Chapter News
July 2012


The July meeting of the Smoky Mountain Chapter was held on the evening of the 16th. Everyone met first for dinner at Calhoun’s on the River near the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville. Afterwards, the meeting commenced on the UT Ag campus in the Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Sciences building. Robert Blevins (retired from the U.S. Air Force and currently a consultant with the military and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers) spoke on "Worldwide weather monitoring and assessment for the intelligence community (past, present, and future)". His talk was a brief history of weather support to the Intelligence Community, including current capabilities and areas of needed improvement. Part of his briefing was a GIS-based demonstration of the day-to-day weather analysis and weather modeling that he accomplished.

Biography for Robert Blevins: Mr. Blevins received degrees in meteorology from the Penn State University (Bachelors of Science, 1976) and from the North Carolina State University (Master of Science, 1985). He served in the Air Force for twenty years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. While in the military, Mr. Blevins served in several positions including Director of Weather for all military in Japan, the Chief of Software Development at the Air Force Climate Center. He also held various staff and forecasting positions during his career. During his military career, Robert was also assigned to the Intelligence Community, where he established and led a weather team to provide climatological, analytical, and forecast support worldwide. Since retirement, Robert has consulted to the Intelligence Community to monitor, assess, and advise on weather conditions worldwide. Principle weather support is for crops and water issues as well as an assessment and forecast for hazardous weather conditions. Much of the work relies on integrating daily and seasonal weather with climate data and then using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to analyze and model weather conditions worldwide. Robert collaborates with the military and the US Army Corp of Engineers to operate GIS based snow models and flood potential models (and soon river flow models) for interest regions worldwide.---David Gaffin.



The South Central Texas Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association (SCTX AMS/NWA) has completed its spring program with two meetings and the election of new officers for 2012-2013.  The February meeting was mostly organizational, with individual committee reports on such items as chapter support to local science fairs and to begin planning for a Texas Weather Conference to be held in late 2013.  The chapter also was active in the South Texas Severe Weather Workshop held in San Antonio in March.  Chapter President, Brian Alonzo, addressed the conference describing the role of SCTX AMS/NWA and providing information on membership to those in attendance.  The chapter will be active in the upcoming AMS Annual Meeting in Austin next January.

The May meeting coincided with the rollout of the new chapter newsletter.  The newsletter is published on-line and the first issue included articles on the upgrade to Dual-Polarization of the WSR-88D radar at the Austin-San Antonio NWS office, an update on the South Texas drought, and cloud seeding programs in South Texas.  Those interested can view the newsletter from the “News” link of the chapter web page

Theresa Gage, Director of External Affairs for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) was the invited speaker at the May chapter meeting.  ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers - representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 6.7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.  ERCOT actively seeks to diversify the sources of electrical power generation.  For example, Texas is now the leading state in wind power with over 10,000 MW of the 74,000 MW peak system capacity generated from wind.  Of course, the least expensive power is that which you conserve and Gage provided a list of energy conservation tips for both summer and winter seasons.  A new tool to help consumers stay aware of the importance of electrical conservation is the ERCOT smart-phone app, which includes graphs of forecasted peak load by time of day and has the ability to “push” Energy Emergency Alerts to consumers when conditions dictate.

The chapter concluded its activities for the season with the election of new officers:

President: Veronica Holtz

Vice President: Susan Street

Secretary/Treasurer: Stephanie Beall

The next meeting of SCTX AMS/NWA will be this September following our normal summer hiatus.---Rich Dixon.



The first meeting of the Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana chapter of the American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association was called to order by Donald Jones at 6:05 PM. Mr. Jones welcomed those in attendance and requested that everyone take a moment to fill out a member information form and a future meeting suggestion form.

              No old business was discussed as this was the organization’s first meeting.

              The floor was then opened to discussion and changes to the proposed constitution. No alterations were requested. Members then motioned to vote to ratify the constitution as proposed. The motion passed with 11 yea and 0 nay votes.

              Mr. Jones then informed those present that, per the newly ratified constitution, annual dues of $20.00 would be required of each active member and should be paid as soon as possible.

              The floor was then opened for the nomination of officers and began with nominations for president. Donald Jones was nominated and accepted the nomination. No other nominations for president were made. Nominations for vice president followed. Jonathan Brazzell and Wade Hampton were nominated and both accepted their nominations. Finally, nominations for Secretary/Treasurer were opened. Ashley Jones was nominated and accepted the nomination. No other nominations for Secretary/Treasurer were made. A final call for additional nominations in any category was made with no further nominations proposed. Nominations for officers were then closed.

              Donald Jones announced that officer voting would take place electronically prior to the next meeting and the selected officers would be announced at the next meeting.

              Donald Jones then requested members help spread the word about the newly formed organization through social media, word of mouth and other means of communication. Inquiries about other business were met with blank stares and a motion to adjourn the meeting was made at approximately 6:45 PM.---Donald Jones.



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