Partnerships Theme of National Severe Weather Workshop

Severe weather experts, including Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore and forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service will discuss tornadoes, flash floods, lightning and responses to hazardous weather during the fourth annual National Severe Weather Workshop to be held March 4-6, 2004, at the National Center for Employee Development Marriott Conference Center in Norman, Okla. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Registration is underway for the three-day workshop, which is designed to enhance partnerships between severe weather forecasters and researchers, emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, businesses, storm spotters and other weather enthusiasts. In addition, free storm spotter and radar training will be offered. The event is sponsored by NOAA, the National Weather Service (NWS), NWS Central and Southern Regions, Oklahoma Emergency Managers Association and the Central Oklahoma Chapters of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association.

“The National Severe Weather Workshop is rapidly becoming one of the premier venues for sharing hazardous weather information,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “It is a terrific event because it brings together emergency managers and media with the forecasters who issue valuable watches and warnings.” Gen. Johnson, who is newly appointed as head of the National Weather Service, is scheduled to address the workshop.

The theme for this year’s workshop is “Partners Keeping the Public Warned and Informed.” The record-breaking tornado outbreak of May 2003 will be the focus of talks on Friday, March 5, by broadcast meteorologists, emergency managers and forecasters from the NOAA National Weather Service. In addition, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is tentatively scheduled to speak on Friday. A banquet that evening will feature Cantore discussing The Weather Channel’s perspective on the event.

“This is a unique national event where people from a variety of disciplines gather to discuss how we can better protect the lives of American citizens,” said Joseph Schaefer, director of NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, one of the workshop organizers.

Four breakout sessions will be offered during the workshop on the following topics: tornado damage surveys presented by Tim Marshall, Haag Engineering; Weather on the Web by Dale Morris, Oklahoma Climatological Survey; and media and emergency management partnerships and StormReady applications and information presented by the National Weather Service.

NOAA National Weather Service Regional Directors – Dean Gulezian/Eastern Region, Dennis McCarthy/Central Region, Vicki Nadolski/Western Region, and William Proenza/Southern Region and Gary Jones, acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region VI, will make presentations during the event. National Weather Service officials will discuss the I-35 flood in Kansas during August 2003, hazardous weather outlooks, the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” program, and forecast tools used by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Tornado researcher Howard Bluestein from the University of Oklahoma will discuss scientific insights gained from tornado interceptions in 2003 on Saturday morning, March 6. Also that day, radar interpretation will be presented by Jim LaDue, meteorologist with the NOAA Warning Decision Training Branch and Kevin Kloesel, director of outreach for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. An advanced storm spotting session will be provided by Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman. Additional workshop topics include solar weather and lightning deaths and hazardous weather outlooks.

Workshop registration is being taken online at: http://www.norman.noaa.gov/nsww2004. Early workshop registration is $85 until Feb. 19. Late registration will be accepted from Feb. 20 until the event for $100. One-day packages are available for $35. Radar interpretation and advanced storm spotting sessions from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday are free. Sponsor and vendor opportunities are still available for businesses to promote their products or services during the event. More information about the workshop is available online or by calling (405) 579-0771.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.