|NOAA's NWS Focus Newsletter -
April 6, 2001
Editors' Note: Cut "That" Out!
In an effort to improve employee writing, Donna Ayers,
NWS Executive Affairs, offers the following tip: Is "that"
necessary? If not, cut "that" out! Next time you're writing
or proofreading, take time to analyze each "that." Chances
are, this four-letter word adds nothing to the sentence,
or may actually impede the flow of your words. Read your
sentence out loud without the "that." Is the meaning still
clear? If so, eliminate that extra word.
There are times when "that" is necessary and appropriate;
but, most of the time, just cut "that" out. Your writing
will be both clear and concise.
- The meteorologist predicted that we'd have four inches
- The meteorologist predicted we'd have four inches of
If you would like to see more writing tips in NOAA's NWS Focus,
drop us a note at NWS.Focus@noaa.gov.
Named April Employee of the Month
An NWS Eastern Region Headquarters employee is April's
NOAA Employee of the Month. NOAA honored Ross Dickman for
his "innovative, highly-effective approach to boosting public
safety and staff productivity through his responsibilities"
as ER AWIPS program manager. Under Dickman's direction,
the region became the first to commission AWIPS in all of
its field offices, saving both time and telecommunications
dollars. Read the full story in Access NOAA at www.accessnoaa.noaa.gov/rossdickman.html.
Director Meets with WMO Counterparts in Venezuela
NWS Director Jack Kelly, accompanied by Martin Yerg, Chief
of the NWS International Activities Office, and Curt Barrett
of the NWS International Hydrologic Technology Transfer
Program, recently attended meetings in Maracuay, Venezuela.
The main purpose of the Director's trip was to represent
the United States at the World Meteorological Organization
Regional Association IV (WMO RA-IV) meeting held every four
years. WMO RA-IV includes North America, Central America
and Caribbean nations. RA-IV member countries discussed
issues and accomplishments relating to meteorological operations
in the region. Kelly's second meeting addressed steps necessary
to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between the NWS
and the Ministry of the Environment in Venezuela. The NWS
plans to provide technical consulting, training, and transfer
of technology for the VENEHMET project, a multi-agency project
for Venezuela to modernize its hydrologic and meteorological
capabilities and services. In December of 1999, northern
Venezuela suffered a catastrophic flash flood that killed
an estimated 160,000 people. The VENEHMET project is funded
by a loan from the Export-Import Bank. The next step is
to finalize a bilateral agreement between the NWS and the
Venezuelan Ministry of the Environment.
Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program Advertised in April
4 "Federal Register"
The Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service announced
a new grant program to finance installation of new transmitters
to extend NOAA Weather Radio coverage in rural America.
The April 4 Federal Register notice announced that $5 million
in grant funds is available through the RUS to facilitate
NWR expansion into rural areas not covered or poorly covered
at this time. The grant program will provide grant funds,
on an expedited basis, for use in rural areas and communities
of 50,000 or less inhabitants. Grant funds are available
immediately and applications will be processed on a first-come,
first-served basis until the appropriation is used in its
entirety. Locate the federal register notice at http://www.gpo.ucop.edu/search/fedfld.html
and search the term "Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program."
The notice defines areas eligible for grants and provides
more background and contacts at RUS for those seeking more
Begins Developing FAIR Act Submission
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative
Officer is organizing the NWS's Federal Activities Inventory
Reform (FAIR) Act submission, which is due to NOAA May 7.
The Department of Commerce must submit its inventory to
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by June 30. The
FAIR Act requires the government to publish an inventory
each year of positions that could be commercialized, for
example through contracts, following OMB review. President
Bush issued guidance through OMB that requires five percent
of these positions be reviewed for commercialization in
FY 2002. A small NWS team which includes staff from two
Regional Headquarters, NCEP, and Headquarters offices will
codify each NWS position by function performed and determine
whether the function is, in the most simplistic terms, either
inherently governmental or a commercial activity. "Our goal
is to train the team on the guidance issued by the Office
of Management and Budget, and ensure the team is accurate
and consistent," said Mark Brown, Deputy CFO/CAO. For more
information on the FAIR Act go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/procurement/fair-index.html.
Storm Is Almost Off-The-Charts
Forecasters at the Space Environment Center (SEC) in Boulder,
CO, one of NCEP's nine national centers, observed an extreme
solar flare on April 3, 2001, that SEC forecasters say is
one of the largest ever recorded. Using GOES-8 data, forecasters
measured X-ray intensity at X-20. X-flares are the highest
category of flares possible and are usually measured on
a scale from 1 to 20. Ron Zwickl of the SEC says that this
is the largest flare of this solar cycle. Forecasters are
currently reviewing data to see how this one ranks with
other big flares.
Space weather occurs in the area between the Earth and
the Sun and refers to the disturbances and turbulent storms
that streak through space, sometimes causing adverse effects
on human activities. For instance, solar storms can interfere
and disrupt ham radio operations that are critical to our
storm spotter program and can also disrupt or put "noise"
into our satellite images. When the Earth's magnetic field
interacts with the solar wind, a mix of charged particles
can cause colorful Auroras in the sky, often generating
calls to our offices from a curious public. The SEC is the
nation's official source of space weather alerts and warnings.
The NWS disseminates space weather information as part of
its data stream. For more information, link to the SEC home
page at http://www.sec.noaa.gov/.
