2010-Agenda with Topic Descriptions

2010 National Severe Weather Workshop Program

Program Chair, Greg Carbin

See the Agenda without Topic Descriptions and View pdf Presentations

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Session Ia – Mitigation Strategies and Continuity of Operations

Moderators: Jeffrey Peters, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center and Kevin Scharfenberg, NOAA/NWS Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services

9:00a-9:20a Wal-mart Stores, Inc. Mitigation and Emergency Management, Lucas McDonald, Emergency Operations Manager for Wal-mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Arkansas

Topic description: How Wal-mart prepares for and responds to disasters of all types and scales.  This includes utilization of  NWS forecasts and partnerships with the government agencies prior to, during, and after a disaster.  I will also discuss some of the ways we are preparing our 1.5 million associates to deal with disasters, which in turn leads to better prepared communities.

9:25a-9:45a State Farm Insurance Corporate Security and Emergency Management, Kevin Wisniewski, State Farm Insurance Corporate Security, Emergency Management, and Business Continuity, Bloomington, Illinois

Topic description: How public and private sector Emergency Managers can learn from each other and the benefits cooperation can bring.

9:50a-10:15a Refreshment break sponsored by Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

10:10a-10:15a Weather briefing courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (please note overlap with scheduled break)

10:20a-10:40a Bringing Diverse Missions into a Common Focus – U.S. Air Force’s 15th Operational Weather Squadron and the Storm Prediction Center/Aviation Weather Center Backup Mission, Mr. Jeffrey Mitchell and Mr. Larry McCoy, Meteorological Technicians (Trainers)

Topic description: On May 1st 2009, the Air Force’s 15th Operational Weather Squadron, located at Scott AFB, IL, assumed responsibility of the Storm Prediction Center and Aviation Weather Center backup support mission from Air Force Weather Agency.  The presentation will summarize the mission of the 15th Operational Weather Squadron and the support the squadron provides its customers.  It will also provide insight into the training backup support team members receive to become certified Storm Prediction Center and Aviation Weather Center forecasters.

10:45a-11:10p Are You Really Prepared? A Real Life Assessment after the Ohio Valley Ice Storm 2009, Patrick J. Spoden, Shane Luecke, Robin R. Smith, Daniel Spaeth and Christine Wielgos, NOAA/NWS Paducah, Kentucky

Topic description: Just over one year ago, on 26-28 January 2009, a catastrophic ice storm produced 1 to 2 inches of ice on trees and power lines across portions of the WFO Paducah County Warning Area of southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky. This ice storm seriously damaged the infrastructure of the area due to falling limbs and downed power lines. Electricity was out region-wide for days and in many rural areas for weeks.

The National Weather Service regularly promotes winter storm preparedness, but how much of that is actually used? Are you truly ready for a situation with little or no communications, commercial power, and lack or restrictions of generators, gasoline, or kerosene?

These are the types of issues that many people in the Ohio Valley faced from late January into February 2009. The amount of inconvenience that people experienced depended upon their individual preparedness levels and luck. NWS WFO Paducah, Kentucky was in backup mode for nearly 6 days while the office staff experienced the disaster first hand.

This presentation will briefly review basic meteorology from the event and frankly assess the preparedness level of WFO. The presentation will offer various ideas on how to survive a natural disaster.

11:15a-11:35a Hydrometeorological Prediction Center QPF Backup Procedures at the Storm Prediction Center, Mike Eckert

HPC QPF products have become critical to National Weather Service and other meteorological operations including Guidance for WFOs and RFCs, input for NWS Hydrologic Modeling, private sector use and use by FEMA and state EMAs. The 24 hour one-inch QPF is a Performance Metric for DOC, NOAA and the NWS.

An overview of the reasoning and history behind the development of the backup, successes and failures, suite of products and procedures will be shown.

11:40a-Noon Sneak Previews of Afternoon Breakout Sessions and Announcements, Morris, Novy, Eosco, Smith, Scharfenberg

Noon-12:55p Lunch session (Oklahoma Ballroom F) sponsored by Verizon Wireless

Session Ib – Mitigation Strategies and Continuity of Operations

Moderators: Roger Edwards and Jared Guyer, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center

1:00p-1:20p Modeling of Severe Weather Risks from Insurance/Reinsurance Perspectives, Jianming Yin, Ph.D, Senior Vice President, Tokio Marine Technologies LLC

Topic description: Property damages and insurance loss claims resulted from severe weather exist with varying quality and are often incomplete. Simple statistical analysis of the historical claims data proves to be inadequate and can be misleading as the population spread, personal wealth, and insurance policy terms are constantly changing over time. Simulations of thousands of likely severe weather disaster scenarios and their impact on the current building stock become necessary and possible in an era of ever-improving computing technologies and powerful computers. Computer simulation models typically rely upon the historical severe weather reports which may not necessarily reflect the true risk and nor contain all the information required in order to simulate the insurance losses caused by the severe weather. The presentation will discuss the principles, requirements, and challenges in modeling of severe weather risks in the U.S. using the NCDC/SPC severe hailstorm reports.

1:25p-1:45p Using Strategic Telework to Mitigate Emergencies, John Sanger, President, Tele-Commuter Resources, Inc.

Topic description: Beginning with a comparison of various approaches to COOP, the presentation will contrast them to the benefits of a COOP based upon strategic telework. As a critical context, the GIS based Regional Telecommuting Action Plan (RTAP) will be reviewed as well as how a participating employer would use TCR’s Vulnerability Audit, a critical tool in the strategic deployment of telework-based COOP employees.  The RTAP has an embedded plan for expanding the telework deployment based upon the profile of three, regionally defined and regionally called, crisis levels, plus a general Pandemic deployment.  The RTAP provides an analysis of the infrastructure required to support these deployments as input to the emergency management plan and documents contingency plans appropriate to the type of crisis being called.

By integrating the RTAP with the emergency management effort the region gains insights about electronic infrastructure capacities, alternative modes of service delivery, trip reductions and much more.  The impact on the cost and duration of a major emergency will be greatly reduced.

Session II – Technologies Advancing and Enhancing Communications and Decision-Making

1:50p-2:10p Emergencies 2.0, Adam Crowe, Johnson County, Kansas Emergency Management

Topic description: Emergency public information for nearly every emergency or disaster since 2007 has been impacted by social media systems such as Twitter and Facebook.  During those situations information was collected and widely disseminated with speed and accurate that often outpaced traditional media outlets.  Consequently, this presentation will review those situations and look to the future of social media’s impact and use related to emergency preparedness.

2:15p-2:35p Leveraging Social Media: NewsOK’s Digital Strategies in News-Gathering for Weather, David Jones, Video Production Manager/Producer, newsok.com

Topic Description: This presentation will highlight how NewsOK is using social media and other technology to enhance their weather coverage during significant events. You’ll see some examples from recent weather events that show how information can be gathered from and shared with a diverse audience using Twitter, live blogs, Skype and other tools.

2:40p-2:55p Afternoon break sponsored by Oz Safe Rooms

3:00p-5:00p Breakout Sessions, one hour each, pick two to attend.

Breakout Session A (University Rooms 6a,6b) – Social Media Technology Workshop, Rick Smith and David Jones and Adam Crowe and Tim Brice

Do you know the difference between a tweet and a status update? Are you looking for more friends, fans or followers? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the social media options that are available?  This interactive session is designed to answer your questions about various social media tools, especially Facebook and Twitter, and how they might be used to help share weather information. We’ll show examples of how weather partners are using social media and discuss which of the different tools might work best for you. The session will be driven by your questions and discussion, so please bring all your burning social media questions!

Breakout Session B (University Room 6c)VORTEX2 and Tornado Intensity, Jim LaDue and Josh Wurman and Karen Kosiba

VORTEX2 Low level wind research: wind versus damage.

