Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
2000 Accomplishment Report

1.  Introduction

     The changes in the HPC continued at a fast pace in 2000.  Much of the effort was driven by the implementations of the revised quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) process of the National Weather Service (NWS).  Time spent included developing new procedures to meet the growing requirements from the River Forecast Centers (RFCs) and meeting with those partners to explain our operations and understand theirs.

     QPF, however, was not the only area where HPC excelled in 2000.  Successful testing and development for day 6&7 forecast guidance and training of field forecasters in preparing medium-range forecasts was also done.  HPC was very actively involved with the media throughout the year – highlights included several press conferences before significant winter storms and many live TV interviews.

     HPC’s forecast efforts were recognized with a Department of Commerce Gold Medal for services during Hurricane Floyd, which struck the eastern United States in September 1999.  The medal was awarded to HPC and several NWS field offices for the excellent QPFs and flood forecasts provided to emergency managers and the public.

     Other significant milestones reached in 2000 were the decommissioning of AFOS (the Automation of Field Operations and Services system), the removal of the NEXRAD PUP, and the replacement of some of the UNIX-based workstations running N-AWIPS (National Centers Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System) with less expensive and faster LINUX PCs.

2. Major Accomplishments

 The following describes the most significant accomplishments of HPC beyond the normal daily 24-hour operations with its issuance of hundreds of products daily.

Revised NWS QPF Process Implemented Throughout the Conterminous U.S.
On August 25, 1999, based on the results of the study and recommendations of the QPF Process Team, the NWS Corporate Board approved the implementation of the revised QPF process east of the Rockies.  The revised process made HPC the lead office in providing QPF to the nine RFCs east of the Continental Divide.  The new process provided greater consistency in the QPFs from RFC to RFC and freed the Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) from this task if they did not have other customers for their QPF products.  Although HPC had already demonstrated its ability to produce high-quality QPFs for the RFCs through the initial internal training and testing, the effort to make those products and the additional ones required by the RFCs fully operational was very extensive.   Photo of QPF desk

To achieve the implementation goals, HPC needed N-AWIPS software development from NCEP Central Operations to prepare and transmit the products more efficiently.  Back-up procedures for the HPC QPFs had to be developed, tested, and implemented.  To ensure the HPC QPFs would flow smoothly into the RFC operations, HPC and the individual RFCs coordinated extensively.  In addition to providing the new product suite daily, HPC staff participated in weekly conference calls and made visits to all RFCs to provide seminars and discuss implementation issues.  HPC staff received COMET training in RFC operations and several HPC staff provided training to RFC forecasters.  HPC also developed verification procedures for the QPFs.  The modified QPF process for the eastern part of the country was implemented July 31 at the completion of a successful Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) that began December 6, 1999.

 At the same time, HPC was working with the QPF Process Team and Western Region representatives to develop an implementation plan for Western Region basins.  A successful OT&E was conducted with the Western Region RFCs from October through December.  After a review of the OT&E results, the QPF Process Team unanimously agreed to transition formally to the new QPF process beginning December 17.  Implementation of the streamlined QPF process is now complete at all continental United States field offices.

Day 6 and 7 Forecast Guidance Made Operational - HPC began development of guidance products for day 6 & 7 forecasts in 1997.  The first products were maximum and minimum temperatures at selected sites across the country along with probability of precipitation.  These products became operational near the end of 1999.  HPC worked closely with the public weather services staff from the Office of Services and the Meteorological Development Laboratory to identify other products needed to assist the field offices in the delivery of forecasts for days 6 & 7 to the public.  As a result, surface forecasts for North America for days 6 & 7 became operational on September 29, 2000.  This implementation provided sufficient information to the WFOs to begin including days 6 and 7 in forecasts for the public.

HPC continues to develop and test other needed forecast fields under the Rapid Prototype Project (RPP).  Some of the RPP software appears promising for the future delivery of new guidance for the AWIPS Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS).  Additionally, HPC staff were very active in assisting WFOs preparing to issue day 6&7 forecasts to the public.  Medium-range forecasters Mike Schichtel and Steve Flood developed a teletraining presentation and participated in a beta test of the presentation with the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET), the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), and two field offices.  Each forecaster provided a 50-minute presentation.  Mike gave an overview of the available medium-range models and how HPC uses these models to prepare its precipitation and maximum and minimum temperature forecasts through day 7.  Steve discussed a pattern-recognition approach to medium-range forecasting.  After refinements, presentations to all the WFOs were scheduled for the next year.

NCEP Directors Day Hosted - The HPC and MPC hosted a very stimulating NCEP Directors Day on October 27 at the World Weather Building.  (See accompanying photograph.)  The event showcased the vital organization NCEP has become as the result of the leadership of the former NCEP Directors.  In attendance were Dr. Fred Shuman (Director, 1964-1981), Dr. Bill Bonner (Director, 1981-1990), Mr. Jim Howcroft (Acting Director, 1990), and Dr. Ron McPherson (1990-1998).  These distinguished guests heard presentations from NCEP Director Louis Uccellini and representatives from all nine NCEP centers, who were in town for the NCEP Corporate Board meeting.  A highlight of the day was the Sack Lunch Seminar featuring the former directors, who spoke on some of the major activities during their tenures.  The seminar was also an opportunity to honor the accomplishments of Dr. George Cressman, the first director (1954-1964) and former NWS Director, whose health prevented him from attending.  Dr. Jim Hoke, Director of HPC and MPC, organized the event and served as the host, while a number of HPC and MPC staff handled the numerous arrangements.   Photo of NCEP directors

