February 18, 2016 Meeting

The third meeting of the 2015-2016 year took place at Ichiban restaurant in Flowood. During the meeting, Alan Gerard of NSSL talked about VORTEX-SE and the FACETs program.

Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
The third meeting of the 2015-2016 year took place on Thursday February 18th at Ichiban Chinese restaurant in Flowood, MS. The meeting was called to order at 7:12 pm by President Eric Carpenter.

Recording Secretary Joanne Culin made a list of those in attendance. Seventeen people attended.

Minutes Approval
Minutes from the December meeting were summarized by Recording Secretary Joanne Culin.

New Business
The business session began with a treasury report. Treasurer David Cox gave the report. He stated that $180 began the meeting in the treasury. Dues were collected by three people. Purchases were made for coffee and food items for the NWS Jackson Emergency Management workshop earlier that day, to purchase an award plaque to be presented at the meeting, and to purchase dinner for the guest presenter. The treasury sits at $117.56. Regular dues remain $20, and student membership dues are $10.

Most of the attendees were from the NWS office, but some non-NWS people attended. Joanne introduced a new attendee, James Stanley, to the group after having met him during dinner. James moved to Jackson in April after having attended NC State, and he works for WeatherVision. President Eric Carpenter then presented the guest speaker, Alan Gerard with the Susan S. Oakley Public Service Award for his many years of dedicated service while working for NWS Jackson and serving as a chapter officer. Alan was one of the original founders of the chapter award which is given for special acts of public service and is named after one Mississippi’s pioneer weather observers. Go here to read more about Susan S. Oakley and her contributions. Benny Holden also gave Alan a “Southern Weather” sign which indicated the weather according to the condition of the sign.

The guest speak was former Jackson NWS MIC, Alan Gerard. Alan is currently the Deputy Chief of the Research and Development Branch of the National Severe Storm Lab in Norman, OK. Alan gave a talk on the work that he and NSSL are doing with regards to the future of our warning system and how warnings are displayed and could be utilized. He works as part of a program called FACETS, which works on the proposed changes to the NWS watch/warning paradigm. Current warnings have a large false alarm area, and the goal is to provide some kind of probability for people within a polygon based on their actual threat to the warned storm rather than the current binary yes/no answer to being in a warning. FACETS is a reinvention of NOAA’s current teletype system and focuses on the entire forecast/warning process. This could be applied to all weather types(flash flood, winter, fire weather) and not just severe. It would provide a continuous flow of relevant, actionable info for each neighborhood. Alan showed how these warnings could work, including a really cool tornado threat meter. He also talked about the 2015 Hazardous Weather Testbed PHI experiment which involved testing manual versus automated warning generation. It was a three week experiment involving 6 forecasters and 10 emergency managers.

Alan then spoke about Vortex Southeast. This is a research project in the southeast United States that stemmed from Vortex and Vortex 2. It was funded by Congress and will take place for at least the next 2 years, perhaps longer if results are being found and funding is still approved. The goal of this is to improve societal outcomes and better warnings and services. The research will look at how tornadoes form and intensify in the Southeast, which is different than the Plains “Tornado Alley.” There is more vulnerability in the southeast to tornadoes due to nighttime tornadoes, terrain, etc. Also, climatology played a role in that we get a lot of tornadoes during the year in the Southeast. Despite the fact that it was spawned from previous Vortex projects, there won’t be any official storm chasing associated with the project due to the dangers of observing storms in this part of the nation. NOAA and NSF are lead agencies and many universities and agencies are involved in working on research. There is more of a focus on stationary and mobile instruments in this Vortex.

There was discussion on future weather improvements, including satellite capabilities and GOES-R, which Alan has heard may revolutionize the current warning paradigm.

The meeting concluded at approximately 9:00 pm, and it was adjourned.

Minutes were submitted by Joanne Culin, Recording Secretary.

February 2016 Meeting

Alan Gerard talks about the future of weather warnings

For more pictures from this meeting, click here.

%d bloggers like this: