Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
2002 Accomplishment Report

1. Introduction

The year 2002 was a year of change for the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) with an emphasis on collaboration with National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). Two of the new projects HPC participated in, the Winter Weather Experiment and the NDFD Clusters, included enhanced collaboration with WFOs.

HPC introduced a new Mean Heat Index forecast in the late spring that provided probabilistic forecasts of the average daily heat index out seven days.  The goal of this product was to provide the emergency management community with advance warning of potentially dangerous heat waves so mitigating action could be taken.

As in past years, HPC worked closely with other government agencies and the media.  For example, HPC participated in several FEMA briefings during the summer as a series of tropical systems resulted in heavy rain and flooding as they moved inland.

HPC forecasters had an outstanding year.  Many new records for quantitative precipitation forecasting were set.

2. Major Accomplishments

HPC can be proud of its many accomplishments during 2002. This document briefly describes the most significant of these.

Winter Weather Experiment (WWE)

The HPC and eight NWS Eastern Region WFOs participated in the first WWE during the winter of 2001 - 2002.  The goal of the WWE was improved services to the public through improved placement and timing of watches and warnings and by conveying the level of uncertainty in the forecasts of severe winter weather events. 

A second, expanded WWE began in November 2002.  For this experiment, the number of participating offices increased to include all 23 Eastern Region WFOs and the 8 Central Region WFOs in the Eastern Time zone.  The goal remained to improve services to the public through better watches and warnings.  HPC’s role was to collaborate with the WFOs early in the forecast process to identify the path and intensity of winter storms. This collaboration was conducted through chat software and conference calls.

New Probabilistic Mean Heat Index Forecasts

The HPC began distributing probabilistic Mean Heat Index forecasts on May 1, 2002.  This outlook provides the emergency management community and the public with an indication of potential heat waves up to seven days in advance.  The Mean Heat Index forecasts are produced daily by HPC and provide day-by-day probabilities of the average heat index exceeding certain thresholds.  The forecasts cover the continental U. S. for the period three to seven days ahead and are calculated for some 90 cities.  The Mean Heat Index is available in season on the Internet at the HPC web site:   /heat_index.shtml. Click here to see an example Heat Index forecast

Support to the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD)

HPC involvement with the NDFD began early with its participation with two clusters of WFOs to develop and test procedures to be refined to implement the NDFD. The WFOs tested collaboration with the HPC and neighboring WFOs in the production of gridded forecasts.  Many of these gridded forecasts were made public in 2003.

In support of this effort, the HPC began sending a preliminary set of medium-range grids, graphics, and text products to the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) for use in the Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS) by 9:30 am EST.  In addition, a new shift was established at HPC to support facilitation and collaboration with the cluster sites.  The purpose of this NDFD desk is to collaborate with the NWS clusters on the day 1 to 7 forecasts and identify where the current contents of the NDFD are inconsistent with the new model guidance and new HPC guidance.

On July 29, 2002, the HPC expanded its collaboration with WFOs from 8 hours per day to 18 hours per day.  HPC then expanded its collaboration to 24 hours per day on August 12 when the HPC quantitative precipitation forecasters began participation.  The HPC and NDFD sites collaborate using chat software.  HPC forecasters provide insight into model performance, short and medium range weather, and quantitative precipitation.  The collaboration allows WFOs and HPC to interact earlier in the forecast process and for HPC to include WFO input into HPC guidance forecasts.

HPC Provided Support to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on several occasions

Dr. Jim Hoke participated in the Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT) video-teleconference briefings for FEMA senior management and state emergency managers involved in preparations for the landfall of Hurricane Lili from October 3-5.  HPC also assisted FEMA in assessing the threats associated with Tropical Storm Fay which came ashore in northern Texas on September 7 and Tropical Storm Isidore as it moved ashore over the Gulf Coast states on September 26, moved rapidly north through the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys, and exited the United States from New England early on September 28.  In each case, HPC discussed the rainfall expected near landfall and along the track of the storm.

HPC Staff Involved in Many Outreach Activities

Wes Junker, HPC Senior Branch Forecaster, was a speaker at an all day Workshop on Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting (QPF) at the annual AMS conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dave Reynolds, Chief of HPC's Forecast Operations Branch, participated in several events.  He was a key participant in the United States Weather Research Program (USWRP) Warm Season Precipitation Workshop held the week of March 5 in Boulder, CO.  He was an invited speaker and panelist at the Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the week of March 12.  Dave also gave an invited talk at the National Science Foundation-sponsored Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model hurricane workshop on May 28, 2002.