Breakout Session C (Oklahoma Room I) – Remote Sensing and Decision Support, Phillip Bothwell, Chris Siewert, Mark Burger, Brian Hughes

Tools the SPC has for decision support for fire weather will be covered. This includes the man/machine mix for satellite detection of wildfires as well as techniques for predicting areas where dry thunderstorms capable of starting wildfires are expected. We will also discuss the advances in geostationary satellite technology coming on-board the next generation GOES-R series of satellites to be launched in 2015.  Major benefits to the forecasting and emergency management communities will be examined and compared to the capabilities of the current geostationary satellite system.

Breakout Session D (Oklahoma Room J) – SKYWARN: Practical Considerations for Emergency Managers, Chris Novy

This breakout session will cover practical considerations for emergency managers currently using or thinking of using storm spotters to augment their community preparedness plans.  I will cover communications and weather-related technologies beneficial to both spotters in the field and EMs in the EOC.  Storm spotter safety, accuracy, and liability issues will be covered as well as developing cooperative relationships between municipalities and private entities to improve warning response.

Thursday Evening, March 4, 2010

7:00p Banquet with Guest Speaker: Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President/CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. – FLASH®, an award-winning national, non-profit corporation founded in 1998 by a collaborative of organizations dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disaster. Read more about FLASH and Ms. Chapman-Henderson’s accomplishments here.

Beyond Engineering: The New Social Science of Safe Rooms

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes – FLASH® has spent 12 years creating award-winning consumer awareness and professional education initiatives to help strengthen homes and safeguard families from disasters of all kinds. Their landmark project, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort, combines entertainment and education to teach guests about severe storm safety, preparation and mitigation through fun and play. Using lessons learned at StormStruck, FLASH is developing its first ever, integrated tornado safety initiative to apply research findings and proven social marketing strategies to 1) increase market interest in tornado safe rooms; and 2) reinforce the importance of constructing quality safe rooms using FEMA 320 guidelines and/or ICC/NSSA 500 standards. The speaker will preview the preliminary research findings, share the new marketing concept and outline special implications for the Southeastern U.S.

Friday, March 5, 2010

8:30a-8:45a Opening Remarks, Bill Proenza, NOAA/NWS Southern Region Headquarters

Session III – Verification Metrics and Meanings

Moderators: Chris Melick and John Hart, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center

8:50a-9:10a On the Precision of Threats in National Weather Service Severe Weather Warnings, Ray Wolf, Science Operations Officer and Sara Christensen, NOAA/NWS Davenport, Iowa

Topic description: The National Weather Service (NWS) implemented storm-based warnings in the fall of 2007 to provide a greater level of precision in depicting the areal coverage of severe weather in contrast to the former county-based method.  The national verification program provides statistical measures such as probability of detection (POD) and false alarm rate (FAR) for these “polygon” warnings.  Most NWS severe thunderstorm warnings also indicate the type and/or magnitude of the expected threat by specifying a hail size and/or wind speed.  However, there is no formal effort to verify the accuracy of these warning parameters.

The goal of this study is to quantify the current level of skill in threat forecasting to develop a baseline from which future training and research efforts can build and improvements be measured.  Severe weather reports in the NWS Davenport, Iowa county warning area from 2005-2007 were paired with the associated warning.  The maximum hail size and/or maximum measured wind gust, or estimated wind gust (based on the type and degree of damage reported), were compared to the values stated in the initial warning issuance, and verification statistics were generated from that comparison.   Tornado warnings are included for comparison purposes, although these statistics are tracked in the national verification program.

9:15a-9:35a Perception of Accuracy in TV Weather Broadcasts, Dave Freeman, KSN Weather Lab, Wichita, Kansas

Topic description: When it comes to verification of public forecasts, it is not enough to simply compare the forecast to the actual event.  If the users of forecasts do not understand the forecaster’s intent, decisions may be made based on incorrect reasoning.  If the users do not believe in the accuracy of the forecasts, they may disregard the information. A recent viewer survey will shed light on some of these crucial perceptions.

