UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas
September 1, 1998
REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORM CHARLEY BRING FLOODING. NWSFO Austin/San Antonio performed admirably during the severe flooding in their area that was associated with tropical storm Charley on August 22-24. They provided a flash flood watch with a lead time of two days; a lead time of 14 « hours for the flash flood warning, and they gave nearly 12 hours advance notice on their evacuation recommendation. Such lead times for an event as serious as this are outstanding!
After racing inland near Corpus Christi at near 35 mph on Saturday the 22nd, Charley slowed dramatically as it weakened. On Sunday, remnants of the storm lingered near the Rio Grande in Val Verde County, and torrential rains that night - in excess of 17 inches in places - triggered flooding along San Felipe Creek in Del Rio. There were nine fatalities and six more remain unaccounted for. All during the event NWSFO Austin/San Antonio managed to stay ahead of the unfolding situation.
On Friday, the day before Charley made landfall, a flash flood watch was posted for most of South Texas, including the Del Rio area. On Saturday, the forecast staff quickly focused on the areas most likely to receive heavy rainfall that night. Warnings were issued and officials in Uvalde and Zavalla counties were notified. On Sunday the focus shifted to Val Verde County and Del Rio. A flash flood warning was issued for that area on Sunday morning. As the situation worsened, the NWSFO provided follow-up statements urging evacuation of residents along San Felipe Creek. The Del Rio Police Department was called around noon Sunday and advised of the recommendation. The flood waters on San Felipe Creek reached their peak shortly before midnight, and remained near that level for about four hours.
Congratulations to the Austin/San Antonio staff for this exceptional effort.
KELLY ANNOUNCES MAJOR NWS SENIOR STAFF SELECTIONS. It's official! John E. Jones, Jr., is now the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Weather Services or simply, the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service. John comes to this position from a good background in field experience including several years as the Deputy Director of the Eastern Region. John had been "Acting" in this NWSH role for many months handling many critical operational and budget management challenges and we are gratified to have his recent field insight on the NWSH senior team. I'm sure the Southern Region joins the many well wishers on the Jones appointment.
Another important recent NWSH senior staff selection joining the Kelly team, David W. Yeager, NOAA Corps Captain, is now the Associate Assistant Administrator for Weather Services. Dave will be handling many organizational issues facing the National Weather Service including executive actions, plans and projects. Dave's broad organizational experience in NOAA and exceptional diplomacy will make him a valuable asset to the strengthening of the "oneness" approach to the NWS. It was a pleasure to meet Dave during the recent NWS Director's conference and we hope to have him visit us in the near future.
Irwin Ted David, is officially on board as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the National Weather Service. Another of Jack Kelly's senior staff selections, Ted's position was one of the recommendations identified by last year's "Kelly Report". Ted is a CPA and co-author of two books and several articles related to government fiscal management. He was formally the Deputy CFO for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he helped manage the resources of over 100,000 employees and a budget of over $80 billion. Ted plans to take us up on our invitation to visit Southern Region.
NEW PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER. I need to take a moment to introduce a very timely and vital resource to the Southern Region, Curt Carey, our new Public Affairs Officer. Curt replaces Chris Smith who transferred to NOAA fisheries in Florida last fall. Curt comes to us from Denver where he was a public affairs officer for the Defense Department and just finished his Master's at the University of Denver. Curt grew up in Oklahoma and worked as an assignment editor for KTUL TV in Tulsa and as an announcer for a couple of radio stations before joining the Navy in 1986. He spent five years in the Navy as a broadcast journalist including three years as a television anchor and assistant public affairs officer on the aircraft carrier USS Independence. As a civilian, Curt worked his way up from base newspaper reporter to the public affairs officer for the Fleet Activities Yokosuka Naval complex in Japan (the largest overseas U.S. Naval base). He also did some freelance work for CNN Tokyo.
