Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
1999 Accomplishment Report
1. Introduction - Calendar year 1999 was a time of great change
in the HPC. New systems were introduced to operations and older systems
retired, and a major retraining of staff was undertaken on short notice
to meet the requirements of the Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF)
Process Assessment Team and the needs of the NWS field offices. Most
importantly, the HPC product suite was revamped near the end of the year
to implement those needs and requirements. HPC staff also participated
in Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT) briefings to FEMA and the emergency management
community on several landfalling tropical cyclones, including Hurricane
Floyd. Finally, HPC provided briefings for the Y2K rollover period
for the President’s Council on Y2K.
2. Major Accomplishments - HPC’s most significant
accomplishments over the past year are documented below in roughly chronological
AWIPS Delivered - AWIPS workstations were delivered to HPC the week
of March 1, 1999 with training for most staff the following two weeks.
Acceptance of the system occurred on March 6, 1999. The system is used
routinely in operations, although AWIPS does not yet have the tools needed
by HPC for graphic product preparation.
HPC Review By UCAR - A team of distinguished scientists conducted
an on-site review of the HPC on March 3-4, 1999. An overarching finding
that “HPC provides a valuable service to the Nation” was quite favorable
and was accompanied by a number of recommendations for improvements.
Those recommendations called for increased training and staff development,
increased science and technology infusion, improvements in verification
and the surface analysis products, and more formal ties to the NCEP Environmental
Modeling Center. The detailed final findings and recommendations
were briefed to NWS Director Kelly in October 1999. The review proved
quite helpful, with many steps subsequently taken by HPC to address the
Retirement of Legacy Intergraph System - HPC graphics had been created
on the Intergraph workstation system for many years. The system,
however, was non-Y2K compliant and had outlived its usefulness. NCO’s
Computing Development Branch supplied software patches at the end of March
to enable the transition of the last Intergraph functions involved with
HPC operations to N-AWIPS workstations. Final forecaster training
was completed in early April and the Intergraph equipment was removed April
Successful Haj Forecast From HPC’s International Desks - The
Saudi Minister of Haj (the yearly Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in April)
awarded the Saudi Arabian weather service (MEPA) a Certificate of Outstanding
Weather Forecasting and Monitoring for the great work MEPA did this year
during the Haj. The Certificate was a direct result of the efforts
of the Saudi Arabia Desk in HPC’s International Desks and the services
the Saudi nationals stationed here provided as part of their training.
Survey, Feedback, Action - The HPC and MPC staff held a number
of meetings related to the Survey, Feedback, Action (SFA) program.
This NOAA program had as its goal the improvement of office functions through
free exchange of suggestions by both staff and managers. Ideas ranged
from ways to communicate better, to resolving perceptions of hostile working
conditions, to water-quality testing. Several teams and actions were
identified to help resolve the items raised at the meetings.
Ergonomic Issues in HPC and MPC Addressed - HPC and MPC worked
on ergonomic issues related to the workstations used in preparing their
operational products. Dave Feit, MPC Marine Forecast Branch Chief,
contacted OSHA to seek assistance in identifying solutions to the ergonomic
problems. An ergonomist of OSHA's Ergonomics Office visited the centers
on June 10, met with some of the staff, looked at our workstation set up,
and made recommendations for improvements. Implementation of the
suggestions led to a marked decrease in ergonomic problems in the workplace.
HPC Provided NCEP Liaison - Ed Danaher, Development and Training
Branch Chief, assumed the position of NCEP Liaison to NWS Headquarters
(NWSH) for the period of June and July. He participated in a number
of useful meetings, represented NCEP and HPC interests, and provided feedback
to and from the NCEP Director.
NWS QPF Team Report - NWS Director John Kelly charged a team with
the review of the NWS Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) process.
Dave Reynolds, HPC Forecast Operations Branch Chief, was part of the team.
The team’s report, approved by the NWS Corporate Board in August, called
for the centralization of some QPF functions into HPC, with the exception
of the Western Region where additional testing will take place during the
winter of 1999-2000 to make a final determination of the responsibility.
HPC staff made visits to all the continental U.S. River Forecast Centers
(RFCs) to discuss the products and services from HPC under the new process.
Additionally, HPC worked with the California-Nevada RFC and the Northwest
RFC to finalize plans for the Western Region QPF Assessment, which began
November 1. Internally, the HPC restructured operations and reassigned
duties to allocate additional forecasters to prepare QPF products.
The first phase of the restructuring occurred on November 8 when the three
hydrometeorological technicians assumed the responsibilities previously
performed by interns. The interns then assumed responsibility for
preparing the surface analyses, and the surface analysts took over the
basic weather forecast function. To ensure the needed software development
was progressing smoothly, HPC managers and developers met weekly with NCO
developers to discuss NMAP enhancements to prepare the new QPF products.
NCO delivered the required software by December 1. The restructuring
was completed as scheduled on December 6.
HPC Supported Hurricane Liaison Team - John Murray, FEMA,
came to HPC on August 9 to discuss HPC's expanded role in the HLT.
The HLT is a joint FEMA/NWS team that tailors information on tropical cyclones
and their potential impacts for federal and state emergency managers.
The HLT was expanding its operations to include the impacts of heavy rains
and possible flooding as the systems move inland. As the NWS center
of excellence in heavy precipitation forecasting, HPC took the lead in
providing this information. As a result of this meeting, HPC staff
provided very informative videoteleconference briefings as part of the
HLT during Hurricanes Brett, Dennis, Floyd, Irene, and Lenny.
HPC Major Product Suite Revisions - On December 5, HPC began issuing
the Model Diagnostic Discussion (MDD) on an operational basis two times
each day. This message describes the major model runs and how HPC
forecasters interpret the models’ (primarily the Eta, NGM, and AVN models)
handling of the most significant weather systems for the next several days.
Known model biases, observational problems, and short-term verification,
for examples, are included in the descriptions. The MDD assists NWS
forecasters and others in the meteorological community in interpreting
and using the NCEP model output. On December 6, to begin the Operational
Test and Evaluation of the new NWS QPF process, HPC revised the suite of
QPF products to include individual forecasts for each 6-hour period out
to 72 hours. Previously, 6-hour forecasts only extended to 30 hours.
Implemented at the same time was the use of the measurable (that is, 0.01
inch) contour on the graphics. Forecasts to day 3 were also added.
The winter weather products from HPC were also changed. The heavy
snow products were transformed to a probabilistic format and now include
the probability of ice accretion as well as snow. Finally,
to make way for the new products and because it had outlived its usefulness,
the Air Stagnation Narrative was discontinued on December 6. These
revisions and new products were prompted by interactions with NWSH, regions,
and field offices to meet our partners’ needs. The implementations
required months of planning and training and the reassignment of existing
staff to establish an additional work desk with two shifts per day.
3. Awards in 1999 - HPC staff were the recipients of several
significant awards this year. The most notable awards are listed
HPC Supported Y2K Information Coordination Center (ICC) - HPC Deputy
Director Kevin McCarthy attended a meeting on December 10 at the Y2K ICC
to discuss the weather support HPC would provide for the Y2K roll-over
period. On December 14, he provided two video teleconference briefings
to the Y2K ICC to demonstrate the support HPC would provide and, using
information provided by the Climate Prediction Center, he also gave an
outlook for the roll-over period. The second briefing was primarily
for the Chair of the President's Council for Year 2000 Conversion ICC,
John Koskinen. HPC established a special web site with products from
HPC and CPC to assist the ICC in monitoring weather across the U.S. during
the roll-over period. Daily briefings were given to the Y2K ICC on
December 28 and 29, 1999, and twice each day for the period from December
30 through January 1, 2000. Photo
of HPC Staff at the beginning of Y2K
Isaac Cline Award - Bob Oravec was selected as HPC’s recipient in
the meteorology category for the inaugural edition of this NWS-wide award.
Bob provided exceptional medium-range forecast guidance to field offices
in the upper Mid West for December 29-30, 1998. Bob correctly identified
the potential for a major blizzard for the New Year’s weekend. Chicago
received its second highest 24-hour snowfall total on record from this
4. HPC Staff - The HPC staffing was relatively stable during
1999 with only a few changes. The listing below shows the staff assigned
as of December 31, 1999.
NOAA Administrator’s Award - Norman “Wes” Junker was given
the prestigious Administrator’s Award for his extensive efforts in advancing
quantitative precipitation forecasting in the NWS. Wes is recognized
nationally and internationally for his expertise in QPF. Since 1983,
he has spent much of his career improving QPF science through research,
numerical weather prediction model interpretation, and comprehensive training
of NWS field forecasters.
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
Peter C. Manousos, Science and Operations Officer
Michel Davison, International Desks Coordinator
Meteorologist Developers: Keith F. Brill, Joe W. Carr,
Jr., Steven A. Listemaa, Robert L. Rausch
Brett McDonald, OM Visiting Scientist
Stephen Jascourt, OM Postdoctoral Fellow
John Jacobson, 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
Forecasters: 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. Schauer, Michael L. Schichtel, Bruce E. Sullivan, David
Interns/Surface Analysts: Jon M. Flatley, Carl McElroy,
Frank J. Pereira, III, Paul A. Ziegenfelder
Staffing Changes during 1999
Jessica Schauer, forecaster, arrived in January
Victor Nouhan, forecaster, departed in October
Carl McElroy, intern/surface analyst, arrived in
5. Pictures of the HPC