fell over extreme South Texas for the first time this year. The rains were due in part to the landfall of Hurricane Dolly whose moisture remains streamed westward across West Texas and even into New Mexico. Rain also fell over northern Texas for several days at month■s. Latest Palmer Drought Index information suggested moderate to severe drought exists over much of Georgia and Texas and parts of northern Arkansas. Extreme drought was limited to northwestern New Mexico and North Central Texas. There are abnormally moist conditions existing in west central New Mexico and the Panhandle of Oklahoma. Near normal soil moisture conditions existed elsewhere across the Southern Region as of August.

Bob Corby (DOH, WGRFC Fort Worth) forwarded the following drought details from across Texas. Lake Sam Rayburn dropped to an elevation of 150.88 ft on August 19. The bottom of the conservation pool is 149.0 ft. The Lower Neches Valley Authority has been encouraging users to reduce water consumption. Record low levels of 769.85 and 533.97 ft have been established on Lakes Georgetown and Aquilla in the Brazos River Basin. The Brazos River Authority (BRA) has only about 20 percent storage left in Lake Whitney. This has led to coordination between the Reservoir Control Section, the Southwestern Division of the Corps of Engineers, the BRA, and the Southwestern Power Administration to determine the best course of action in limiting daily releases from the lake while still providing for adequate hydro power. In the Trinity River Basin, Lake Lewisville set a record low of 511.46 ft. Lake Lavon dropped to a record 481.04 ft on August 19. Lastly, the City of San Angelo, through coordination with the Upper Colorado River Authority and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, is being allowed to use water from O.C. Fisher Lake■s sediment pool for water supply.

NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS

ALERT Update in Albuquerque. Ed Polasko (Service Hydrologist, NWSFO Albuquerque) reports that a contract has been awarded by the Zuni tribe west of Albuquerque to install an ALERT system. The details of the contract include the NWSFO Albuquerque's receiving a computer loaded with the proper software to monitor the gages. A Memorandum of Understanding was already created and signed, but the new contract provides for some small changes that will be amended. Kirk Bemis, an official for the Zuni tribe, says the goal is to have the system up and running by the end of this calendar year for use during the upcoming spring runoff season.

Ed also attended a Western Region Service Hydrologist and Hydrologic Focal Point Workshop held in Salt Lake City. He presented an outline he used for training the El Paso staff as they prepared to accept their HSA responsibility.

More QPF Talk in South Florida. Jere Gallup (hydrologic focal point, NWSFO Miami) forwarded information regarding the latest in a series of coordination efforts between the South Florida Water Management District (SFMWD) and NWS offices in Tampa Bay, Miami, and Melbourne. On July 30, members of the above mentioned NWS offices visited the SFMWD. A free exchange of information was shared by the groups. Among the more significant topics discussed were NWS MAR activities and impacts, the QPF program, NWS areas of responsibility, the NWS storm spotter program, and SFWMD data availability. Specifically, the hydrologic challenge of forecasting typical South Florida streams was discussed in detail. Stream morphology in this part of the world is flat and broad, often with braided channel flood plains or artificial drainages. Long term hydrographs are usually not very representative or useful in a serious flood situation. As such, the water management systems operate with effectiveness only within narrow, controlled limits. The SFWMD has been extremely interested in receiving QPF products from the Florida NWS offices.

Caught Up In the Web. Lance Goehring (hydrologic focal point, NWSO Amarillo) discovered some useful information on the USGS homepage. He found very detailed gage and discharge data (sometimes as often as every 30 minutes) for the NSWO Amarillo HSA in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. While the data is not yet available quickly enough to help in flash flood situations, Lance is finding use for the data in his write-ups of hydrologic reports.

NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS

New Products on The ABRFC Web Page. ABRFC Tulsa has recently added some new precipitation graphic images to their World Wide Web home page. One set of products are WSR-88D hourly precipitation estimates for monthly, yearly, and year-to-date accumulations. So far, the displayed data verify well with raingage data collected at NWS field office locations. These new products have already become very popular. The graphics were displayed during a Tulsa TV weathercast and helped explain why certain Oklahoma towns were having water supply problems while adjacent towns had abundant water for public use. Thanks to Bill Lawrence, new DOH at ABRFC, for this development effort.

Now that QPF is being routinely issued twice per day, Suzanne Fortin (senior HAS hydrometeorologist) has also developed a routine that adds the mosaiked, 6-hour and 24-hour QPF images for both issuances to the ABRFC home page. This will be very popular with the field offices who created the QPF. Great idea Susan!

Modernization Continues at LMRFC Slidell. As part of the modernization of operations at LMRFC, on September 4, LMRFC will begin routine Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support (HAS) operations. The HAS shift will be from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. seven days per week. Among other things, the HAS shift forecaster will be responsible for: (1) processing precipitation estimates from all of the WSR-88Ds in the LMRFC area; (2) mosaicking QPF from the WFOs; and (3) preparing Hydrometeorological Discussions (HMDs) and Hydrometeorological Coordination Messages (HCMs). The changes on September 4 are only the first of many changes and enhancements at LMRFC. Beginning in January 1997, LMRFC will begin a second daily HAS shift.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

SOO NEWS. NWSFO New Orleans Area WCM Frank Revitte and Mike Koziara (SOO) gave a seminar on tropical cyclone hazards and procedures to the NWSO Lake Charles staff in mid-August. Nearly all of the NWSO staff were able to participate. Storm surge is responsible for eight out of ten deaths with landfalling tropical cyclones, so Mike focussed on local SLOSH model basins in the NWSO parish/county warning area. An overview of basin topography, bathymetry, model capability and accuracy was presented, along with the local hurricane climatology. The concept of Maximum Envelope of Water (MEOW) was defined, and MEOWS were compared for various actual hurricanes, as well as hypothetical storms striking from different directions and speeds.

Mike also discussed tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones, giving an overview of climatology in relation to timing, intensity, location and tropical storm strength. He also emphasized preferred quadrants of tropical storms where tornadoes tend to occur. Mean tropical cyclone soundings were examined for core and outer-rain band tornado cases. Local data from hurricanes Andrew and Opal were discussed in detail.

Frank Revitte demonstrated the Hurricane Inland Winds Program using a hypothetical hurricane striking the southwest Louisiana area. Generally, areas north of I-10 and I-12 are considered to be inland in Louisiana. The inland watch/warning criteria and procedures for hurricane force and high winds were examined. A brief demonstration linking capabilities of the Inland Winds and HURREVAC programs was given. Next, Frank discussed procedures used to prepare hurricane local action statements, incorporating tornado and flash flood watch information into the HLS. The short-term forecast can be used to provide an hourly update of some of the information in the HLS. Frank reviewed other local products which could be issued in a tropical cyclone situation, and he stressed the importance of coordination among NWSOs, NWSFOs and the TPC/NHC.

Overall, an excellent inter-office preparation for the hurricane season. Congratulations to all involved.

WSR-88D ARCHIVE LEVEL IV CASE STUDIES AVAILABLE. Ken Falk (SOO, NWSO Shreveport) has a weather event on a WSR-88D Archive IV disk that he has offered to other offices as a case study. (These data may only be displayed on a PUP.) The case study is rather unique and concerns an F2 tornado that occurred very close to the RDA. Forecasters can benefit from studying these Archive IV data to see what kind of products and/or elevation angles may be used to detect a tornado very close to the RDA. The tornado struck the south side of Shreveport and was on the ground for about 7 miles. It damaged three nursing homes, over 250 houses, several vehicles, and totally destroyed a small airport including all of the airplanes. It caused 30 injuries but no fatalities.