HPC Provides Expanded Media Services - Year 2000 saw a marked increase in the media coverage of and from the HPC.  During the January 24-26 period, a brutal snow storm pummeled the Atlantic coastal states, with an all-time record snow of 20 inches in the Raleigh-Durham area and up to 18 inches in the Baltimore-Washington area.  The staff gave many telephone interviews, and HPC Director Jim Hoke provided TV interviews for the ABC and CBS evening news programs.  Interviews and assistance were also provided The Washington Post, Newark Star Ledger, and Bob Ryan of NBC-TV Channel 4.  HPC received a number of compliments from the public and NWS forecast offices for the support provided for this storm.  The following week another significant winter storm threatened the eastern U.S. including Atlanta, Georgia, which was hosting the Superbowl.   In the interest of public safety during this major travel weekend, the HPC held a press conference on January 28 featuring Director Jim Hoke and Senior Branch Forecaster Wes Junker.  This first-ever press conference from the NOAA Media Center of the World Weather Building was well attended and included national television representatives of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and the Associated Press, as well as local radio outlets.  Footage from the press conference used during the evening news on January 28, and subsequently during the weekend provided excellent notice to the public of the incipient storm.

Similarly, the HPC was a very active partner in the NWS efforts during the December 30-31 Nor’easter that brought a foot of snow to the New York City area, 25 inches to northern New Jersey, and considerable snow to eastern Pennsylvania, eastern New York state, and New England.  The NOAA Media Center, located in the heart of the HPC, was a very busy place during the storm and in the days preceding it.  NBC Nightly News taped and used several interviews.  Live interviews were held with Jim Hoke on NBC’s The Today Show twice and six times on MSNBC.  He also appeared on the CBS and NBC evening news shows.  The Media Center was the location of a press conference on the storm by NCEP Director Louis Uccellini, as well as several live appearances by him on The Today Show and MSNBC.  HPC staff provided numerous radio, newspaper, and wire service interviews with CNN News Radio, U.S. Radio News Network, National Public Radio, USA Today Radio News, CBS, and the Associated Press among others.

HPC staff also assisted NOAA Public Affairs staff in the preparation of press releases on the large-scale winter weather events impacting many parts of the nation early in the winter season of 2000-2001.  Many of the press releases were posted on the NOAA home page and contributed to the high popularity of that website.

AFOS Decommissioned - After two decades of (mostly) faithful service, the AFOS in the World Weather Building was turned off at 3:55 p.m. on May 18.  This was about two weeks ahead of schedule.  The hardware was removed several weeks later.  (See Photo)  HPC now prepares and communicates its many forecast products on state-of-the-art workstations using AWIPS and N-AWIPS.

3.  Awards

All HPC Staff - DOC Gold Medal Award  - HPC was recognized for its efforts related to Hurricane Floyd (September 1999) including briefings to FEMA and NWS field offices through the Hurricane Liaison Team and other coordination calls.  HPC identified the extreme rainfall threat from Floyd nearly a week in advance and communicated that information through its products to the field offices and other partners and customers. Photo

Wes Junker - National Weather Association’s Larry R. Johnson Award - This award is presented to an individual or a group to recognize unique events or extraordinary accomplishments significantly contributing to operational meteorology.  Wes was recognized for significant contributions in the field of quantitative precipitation, through operational forecasts, numerous publications and presentations, and training he provided to other operational forecasters.

Pete Manousos - HPC Cline Award for Meteorology - Pete was selected as the HPC recipient of the Isaac Cline Award for 2000.  He has shown he is a leader in identifying and implementing new ways of preparing HPC products.  His strong technical skills in both meteorology and computer science allowed him to implement these new concepts very quickly.  He followed up with a very successful training program.

HPC Web Site Recognized - The web sites of the HPC and the Tropical Prediction Center tied for second place for the Disaster Center’s 2000 award for the best use of the Internet for the delivery of the Disaster Message to the public by government agencies.  The Disaster Center defines the Disaster Message as “communication in which a delay in transmission has negative consequences for the public.”  The Storm Prediction Center completed an NCEP sweep of the top three places with its first-place selection.

4.  HPC Staff
HPC staffing was relatively stable during 2000 with no changes to the forecast or administrative staff.  The listing below reflects the staff assigned as of December 31, 2000.

Front Office
James E. Hoke, Director
Kevin C. McCarthy, Deputy Director
Jeanette H. Rolen, Secretary

Technical Support Group
Gerald A. Delaney, Administrative Officer
Meteorological Technicians:  Jacqueline I. Hatchett, Rufus J. Jackson, Jr., William McReynolds, Jr.

Development And Training Branch
Edwin J. Danaher, Branch Chief
Michel Davison, International Desks Coordinator
Peter C. Manousos, Science And Operations Officer
Meteorologist Developers:  Keith F. Brill, Joe W. Carr, Jr., Steven A. Listemaa, Robert L. Rausch, Brett McDonald
Mohan Karyampudi, Contractor Coordinator for the Saudi Desk

Forecast Operations Branch
David W. Reynolds, Branch Chief
Senior Branch Forecasters:  Michael T. Eckert, Norman W. Junker, Brian Korty,   Bruce D. Terry, Louis E. Wolf
Meteorologists:  James A. Cisco, Stephen J. Flood, Christopher M.  Hedge, Mark Klein, John R. Leathers, Arthur J. Lindner, Paul Mausser, Robert J. Oravec, Alan J. Robson, Franklin A. Rosenstein, David M. Roth, Jessica L. Clark, Michael L. Schichtel,  Bruce E. Sullivan, David S. Wally Surface Analysts:  Jon M. Flatley, Carl McElroy, Frank J. Pereira, III, Paul A. Ziegenfelder

Staffing Changes During 2000
 Brett McDonald hired into Civil Service position.
 John Jacobson departed.
 Mohan Karyampudi arrived.

5.   Pictures of HPC Operations and Events