9:40a-10:00a Integrating Objective Evaluation into Operations – The Development Testbed Center’s Approach, Tara Jensen, Development Testbed Center, Boulder, Colorado

Topic description: This talk will highlight the verification research-to-operations work being done at the Development Testbed Center (DTC) through collaborations with the Hazardous Weather Testbed and the Hydrometeorology Testbed.  The foundation for this work is the Model Evaluation Tools (MET) developed at the DTC.  This talk will cover current capabilities, imminent additions, and examples of how MET has been applied within each testbed.

10:05a-10:25a Refreshment break sponsored by ESI WebEOC

Session IVa – Event Alerting Technologies and Issues

10:30a-10:50a NWS Advances in Information Delivery, Ed Calianese, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA/NWS Tulsa, Oklahoma

Topic description: Over the past ten years, a philosophical change has been ongoing in the NWS regarding the products and services provided by its Weather Forecast Offices. This cultural change has resulted in a trend away from a product-driven philosophy toward a service-driven philosophy. While ten years ago NWS forecasters devoted all of their time to issuing a suite of text products, today the output from a typical WFO not only includes the text products required by some customers but also a wide array of other products and services. This presentation will provide an overview of the modern suite of products and services provided by today’s NWS Forecast Offices.

10:55a-11:15a Public Education on Storm-based Warnings / Lessons Learned, Valerie Ritterbusch, Weathercall.net

Topic description: In tornado alley, the public has a 30+ year history of county-wide, broad-brushed warnings.  During our first spring severe weather season, we learned it’s not the warning calls we make, but the calls we DON’T MAKE that pose the REAL challenge to our business.

11:20a-11:40a The Mena, Arkansas, Tornado of April 9, 2009, John Robinson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA/NWS Little Rock, Arkansas

Topic description: The Mena, Arkansas, tornado of April 9, 2009, ripped through the heart of a town of 5600 people near the Arkansas/Oklahoma border.  This presentation examines a couple of factors that aided in the success of the warning process, the use of NWSChat in the immediate aftermath of the tornado, a couple of minor controversies that arose during the damage survey, and the use of Google Earth in tornado surveys.

11:45a-Noon Tornadoes Impacting Interstates: Service and Societal Considerations, Scott Blair, NOAA/NWS Topeka, Kansas

Topic description: Motorists traveling on Interstates have an increased vulnerability to weather hazards due to their unfamiliarity with nearby towns, limited methods to receive short-term weather information, and a general deficiency of substantial shelter.  To assess the threat, a database of tornadoes crossing primary and auxiliary Interstates across the central contiguous United States was compiled for the period of 1990 to 2008.  The study reveals 484 tornadoes tracked across the Interstate system within the domain during the sample period.  It was found that approximately 20% of Interstate tornadoes resulted in an impact to vehicles.  Factors such as time of the day, EF-Scale rating, and travel density were examined to assess potential correlation with the probability of a tornado impact. This presentation discusses current warning and preparedness activities in the operational meteorological community and state transportation departments, and recommends future actions and new technology to mitigate the loss of life and property from Interstate tornadoes.

Noon-12:55p Lunch session (Oklahoma Ballroom F) sponsored by Mackay Communications

Session IVb – Event Alerting Technologies and Issues

Moderators: Harold Brooks, NOAA/OAR National Severe Storms Laboratory and Jeff Evans, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center

1:00p-1:20p February 2009 Tornadoes in Edmond, Oklahoma, Mike Magee, Edmond Emergency Management, Tim Dorsey, Edmond Police Department, Doug Hall, Edmond Fire Department, and Randy Decker, Executive Director of Human Resources, Edmond Public Schools

Topic description: We will talk about the coordinated response to the tornado.

1:25p-1:45p Enhanced NWS Services for the Emergency Management Community across Southwest Lower Michigan, Jamie Bielinski, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA/NWS Grand Rapids, Michigan

Topic Description: The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids continues to make improved support of emergency services a number one priority.  Working closely with Emergency Management in southwest Michigan, the NWS has been able to improve critical support of emergency operations in several areas: winter weather, severe weather, communications, and on-site support.  For the purpose of this talk, the focus will be on winter weather.

