December 6, 2016 Meeting

The fourth meeting of the 2016-2017 year took place at the National Weather Service Jackson office. NWS Jackson meteorologist Shannon Hefferan was the speaker.

Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
The fourth meeting of the 2016-2017 AMS/NWA chapter was called to order at 7:07pm by NWA President Eric Carpenter. The meeting was held at the National Weather Service office in Flowood.

Recording Secretary Joanne Culin recorded those in attendance, with twelve people present.

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

New Business
The business session began with a treasury report. Treasurer David Cox gave the report. At the beginning of the meeting, $247.50 was in the treasury. One new member joined and another member renewed dues for another year. Joanne also brought up the idea of buying a Domino’s pizza card from Latrice Maxie. The card cost $10 and is a buy one get one free card for large pizzas through June. The members agreed that this might be a good deal and Latrice was paid for the card, which should be given to the chapter by the end of the year. By the end of the meeting, the treasury stood at $277.50. As a reminder, memberships are now valid for an entire year, rather than just through the remainder of the current chapter year. Daniel suggested sharing the paid members document with the group, but it was determined that a current list will be on the website.

NWA President Eric Carpenter then collected socks for Sock it to Grace place at Galloway Church. Many members brought socks, which will be taken to the church later in the week in advance of the coldest air of the season. Many, many thanks to all who donated socks!!!!

NWA Vice-President Will Day elaborated on the topic he mentioned at the November meeting of a national NWA webinar he watched titled “Advanced Social Media Strategy”. The webinar discussed innovative ways to collect and distribute weather information via Twitter, including #tspotter and VOST. He mentioned the group in Nashville who won the Walter J. Bennett award for public service in the development of tspotter.

A brief discussion was held of potential January speakers, which included Al Leiberman talking on pilot weather briefings. This might also include a trip to the airport tower, when we can determine who to contact over there for a tour. Brett Adair was also mentioned given his inability to come to the previous meeting, as well as hurricane hunter Will Simmons.

Our speaker for this meeting was Shannon Hefferan. Shannon is the newest intern for WFO Jackson, coming from NOAA Corps. She spoke about the wide variety of experiences she had in NOAA Corps over the last six years. She was a 2009 graduate of Penn State University. There are about 320 people in NOAA Corps and she had four assignments: two on boats, one on a plane(Gulfstream) and one on land at the NOAA National Hurricane Center Storm Surge unit.

NOAA Corps is based in Kings Point, NY and training is about six months long. They pick people with science degrees and mold you into driving a big boat! There’s generally two paths to take in the NOAA Corps: to be on a boat or in a plane. If you have a pilot’s license, they generally steer you in that direction. You live on the boat for the majority of the time and training includes fast rescue training, going to firefighting school, etc. Every week you do a drill on the boat and you also learn to draw on nautical charts. Shannon also mentioned that some of the boats also have livestreaming channels.

Shannon then talked about her assignments. Her first was on NOAA ship Delaware II which did fishing and other things. There were 26 people on the crew and scientists. The Delaware II spends 177 days per year at sea, mainly in the north Atlantic. Some cruises are 20 days long going from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras. The boat can only go as fast as 10mph. Shannon joined this in 2010 for Deepwater Horizon.

Her second assignment was on the R/V Gloria Michelle. This was an 80 foot fishing vessel and was the first boat commanded by two women. It had a crew of two people and it was based around the water of Massachusetts. It conducted surveys of fish population. She mentioned that other fishermen hated seeing NOAA people around because they felt it was overregulation but in reality, it was helping them keep their jobs by not allowing them to overfish.

Her third assignment was when she went to Tampa in 2014 for aircraft operations. They do coastal mapping, snow surveys(where they take obs off gamma radiation to look at soil moisture and determine snowmelt flooding). She also used dropsondes to measure hurricane information. Dropsondes are launched every six minutes and they are not recycled. The main mission of the G-4 is dropsondes. In winter, they study atmospheric rivers.

Her last and most recent assignment before coming to Jackson, MS was at the storm surge unit at the National Hurricane Center. Here she looked at the SLOSH model, helped develop inundation graphics and the storm surge watch/warning project that will become operational in the 2017 hurricane season. This is in an effort to help us become a more storm surge savvy nation. They produce this from Texas to Maine and over half the funding comes from FEMA. In the off season, the hurricane center hosts different geographical regions at a FEMA course.

The meeting concluded at 8:52 pm, and it was adjourned.

Minutes were submitted by Joanne Culin, Recording Secretary.

December 6, 2016 Meeting

Shannon Hefferan discusses her experiences in NOAA Corps.

For more pictures from this meeting, click here.

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