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NOAA's NWS Focus
March 29, 2005 View Printer Friendly Version

- NOAA Issues U.S. Winter Wrap Up and Spring Outlook
- NOAA Forecast Model Helps Guide Global Aviator During Record Setting Flight
- Diversity Management and EEO/AA Merge Into One Office
- Latest Aware Features Severe Weather
- 10 Questions for Margaret Fowke: Weather and Health

focus cover image Margaret Fowke talks with NWS's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Director Ed Johnson about upcoming work with the American Red Cross. Read about Margaret's work on the weather/health connection in the story below.

NOAA Issues U.S. Winter Wrap Up and Spring Outlook

NOAA released the 2005 U.S. Spring Outlook for April through June and gave a wrap up of the past winter to media at a recent news conference in Washington, DC.

NOAA's seasonal outlook calls for warmer-than-normal temperatures in parts of the West, Southwest, the mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Alaska, and Hawaii. Parts of the western Great Lakes and the southern Plains are expected to be cooler than normal. Above-normal precipitation is expected in parts of the western Great Lakes, southern Plains and most of Alaska, with drier-than-normal conditions expected in Hawaii and parts of Florida and California.

The outlook offered an El Niņo update and also updated drought conditions around the country and provided information on flood potential for the next three months. March 21-25 is Flood Safety Awareness Week.

Read the full NOAA news release and find links to outlook products here.

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NOAA Forecast Model Helps Guide Global Aviator During Record-Setting Flight

The recent success of the first solo, non-stop flight around the globe depended in part on accurate weather forecasts, and the meteorologist who supported aviator Steve Fossett's flight relied on the NOAA Global Forecast System model.

Fossett spent 67 hours, 2 minutes, and 38 seconds between February 28 and March 3 to loop around Earth-beginning and ending his venture in Salina, KS.

NOAA forecast models, GFS included, are openly accessible to the international community, and this proved to be a valuable asset to the meteorologist who supported the flight.

"NOAA's open web policy gave me a chance the last ten years to understand the quality and errors of the GFS. It is fully available for everyone," said David Dehenauw, a Belgian meteorologist who provided Fossett his forecast.

Read the full NOAA news story here.

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Diversity Management and EEO/AA Merge Into One Office

NOAA's NWS Diversity Management function and traditional Equal Employment Opportunity functions are now housed together in the newly reorganized Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management under the direction of Charly Wells.

Since February 1999, Stephan Smith, Decision Assistance Branch Chief of the Meteorological Development Lab, served as NOAA's NWS Diversity Program Manager until Wells was hired in January 2005.

"Steve has done a great job. Through his efforts and the efforts of the NWS Diversity Council members, NOAA's NWS diversity management process has flourished," said Wells. "Although Steve will return full time to his job, he will not be far away," Wells explained. "We've asked him to stay on in a limited capacity as the NWS Diversity Catalyst. We'll be relying on him to give us the scientific perspective from the operational side of the house and help show our workforce the return on our investment."

While there are similarities between Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and diversity management, their genesis is different. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action (AA) were founded on legal, social, and moral grounds. Diversity management is a "process of creating and maintaining an inclusive environment that enables all participants to contribute to their full potential in pursuit of organizational objectives." Wells explains, "The focus of policies intended to create more equitable employment environments has shifted in many organizations since the late 1980s. First, an emphasis on legally mandated EEO/AA has frequently been replaced or supplemented by voluntary efforts to manage diversity or promote equity. Second, the overall diversity management movement has defined itself as strategy that is inclusive of everyone."

Both diversity management and EEO/AA share goals of increasing productivity, efficiency, quality and developing the full potential of the workforce to accomplish the mission of organization. "I think we can best accomplish these goals under the direction of one office and I am proud to lead this effort for NOAA's National Weather Service," said Wells.

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Latest Aware Features Severe Weather

The winter edition of Aware packs a full load of severe weather preparedness information. Aware is published by NOAA to keep communications lines open within the agency and with the emergency management community. Articles in this issue offer updates and tips on the following:

  • Hurricane Season
  • HazCollect, VTEC, and NWR Changes
  • Digital Services Updates
  • Hydrology, Marine, and Rip Current News
  • Outreach, Education, and Publication Offerings
  • Tsunami Programs
  • Winter Weather Lessons Learned, and much more.

NOTE: After this issue, Aware will only be distributed electronically. Subscribers who wish to keep receiving Aware should go to and fill out the brief form.

To download the latest edition, go to

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10 Questions for Margaret Fowke: Weather and Health

Editors' Note: We have an abundance of interesting work being conducted within NOAA's National Weather Service. The employees, their expertise, and their current projects deserve a greater audience and the editors of NWS Focus have started a new column that will appear from time to time, called "10 Questions." In the person's own words we'll describe the interesting and ground-breaking projects being worked as an opportunity to highlight traditional and non-traditional areas where NOAA's NWS is making strides. In this issue, we focus on the importance of the health/weather connection. If you have a person in mind for us to interview, please contact us at

Margaret Fowke
Margaret Fowke

Margaret Fowke is a Program Analyst in NOAA's NWS Office of Strategic Planning and Policy. She is working on increasing the medical community and general publics' understanding about the connection between weather and health. In the coming months, her work with the American Red Cross will likely insure that every CPR class given will have the health/weather connection component taught to all participants.

    1. Why is it important for people to know about the connection between weather and health?

In many cases, the link to weather and health is very obvious. People are very familiar with the effects of temperature extremes such as heat or cold on health. However, other connections between weather and health are not as obvious. These areas continue to reveal much about the relationship between weather and its influence on health. For example, researchers are continuing to examine the relationship between a virus that survives in cold weather and Type 1 diabetes. It is thought this virus attacks the beta cells in the pancreas during pregnancy or in newborns and could possibly be the source of insufficient insulin production resulting in Type 1 diabetes. Further research in the area of weather and health continues to reveal more links that we currently are not aware.

(Click here to see the rest of the 10 Questions for Margaret Fowke.)

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Take a look at other NWS news, as submitted for the NOAA Weekly Report.

Click here to take a look at NOAA-wide employee news, as posted in the latest issue of AccessNOAA.
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