In 2008, NWS offices in Lower Michigan began issuing impact based winter weather advisories and warnings.  These new products take into account snowfall rates as well as conditions preceding the potential hazard.  The result has been an improved correlation between warnings and reality. In 2009, the NWS Grand Rapids implemented the new bulleted winter storm and non-precipitation warning methodology.  Additional enhancements were incorporated to improve this product further based on customer and partner needs.  Combining feedback from the 2008 changes mentioned above, into the 2009 modifications, the new NWS GRR “H.I.P” Bulleted WSW/NPW emerged.

1:50p-2:10p Facilitating Emergency Response Using the Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) Standards, Bill Kalin, Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, Science and Technology, Department of Homeland Security

Topic description: DHS Science & Technology has been working with NOAA National Weather Service for several years on alert and warning technologies based on the Common Alerting Protocol, CAP, which is developed in S&T. CAP has been implemented into the NWS HazCollect System and is being implemented to other NOAA programs and the update to the national Emergency Alert System (EAS) with FEMA.

The current status of standards in the alert and warning industry will be discussed along with how these updates will benefit first responders and the public.

2:15p-2:30p SPC Convective Watch Product Improvement Plans: Request for Partner Input and Support, Russell Schneider, NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center and John Ferree, NOAA/NWS Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services

This presentation will describe proposed changes to SPC Severe Weather Products and seek partner input for their final design characteristics.  One effort currently in the design phase, is the reorganization of SPC Convective Watch information to both make it more useful to our Partners and to speed transmission of important hazard information to the Public.  The current elements of this SPC product set will be discussed, and initial plans for the reorganization will be shared.  Other potential future changes to SPC Products will also briefly described.  Most importantly, this is a talk to ask you for your input as we move forward, together, to best serve the United States.

2:30p-2:55p Afternoon break

3:00p-5:00p Breakout Sessions, one hour each, pick two to attend.

Breakout Session A (University Rooms 6a,6b) – Severe Weather Alerting: What Works and Why?, Joseph Mastandrea, Mike Magee, Lans, Rothfusz, and Ray Wolf

Severe weather threatens life-safety and property somewhere in the United States almost daily.  The use of severe weather warning systems by public safety personnel to alert citizens of impending danger is becoming more widespread.  Unfortunately, inconsistent practices across jurisdictions may be decreasing the effectiveness of warning systems.  To increase public confidence in the use of severe weather warning systems and to leverage educational and outreach resources regionally, some organizations are working toward the development of policies that will bring some standardization to warning practices.  This panel discussion will bring together subject matter experts and practitioners to discuss the many challenges facing policy makers as they attempt to develop severe weather alerting best practices.

Breakout Session B (University Room 6c)A Compelling Case for Total Continuity of Operations, Lloyd R. Smith, Jr., Managing Director, Business & Government Continuity Services, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Because of increasing severe disasters, terrorist and pandemic threats, Business, Government and Community Continuity are necessary to continue or recover operations in the event of a serious disaster or emergency.  We continue to experience more disasters of greater impact and must be prepared at all levels for recovery of government, business and communities.  If all three components do not recover effectively and responsively, the impacts could be severe, costly, cause permanent damage and may lead to anarchy.

This presentation will provide a compelling case for effective emergency response, disaster recovery and continuity of operations. Considerations, issues and excuses will be discussed by a leading expert, certified as a Master Business Continuity Professional.

Best practices and principles to improve safety, security, emergency response, disaster prevention and recovery capabilities will be included.  At the conclusion attendees will understand that continuity of operations is everyone’s responsibility and that the public, private and personal sectors must effectively work together to improve sustainability and survivability of our communities, State and Nation.

Breakout Session C (Oklahoma Room I) – NWS Verification and Storm Data, Brent MacAloney and Chance Hayes

The National Weather Service continuously strives to improve the accuracy of our warning and forecast services.  In order to improve, the NWS places a heavy emphasis on working with trained spotters, media outlets, and those in the emergency response community to collect reports of severe weather in near real time.  Once these severe weather reports are collected and quality controlled, they are logged in a database named “storm data.”  The NWS then uses the storm data reports to verify their watch and warning products.  This breakout session will discuss collection and logging of storm data events, as well as the techniques used to provide performance statistics to the forecaster in order to improve the watch and warning process.

