Chapter News
January 2012


The latest meeting of the Emerald Coast Chapter of the AMS was held on January 12th at the new 10th Combat Weather Squadron (10 CWS) building on Hurlburt Field, FL.  About 14 people were in attendance.  At the beginning of the meeting, Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) Ed Puttbrese was officially confirmed as the new chapter secretary for the current year.  He joins current chapter officers Dave Biggar (president), Captain Doug Oltmer (vice president) and Hoover Hodge (treasurer).  A brief treasury report was presented.  After the business portion of the meeting, one of the 10 CWS’s special operations weather forecasters presented the unit’s mission briefing.  The 10 CWS has the unique mission of being the nation’s only Air Force special operations weather squadron.  The unit supports both wartime operations and humanitarian missions.  Special operations weather forecasters have the longest initial training pipeline of any enlisted career field in the Air Force.  It takes nearly two years for them to complete all training requirements before reporting to their first permanent duty assignment at Hurlburt Field.  After the mission briefing, the squadron’s Director of Operations, Major John Syc, led a tour of the unit’s brand new building.  The next meeting will be held in late February at the McKinley Climatic Lab at Eglin AFB.---Dave Biggar.



Twenty-one members of the AMS High Plains Chapter met for lunch, a meeting and a presentation on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, in Norton, KS at the Town and Country Café.  This was the largest attendance at one of our meetings in several years!  After a few introductions, a business meeting was held, followed by a very interesting presentation from Scott Mentzer, MIC GLD.  He presented information on the Local Winter Storm Scale (LWSS).  This discussion centered around how useful would it be if winter storms were given a ranking, such as are hurricanes and tornadoes?  Climatology of numerous strong winter storms were compiled, and then applied to the Regional Snowfall Impact Scale (ReSIS).  This information can then be used as part of the Call to Action portions of winter storm products, such as “…a winter storm similar to this in the past has closed I-70 for 6 to 8 hours…”  Scott’s presentation generated many questions and comments, and was well received by the Chapter.


The $400 donation to the Wichita AMS Chapter was sent via mail today.  This was to help the Wichita Chapter with expenses incurred at the 2011 HP conference, and would have been the amount we contributed if there had been and student presentations at the conference.    Mike Umscheid/DDC gave us a brief update on the tax exempt applications with IRS.  Not much action had occurred since our last meeting in Dec.  Mike has set March 2nd as the deadline to get everything needed to send to the IRS.  The Chapter voted and approved $400 for the IRS filing fee.  The GID group gave us an update on the upcoming HP conference in Hastings, NE, planned for August 8th-10th.  They are working hard at attracting more student presenters. One keynote speaker has committed to speak at the banquet, Dr. Jay Antele, an area historian. There is a rumor of possible MIC/SOO conference prior to or during the HP conference, but funds may be limited. 

New officers nominations are:  President Chris Foltz/GLD; Vice President Bill Taylor/ LBF; Treasurer Scott Bryant/GID; and Secretary Tim Burke/DDC.  The Jim Johnson Scholarship committee will consist of a member from each WFO:  Shawn Jacobs/LBF (chair), Chris Foltz/GLD, Scott Bryant/GID and Matt Gerard/DDC.  Letters soliciting student presentations will go out by Jan 31st, with papers/presentations due back to each WFO by April 1st.

There was a suggestion by President Chris Foltz for a HP picnic during the summer, including families, possibly in June; this will be discussed further later.  The next meeting is Wed, March 14th in Norton.---Tim Burke.  



January Meeting Minutes.---Ryan Lueck.



I.  Call to Order

The January NWA/AMS meeting of 2012 was called to order at 7 p.m. by President, Mr. Vincent Webb.  The Chapter meeting was held at the National Weather Service office in Flowood, MS.  A cheese tray was provided for guests.

II. Rolls

Recording Secretary Ms. Nancy Lopez took attendance, and the sign-in sheet confirmed 12 attendees aside from the guest speaker.  There was a mix-up noted on the e-mail list for the meeting announcement, and she made a recommendation to update the list prior to the next meeting.  Also, Mr. Daniel Lamb used the new Facebook link and Google Plus as another way to announce the Chapter meeting, and he announced its early inception which is entitled “Central Mississippi Chapter of the NWA and AMS, Jackson”.  Also, a twitter account is available at: @CentralMSnwaams.  