HPC Director Dr. Jim Hoke joined NWS Director Jack Kelly and Tropical Prediction Center Director Max Mayfield in an appearance before approximately 30 congressional staff members in the Hearing Room of the House Science Committee on September 25.  The purpose of the presentations was to discuss the imminent threat of tropical storms Isidore, Kyle, and Lili, especially Isidore, to staff members from the affected Gulf Coast states.

HPC Hosted Several Distinguished Visitors during 2002

NWS Director Jack Kelly and HPC hosted the visit of Herbert Saffir and his daughter Barbara to NCEP on April 26, 2002.  Mr. Saffir is renowned for his development with Dr. Robert Simpson of the classification system for tropical cyclone strength and damage.  In appreciation of Dr. Saffir’s contributions to hurricane awareness, safety, and preparedness, Director Kelly presented him with a framed poster of Hurricane Andrew depicting the Saffir-Simpson scale, a NOAA Weather Radio programmed for his hometown, an NWS hat, and an NCEP pen.  Mr. Saffir was then given a tour of HPC and other operations areas.  Click here for photo of presentation.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2002, HPC Director Jim Hoke was visited by a member of the Federal Protection Service (FPS).  This officer has responsibility for security of the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, for the upcoming high-visibility trials involving the war on terrorism.  Local weather and climate are important factors in the security preparations for those trials.

HPC Director Jim Hoke hosted the visit to NCEP of Craig Fugate, Director of the State of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, on the afternoon of April 12, 2002.  Mr. Fugate's office uses NWS products and services extensively in its operations.

HPC Set Many New Records for QPF in 2002

HPC had another banner year in quantitative precipitation forecasting as shown by the number of new records set.  HPC set 34 new monthly and annual QPF records in 2002, out of 117 total categories for which verification statistics are kept.  HPC has maintained verification records for its QPFs since it began making those forecasts in the early 1960s.

New annual records were set during 2002 for all three of the periods for which forecasts are prepared.  For example, for Day 1, the 0.5" threat score of 0.397 beat the old record annual score of 0.387 set in 1996.   The 1" score of 0.299 beat the old record of 0.286 set in 2001, while the 3" score of 0.132 beat the old record of 0.131 set in 1996.  The Day 2 0.5" threat score of 0.310 broke the old record of 0.308 set in 2001, while the 1" score of 0.229 broke the old record of 0.213 set also in 2001.  The HPC day 3 QPF Probability of Detection was .27 in Fiscal Year 2002, which ended September 30, 2002.  This was a significant improvement over the .19 recorded in Fiscal Year 2001.  This is an important measure since it is one of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) scores monitored by Congress. This score represents a significant improvement over the goal of .22.

December 2002 was representative of records set for the monthly scores.  Records were set for Day 1 0.5", 1" and 3", for the Update 0.5" and 1", and for Day 2 0.5" and 1". A notable example is the Day 2 score for 0.5" of 0.507 which blew away the old December record of 0.408, set the previous year, as well as the previous highest 0.5" score for any month, which was 0.442 set in January 1999.


HPC Staff Members provided hundreds of interviews to the print and electronic media during the year.  Some notable examples are listed below.

On June 25, HPC Director Jim Hoke appeared on the National Public Radio program “Public Interest” hosted by Kojo Nnamdi.  As part of their Tech Tuesday series, the one-hour live program explored advances in weather forecasting technology.  In addition to Jim, Max Mayfield, Director of the Tropical Prediction Center, and Dr. Marshall Shepherd of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center shared the airwaves.  The radio call-in show was aired in about 60 markets across the U.S.

On Friday, September 27,  Jim Hoke was interviewed for ABC World News Tonight regarding the impacts of Hurricane Isidore as it came ashore south of New Orleans and moved north to Canada.  HPC Deputy Director Kevin McCarthy was interviewed by CBS Evening News on Isidore that afternoon as well.

December 4 and 5 were very busy media days at HPC.  A major East Coast winter storm spread a combination of rain, freezing rain, ice pellets, and snow from the Midwest up the East Coast into New England.  There was considerable interest in the storm because it was relatively early in the winter season and especially because the past several winters have been particularly warm and snow free in the East.  Many questions were aimed at what El Niño might mean for the country, particularly the East Coast for the winter.  Jim Hoke appeared on the CBS Evening News on Wednesday, December 4, on a live segment on the CBS Morning Show Thursday, and later that day on the evening CBS-TV network news.  He also responded to numerous interviews from the broadcast and print media, including CNN Radio, NPR Newscast, ABC Evening News, the Philadelphia Enquirer, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Times, and the New York Times.

International Desks  (See photo of farewell for a visitor.)