Breakout Session D (Oklahoma Room J) – New Standards for Storm Shelters, Ernst Kiesling, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas and Tom Bennett, The News on 6, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The topic will be the future of the shelter industry in relation to the new ICC-500/NSSA standard. Here’s some background as to why this is important.  The previous benchmark for storm shelter construction was FEMA 320 for residential storm shelters and FEMA 361 for community storm shelters.  The International Code Council (ICC) has adopted a more code compliance for housing inspectors in terms of verification of a standard. The FEMA 320 & 361 were published, but there was little, if any inspection process to verify compliance.  Here’s another note, the ICC-500/NSSA standard does not replace FEMA 320 or 361.  They still are valid and exist.  The local housing inspector will be following the ICC 500/NSSA standard in the future and that is why this makes a great teaching topic for people in the weather industry. Especially media and local emergency managers.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Session V – General Session

Moderators: Renee Curry and Ashton Robinson-Cook, University of Oklahoma

8:30a-8:45a iNWS, Aaron Sutula, NOAA/NWS Western Region, Salt Lake City, Utah

Topic description: Interactive NWS, or iNWS, is an application that connects the NWS to its customers whether they are at home, at the office or in the field. iNWS subscribers access weather and hydrologic data online, and configure their own profile to receive customized text message and email alerts of NWS watches, advisories, and warnings on their cellular phones and/or desktop computers. The iNWS prototype is the result of a joint effort between NWS Western Region and Southern Region and is in the process of being implemented as a official service of the NWS.

8:50a-9:05a Update on Online SKYWARN Training, Tanja Fransen

Topic description: This presentation will give the latest updates on the Skywarn training manual, and the online SKYWARN training website.

9:10a-9:25a Casinos and Severe Weather Risk Exposure, Dan Miller, SOO, NOAA/NWS Duluth, Minnesota

Topic description: Over the past 10 to 15 years, the proliferation of gaming casinos across the United States has continued, and the size of existing and new casinos has also continued to increase.  While some casinos are located in or near large metropolitan areas, many are located near small cities or towns, and some are located in rural or remote areas that are not near any major population center.  Some casinos are nearly one-stop-shops for entertainment, and include hotels, golf courses, RV parks, marinas, and convention or outdoor concert facilities in addition to gaming. This presentation will examine the rather significant challenges to effectively communicating severe weather threat information for casino locations for numerous reasons, including, but not limited to 1) large numbers of people concentrated at locations not readily identifiable on maps, 2) many (most?) of the aforementioned people being on vacation or other travel, and thus not familiar with the local area, landmarks, counties and nearby cities or towns, 3) the elevated risk for people in RV parks, marinas, and convention or outdoor concert facilities, especially at night, 4) maintaining weather situational awareness while on a casino floor and 5) the longer lead times required for people to get to a safe location.

9:30a-9:45a Uncertainty about Uncertainty, Part II: Answers, Dale Morris

9:50a-10:05a Utilizing Incident Command for Storm Spotter Deployment, David Salmon, Weather Derivatives, Kansas City, Missouri

Topic description: There are numerous functions that local government has to be able to perform to orchestrate the local warning efforts. Some involve weather knowledge and weather diligence, but many are also basic to the insistence that FEMA makes; that all multi-agency/multi-jurisdictional “emergencies” are to be managed using the NIM/ICS. Weather watches and warnings being for flooding, or the proverbial tornado, are such events.

The main functions are:

Command–somebody has to be in charge for the jurisdiction and ALL its agencies. The ultimate decision-maker.

Planning–Makes decisions or at least recommendations on when and where to deploy spotters, monitors the weather, keeps records.

Operations–Puppet master for the actual field spotters, including ensuring they have the broader weather picture to be looking the right spot.

Communications–PIO, Et al.

