Chapter News
June 2007


(June 20, 2007)

(6:00, National Weather Service, North Charleston)

The Charleston Chapter of the AMS met on June 20, 2007 at the National Weather Service of North Charleston, S.C. Exactly 10 people attended the meeting.

Members Present:

Members Absent:

Introductions were held between the members and others present.

The requirements needed to change the name of the chapter were discussed. Five members of the National AMS that are members of this chapter are needed to sign in order for the name to be changed.

The development of a membership email list was discussed. An email list was decided upon because it would be a fast way to get the information out to all members. Some ideas for the main provider of the email list were a Yahoo Group or a CSC (Coastal Service Center) group email. A webpage for the chapter was also brought up for discussion by the President. A question that was brought up concerning the webpage was who would be in charge of it. Bob Bright with the NWS, Chas., expressed an interest. As for the expense of the webpage, the AMS will be looked into to see if they will provide one for us for free, or we will otherwise purchase our own. This webpage would host meeting times, contact information, the constitution, by-laws and activities.

We disseminated and discussed the membership application form. This form was made by Treasurer, Tom Rolfson. It was passed around to all present, filled out and handed to Paul Yura, NWS, Chas. Frank Alsheimer, NWS, Chas., (absent) is the Membership Committee Chairperson and will oversee these forms. Dues were briefly discussed as well, and as of this meeting, money does not need to be paid because of possible accessible money at the College of Charleston. Ryan Evsich will be checking on the access of that money and finding out more about it.

The members and group present outlined and talked over potential activities for the chapter’s first year (through May 2008). The following were possible ideas:

It was decided that we would vote for our favorite in the next couple of meetings.

The President held a very brief overview and introduction of the Executive Committee

The Chapter Constitution was briefly reviewed by all present.

The following were three committees proposed and the volunteers that signed up for each committee:

For the Education & Outreach Committee, the volunteers will contact the Jacksonville, Fla., chapter, who is very active in this area and discuss ideas.

The goal of our chapter was discussed. The goals are to promote meteorology, atmospheric science, and climatology. A broadcast to the public was talked over to promote membership of people who may either have an interest in meteorology or often indirectly deal with it. Some examples were the Air Force Base, Marine Advisory, Emergency Management and Law Enforcement. It was decided that we would see how our chapter grows over the course of a few months before we decide to broadcast anything for sure.

The invited speaker was Paul Yura, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NWS of Charleston. He engaged in a speech and PowerPoint presentation of the examination of the synoptic and mesoscale environments involved in tornado outbreaks from hurricanes Frances (2004) and Jeanne (2004) over northeast coastal Georgia and southern South Carolina, and proved to be very interesting. He discussed that tropical tornadoes increased in the year 2004 with 31 confirmed tornadoes. The tracks of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne were compared and contrasted because, though they took similar paths, their tornado counts varied greatly due to the position of the upper level ridge. Mr. Yura continued to explain that Hurricane Frances strongly interacted with a surface high pressure, which tremendously slowed the forward propagation of the storm. At the same time, there was a cut-off low over the Atlantic, which enhanced the upper level jet stream. An east to west frontal boundary over the Atlantic also allowed natural convergence zones to form off the coast, in turn allowing more rain bands to form, some of which produced tornadoes across the Charleston County Warning Area. With Hurricane Jeanne, however, the upper level ridge had shifted well off the southeast coast, and the storm moved into the Florida panhandle far more quickly than Hurricane Frances. The primary reason that Jeanne’s distribution of tornadoes was less than that of Frances has been attributed to a massive dry slot of air, which decreased the aerial expanse of the convection. Consequently, despite similar hurricane tracks, each hurricane had a significantly different upper level synoptic setup, which either enhanced the convection and tornado count (Frances), or dramatically reduced the convection on account of excessive mid-level drying (Jeanne).

Concluding remarks were held and the next meeting was decided to be in late August, or early September (before Labor Day) at 7:00, to oblige not only College of Charleston students who start mid-August, but also news broadcasters. Brad Miller was asked to bring his storm tracker for the meeting in October. A social hour will precede the meeting at 6pm.

Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m---Anne Chalmers.




June 2007 Science Fair Banquet

The annual DC-AMS Science Fair Banquet was held June 13, 2007 at SAIC in McLean, Virginia.  Jason Samenow began the evening by thanking Nancy Lee for coordinating the science fairs, and Kevin Ambrose for giving each student attending the banquet a copy of his Washington, DC weather book.  Next, Jason introduced the DC-AMS Officers for the coming year, and advertised the young professionals’ happy hour for the following evening.  Jason continued with a thank you to the sponsors for helping to pay for the cost of the students’ and their parents’ meals, Weatherwise for donating a subscription of the magazine to all the winners, and SAIC for providing the venue.  He introduced John Lasley, SAIC employee and incumbent Science Fair Coordinator.  John described SAIC and the work that they do within the meteorology community, such as improving hurricane forecasting models, operating buoys in the Gulf of Mexico, and developing a tsunami detection buoy.

Next, Michael Fortune introduced the night’s featured speaker, Tony Pann, who together with Weather Talk Radio co-host, Justin Burke, contributed $1000 towards the DC-AMS Scholarship Award.  Tony began by describing his voyage to McLean that evening, about to leave his home in Baltimore County when a tornado warning was issued.  Tony, along with his wife and dog, went to the basement of their house until the bad weather had passed, only to catch up with the storm upon driving south on Interstate 95.  The heavy rain caused the traffic to slow down to about 35 miles per hour, so that the storm ended up following them all the way to McLean.

Following his story, Tony talked about his radio show and how it came to fruition.  In March 2005, Tony forecasted significant accumulation from a snowstorm, which prompted school cancellations.  Given the late spring timing of the storm, the snow didn’t stick to the ground and the local newspaper claimed that the meteorologists, including Tony, had blown the forecast.  Tony and Justin decided they wanted a way to “talk back” to the newspaper reporters and arrived upon the idea of starting Weather Talk Radio.  The show has been a success, with Tony and Justin finding it easy to talk about weather for an entire hour, and the listeners welcoming the chance to call in when the forecast is wrong. 

Tony and Justin also enjoy the opportunity to educate the public, as many people do not even understand where the forecast comes from.  Tony spoke about a recent golf outing in which he was paired with three young men, two of whom held engineering degrees.  Tony discovered that one of the engineers was getting his weather forecast from a website which gave a computer generated forecast with no human input.  Tony emphasized the importance of the human forecaster, and moreover, of finding the right forecaster.  A degree in meteorology, or lack thereof, does not necessarily determine whether a meteorologist can forecast well.  Tony recommends tracking different forecasts for a week and deciding which is best.  Justin and Tony have a “7 day bet” in which they leave up their forecast up on their website for a week to see how well they fare.  Every time the forecast is off by more than 7 degrees, they donate $7 to a charity fund, and have other rules which lead to further deposits in the fund.  That fund has amounted to near $1000, which they recently donated to the DC-AMS Scholarship Award.

Tony encouraged the banquet attendees to listen to his show each Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m. on WCBM and  He then imparted some words of wisdom to the students, quoting Einstein with, “If everything is energy, then anything is possible,” and an unknown source with, “Nothing happens to you, it all happens through you,” which he interpreted as meaning that you make your future by making your choices.  He encouraged the students to use their parents, as they are a tremendous source of knowledge.

Several questions from the audience followed, including whether Tony has ever battled his wife, also a meteorologist, in a forecasting competition—Tony replied no, because he knows that she’s better than him.  Another audience member asked whether he has ever bet against, to which Tony replied yes, and that their forecast beats about 80% of the time.  Responding to a question regarding other accurate sources for local weather information, Tony promoted Jason’s blog——because their forecasts require thoughtful development, as well as his own program on CBS.  Other audience members asked, “What is El Niño?” and “How did you move from a small, private business to TV?”  Tony responded to both questions and said that the move to TV was an accident—his professor had kept a tape of his broadcast from the college cable station, and gave that tape to a news director in Dayton, Ohio who was seeking a new on-air meteorologist.