Curt and I agree that his role here is to be a consultant to the NWS Southern Region. Our goal is for Curt to make our mission delivery an even more successful one for every office in the Southern Region. In the short time I've known Curt, I'm already so appreciative to have him on our NOAA/NWS Southern Region team. I know there are many things beyond our routine mission information and weather stories that we can well use Curt's expertise and public relations support. And, when you get the first opportunity, get acquainted and extend to Curt and his wife, Ritsuko and their son Matthew a warm welcome to the Southern Region family.
TEXAS DROUGHT IS CRITICAL. The severe impact of the heat and prolonged drought that has gripped Texas all summer has state officials concerned about how to cope with the possibility that dry weather may well continue through the coming fall, winter and spring, as current models are suggesting. This week we provided briefing materials to Tom Millwee, Texas Emergency Management Director, to assist with a critical Senate/House briefing in Austin on just that subject. More than 100 deaths have been attributed to the heat, and agriculture, livestock production and water resource management have all been hard hit by worsening conditions.
Most of Texas has suffered record high temperatures, virtually no rainfall, water restrictions and widespread wild fires during the past few months. Relief has been only spotty and short-lived. On August 4, a cool front (!) finally dropped the Dallas/Fort Worth high temperature to 94, ending a string of 29 consecutive days with highs over 100. The record of 42 days was set in the infamous summer of 1980. Only a tenth of an inch of rain was reported at DFW in July, on July 4.
BILL EASON, THE NWS' MOST SENIOR FORECASTER, RETIRES. After fifty years of Federal Service, John William "Bill" Eason, Lead Forecaster, NWSFO New Orleans officiallyretired June 3, 1998. Bill began his federal career in the Navy in 1943 and moved on to the Air Force to become a pilot in 1951. A 1961 graduate of Florida State, Bill began his "Weather Bureau" career in 1967 at Huntsville and went on to serve at San Juan, Birmingham, FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, and in 1979, went to New Orleans. Bill resides in Slidell with his wife, Maria. We wish them both the very best in the many years ahead.
The following was received from TDL detailing their efforts to support local applications development on AWIPS:
Dear AWIPS Local Application Developers,
Since the beginning days of AFOS, the Techniques Development Laboratory (TDL) has been active in the area of local software development; we plan to play the same role for AWIPS. In September 1997, we published an AWIPS Application Integration Framework Manual(AIFM) which describes the AWIPS architecture, provides an overview of the local application development environment, descriptions of AWIPS directories and files associated with local applications development, instructions on how to extract data from the AWIPS databases, and guidelines for coding and documentation. We plan on updating the AIFM and distributing an updated version in May 1999.
TDL will be chairing a Local Applications Working Group similar to the AFOS Local Applications Working Group. This group will serve as a forum for the information exchange among member organizations and will oversee and make recommendations concerning all aspects of local application development, approval dissemination, management, and support. This group will have representation from each Regional Office; the Offices of Meteorology, Hydrology, Systems Development, and Systems Operations; NCEP; and the Training Center.
To assist the Local Applications Working Group in the dissemination of information, TDL has established the following information aids:
TDL's AWIPS Local Applications Support home page (at www.nws.noaa.gov/tdl/awips): The Web page contains a catalog of applications under development, development tips, application search functions, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and local applications downloading/ uploading. Check out the "New Software Development" section to get a flavor of the application library content. We eagerly await new submissions of the local applications, either in the suggested format or based on your own experience, as to what information is important.
TDL's Mailserver (listserver): The listserver provides a method of fostering communications between the field sites, regions, and headquarters. The listserver provides a forum for answering software development questions and sharing local application development experiences. To subscribe, just send an email message to: firstname.lastname@example.org with one of the following in the body of the message, depending on whether you want to join the standard mailing list or the digest list.
join awipslocalapps or
Any comments on either the AIFM, TDL Local Applications Support home page or TDL Listserver can be sent to Harry.Lebowitz@noaa.gov or Edward.Mandel@noaa.gov or you can contact us directly at (301) 713-1768. We hope you will find the listserver useful, and that by supporting it you will assist others in their development efforts.