Interested offices should send a blank, initialized Archive IV disk to Ken. In return, they will receive ARCHIVE IV data on optical disk, the KSHV background maps, and a one page summary of the tornado event which lists what actions were taken by NWSO Shreveport, when the tornado was on the ground, and reports received at the NWS office.

Following Ken Falk's lead, Kevin Pence (SOO, NWSFO Birmingham) is also offering an event on an Archive IV disk. The event is a supercell outbreak across south Alabama. Aerial and ground surveys were performed on one F3, one F2, and four F1 tornados. The Archive IV includes data from both KBMX and KMXX. Kevin is currently testing whether the PUP, in training mode, will handle data from two sites at once. If that doesn't work, he'll just provide the best data■which in this case were from KMXX (Maxwell AFB in Montgomery).

As with Ken's offer, included in the package will be 88D background maps, log sheets, and storm data. Interested offices should send Kevin a blank, initialized Archive IV disk with a note asking for Alabama 88D Archive Level IV data■18 March 1996.

NEW TECH MEMO. Barbara Shea (NWSFO Little Rock) is the author of NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-180, Study of Low Cloud Formation and Duration at Little Rock, Arkansas. The study examines the climatology of low ceilings and provides useful information for forecasters in interpreting and applying MOS guidance. Copies have been distributed to all offices.

FORECAST CONFERENCE. The AMS 15th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting was held last week in Norfolk, Virginia. Joint sessions in conjunction with the 11th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction included many presentations on mesoscale modeling, and especially short-range NWP ensemble forecasting. This is an exciting new area of emphasis for modelers. Frank Brody (Spaceflight Meteorology Group, Houston) attended the conference and provided a brief summary which we have included as a technical attachment this week. Copies of the forecast conference preprint volume will be sent to all offices within the next few weeks.

LIGHTNING WORKSHOP. SSD is organizing an "Operational Applications of Lightning Data" workshop to be held at SRH October 15-17. Each Southern Region office has been invited to send one forecaster to the workshop. Topics to be covered will include: how lightning is detected, the accuracy of lightning detection systems, lightning climatology of the Southern Region, lightning ignition of wildfires, lightning and synoptic map types, and AFOS lightning products and their application. Invited speakers include Ron Holle (NSSL), Richard Orville (CIAMS), Irv Watson (SOO, NWSO Tallahassee) and Steve Hunter (SOO, NWSO Morristown). Some field office representatives will also make presentations.

UNIX TRAINING. SSD has begun selection of SOOs and AWIPS Focal Points for the NWS Training Center courses "Introduction to UNIX" and "UNIX Systems Administration." We have sorted out the names submitted to us from field offices according to the dates and courses requested by the individuals. We have about twice as many names listed as we have slots for the FY 1997 courses; therefore, we will also consider when your office is scheduled to receive AWIPS as a selection factor. Applicants from offices in the later AWIPS installation "clusters" may not receive training until the next fiscal year.

WEATHER AND FORECASTING SPECIAL ISSUES. Two special issues of the AMS journal Weather and Forecasting are in the works. Both should be of particular concern to Southern Region forecasters:

SUN VERSION OF WATADS. The OSF has announced that the WSR-88D Algorithm Testing and Display System (WATADS) has been ported to run on the Sun operating system to satisfy the needs of the large meteorological community of Sun workstation users. For those not familiar with WATADS, this software system displays WSR-88D base data and executes and displays Doppler radar-based algorithm output on Unix workstations. WATADS was originally developed for HP workstations such as the SAC. WATADS allows users to easily change WSR-88D algorithm adaptable parameters to test the effects of such changes on output products, thus making it a potentially powerful tool for optimizing WSR-88D algorithm adaptable parameters. WATADS uses only recorded Level II data on 8 mm tape. The software is available via ftp or on tape. For more information, contact the WATADS Support Office at the National Severe Storms Lab (405-366-0533).