Jason thanked Tony for his presentation and proceeded to recognize the DC-AMS scholarship winner, Matina Hunter.  Finally, Jason revealed the science fair winners who had received the most votes during the evening’s project viewing by the audience members.  The 3rd place winner was Victoria Marshall, who received $50 from DC-AMS; in 2nd place was Matina Hunter, who received $100; and in 1st place was Ben Eve, who received $200.

Jason thanked the students, their parents, and DC-AMS members for attending the 2007 Science Fair Banquet and concluded the evening by wishing everyone a safe trip home.----Alan Cohn.

The June newsletter is now available at:



A small but lively group of 9 members of the High Plains Chapter of the AMS met for lunch, a meeting and a presentation on Wednesday, June 20th, at the Attitudes Restaurant in Norton, KS.  Jonathan Finch, from the Dodge City WFO, presented a briefing on two historic tornadoes: 1) the 40th anniversary of the June 23rd, 1967 tornado that flattened Garden City, KS; and 2) the 60th anniversary of the June 8th, 1947 tornado that devastated Sterling, Colorado.  Jon’s talk included pictures, facts, and meteorological synopses of each event.  Jon also explained his website,, as an excellent source for historic tornado data, where he has chronicled over 600 tornado cases to date.

The first annual Jim Johnson Scholarship was awarded to William L. Friesen, of Meade, KS.  He will be attending Tabor College in Hillsboro, KS starting this fall semester.  He will be majoring in Chemistry and Physics, as well as Secondary Education, with future plans of becoming a high school science teacher.   More information and a picture can be viewed on our web site,

Chapter Vice President Mike Umscheid of the DDC WFO received the NOAA Employee of the Month award for June.  Mike issued the tornado warning for Greensburg, KS on May 4th, undoubtedly saving hundreds of lives due to the 26 minute lead time.  Mike has humbly accepted all this worthy attention, but graciously acknowledges the team work involved with fellow employees, news media, the spotter network, as well as county and city emergency personnel.  

Plans for the 11th High Plains conference in Hasting, NE on August 16-17th are coming along fine.  Four keynote speakers are lined up:  John Davies of Wichita, KS; Ron Przybylinski (SOO, NWS St. Louis), Dr. Peter Lamb (Director of CIMMS), and John Ogren (Deputy Director of NWS Central Region).  Conference information can be accessed via our website, and registration instructions will be posted soon.  The Call for Papers went out with a suspense date of July 20th, and everyone is encouraged to submit an abstract.  A meeting designed primarily for NWS members will be held Wednesday afternoon at 1 PM at the GID (Hastings) WFO, with suggested topics of FXc-Graphicast and supporting a remote IMET, such as in the Greensburg post-tornado situation.  GID SOO Rick Ewald will send an invitation email message out to all area SOO on this.

The next meeting will be held during the 11th High Plains conference.---Tim Burke.




June Meeting Minutes.--- Erik D. Kabela.




During the past year, the Penn State Branch of the American Meteorological Society has continued to see an upswing in the quality of meetings and activities as well as the number students attending them. Membership and enthusiasm has been raised significantly, which is only fitting for the largest and arguably the finest meteorology program in the nation. In 2006-2007, PSUBAMS had at least 108 paid members.  Also, PSUBAMS launched its own website: This site provides all meteorology students an opportunity to get in touch with the officers and visit their web pages, see the schedule of events and past news, have access to important meteorology links and presenter’s PowerPoint’s, as well as read the monthly synopsis sent to the AMS. PSUBAMS is also proud to announce their acknowledgement by the AMS, by being selected to be on the AMS CHAPTER HONOR ROLL.

PSUBAMS had a variety of excellent speakers in the fall. Carl McCalla, of NOAA's Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL) / Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), spoke about the great opportunities for students to work with experts in the development of scientific techniques for use in NWS operations. Former Penn State professor, Dr. Craig Bohren, showed us an application of the physics and thermodynamics that we have learned, to an everyday phenomenon, SMELLING. He educated those in attendance about olfactory training with his dogs and how the weather may affect a dog’s trail of scent. Dr. Ray Najjar, professor in the departments of meteorology and geosciences, spoke at the final meeting of the semester about his research on DMS along with his other experiences in Antarctica.