III. Minutes Approval and New Business

Treasurer Ms. Joanne Culin gave an update on the financial report.  She did not collect any further dues at the meeting with the balance being $155.  However, some of those funds will be used for the guest speaker’s visit.  She reminded the group on the dues fees for regular or student Chapter members. 

With no old business being discussed from November’s meeting, the floor was turned over to guest speaker, Mr. James Stefkovich.  Mr. Stefkovich is the Meteorologist-in-Charge at the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama; however, he did have roots in the Jackson office before Alan Gerard came on board.  He also worked for a time in the Dallas/Ft. Worth weather office, and next month will mark a 30-year career for him in the weather field.  After he opened with a pun on his lineage, he focused on the seriousness of last year’s tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011.  He talked about the challenges and lessons learned from the event, and that the predicted tornado parameters were higher than he’s ever seen in his career.  The Governor of Alabama even issued an emergency declaration for the potential disaster before it happened.  The seriousness of the event was well-taken in advance for all involved, which ended up being 1500 miles of tornado track in the state that trailed severe weather up most of the East Coast afterwards.  That was not good news when just two weeks prior, another tornadic episode occurred.  It led to a monthly total of 109 April tornados, breaking the old annual record of 94.  Despite good warnings, a lot of the damage was from structurally-deficient buildings, which is a major dilemma in the region.  He pointed out a flaw noticed on Doppler radar at one station that had false velocity readings due to their technology limitations, and stated it was better for media to use reflective radar. 

Mr. Stefkovich ended the discussion by giving pointers for all offices involved in these types of events.  It is an effort of weather offices, media, emergency managers and the public at large, and since people often use multiple sources before they take action, it is not possible to a “one-method-reach-all” at this time.  As a final talking point, he stated this outbreak was so unusual and far-reaching, he was even interviewed by Tokyo TV for three, very detailed hours.  The group chatted informally before adjourning.

IV.  Adjournment

The meeting concluded at approximately 7:55 p.m.---Nancy Lopez.






January Chapter News.---Alex Yoder.



-The Ohio University chapter will be helping California University of Pennsylvania for the second year in mid February on StormFest. StormFest is a public event held in the Carnegie Science Center in downtown Pittsburgh.  Students help put on weather related demonstrations for kids and people of all ages.
-The chapter sent 16 students to the annual AMS conference this year, 4 of which presented research.
-OUCAMS is continuing the peer mentoring program. We are working on implementing some more mentor/mentee events.
-The chapter is working on pulling together speakers and all other details for our upcoming meteorological symposium on April 14th.  We have broken down into committees including logistics, hospitality, and advertising. 
-Scalia forecasting training is available to those interested in shadowing. Underclassmen are encouraged to shadow upperclassmen as they enter forecasts for Scalia Lab.
-OUCAMS received a certificate of success from the Exercise physiology club for helping with their canned food drive in November.
-Wx challenge has started up again as well as OUCAMS' weekly forecasting help sessions for the competition.  During these sessions, upperclassmen help underclassmen get an idea of how and what to forecast for the new location. 
-We are holding another Krispy Kreme doughnut fundraiser to raise money for our symposium in the spring.
-OUCAMS has started the peer speaking series for winter quarter.  Every week we have students speak about research or internships they have worked on over the summer.---Elise Dolinar.



Monday, January 19, 2012 Meeting Minutes
Johnny’s Café, Omaha, NE

Jay called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. and greeted the 47 members and guests in attendance. 

President’s Report (Jay Martinelli): Jay announced that our next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at UNL.  Our speaker will be Dr. Robert Oglesby.  This meeting is being hosted by the student chapter at UNL, in conjunction with the Omaha-Offutt AMS chapter and the student chapter at Creighton University, and will be our first tri-chapter meeting.  The Creighton student chapter has also expressed interest in hosting a meeting at their campus, and these details will be worked at a later date.  In March our speaker will be Kevin Grode from the Army Corp of Engineers.

(Recording Secretary note:  Dr. Oglesby’s biography and publications can be found here:

Treasurer’s Report (Fritz VanWijngaarden):

Beginning balance:  $ 348.90 Petty Cash. Closing checking balance = $1608.95.  Total = $ 1957.85.  He also noted that we have 52 full members and 12 student members at this time.

Recording Secretary’s Report (Karen Harder-Sittel):

The meeting minutes from our December meeting were sent to the membership by email, the National Chapter, and also posted to our AMS Facebook page.  A motion that the minutes be approved and submitted to the record was passed. 