WSR-88D INSECT STUDY. Jim Ward (SOO, NWSFO Austin-San Antonio) reports that John Westbrook, a meteorologist with the U. S. Department of Agriculture in College Station, has been leading a field experiment with several Texas NWS offices using the WSR- 88D to track insects. The USDA research team recently fielded insect radars (that's insect-detecting radars, not AWACS bees!) about 10 miles east of the Austin-San Antonio radar to compare their insect radar data the WSR-88D data. This will allow them to calibrate the WSR-88D data to insect populations and movements.

Both the USDA and the NWS will benefit from this research. While the USDA gets access to the WSR-88D national resource, the NWS will learn more about insect radar signals. John Westbrook will present a seminar on annual insect migrations, diurnal habits, and flight characteristics at NWSFO Austin-San Antonio in mid September. For example, his research has revealed that insects do not necessarily "go with the flow" but can swarm at up to 10 mph across the wind. Such flight habits could produce significant errors in VAD wind profiles.

LIBRARY INFORMATION. SSD frequently receives requests for specific journal articles. Please be advised that such requests can be sent directly to Betty Petersen, reference librarian of the NOAA Central Library, via e-Mail (epetersen@nodc.noaa.gov) She may also be reached at 301-713- 2607, Ext. 114. If Betty is not available, you may contact Dottie Anderson (danderson@nodc.noaa.gov) at the same number, Ext 140. The telephone hours of the library's reference desk are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Eastern Time. Both the NOAA Central Library and the MASC Library have home pages on the Internet's World Wide Web. The URLs are:

NOAA Central Library: http://www.lib.noaa.gov
MASC Library: http://www.bldrdoc.gov/library/library.htm

WINDOWS-95 VERSION OF SHARP. Thanks to Greg Jackson (SOO, NWSO Midland) the mouse driver conflict of the SHARP Workstation software under Windows 95 has been solved. SSD has electronically sent a "ZIPPED" set of seven files to patch the SHARP software to all SOOs. The patches are also available on the SRH server.

After unzipping, the seven files should be copied to the SHARP directory. First, remove the SOUNDING.DAT file, then run the INSTALL.EXE program to configure the software. You may find it necessary to copy the SHARP20.EXE program to SHARP10.EXE before starting the program in the normal manner (run SOUNDING.EXE). The patched program works under DOS, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95.

NEW PDW SUPPORT MAILING LIST. COMET has created the pdwinfo@comet.ucar.edu electronic mailing list to distribute information about the COMET modules. Generally this information will include solutions to problems which several offices have experienced.

This mailing list is intended to be interactive. If you are having a problem which other offices may also be experiencing, feel free to send your question to pdwinfo@comet.ucar.edu. You may continue to send problems to support@comet.ucar.edu. Also, if you have a solution to a problem, feel free to send your solution in to the pdwinfo@comet.ucar.edu list.

.If you know someone who would like to be added to the list, have them send an e-Mail message to majordomo@comet.ucar.edu with an empty subject line and the following message in the text:

subscribe pdwinfo

You may also visit COMET's PDW Web page for further support information. The URL is: http://www.comet.ucar.edu/dl/dl.html

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

cc:MAIL AND THE INTERNET. The cc:Mail messages between Southern Region and the rest of NWS and NOAA now travel much faster, thanks to a new system set up by Leon Minton. The new system utilizes a 486 computer running Windows 95 which has special third party software from FTP Software Inc. This software is called OnNet 2.1. It loads a different TCP/IP stack which is compatible with the cc:Mail Router software from Lotus.

The new system replaces the slow phone dial system that often took over an hour to exchange messages between Southern Region and the National Weather Service Headquarters routers. We now have a connection every ten minutes. This greatly enhances the flow of messages for Southern Region and relieves the bottlenecks that had developed.