LA NIÑA BRIEFING. Newton Skiles, Senior Forecaster at WSFO Little Rock, participated in the Grand Prairie Water Resource Symposium in Stuttgart, Arkansas on August 11, 1998. Between 350 and 400 people attended the symposium. Several counties in central and east-central Arkansas have been declared critical groundwater use areas which could lead to future implementation of water use regulations in those counties. Because of extensive agricultural operations in those counties, adequate supplies of water are necessary not only for human consumption, but also for irrigation. The goal of the symposium was to provide an assessment of the groundwater situation in those areas, implications of the "critical groundwater" designation, and options to consider. Newton made a presentation on the expected weather trends for the Grand Prairie area for the next several months. With a La Niña beginning to take shape, Newton indicated that the area would likely see a warm and drier weather pattern for the next several months.
MARINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE. Getting to know the customer is one of the most important aspects of a successful transfer of services to the spin-up offices. Steve Pfaff, Joe Arellano and the fine folks at Corpus Christi had a Marine Advisory Committee to get to know their local marine customers. About twenty people attended the meeting including NWS, Coast Guard, and local officials. MIC Joe Arellano discussed the status of NWS modernization and MAR. Dr. Robert "Buzz" Martin from the Texas General Land Office (TGLO) provided information on the Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS). Ken Graham from NWS Southern Region Headquarters presented information on the recent NRC buoy report and the future of the NWS marine program. John Metz, WSR-88D focal point at Corpus Christi gave an overview on how marine landmarks have been incorporated into their radar background maps. Dave Davenport, DAPM CRP, summarized the extensive marine and hurricane liaison trips taken during the summer. Steven Pfaff, Marine Focal Point CRP, covered marine hazzards in the Matagorda Ship Channel and Port Aransas Jetties. All in attendance were quite pleased with the information provided.
GEARING UP FOR A MARINE PROGRAM. The staff at Lake Charles is gearing up for marine product transfer by introducing the staff to several key marine programs. Vince Zegowitz, PMO program leader at WSH and Jim Nelson, PMO Houston/Galveston, gave presentations to the Lake Charles staff. Communication with our customers and our co-workers in the NWS is crucial for a successful transfer of service. PMOs must know what forecasters need and forecasters must be aware of what PMOs do and require. Great job LCH with this effort.
NWSFO ALBUQUERQUE RECEIVES AWARD. Before the onset of the summer thunderstorm season in the mountains of New Mexico, persistent dry wind and lack of rainfall created the second highest fire danger across the state in the past 40 years. During June, fires (almost all caused by humans) broke out across much of New Mexico. This kept the staff of NWSFO Albuquerque (ABQ) quite busy issuing fire weather watches, red flag warnings, and numerous spot forecasts, in addition to its routine fire weather products. During the period June 20-28, the Osha and Zia fires threatened to consume the town of Angel Fire. NWSFO ABQ issued numerous spot forecasts, including unsolicited updates, and conducted many telephone briefings to town officials. On Thursday, July 30, 1998, the staff of NWSFO ABQ received an award (certificate) in honor of their efforts from Mayor Barbara Cottam of Angel Fire, New Mexico. The certificate contained the following inscription:
"From the Citizens of Angel Fire to the Albuquerque National Weather Center, in grateful appreciation for your significant contributions to the safety of our community during the Osha and Zia Fires"
The framed certificate from Mayor Cottam is displayed prominently in the NWSFO's fire weather operations area. Congratulations, NWSFO ABQ!
TEXAS FIRE WEATHER SUPPORT. NWS support to land management agencies in the state of Texas continued through August. Southern, Western and Central Regions provided IMET support to the Texas Fire Operations Center in Austin. Southern Region continued to use the deployments as training opportunities for its spin-up fire weather offices.
Rains from Tropical Storm Charley late in the month reduced the fire danger over southern sections of the state, but areas in the west and north remain parched from lack of precipitation. Outside of the prospect of tropical activity, there is little hope for relief in these areas over the next few weeks. So, NWS support will likely be need through much of September, thus affording us further opportunities for fire weather training.