Corresponding Secretary's Report (Richard Ritz):  nothing to report

Vice President’s Report (Kristen George): Our chapter t-shirts are ready for ordering.  Forms were passed around the tables. The t-shirts are $10, but we might be able to get that price lowered depending on the size of our bulk order.  The 1st place design is on the front, and 2nd place design is on the back of the t-shirt.  We will probably send out an email for order deadline of next Tuesday and hopefully have the t-shirts available for the next meeting (Recording Secretary note: We will pay for the t-shirts at the next meeting or other time of delivery).

Old Business: none 

New Business:  Fritz VanWijngaarden noted that he asked for $100 for our chapter poster (Recording secretary note:  see Dec 2011 meeting minutes at : .)

However when Fritz was making the order, after careful consideration he opted for lamination, which made the total $131.62. This would improve the look of the poster and increase durability.  He also asked for an additional $25.00 in the event he has to check the poster as luggage on his flight.  Bruce Telfeyan noted that most chapters Fed Ex the posters. A motion to reimburse Fritz and allocate the additional funds, (if needed) was made, and this was voted on and passed. 

Jay noted that an image of the chapter poster will be emailed to the membership shortly.

Karen Harder-Sittel told the chapter that Science Fair season is approaching and she looks forward to our group’s continued support in our special judging roles.

Our meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m., after which we continued our dinner and listened to our guest, Dr. Anthony Lupo, who spoke to us about anthropologic global warming.---Karen Harder-Sittel.



January Meeting Minutes.---Steve Pierce.



During the month of January, the Rutgers University Club did not hold any general or E-board meetings because of winter break and the beginning of classes which started the Spring semester on the Tuesday the 17th.  That same week on Friday the 20th, the members of the club that were attending AMS 2012 began what resulted in being a long day of traveling to New Orleans.  Our chapter had 27 members that went to the conference which was a huge increase attendance in comparison to more recent years previously.  Rutgers University was also represented by three of our Meteorology Department's Professors, several graduate students and a substantial number of Rutgers Alumni.  The chapter attended both the Student Conference and the main AMS conference events, including the Banquet dinner on Wednesday night in which two of our own Rutgers Professors were honored as newly elected Fellows.  The Chapter held our own Rutgers dinner one night during the week in which we invited all the current Rutgers students, Alumni and Professors to a meal at a local restaurant.  It was very successful and it allowed everyone to connect and network with some past Rutgers students who now were in Grad School else where or working within the meteorology field.  We also had three of our E-board members attend the Chapter Breakfast in which we were able to converse with other Elected officials from other local chapters.  The Rutgers chapter returned to New Jersey on the night of Thursday the 26th from the conference and we were extremely pleased with how the entire event turned out.  All of our members are looking forward to AMS 2013 in Austin Texas!

Our Rutgers University Chapter after the banquet dinner with some Rutgers Alumni and Professors.

---Jeffrey Mart.



The January meeting of the AMS Smoky Mountain Chapter was held on the evening of the 30th. Around thirteen people met first for dinner at the Calhoun's on the River restaurant in downtown Knoxville, and then twenty-five members convened on the University of Tennessee Ag campus to hear Grant Goodge speak about "Arcs, bows, halos, and other optical phenomena". Grant is a retiree of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, but continues on contract to NOAA in monitoring the Climate Reference Network. Grant's presentation focused on visual arcs and halos created by the refraction and reflection of light through raindrops, cloud droplets, ice crystals, and strong temperature inversions that produce mirages. He used numerous photos from his own collection as examples of these various phenomenon. The last subject of his presentation centered on the subject of the aurora and the coronal mass ejections that create them. Also discussed was the significant damage and interference to electrical systems that these solar storms have caused in the past and pose in today's more electronically dependent infrastructure.---David Gaffin.



January 31, 2012

7:30 pm - 9:05 pm


Schuler Books & Music

Community Room
2660 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512


The January 2012 meeting of the chapter was called to order by President Brandon Hoving (National Weather Service Grand Rapids) at 7:30 pm. Approximately 21 people in total were in attendance at the meeting. Quite a few new people were in attendance at the meeting, and as a result, we went around the room introducing ourselves. President Hoving and Vice-President Jeruzal were in attendance. Treasurer Marino was late due to a minor auto accident on his way to the meeting. Secretary Dale was unable to attend due to a personal commitment.