NIDS To RPCCDS: If A Four-Letter Acronym Is Good, Then A
Six-Letter Acronym Must Be Better
The ten-year NEXRAD Information Dissemination Service (NIDS)
agreement which allowed the NWS to disseminate radar data
to external users, officially ended April 1, 2001 when the
last of the three NIDS vendors (UNISYS, DTN, and WSI) disconnected
their NIDS ports from NEXRAD. NIDS is replaced by the Radar
Products Central Collection/Distribution Service (RPCCDS)
which began broadcasting in January 2001. Through RPCCDS,
the AWIPS network collects radar products from the NWS,
Federal Aviation Administration, and Department of Defense
WSR-88D radar sites and delivers them to central radar product
collection servers integrated in the NWS Telecommunication
Gateway in Silver Spring, MD. All radar products collected
are available to users from the RPCCDS servers. For more
information about RPCCDS link to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oso/rpccds.html.
Dispatch Advice Is In The Cards
When relaying severe weather warnings to the public, emergency
response dispatchers can turn to a set of Natural Disaster
Information Cards for quick emergency advice to include
in the warnings. The cards are designed to provide Emergency-911
dispatchers with emergency advice in an easy-to-read format
based on NOAA/FEMA/American Red Cross brochures we currently
use, said Daniel Noah, WCM, Bismarck, ND.
The Natural Disaster Information Cards are available through
the Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training
(VISIT), a joint effort involving NOAA/NESDIS. The cards
were developed jointly by NOAA, the City of Fort Collins
and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere
following the Fort Collins, CO, flood of July 28, 1997.
Noah, who chairs the ND StormReady Advisory Board, said
the Board has just voted to make use of the cards a requirement
for cities/counties to be recognized as StormReady in North
Dakota. For more information about StormReady, visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/stormready.
Additional information about the cards is available at
or by contacting the card developers:
- John Weaver (970) 491-8342, email@example.com
- Brian Motta (970) 491-8366, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dan Bikos (970) 491-3777, email@example.com
Flood Warning Video Available
The San Diego WFO developed an English-Spanish video titled
"Flood Warning Systems Saving Lives and Property" which
may be useful for other WFOs serving areas with a large
Spanish-speaking population. "We used the video to strengthen
the NWS partnership with the media and local county flood
control managers," said Edwin C. Clark, WCM with the National
Weather Service in San Diego. The video illustrates how
flood warning systems are used and how important they are
to the weather warning process, and shows an example in
which a flood warning is issued based upon information received
from automated gauges. "The video has helped enhance our
outreach to citizens in San Diego and across the border
in Tijuana, Mexico," Clark said, and the video has been
distributed to other Latin American countries as well. Clark,
Armando L. Garza, and Richard A. Stitt earned a NOAA Administrator's
Group Award for their efforts on the video. The 15-minute
video is available to other offices free. Contact Ed Clark
for more information at Edwin.Clark@noaa.gov or 858-675-8700
School Kids Can Follow Teacher At Sea Web Adventure
Students in your community may be interested in following
Pennsylvania teacher Susan Carty as she travels onboard
the NOAA Research Vessel Ronald H. Brown to Yokosuka, Japan,
to participate in the international science endeavor ACE-Asia.
The Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE) is investigating
the role of aerosols in influencing the transfer of solar
energy in the atmosphere. Log on to www.ogp.noaa.gov
to interact with Carty and the scientists involved. The
web site also provide loads of information about the atmosphere
- its composition, relationship with the oceans, and the
role that both play in our daily weather and, ultimately,
Human Resources for NOAA Managers
NOAA managers on the lookout for personnel information
and guidance should surf to the home page of the NOAA Human
Resources Management Office www.rdc.noaa.gov/~hrmo.
Among the many useful links (the 2001 General Pay Schedule,
links to COOL, the web-based vacancy announcement system,
to name just a few), is one called "References," where online
DOC Administrative and Organizational Orders, and even a
Position Description Library can be found. Another useful
link is to the "HR Matrix of Services" www.rdc.noaa.gov/~hrmo/matrix.htm,
which presents a list of available personnel services, detailing
which are available at Headquarters and Administrative Service
Center personnel offices.
Private and Academic Experts Team Up For Olympic Forecasts
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the 2002
Olympic Winter Games announced April 5 a unique public-private-academic
partnership for weather forecasting duties during the games
Feb. 8-24, 2002. The forecasting partnership is between
the NWS, the University of Utah, and Salt Lake City's KSL-TV.
This is the first time an Olympic Committee has called
on government and private meteorologists as well as academic
experts to join together to share forecasting responsibilities.
Each partner in the Salt Lake 2002 Weather Support Project
will be responsible for a specific function during the games.
The partners also will support the Paralympic Winter Games
March 7-16, 2002. The NWS will provide base-level meteorological
and hydrological services used by the weather partners,
issue winter storm warnings and brief public safety, aviation
operations, security and emergency management officials.
"Because the Federal government, private sector and academic
community work together every day, Americans enjoy some
of the best weather forecasting in the world," said NWS
Director Jack Kelly. "The games will provide us with yet
another way to demonstrate this unique partnership."
The official Olympic Weather Center will be located at
the weather service's Salt Lake City Forecast Office where
representatives from the private and government meteorological
teams will prepare their daily forecasts. Visit NOAA News
for the full news story on this partnership. More information
about the Winter Olympics and Paralympics is available at
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