AVIATION OUTREACH. On August 13, Henry Steigerwaldt, SOO at NWSO Morristown (MRX), gave a presentation to members of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) regarding the WSR-88D. The presentation was given at Lebanon Airport in Wilson County, Tennessee before approximately 25 attendees. The talk focused on the differences between the WSR-88D and the old WSR-57, and the various WSR-88D products available to NWS meteorologists. Henry made use of two videos, "Forecast for the Future" and "WSR-88", as part of his presentation.
Art Ayers, MIC at CWSU Atlanta (ZTL), and Paul Denault, ZTL forecaster, visited the FAA TRACON and Tower at Lovell Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were briefed by FAA personnel on the use of the ASR-8 radar for precipitation detection. The ASR-8 is older than the ASR-9 and does not contour weather returns. Thus, the controllers rely heavily on the information they receive from the CWSU. The FAA controllers also pointed out the various terrain features surrounding the airport and how it impacts weather conditions.
Art and Paul showed the controllers WARP graphics of weather associated with two incidents that occurred near Chattanooga during the past two years. They also took the opportunity to explain a little bit about CWSU operations.
Dave Martin, forecaster at NWSFO Dallas/Fort Worth (FWD), spoke at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum's Monthly Volunteer meeting in Dallas County, Texas, on Wednesday, August 5. Approximately 30 people were in attendance, mostly pilots, to hear Dave talk about aviation hazards, with an emphasis on thunderstorms and downbursts. He fielded a number of questions, many of which were about finding aviation weather information on the Internet.
NEWS FROM OUR HSA'S
Drought Problems in Eastern New Mexico. MIC Charlie Liles reports severe drought conditions are occurring in Eastern New Mexico. Charlie serves on the New Mexico Governor's drought committee and, based on the committee's reports, the governor has sent a request for disaster declarations for ten counties in Eastern New Mexico. He also reports that Central and Western New Mexico, in contrast, have experienced normal to above normal rainfall during the past few months.
Minor Flooding in Birmingham Area. Senior service hydrologist Roger McNeil reported some minor flooding in early July from locally heavy rainfall in the Birmingham area. Some evacuations were need in the Ensley area because of minor residential flooding. The same heavy rain event also caused Village Creek to overflow its banks and crested 1.6 feet above flood stage.
Welcome rainfall in the Amarillo HSA. July rainfalls were between 5 and 10 inches across portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Although some streams and rivers recorded some notable rises during July, none reached bankfull levels. Lance Goehring, Amarillo hydro focal point, took to the road with departing Lubbock service hydrologist Steve Drillette, to train and recruit some new river gage observers and install some staff gages in the panhandle in mid-July.
Needed rainfall also returns to the New Orleans HSA. Above normal rainfall was also observed over portions of the New Orleans HSA. Rainfalls averaged 3 to 4 inches above normal in east-central Louisiana and 1 to 2 inches above normal over coastal Mississippi.
Wettest July on Record recorded at Memphis. Memphis service hydrologist Buzz Merchlewitz reported 9.96 inches of rainfall in July, making it the wettest July on record. The rainfall records for Memphis extend over 125 years to 1872. Several farmers across Memphis HSA have had their crops flooded for the third time this growing season. The Mississippi River averaged 10 feet above normal, but remained below flood stage at the Memphis forecast points.
Nashville HSA also records above normal rainfall. Locally heavy rainfall in mid-July produced flash flooding across the Tennessee River Basin. Service hydrologist Mike Murphy reported Doppler estimated rainfall amounts, and automated rain gage totals, confirmed 4 to 5 inches fell in a three hour time period with 8 to 10 inches recorded for 24 hour totals over Lewis and Lawrence counties. The Iron City forecast point crested over 10 feet above flood stage.
NEWS FROM THE NWSTC. The NWS Training Center's computer-based training (CBT) module on AWIPS local application development is complete and available for download to NWS offices from the tutorial section of their AWIPS Web page. This module provides an overview of the local application development environment, a description of the AWIPS directories and files associated with local application development, instructions on how to extract data from AWIPS files (specifically NetCDF and Informix files), and some information on COTs utilities. Access the module at http://nwstc.kc.noaa.gov/d.HMD/AWIPS.HTML.