President Hoving talked about with the New Year upon us, that it is time to renew dues for 2012. Dues are once again $10 for members, and $5 for student members. A new person attending a meeting for the first time asked who could become a member, and why it is beneficial to become a member. President Hoving and Vice-President Jeruzal responded that anyone can become a member, and the benefits include: voting rights in chapter affairs and elections, supporting the chapter financially, and free forecast contest entries are the biggest benefits.

Vice-President Jeruzal then gave an update on the winter forecast contest. The lack of snow thus far this season, with only 32.2 inches as of midnight 1/31, has allowed everyone to remain in the running for seasonal snowfall. The other two forecast items and who is leading follows below:

-Max 24 hour snow (mid-mid) 6.0 inches – 1/14; Leaders are Brandon and Nathan with 8.0 in

-Coldest Minimum Temperature +3F – 1/19; Leader is Jared DePouw +2F 

President Hoving then gave the treasurer’s report for the chapter, with Treasurer Marino not in attendance yet. The Chapter has $185 in its bank accounts as of the beginning of the meeting. 17 people did pay their dues after the meeting, bringing the total up to $355 dollars.                                

President Hoving then gave a presentation that went through some of the winter weather/snow events that we have had in the area thus far this winter season. He went through some data for each event, and explained some of the unique features of each event.

TJ Turnage then gave a brief Dual-Pol example of the January 1 event in which rain occurred in the morning, and then changed over to snow toward the afternoon hours.

President Hoving thanked TJ for talking about the Dual-Pol examples. An honorary membership for 2012 was given to TJ for presenting at the meeting. President Hoving then thanked everyone in attendance for coming to the meeting. The next meeting is being planned for the first portion of March, and is expected to be held in Lansing. More details will be sent out as they become available.---Nathan Jeruzal for Robert Dale.



January Meeting Minutes



The fifth meeting of the UAH student chapter of the AMS for the academic year began at 12:00 on Friday, January 13, 2012 in room 4065 at the NSSTC. The meeting began with an introduction to new members, as well as a recap of events from last semester. The Rain Dears, composed of members of the UAH AMS,  raised $470 for the Arthritis Foundation on Nov. 20th at the Jingle Bell 5K. Also, new apparel orders are in, with extras in case anyone missed the deadline. See member Elise Shultz, if interested. Treasurer Naren Rongali also gave an overview of our treasury.

The annual AMS meeting in New Orleans, which will take place on 21-26 January 2012, was also discussed, including important dates. A reception for UAH members is planned for Tuesday, 24 January from 6-9pm at the conference hall, in the Pelican Room at the Hilton Riverside. The Student Conference and Career Fair will be held on the 21-22 January, 2012, where chapter members will set up a booth for future student recruiting.. UAH AMS members that are around are asked to encourage prospective students to stop by the UAHuntsville Atmospheric Science Department table at the Career Fair. Also, the AMS WeatheFest will be held on Sunday, 22 January 2012 from 12pm-4pm. This is the last call for photos from chapter poster events for the chapter poster for
the annual meeting; send any material to

The first outreach event for the spring semester will take place on Saturday, January 14 for Habitat for Humanity in efforts to aid families after the April 27 tornado outbreak in Northern Alabama.. Interested members should go to the Habitat for Humanity office at 400 Pratt St NW at 8am. A car pool will leave the NSSTC at 7:40am. Volunteers are also asked to help at the Science Olympiad, which will take place on Saturday, 18 February 2012 at the Shelby Center on the UAH campus. Volunteers will write, proctor, and grade the exams over several different categories. If interested, contact President Stephanie Mullins. Our chapter's largest spring event will be the 6th Annual Tennessee Valley Severe Weather Poster Contest. A theme was chosen for this years competition. Information on the contest will be distributed to north Alabama and southern middle Tennessee schools once their students return from the holiday break in January. Also, the joint activity with the Earth System Science Association for Earth Week on 18-20 April 2012 is in the planning stages. Interested members should go to the ESSA meeting on January 18, 2012 or contact member Eric Anderson for more information.

An AMS member event was also planned to go ice skating on February 3, 2012. More information will be available soon. There were twenty-one members in attendance. The next meeting will be held on Friday, 10 February 2012 at 12pm in NSSTC 4065.---Christina Branson.


Meeting Minutes

Jan. 19, 2012


January Meeting Minutes


President - Lisa Coco

Vice President - Jessica Jacobsen

Secretary - Peter Goble

Treasurer - Brian Popick

Underclassman at Large - Stephanie Adams


- T-shirt orders available to be placed. due Feb 21st

- Yankee Candle Fundraiser (on backburner at this point)


- NWS Boulder Feb 25th

- Ice Core Lab Denver (tentatively March 31st

(some students may be attending a storm chaser convention in Denver Feb 17th-19th)

Community Outreach:

- Long's Peak Science Fair Feb 29th (we need some judges!)