In the spring, we held several more meetings. In January, Dr. Chuck Pavloski, a faculty member of Penn State, spoke about his research in Darwin, Australia. In March, PSUBAMS held an undergraduate research meeting with three meteorology professors: Dr. Shirer talked about lightning; Dr Young spoke about a variety of topics; Dr. Evans about tropical meteorology. They also talked about internships and opportunities available. Later in March, John Gordon (MIC NWS Louisville, KY) came and talked about the National Weather Service and outreach programs. He also brought “Weather Jeopardy.”  After the meeting, Gordon went to dinner with a dozen students to further discuss his weather experiences and opportunities for students. In April, PSUBAMS held an AMS mentorship meeting. The American Meteorological Society’s Board of Private Sector Meteorologists started a mentorship program between college students and professionals. Two Penn State students, Bryan Oshinski and Zack Byko, were paired with two mentors, Dick Westergard (Shade Tree Meteorology) and Phil Falconer (Falconer Weather Information Service). The four held an open ended question and answer session, and many Penn State students are now interested in the AMS mentorship program.

Along with these distinguished speakers, PSUBAMS hosted its annual internship and graduate school meetings. The internship meetings served to help students further their education outside of Penn State. The graduate school meeting with Dr. Clothiaux helped those preparing themselves for further study in the field.

As an ice breaker in the early fall, PSUBAMS organized an outing to a nearby minor league baseball game that served as a “meet the faculty” event. A date auction was held to raise money for charity. PSUBAMS also held a photo contest in the fall. Winners of the photo contest were featured in the PSUBAMS annual calendar that was for sale to all students and faculty during the holiday season. In the spring, PSUBAMS held a t-shirt design contest for the 2007 Penn State meteorology t-shirt. The theme selected was “Things Not to Say to a Meteorologist.” In February, Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences held their annual open house for seniors in high school who are interested in the college. PSUBAMS had a large display at the event, with a poster, and flyers that explained the benefits of being a member in both PSUBAMS and the national AMS. Also, officers met and discussed doing an informational seminar for the public. We were unable to do this during the spring due to all of the events already planned for spring semester. However, plans are in place to execute this seminar this coming fall.

PSUBAMS worked hard in coordination with the Campus Weather Service to obtain funding from the Penn State University Park Allocation Committee. We sent 17 students to the 2007 AMS Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Many other students obtained other funding sources (AMS grants, etc.) at the urging of the PSUBAMS officers, and approximately 30 Penn State students attended the annual meeting in Texas. Several students who attended made valuable connections which helped them to obtain internships this summer.

President: Racheal Bliley                                     President: Marcus Walter

Vice President: Andy Hagen                               Vice-President: Andy Hagen
Treasurer: Beth Russell                                       Treasurer: Kevin Bowley

Secretary: Bryan Oshinski                                   Secretary: Maria Zatko

Congratulations to all students who are graduating and to those who have a few more years. Good Luck in the future!  Thanks for a great year!---Bryan Oshinski and Andy Hagen.




June 20, 2007

President, Elise Johnson opened the meeting discussing the potential UAH-AMS website.  The proposed address will be  Jennifer Geary-Muller or Denise Berendes will be contacted regard the graphics and set-up.  The overall view of the page will be consistent with NSSTC’s website or the MIPS page.   The content of the website will consist of officers’ photos and biographies, the club constitution, activities, conferences, a members spreadsheet, news and notes, and outreach.  It will also consist of popular weather links like local weather, MIPS page, and national websites.---Holly Searcy.




The Climate Project

On June 11th, we had a conference titled The Climate Project: A Journey into Global Warming led by Susan E. Pacheco who is a Climate Project volunteer for Al Gore’s climate project. A total of 13 people attended. Dr. Susan talked about Global Warming and its consequences in different places of the world including Puerto Rico. Dr. Susan also discussed many ways to help minimize Global Warming effects.


Community Service - Hurricanes’ Conference

An AMS group went to Lajas, Puerto Rico on June 13th to talk about Hurricanes with a group of children between 4-10 years old.---Nestor Flecha.


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