SOOS ON THE MOVE. Stephen Parker, presently the SOO at North Platte, Nebraska, will become the new SOO at NWSO Morristown, Tennessee. Stephen has additional experience at NWSFO Norman, NSSL and the OSF, and he will be replacing Steve Hunter at Morristown, who has moved to the SOO position at Dodge City, Kansas.
Alan Gerard, lead forecaster at NWSFO Jackson, has been selected for the SOO position at his office. Former Jackson SOO Rusty Pfost has left the SOO ranks to become MIC at NWSFO Miami. Congratulations, Rusty - and Alan.
Jack Settelmaier recently transferred from the Techniques Development Lab at NWS Headquarters to become the SOO at NWSO Key West. This is the 31st and most recent Southern Region SOO position.
Mark Jackson, SOO at Brownsville, Texas, has accepted the position of Regional Scientist in the Pacific Region. Best wishes, Mark.
VISITING PROFESSOR AT TALLAHASSEE. Prof. Paul Ruscher, on sabbatical this fall from Florida State, has set up shop at NWSO Tallahassee as a guest employee. This will allow him to learn first-hand about day-to-day NWS operations, and it will further the already extensive FSU/NWS collaborative activities. Paul will also be visiting other offices during his sabbatical.
CIAMS NEWS. Dr. Ed Zipser, former Chairman of the Texas A&M Department of Meteorology, will depart next March to become Director of the meteorology department at the University of Utah. Ed has been a valuable member of the Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies (CIAMS) at A&M, and we will miss his contributions.
NWS FIELD SUPPORT FOR COMET. Ken Gould (NWSO Tallahassee forecaster) was a guest instructor for COMET's University Faculty Satellite Meteorology Course earlier this year, which included 18 faculty members from around the country as students. This was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the university community how new technology is being used in NWS forecast operations, and also to share Ken's extensive research in this area, including his previous work with CITM while a student at Florida State. Ken will be the co-lead instructor next month for COMET's two-week Satellite Meteorology Course for forecasters.
In the faculty class Ken lectured on developing mesoscale cloud climatologies, approaches with analog and digital data, stratification techniques, regime development, and interval averaging possibilities. Using examples from his work, he showed preferred areas of convective development, with marked effects from small scale features and preferred areas of fog/low cloud development; all providing direct aids to forecasters. Ken then explained how to integrate complementary mesoscale climatologies (such as precipitation, lightning or radar) with cloud climatologies to create powerful forecasting tools.
As part of a lab exercise involving the sea breeze in the Florida Panhandle, students used an idealized 5 km run of Regime 1 (light and variable flow) from the MM5 mesoscale model, along with 1.1 km visible satellite, lightning, and thermodynamic data from several regimes. They were asked to answer a series of questions which were reviewed after the lab. Overall, feedback from the faculty was positive, and some indicated plans to include this material in their classrooms. Great job, Ken.
NEW COMET CASE STUDY. COMET has announced the availability of a case study 012, Gravity Waves, covering the tornadic outbreak on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1994, in Alabama. Gravity waves were triggered with deep convection that developed in northeastern Texas. The waves modulated mesolows that developed along a cold front and acted to force the severe convection in Alabama. This case was presented during the COMAP-97 and was developed in collaboration with Prof. Steve Koch at NC State University. It includes GOES-7 imagery, WSR-88D data from Maxwell AFB, surface and upper air observations, NCEP model data, MASS mesoscale products, and text products from the NWS Family Of Services. For a detailed description of case study 012 as well as a lab exercise and other training support documentation, see:
Additional information about ordering this (and other) case studies can be obtained from SSD or the following:
WEATHER BUREAU TOPICS. Newsworthy items from "Topics" of some years ago ...
From November 1937 -
Visits to the Central Office. Officials and employees of the field service are invited to visit the Central Office whenever in Washington or vicinity and they find it convenient to do so. Personal contacts thus made and discussions entered into promote a better mutual understanding of the problems that concern the entire personnel of the Bureau. It is no longer necessary to obtain permission to visit the Central Office, as was customary for many years, although some employees are still under that impression.