- Colorado Children's Festival Saturday April 14th at Greeley Mall

Fun Activities

- Ski trip Feb 11th

- Possible intramural volleyball team

- End of the semester BBQ on Saturday, April 28th

- Regular bowling on hiatus---Peter Goble.  



Minutes for General Meeting

January 31st, 2011

This meeting was held at the National Weather Center, in Room 1313.  Since this was the first general meeting in over two months, this meeting began with many brief announcements.

First, Matt Wormus and John Schlenner, two leaders of a men’s basketball student support group, talked briefly about increasing student attendance at men’s basketball games.  They mentioned that student tickets are just $5/game, and also talked about how much they would appreciate it if students would show up to the two upcoming home games against Iowa State and Missouri.

Next, Danielle Barker and Lauren Duhon talked about the success of the OU Loves Joplin program.  Through the donations they received, they were able to give over 200 victims of the May 24th tornado a Christmas dinner.  They also mentioned that the program is ongoing, and donations are still being accepted.

Next, there were a couple of announcements about OUSCAMS events.  First, it was announced that OUSCAMS did not win the AMS poster competition.  Congratulations were extended to the Puerto Rico AMS Student Chapter for winning the competition.  Second, an announcement was made about the upcoming Groundhog’s Day Party.  This party will take place at Sooner Legends on Thursday, February 2nd, starting at 8:00 p.m.  Entrance fee is $5 for those who are under 21 and $7 for those who are over 21.  Entrance fee includes a meal for everyone, unlimited soft drinks for those who are under 21, and unlimited alcohol for those who are over 21.

Next, Jennifer Newman talked about the upcoming Valentine’s Day fundraiser to support Relay for Life.  For a small fee (which goes toward Relay for Life), students can purchase CandyGrams for other students or faculty.

Next, Bethany Hardzinski talked about a possible OUSCAMS field trip to a wind farm in Lawton, OK.  This field trip would take place in Late March or Early April, if there is enough interest.

Next, Trevor Bengtsson and Carl Green talked briefly about the upcoming Relay for Life event.  Each year, OUSCAMS sends a team to Relay for Life on the South Oval, and this year’s event takes place from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.  OUSCAMS has raised $135 thus far.

Next, Pat Hyland talked about various upcoming events for OUSCAMS.  OUSCAMS has another outreach event with Norman Public Schools on Friday, February 3rd, and volunteers are needed.  OUSCAMS will also have a booth at the Earth Day event that takes place at Reeves Park in Norman on April 22nd.  Finally, OUSCAMS is possibly going to organize a get-together at an Oklahoma City Thunder game, although exact details on this event are still in the works.

Next, Emily Thompson spoke about the upcoming Big Event.  This event is a campus-wide day of community service.  Last year, OUSCAMS sent four groups to Northwest Oklahoma City to help refurbish a neighborhood.  This year, the goal is to send five groups.  OUSCAMS plans to combine with the Oklahoma Weather Lab to form a “super-group” for the Big Event.

The final announcement came from Lauren Duhon, who spoke about the upcoming talent show.  This talent show will be on April 27th, and will benefit the American Red Cross.  There will be a freshman dance.  Talents will have to audition beforehand to make sure that their talent is appropriate.

Following all of these announcements, attention then turned to the main speaker of the night, Mary Long.  Mary is the Director of Forensics at Weather Decision Technologies.  She is a graduate of OU.  She explained that forensic meteorology is the review of past weather events, ranging from yesterday, to up to 30 years ago.  Weather Decision Technologies was founded in 2000 by a group of meteorologists and scientists that previously worked at the National Severe Storms Laboratory.  Weather Decision Technologies provides reports about different types of weather, including hail, lightning, wind, tornado, snow, hurricane, and precipitation.  Examples of clients who order these reports are insurance adjusters, roofers, engineers, lawyers, and GIS specialists.  Forensic meteorology is an operational environment; when the weather is active, so are forensic meteorologists.  Forensic meteorologists need to know their way around a computer, since their jobs often involve looking at past weather databases.