Those are the main jobs to do a spotter deployment correctly. One person can NOT do all the functions. There needs to be a command structure. Exactly how that structure will look will vary from community to community, but some structure is needed.

Benefits: A coordinated effort for the community, including filtering out the erroneous information AND HOPEFULLY, better information, more concise information, fewer repetitive questions back to the NWS warning point.

10:10a-10:40a Refreshment break

10:35a-10:40a Weather briefing courtesy of NWS Norman, Oklahoma Forecast Office (please note overlap with scheduled break)

10:45a-11:05a VORTEX2 Update, Lou Wicker, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Topic description: The Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment, Part 2 (VORTEX2) began in Spring 2009 and will continue during Spring 2010.  VORTEX2 is a once-in-a-decade large research project to learn more about tornadoes.  Funding for the experiment is provided by the National Science Foundation (for university participants) and by NOAA (for federal government participants).  The successful VORTEX1 project occurred in 1994 and 1995.  This presentation will briefly cover the VORTEX2 objectives and logistics, summarize results from 2009, and describe plans for the upcoming Spring 2010 field phase.

11:10a-11:30a Road and Atmospheric Hazard Products from Mobile Weather Platforms, Sheldon Drobot, Scientific Program Manager, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Topic description: In today’s talk, Sheldon will provide an update on NCAR’s mobile observation work, which is examining how passenger vehicles can be used in the warning process. This includes the promise of using vehicles as mobile data platforms and how we might be able to get road and atmospheric hazard information to drivers.

11:35a-11:55a Dual Polarization Radar Update, Paul Schlatter, NOAA/NWS Warning Decision Training Branch, Norman, Oklahoma

Topic description: The NEXRAD tri-agencies (DOC, DOD, DOT) have determined that adding Dual Polarization (dual-pol) capability to the Weather Surveillance Radar – 1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) would provide mission benefits including improved hail detection for severe thunderstorm warnings, improved rainfall estimation for flood and flash flood warnings, rain/snow discrimination for winter weather warnings and advisories, data retrieval from areas of partial beam blockage to improve services in mountainous terrain, and removal of non-weather artifacts such as birds and ground clutter to improve overall data quality for algorithms and numerical model input.

This presentation provides a very brief overview of the new radar products available with dual-pol, and how they might  be applied to the decision-making process.  Training opportunities from the National Weather Service (NWS) Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) are discussed for a wide range of audiences, including NWS meteorologists, broadcast meteorologists, emergency managers, first responders, and the general public.  The most recent deployment schedule will also be presented.

Noon-12:55p Lunch session, including briefing from Rick Smith on upcoming SKYWARN Training activities

12:30p-12:55p Registration / Check-in (For afternoon session only.)

1:00p-4:30p Free Storm Observation Training

Mr. Rick Smith,Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA/NWS Norman, Oklahoma and Kevin Kloesel, Associate Dean for Public Service and Outreach and Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

This year’s training will be conducted by Rick Smith, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS Norman Forecast Office. The training is great for anyone who is a spotter, wants to become a spotter, or just wants to learn more about severe weather.  The session will focus on the challenges and dangers associated with being a storm spotter, and will provide tips and suggestions for dealing with those challenges. We’ll discuss some of the NWS products and information services that spotters should use, and some of the emerging technologies that are changing the way severe weather information is shared. The session will be approximately three hours long.

The topic will be the future of the shelter industry in relation to the
new ICC-500/NSSA standard. Here’s some background as to why this
is important.  The previous benchmark for storm shelter construction
was FEMA 320 for residential storm shelters and FEMA 361 for community
storm shelters.  The International Code Council (ICC) has adopted a more
code compliance for housing inspectors in terms of verification of a standard.
The FEMA 320 & 361 were published, but there was little, if any inspection
process to verify compliance.  Here’s another note, the ICC-500/NSSA standard
does not replace FEMA 320 or 361.  They still are valid and exist.  The local
housing inspector will be following the ICC 500/NSSA standard in the future and
that is why this makes a great teaching topic for people in the weather industry.
Especially media and local emergency managers.