(Emphasis added, ed.)
From September 1939 -
Purchase of Twine. The appropriation act for the Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit Administration ... contains a provision as follows:
Except ... where no suitable domestic product is available, no part of the funds appropriated by this act shall be expended in the purchase of twine manufactured from commodities or materials produced outside of the United States.
Therefore, neither inconsistency with the public interest nor unreasonableness of cost, nor unavailability in reasonable commercial quantities of a satisfactory quality, may be invoked during the fiscal year 1940 as a reason for buying twine of foreign origin.
From the September 1935 Weather Bureau Topics -
TELEPHONE REQUESTS FOR CURRENT TEMPERATURES. At some Weather Bureau stations there is a serious interruption of routine work caused by numerous telephone requests for current temperatures during periods of abnormally hot or cold weather. One station official reports the satisfactory solution of this problem. Arrangements were made with the local radio station to broadcast the current temperature each hour, exactly on the hour, during the daytime. The Weather Bureau official furnishes the temperature to the radio station hourly, a few minutes before the hour. The result has been a marked falling off in telephone requests for current temperatures during periods of abnormally hot or cold weather.
MSU BROADCAST METEOROLOGY WORKSHOP. Staff from NWSFO Memphis participated in Mississippi State University's 10th Broadcast Meteorology Program Workshop in early August. Sixty or so weather broadcasters from across the country attended, and it was a valuable experience for all involved. Dr. Mark Binkley of MSU heads the Broadcast Meteorology Program, which continues to grow in size, curriculum and popularity, and it is the only such program in the U.S. NWS participation provides students with valuable insight into our operations, as well as a feel for what goes into forecasts and warnings. As weathercasters, that experience helps them as well as the NWS.
David Gaffin (forecaster) presented his study of two wake lows (his poster on this event will be presented at the AMS Severe Local Storms Conference in September). A lot of interest was demonstrated by the 15 to 20 minute question and answer session that followed. A couple of broadcasters had seen this type of event occur, but never understood what caused it. John White (WCM) used this opportunity to encourage an atmosphere of teamwork between the NWS and the broadcast community. His audience was very receptive. He managed to explain the NWS tornado warning false alarm rate to the satisfaction of about everyone in the crowd. This interaction demonstrated that the NWS and the broadcast community need to work together for the benefit of the public.
WFO TECH ATTACHMENT WEB SITE. NWSFO Austin/San Antonio has developed a "Technical Attachment" section to their office Web site. It contains local case studies and links. These short and topical "papers" are the sort of things that might have been included with the Topics as technical attachments. Featured now are fall-related sections to start, and studies relevant to other seasons will follow. Also included are links to technical items on other office Web sites. The Austin/San Antonio site is at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx/html/Papers.htm.
SCAN OPERATING IN TULSA. The System for Convective Analysis and Nowcasting (SCAN) has been installed for testing on AWIPS at WFO Tulsa. As the name implies, this is an automated system with the following primary goals:
to detect, analyze and monitor convection, and generate short-term probabilistic forecasts and warning guidance automatically within AWIPS and,
to combine previous research and development efforts (NSSL's WDSS, NCAR's Auto-nowcaster, TDL's AWIPS Thunderstorm Product, WHFS, etc.) into one integrated approach to forecasting convection.
SCAN was tested initially at NWSFO Sterling as a stand-alone system incorporating one WSR-88D. At Tulsa, SCAN will run on AWIPS and use data from multiple radars (Tulsa and Fort Smith). It is expected that SCAN will be an integral part of future AWIPS builds at all sites. A more complete description of the SCAN and the Tulsa evaluation is included as a technical attachment to this month's Topics.