Mary then talked about the biggest products that WDT provides their clients with.  One big product is a hail report.  Hail reports provide assessments for clients in the insurance, roofing, and engineering industries, as well as lawyers and independent consultants.  Another big product that WDT provides for their clients is a basic post-event hurricane map.  Yet another product that WDT provides for their clients is a post-event snow map.  These maps are requested by snow removal companies, insurance companies, and clients with critical transportation needs.  They are also requested by engineers to know the amount of snow in a roof collapse.  Another product is tornado reports, which involves finding where a tornado occurred in supercells and squall lines.  Finally, another product is a lightning report.  Lightning reports are automatically generated by a customer on his or her computer screen based on Earth Network’s Total Lightning Network data.

Mary then talked about skills that would be useful to a forensic meteorologist.  These skills include how to interpret radar data, how to make inferences on weather data, and a general knowledge of weather patterns.  One also must have knowledge of Geographic Information Systems.  Finally, one must have an open mind, the ability to adapt to changes, good critical thinking skills, and the willingness to accept constructive criticism.  In addition, becoming a Certified Consulting Meteorologist is a useful title to have.  The requirements to become a CCM include minimum AMS member education criteria, and five years of experience in the field of meteorology.  Forensic meteorologists who are CCMs can become expert witnesses in trials involving the weather.

Mary then offered her final thoughts.  She said to read meteorology journal articles, as they may help spark ideas that you would not otherwise think of.  She also said to not be afraid to ask questions, and always keep an open mind.  She said that you should always be open to taking classes that are not related to the weather, such as fire investigation and insurance classes.  She also said that when working, you should never let a client’s comments affect your opinion.  Instead, you should base your opinion on reliable data and accepted science.  Finally, she suggested that you should watch and apply for student jobs.

Mary’s contact information is as follows:

Mary then left the stage.  Some final announcements were then made.  The 2011 OUSCAMS incentive winners were announced.  Points were awarded based on how many OUSCAMS events you participated in.  Incentives winners receive prizes such as AMS funding and internships.  In 4th place with 31 points was Lindsey Maudlin.  In 3rd place with 32 points was Brent Kraninger.  In 2nd place with 37 points was Katie Western.  In 1st place with 44 points was Timothy Hardin.  Finally, a new freshman representative (Brian Henning) was elected.  This meeting was then adjourned.  The next meeting will be in NWC Room 1313 on February 21st, and the guest speaker will be Dr. Randy Peppler.---Emily Thompson.



January 2012

Activity: AMS Annual Meeting Briefing


A special meeting was held on January 17 for the attendees of the upcoming 92nd AMS Annual Meeting. The purpose was to prepare for the conference by having a brief discussion of the agenda and what to expect. The chapter president started the discussion by describing the activities to be held during the 11th Annual AMS Student Conference and Career Fair, and the main conference. Returning attendees gave some pointers to first time attendees on how to get the best out of the meeting.  Virginia Figueroa, administrative officer of the Physics Department and chapter honorary member, kindly joined the discussion of the logistics.

Monthly Meeting

The first monthly meeting of the spring semester was held on January 19 at 10:45 a.m. A total of 30 students attended. The chapter president recapped the activities held during the previous semester, reflecting on both strengths and shortfalls.  The treasurer presented the financial report and indicated general monetary needs of the semester. The vice-president offered an update on the preparation for the chapter’s top event, the annual Weather Festival. The Weather Fest Committee, as well as other supporting chapter committees, will be meeting regularly until the event.

On another note, the officers announced the first SKYWARN Weather Spotters training hosted by the chapter at UPRM.  The purpose of this National Weather Service (NWS) initiative is to prepare volunteers to provide real-time weather reports to the agency. The members showed great enthusiasm about this novel way to serve the community and NWS’s mission to protect life and property. Other upcoming activities include: the monthly Weather Today, hot dogs and donuts sales, and a blood drive.

92nd AMS Annual Meeting

The chapter’s participation in the 92nd AMS Annual Meeting was marked by great accomplishments. A total of 15 members attended. Twelve members attended the Student Conference and Career Fair held from January 21-22. Eight members presented their research projects at the student poster session: Alexandra N. Ramos, Hector M. Crespo-Jones, Diamilet Pérez-Betancourt, Suheily J. López Belén, Fernanda Ramos-Garcés, Angela Michelle Ferra, Gian A. Villamil, and Dennis Negron-Rivera. The chapter poster was also available for viewing. Chapter president Rosimar Ríos-Berríos participated in the logistics of the judging component of the poster session as part of her duties as a member of the Student Conference Planning Committee (SCPC). She also served as a session chair during the conference. This was the first time a student from our chapter joined the SCPC.

