May 20, 2002 Meeting

The meeting was held at the National Weather Service Office in Jackson. Local chapter president and NWS Jackson Meteorologist-in-Charge Alan Gerard gave a presentation on the National Weather Service’s Warning Event Simulator (WES).

Meeting Minutes

The May meeting of the AMS Jackson chapter was held Monday, May 20th at 7 pm, at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Jackson, MS. The topic of the meeting was the new Weather Event Simulator being used by the National Weather Service for hazardous weather training. This presentation was an opportunity for those in attendance to learn more about the current and future status of meteorological training for severe weather, radar meteorology, and the meteorology of other hazardous weather phenomena.

The meeting was opened by President Alan Gerard, and Dave Biggar followed with the treasurer’s report. The next chapter meeting was proposed for late June, and potential topics and speakers were suggested for future meetings. Officer elections were discussed for the 2002-03 chapter year, but an official election did not take place. Nominations were made for the 2002 Susan Oakley award for public service. It was decided that this year’s award should be presented to Bill Weisenberger, Madison County Emergency Management Association Director. Through Mr Weisenberger’s hard work and devotion, recovery has been easier for Madison County residents struck by a devastating F4 tornado last November.

Following the chapter business session, Mr. Gerard began his presentation on the NWS Warning Event Simulator (WES), a training tool being implemented at NWS offices around the country. This simulator follows in the spirit of other training simulators, such as the flight simulator used to train pilots for unexpected emergencies. Through advanced data archiving, the WES recreates a severe weather event, and allows meteorologists to experience the event in a real-time environment. The simulation is run on a linux box running Advanced Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) software. During the simulation, meteorologists are responsible for analyzing the same weather data that was available during the actual event, including all observational, radar, and model data. Based on the data, the meteorologist is responsible for making warning decisions, and issuing warning products.

In his demonstration of the WES, Gerard ran through a simulation of the April 8th, 1998 severe weather outbreak, centered over northern and central Alabama. This case is being used at all NWS simulator sites. During the simulation, Gerard explained weather and radar analysis techniques used by NWS meteorologists in the warning decision making process. He pointed out certain mesoscale features in surface and satellite imagery, that offered important clues to the near storm environment and the expected storm type.

In an effort to increase relations with the media, NWS Jackson, MS has proposed that area broadcast meteorologists experience the WES. The NWS Jackson believes this learning experience would increase their communication with the media during times of severe weather.

Gerard concluded his presentation with a question and answer session. Questions concerning the November 24th tornado outbreak were raised, and Gerard displayed archive data from this event, focusing on the F4 tornado that struck Madison County.

The meeting was adjourned by Alan Gerard.

Minutes submitted by Eric Carpenter.

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