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NOAA's NWS Focus Newsletter - April 6, 2001
- Editors' Note: Cut "That" Out!
- Dickman Named April NOAA Employee of the Month
- NWS Director Meets with WMO Counterparts in Venezuela
- Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program Advertised in April 4 "Federal Register"
- Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program Advertised in April 4 "Federal Register"
- NWS Begins Developing FAIR Act Submission
- Out-Of-This-World Storm Is Almost Off-The-Charts
- From NIDS To RPCCDS: If A Four-Letter Acronym Is Good, Then A Six-Letter Acronym Must Be Better
- Emergency Dispatch Advice Is In The Cards
- English-Spanish Flood Warning Video Available
- Local School Kids Can Follow Teacher At Sea Web Adventure
- Online Human Resources for NOAA Managers
- Public, Private and Academic Experts Team Up For Olympic Forecasts


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 of snow.
  • The meteorologist predicted we'd have four inches of snow.

If you would like to see more writing tips in NOAA's NWS Focus, drop us a note at


Dickman 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


NWS 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 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 information.



NWS 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


Out-Of-This-World 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


From 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



Emergency 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

Additional information about the cards is available at, or by contacting the card developers:

  • John Weaver (970) 491-8342,
  • Brian Motta (970) 491-8366,
  • Dan Bikos (970) 491-3777,



English-Spanish 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 or 858-675-8700 ext.223.


Local 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 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, climate.


Online 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 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", which presents a list of available personnel services, detailing which are available at Headquarters and Administrative Service Center personnel offices.

Public, 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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