Most of the attendees stayed for the main conference, which lasted until January 27. Five of the total attendees were first time attendees. Three members were selected to work at the conference as part of the Student Assistant Program: José Algarín, Iris Díaz, and Emmanuel A. Vázquez. Three members presented posters at the professional poster sessions: Suheily J. López Belén at the April 27-28 Tornado Outbreak session, and Rosimar Ríos-Berríos and Diamilet Pérez-Betancourt at the T.N. Krishnamurti Symposium. The last two aforementioned members were also recognized during the conference for being selected as 2011 AMS Scholars. The chapter’s website was used to host digital versions of all the posters presented during the conference ( The presentations served as an opportunity for the members to discuss their career paths and make advantageous connections with peers and professionals.

At the Chapter Officers’ Breakfast, the AMS outgoing president Mr. Jonathan Malay officially presented us the award for Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year. The award consisted of a banner for the chapter (Figure 1) and a certificate for each officer.

Figure 1. Some of the 2010-2011 officers display the Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year banner.

In addition, the chapter was awarded the 1st place in the Student Chapter Poster Competition for the second time in a row (Figure 2). We proudly received the award ribbon from Mr. Christopher Schultz, chair of the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (See:


Figure 2. Some of the 2011-2012 officers pose with the chapter poster after receiving 1st place in the Student Chapter Poster Competition.

Ada Monzón, the first female Puerto Rican meteorologist and great supporter of the chapter, accompanied the officers during the award ceremony.  She arranged a phone interview with the chapter president on one of Puerto Rico’s main radio stations as a means to announce the awards to our community. The award for Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year was also announced at the Awards Banquet. Ada Monzón, Yaítza Luna, cofounder and first president of the chapter, and Dr. Héctor Jiménez, director of the Atmospheric Science and Meteorology Program at UPRM, accompanied the members during this celebration (Figure 3).

Also during the meeting, chapter members gathered at a local restaurant for the 1st Puerto Ricans’ Dinner. The purpose of this event was to gather “boricuas”, including current graduate students and professionals, who share the same interest for a career in meteorology. Participants shared their experiences and goals within the field and made important connections during this activity.

 Figure 3.  Chapter members accompanied by Dr. Héctor Jiménez, Ada Monzón, Mr. Jon Malay, Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, and Yaítza Luna. (Photo courtesy of Ken Dewey, Applied Climate Science Group, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

On behalf of the attendees, the chapter would like to thank the sponsors for providing them this invaluable opportunity. These were: AMS, NOAA-UPRM Educational Partnership, NOAA Educational Partnership Program, NASA Space Grant (via meteorologist Ada Monzón’s project), NOAA Center for Atmospheric Science at Howard University, Purdue University, and the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science Program. We would also like to thank Alexander Rodríguez, past historian of UPRM’s Society of Physics Students chapter, for his tremendous contribution to the design of the award-winning chapter poster.

Activity: Poster Presentations

The chapter’s Weather Today committee organized a poster session on January 31st. A total of 18 students attended this event. Members and professors who did not attend the AMS Annual Meeting had the opportunity to see the research posters presented during the conference. The chapter poster was also exhibited. This activity has been successfully held for three consecutive years to motivate members to do research and to provide advise for future research presentations.---Diamilet Pérez-Betancourt.



The Influence of Meteorological Parameters on Rainfall and Severe Weather in Pinellas County, FL


January 25th, 2012


Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

100 8th Ave SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33703  


Cristina Mazza Schoonard

Department of Geography, Environment and Planning

University of South Florida 

Cristina Mazza Schoonard earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Florida State University in Geography in 2009. Upon completion of her Bachelor’s, she immediately enrolled in Graduate School at the University of South Florida to earn a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Policy where she completed her thesis under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Collins. She also accepted a full time position working for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWCC) as an “Environmental Specialist I” while pursuing her Master’s Degree. She was awarded Third Place for presenting her thesis research in the Student Poster Presentation at the National Weather Association Annual Meeting in October of 2010. She has also presented her thesis research at the Florida Society of Geographers in February 2011, the American Association of Geographers in April 2011, the USF Graduate Student Research Symposium in October 2010, and two National Weather Service briefings in 2011. She was also awarded an Exceptional Service Award from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for providing over 100 hours of support to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010.  