SEISMIC RECORD OF BIRMINGHAM TORNADO. Data from a seismic recorder near Birmingham provided a clear measure of the strength of the deadly tornado which passed through Jefferson County last April. The recorder was installed near the Warrior River to monitor ground shocks from nearby mining operations, so it was designed to be triggered only by relatively strong seismic disturbances. On April 8 at 8:04 p.m. (CDT) when the tornado reached F5 intensity near Concord, at a distance of 12.4 miles, it recorded a 15-second history of the tornado's seismic signal. According to Dr. Frank B. Tatom of Engineering Analysis Inc., this signal was much more powerful than any previous seismic signal produced by a tornado. By comparison, the measured seismic signal from a moving freight train, at a distance of 40 feet from the track, was only one-eighth the strength of the signal produced by the F5 tornado.
SATELLITE IMAGERY SUPPORT DURING BONNIE, CHARLEY AND DANIELLE. SRH was able to provide full resolution, Rapid Scan imagery to those field offices without AWIPS which were impacted by Tropical Storm Charley and Hurricanes Bonnie and Danielle. Special "hurricane" sectors, centered on each storm, were digitally extracted from the Eastern CONUS images received by the SRH NOAAPORT Receive System (NRS). Those images were pushed over the regional Frame Relay network to previously established directories on the SACs at the impacted offices. The field offices were able to display and manipulate the digital imagery using GARP and NSAT.
Previously it had not been possible for the SRH satellite server to ingest and re-transmit the Rapid Scan images, which arrive at a rate of eight per hour. After consultation with NWSH and Central and Eastern Regions, SOD placed a LINUX computer between the NRS and the SRH satellite server. That configuration increased the throughput from the NRS and the Rapid Scan images can now be processed. This benefits all non-AWIPS field offices, not only when tropical cyclones threaten, but anytime GOES-8 is in the Rapid Scan mode, since those office receive their imagery from the SRH satellite server.
HURRICANE BONNIE"S IMPACT ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB. As Hurricane Bonnie approached the East Coast, the unprecedented demand on the National Hurricane Center's Web site threatened to overwhelm their Internet connections and possibly compromise their ability to receive important meteorological data. As a result, NHC was forced to temporarily close their Web site. In the Southern Region, the Web sites of NWSO Tallahassee, NWSO Jacksonville and SRH absorbed much of the Web traffic from NHC. The NWSO Tallahassee site received a record number of "hits," and the NWSO Jacksonville site was temporarily closed by their host, the University of North Florida, due to the increased traffic.
Recall that the timely delivery of data and products from NWS Web servers through the Internet is not guaranteed, unlike data and products delivered from other official NWS sources. The official NWS delivery methods for weather data and products are:
NOAA Weather Radio,
NOAA Weather Wire,
Family of Services (FOS), and
the local National Weather Service Forecast Offices.
NHC is currently reevaluating their Web server and communications configuration, but cannot guarantee uninterrupted service. At the request of NHC Director Jerry Jarrell, SRH plans to install a new Web server on the Internet backbone at the Texas Higher Education Network office in Austin to act as a mirror to the NHC site.
NESDIS WEB SITE CHANGE. Recently, an Internet hacker got into the NESDIS Web site causing NESDIS to shut down some of their home pages and create new ones. The NESDIS GOES R/D Products are now located at: http://orbit30i.nesdis.noaa.gov/http/goes.html
WEST TEXAS MESONET. Texas Tech University has announced that the Texas Department of Economic Development approved a $2 million grant to fund the Wind Science and Engineering Technology Assistance and Transfer Program. This money will be dedicated to develop a 28-site mesonet in the Texas High Plains, promote economic benefits stemming from the use of this data resource, and develop a variety of applications to utilize the data. The planned mesonet will include 28 surface stations, three atmospheric profilers, and data from a 200-meter tower at Reese Center on the Texas Tech campus. Data will be made available across the Internet in as near real-time as possible. Texas Tech anticipates having the system at least partially in place by this coming spring.
A collaborative effort between Texas Tech and Texas A&M Universities is currently underway to establish a Texas MesoNet Project. The West Texas project--and possibly other pilot projects--will help to prove the feasibility of the statewide project, as well as demonstrate the economic benefits that can be expected from such a system. Further information about the Texas MesoNet Project can be found at: http://www.met.tamu.edu/texnet/mesonet.html. A West Texas Mesonet Home page is coming soon (http://www.cicms.atmo.ttu)!