THE AFOS PROTOCOL TRANSLATOR (APT). The modem eliminators are on order with delivery expected in three weeks. Southern Region Headquarters will distribute hardware installation instructions shortly. If any office does not have a binary ID for their APT, a copy of the APT documentation, or software, contact Bruce Marshak in SIB at (817) 978-2644 or Gordon Hammons in SSD at (817) 978-2671. The documentation for the latest version of LDM (Version 5) is being printed for your information. Sources for additional information or troubleshooting tips on LDM software are available on the UNIDATA homepage at www.unidata.ucar.edu.

FRAME-RELAY NETWORK. The Southern Region Frame-Relay Network is in the final process of reaching its intended goal of having 26 offices on-line. We are in the process of bringing the Southeast River Forecast Center/NWSFO Peachtree City, NWSO Houston/Galveston, West Gulf River Forecast Center/NWSFO Fort Worth, and NWSO Tallahassee on-line.

CISCO ROUTER TRAINING. The final session of the Southern Region Cisco Router Training will be held at the Protocol Interface training facility in Addison, Texas, during the week of September 23. Additional information about lodging and transportation will be sent to the attendees.

NWSO HAWK INSTALLATION. NWSO Hawk implementation has begun. The Western Region offices received their systems the week of August 12. Eastern Region will be the next to receive their upgrades, with Southern Region following. We do not have exact dates at this time, but we can expect to see the system in late September or early October.

The implementation strategy is to ship the Hawks to all sites at once with a window of time for the installation. The system will be installed by the local Electronics Technicians with the assistance of the AFOS System Manager. Bill Horde (RMS, NWSFO Memphis) will be the electronics focal point for the installation. Cyndie Abelman will be the software focal point. In addition, programmers at SMCC will be available to assist with any difficulties.

NWSO Nashville was the first Southern Region site to install the system. The hardware installation went smoothly. They did encounter some difficulty in recovering the software.

HAWK UPGRADE. The latest information for the NWSO Eclipse replacement indicates that the Southern Region can expect to receive their hardware sometime in October.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

NEW CSSA IMPLEMENTATION. The new CSSA method of transferring B-44 updates electronically seems to be moving smoothly. Several floppy disks with B-44 updates have arrived and are being processed. This new method is understandably slow for now. We are confident that eventually it will be faster and easier for everyone involved. If you would like assistance with this new method, please give the RCPS a call at (817) 978- 2658.

PC-ROSA. The PC-ROSA computers have been ordered and should be delivered by early September. Leon Minton and Mike Asmus traveled to Central Region Headquarters for a one-day training course on the new system. We still hope to have the system available to receive reports from the cooperative observers shortly after the start of FY97.

SNOW MEASUREMENT WORKSHOP. The National Weather Service and Colorado State University are cosponsoring a Snowfall Measurement Workshop on September 12. The purpose of the workshop is to review the current cooperative program snowfall measurement techniques and to develop improved guidelines and training techniques for the cooperative observers. As the NWS moves toward integrating the snowfall observation from cooperative observers, and the economic importance of these observations becomes more obvious, these improved training standards and observation techniques will become essential.

"PASSING OF THE TORCH" AT NCDC. Bill Harless has transferred from the cooperative program to the ASOS program. Billie Fay Maybin has assumed the cooperative program duties and is the DAPM/HMT contact for questions concerning missing or late cooperative reports. The telephone number for Billie Fay is (704) 271-4280, and the fax number is (704) 271-4022.

THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JOHN CAMPANIUS HOLM AWARDS. These awards have been sent to the appropriate DAPM/HMT teams. The teams should be making plans for presentation of these prestigious awards. If any assistance is needed by the DAPM/HMT teams in arranging these presentations, please contact either the RCPS at (817) 978-2658 or the Public Affairs Specialist, Chris Smith, at (817) 978-2654.

VISIT TO EL PASO. Jerry Wolfe (CPQAS) visited the El Paso office the week of August 26 to provide technical assistance and training with the cooperative program. As part of the trip, Jerry also made brief visits to the weather offices in Midland and Lubbock.

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