Weather Coordination with the Meteorological Service of Chile - The HPC International Desks coordinated closely with the Meteorological Service of Chile.  The developing El Niño over the eastern Pacific resulted in above normal rainfall amounts over most of Chile.  During the year, some stations exceeded their normal rainfall amounts by 500%, resulting in evacuation of residents in the city of Santiago.

HPC International Desks Assisted Peru - The transition to El Niño conditions resulted in an unusually strong cold spell across the southern portions of Peru.  The cold temperatures and the inflow of subtropical moisture resulted in organized snowfall for elevations above 4,000 meters.  There were estimates of 20-60 deaths due to the severe conditions.  The NWS International Desks South American Desk provided extensive coverage of this event, highlighting it in the forecast bulletin.  Furthermore, Mr. Quispe, meteorologist from Peru and visiting fellow at the Desk at the time, remained in close contact with his colleagues while taking advantage of the tools available at the International Desks to fine tune the forecast.  International Desk assistance was important to disaster relief operations.  Very positive feedback was received from the Peruvian Meteorological Service.

HPC International Desks Provided Forecast Assistance to Brazil and Argentina Meteorological Services - During the period October 7-10, the HPC South American Desk of the International Desks predicted heavy rains across southern Brazil and the northern provinces of Argentina.  The rainfall forecasts verified well with reports of 24-hour amounts of 2-4 inches per day affecting the region.  Local newspapers also reported hail damage to houses and destruction of nearly 70% of the crops across southern Brazil.

HPC International Desks Assisted South American Low Level Jet Experiment - The South American Low Level Jet (SALLJ) Experiment was an internationally coordinated effort to contribute to the understanding of the role of the SALLJ in moisture and energy exchange between the tropics and extratropics and related aspects of regional hydrology, climate, and climate variability.  The experiment began in mid-November 2002.  The field portion of the experiment consisted of enhanced weather observations, as well as an expanded raingauge network over Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.  The research team routinely consulted the products prepared by the visiting meteorologists to HPC’s International Desks in planning various parts of the field experiments.

HPC International Desks Provided Assistance to Partners in South America - On November 1, the HPC International Desks alerted the Meteorological Service of Peru of an unusually strong, late-season polar front.  The alert was given 72 hours in advance, providing ample time for Peru to issue weather advisories.  The forecast verified with heavy rainfall and below normal temperatures recorded in the region. On November 6, the South American Desk fellows started coordination with the Meteorological Service of Argentina on a severe weather event forecasted to affect central-northern Argentina 72 hours later.  As a result of this contact, they issued weather warnings and precautionary statements and alerted civil defense authorities of the impending disaster.

Visit by the Paraguayan Institute of Advanced Strategic Studies - On July 16,  the HPC, along with the Marine Prediction Center (MPC) and the National Environmental Satellite Data And Information Service (NESDIS), co-hosted a two-hour visit to the World Weather Building of the Study Tour of the Paraguayan Institute of Advanced Strategic Studies, headed by Director General Luis Nicanor Babeiro Spaini.   HPC and MPC Director Jim Hoke, Mike Davison, International Desks Coordinator, and Grace Swanson, NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch, provided the group of 50, consisting of senior military leaders and civilians in the Paraguayan government, with overviews of NWS and NESDIS organizational structure and activities, as well as details of the operations of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and of NESDIS.

HPC Hosted Summer Students

HPC hosted a number of students as summer interns, mainly in the Development and Training Branch (DTB).  The students worked on a variety of projects with DTB meteorologists.

Christian Douglas, a Computer Science and Math major at Clark Atlanta University, was a participant in the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS), a cooperative science center established by NOAA and led by Howard University.  She worked with HPC meteorologists to develop a technique to streamline the generation of medium range temperature and probability of precipitation forecasts.

Rafael Sierra, also as part of the Howard University summer program, was a student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, where he majored in Environmental Science.  He worked with Mike Davison at the HPC International Desk investigating the relationship between rainfall rates and salinity over the tropical oceans.

David Castro, a Junior at the University of Maryland where he was studying Meteorology,  participated in the ORISE program and worked with Keith Brill on a project to verify the snow and ice forecasts made by HPC forecasters as part of the Winter Weather Experiment.  Mr. Castro previously served a four-month volunteer internship with HPC beginning on February 5, 2001.  David, who speaks fluent Spanish, worked at the HPC International Desks assisting in the preparation of Spanish language training materials and forecast narratives.  He also had the opportunity to participate in other HPC activities.

Robbie Evans, a Senior at Archbishop Spalding High School, volunteered two days a week in the HPC .  He is interested in synoptic meteorology and forecasting and planned on majoring in meteorology in college.