NCEP PROPOSES REDUCTION IN RESOLUTION OF AVN/MRF MODEL. The following is extracted from a memo by Jim Hoke, Acting Director of NCEP:
"The NCEP global forecast system was upgraded on June 15, 1998, after CAFTI approval and after more than five months of parallel testing during January-May 1998. Results of this testing indicated significantly improved forecast performance for tropical winds, surface temperature and tropospheric temperature bias, precipitation skill, and other standard scores.
Recently, however, some significant problems have arisen in the global forecasts resulting in poor performance both on statistical scores and subjective evaluations, and have affected forecast systems that use the global output as initial or boundary conditions. For example, Eta model forecasts over Alaska have been negatively impacted due to poor global model boundary conditions over Eastern Russia and the Arctic. Many of these problems have been traced to inaccuracies in the global analysis resulting from an insufficient number of iterations in the analysis algorithm. The only solution is to increase the number of iterations, which will require significantly more computer time for all global model analyses.
It is clear that the required extra computer time to test or remedy the analysis problem is not currently available. Equally important, there are insufficient computer resources to run exact parallel tests for other existing problems with the global suite or the Eta model system. Virtually all time slots for operational jobs are filled to capacity and are running at near maximum efficiency.
Given the above circumstances, I recommend that we consider the reduction of the resolution of the global forecast system from T170/L42 to T126/L28 until the Class VIII computer is operational. . .It should be emphasized that all of the scientific improvements from the June implementation will be retained in the new T126/L28 system."
SOLVING A SOUTHERN REGION WEB SERVER PROBLEM. Susan Beckwith of Scientific Services Division noticed that the SR Web Server CPUs were overloaded and that the performance of the SR Web Server was almost at a standstill. Leon Minton of Systems Operations Division worked with her to tackle the problem. Using the NTFS file auditing features of the Windows NT operating system, and the logging capabilities of the NT Internet Information Server, Leon and Susan were able to isolate the culprit to a bad CGI script file in one of the field office Web page areas. When the faulty file was removed, everything was back to normal. The timing was perfect because the SR Web Server was soon called upon to provide hurricane information to the public to assist the beleaguered National Hurricane Center Web server.
AWIPS CUSTOMIZATION CLASS. The second AWIPS customization class was taught at Southern Region Headquarters on August 19 and 20. Scott Plischke of Amarillo, Jeff McMurphy and Charlie Lake of RFC Tulsa attended. The class covered aspects of AWIPS setup and system management that are not covered by any other course. The course material is designed to save sites weeks of time configuring their systems to meet their needs. Feedback has been positive and suggestions, as well as other improvements, are being incorporated into the course. Ideally, each site will be invited to attend this two day course approximately one week prior to receiving AWIPS.
SITE SURVEYS. AWIPS site surveys are almost complete. Birmingham, Jackson, and Mobile completed their site surveys the week of August 24. Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay will complete the list of sites to be surveyed the week of August 31.
DIVERSITY/EEO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
NWSFO FORT WORTH. WCM Jim Stefkovich, HMT Tom Kircher, and Co-op Krista Villarreal, gave an office tour to 9 adults and 12 boy scouts. Heading the boy scout group was James Ott from the Fort Worth CWSU. Surface observing equipment, an upper air balloon launch, and office equipment were shown, and both safety rules and climatology were discussed.
On Thursday, August 12, MIC Skip Ely gave a talk on weather modification and La Niña to about 35 members of the Golden Key Kiwanis in Fort Worth. Skip also touched on the recent heat wave and the NWR Console Replacement System. Most of the attendees were 60 years of age or older.
Also that day, Jim Stefkovich gave a taped radio interview with Texas State Network (TSN) on the subjects of careers in meteorology and the summer drought and heat wave. TSN has 150 affiliates in the state.
NWSFO SHREVEPORT. Meteorologist Donovan Landreneau gave an office tour to a local church group.
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