Figure 1 Cristina Mazza Schoonard with the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society


Cristina Mazza Schoonard presented on the Influence of Meteorological Parameters on Rainfall and Severe Weather in Pinellas County, FL. She discussed five objectives of her research. The first objective was to identify the dominant surface wind directions in Pinellas County for June, July, and August from 1995 through 2009 using the 1200 UTC sounding data from Ruskin, FL. She found that in Pinellas County, an easterly wind flow dominated the area, but the south and west wind flow days brought the most rain to the Pinellas peninsula. She noted that this information can be useful especially for aviation and boating forecasts.

Mrs. Schoonard went on to discuss her second objective which was to determine the spatial distribution, timing and amounts of rainfall in Pinellas County associated with the dominant wind regimes. She found that westerly winds had the greatest chances for summer rain in Pinellas County. She noted than that a further examination of rainfall shapefiles in ArcGIS revealed that in all wind direction categories except for the 241-300° wind direction, the largest amounts of rainfall occur in two maxima within the center of the Pinellas peninsula. Furthermore, she highlighted some work she had completed examining Nexrad Level II radar files in Gr2Analyst. She  revealed that rain can be expected earlier in the day when winds are out of the west compared to days when rain is associated with an easterly flow of air. She reported that this supports previous research by Gentry and Moore (1954). Ms. Mazza highlighted the usefulness of this information for local short-term forecasts by providing generalizations that can be made of what to expect for each wind category. For example, on a day with a wind direction in the 181-240° category, it appears likely that rain will occur in the eastern center of the peninsula over the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Precipitation on southwesterly wind flow days is also more likely to occur much earlier in the day than on days dominated by easterly wind flow. This information is especially beneficial because of the possible impact on airport operations.

Figure 2 A. Rainfall Composite 1-60° Wind Direction. B. Rainfall Composite 61-120° Wind Direction. C. Rainfall Composite 121-180° Wind Direction. D.  Rainfall Composite 181-240° Wind Direction. E.  Rainfall Composite 241-300° Wind Direction.

The third objective of her research which Mrs. Schoonard discussed was to determine the correlations between atmospheric parameters and precipitation amounts during June, July and August from 1995-2009. She found that wind speed is positively and statistically significantly correlated with precipitation in two wind direction categories (121-180° and 181-240°). Precipitable water is positively and statistically significantly correlated with precipitation in almost every wind direction category. This information about precipitable water and wind speeds is helpful when making short-term forecasts as well. For example, Mazza went on to say, on a day with a southerly wind direction between 121-240°, higher wind speeds could bring more precipitation. A day with higher precipitable water most likely means that more precipitation will fall.

Mrs. Schoonard then discussed her fourth objective which was to examine the effect of wind flows on severe weather events in Pinellas County. She found that most severe weather occurs on days with a south-easterly wind flow (61-180°). Hail was associated with a southeast wind regime; tornadoes with an east and southeast flow; strong wind with an east, southeast and southerly flow; and floods were associated with a flow from the southeast and southwest. Ms. Mazza again highlighted the usefulness of this information to forecasters by providing case studies of severe weather and providing additional support to the severe weather alert decision making processes.

Mrs. Schoonard concluded by discussing her fifth and final objective of her research which she presented for the WCFLAMS chapter. This was to determine which atmospheric parameters and indices were associated with severe weather events. She noted that days with hail occurrences had the lowest average wind speed, a moderate average CAPE value, and the lowest precipitable water average of the severe events studied. Days with tornado occurrences had moderate to higher average wind speed, a higher precipitable water value, a higher SWEAT value and the lowest average CAPE value of the severe events studied. Strong wind events had moderate values for all variables. Of the severe weather events considered in her study, flooding reports had the highest average values of wind speed (2.8 ms-1), CAPE (1437 J kg-1), precipitable water (51 mm), and SWEAT (198). From her study, more information is provided about what values of certain atmospheric parameters and indices are more often associated with different forms of severe weather. For example, on a day with high wind speed, CAPE, precipitable water and SWEAT, forecasters might issue flood warnings for Pinellas County.


In December, our Chapter had a pizza/bowling night fundraiser. After eating pizza at CDB’s Pizza, we enjoyed a game of bowling. We also had a “Secret Santa” gift exchange. 16 members and their families attended this outing. 



As of January 25th, 2012, the treasury stands at $926.67




A total of 33 WCFLAMS members and USF students attended the meeting. We also had a select remote audience join us as we tested a different way to use the Livestream.---David Roache, Jennifer Collins, Matt Bolton with contributions (including figure) from Cristina Mazza Schoonard.






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