Douglas Berz, a Junior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, served as a volunteer intern at the HPC.  He investigated alternative methods for verifying QPFs, assisted in verification of winter weather forecasts, and archived climatological data to aid medium range forecasters in the use of teleconnections.

3. Awards

Presidential Rank Award

Dr. Jim Hoke, HPC Director, was honored for developing and implementing a state-of-the-art model of the atmosphere that, for over 10 years, served as a basis for every U.S. weather forecast.  Also, he transformed his organization into a more efficient, science-based provider of an increasing number of high-impact weather products and services.  As a result, NOAA now produces more accurate weather forecasts that are more accessible to government agencies, the media, private sector, academia, and the public.  Jim has been a major force in improving weather support to NASA, mitigating airline weather delays, and providing effective response during national and international disasters.

Isaac Cline Award

HPC accounted for three regional winners for the 2002 Isaac Cline Awards - Jerry Delaney for Program Management and Administration, David Reynolds for Leadership, and Keith Brill for Meteorology.

Jerry Delaney demonstrated exceptional technical proficiency, initiative, productivity, and teamwork while serving for over 10 years as the Administrative Officer in the HPC and MPC. Jerry retired in June.

David Reynolds demonstrated leadership abilities throughout his tenure as Chief of HPC's Forecast Operations Branch.  He was instrumental in implementing several new products and services.  He also implemented several management practices in the FOB that have empowered his staff to join with management in improving the operations of the branch.

Keith Brill provided outstanding scientific and technical leadership to HPC during 2002.  He was critical to the success of two major projects, the Winter Weather Experiment and the Mean Heat Index product.

Bronze Medal

Peter Manousos and Edwin Danaher - Significant River Flood Outlook Team. For the development and implementation of the Significant River Flood Outlook. The outlook is posted on the HPC web site at /nationalfloodoutlook/index.html.

Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award

Wes Junker was selected by the National Weather Association as the winner of the 2002 T. Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award "for his outstanding contributions in heavy precipitation forecasting linking research into operations".

HPC Student Volunteer Wins Awards at Science Fair

Douglas Berz, a Junior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, and a volunteer intern at the HPC won second prize in the Montgomery County, Maryland, High School Science Fair held March 16-17.  As part of a Science Internship sponsored by Walt Whitman High School, Doug spent two hours each school day at the HPC working on a project entitled "A method for measuring displacement errors in quantitative precipitation forecasting".  This study investigated alternative methods for verifying QPF that measure the error in the horizontal displacement of areas of rainfall forecasts.  This study formed the basis for Doug’s winning science fair entry.

4. HPC Staff

The listing below reflects the staff assigned as of December 31, 2002.

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

Development And Training Branch
Edwin J. Danaher, Branch Chief
Michel Davison, International Desks Coordinator
Peter C. Manousos, Science And Operations Officer
Meteorologist Developers: Chris Bailey, Michael Bodner, Keith F. Brill, Joe W. Carr, Jr., Mark Klein.

Mohan Karyampudi, Contractor Coordinator for the Saudi Desk

Forecast Operations Branch
Robert Kelly, Branch Chief
Senior Branch Forecasters: Michael T. Eckert, Norman W. Junker, Brian Korty, Bruce D. Terry, Louis E. Wolf
Forecasters: Jessica L. Clark, James A. Cisco, Stephen J. Flood, Christopher M. Hedge, David Kosier, Arthur J. Lindner, Paul Mausser, Mike Musher, Larry Nierenberg, Robert J. Oravec, Andrew Orrison, Frank J. Pereira, Dan Petersen, Robert L. Rausch, Alan J. Robson, Franklin A. Rosenstein, David M. Roth, Michael L. Schichtel, Bruce E. Sullivan.
Surface Analysts: Kathy Bell, Jim Kells, Paul A. Ziegenfelder.
Meteorological Technicians: Jacqueline I. Hatchett, Rufus J. Jackson, Jr., William McReynolds,  Jr.

Staffing Changes During 2002

Several employees left the HPC:
David Reynolds - Left HPC to become the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the WFO in Monterrey, California.
David S. Wally - Transferred from the Forecast Operations Branch to the WFO serving the New York City area.
Jerry Delaney - Retired after 40 years of federal service.

They were replaced by:
Crystal Rickett - Joined the HPC and MPC as Administrative Officer.
Chris Bailey - Joined the Development and Training Branch as a Meteorologist Developer.
David Kosier, Mike Musher, and Larry Nierenberg joined the Forecast Operations Branch as forecasters.
Kathy Bell and Doug Hilderbrand joined the Forecast Operations Branch as surface analysts.

Mark Klein - Transferred from the Forecast Operations Branch to the Development and Training Branch, becoming a meteorologist developer.

 5. Pictures of HPC products and events