Chapter News
March 2012


The High Plains Chapter held a meeting via a conference call on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, beginning with a GoToMeeting at Noon.  There were 23 HP members on the call, as well as Pete Browning/CRH SOO.  The host of the GoToMeeting was Al Pietrycha/GLD SOO.   Al covered the subject of “Which Radar is best to use for the Beam Height?”  He demonstrated several examples where a particular CWA could have used neighboring 88D radar to get a better representation of a storm.  Another nearby radar is most likely to view a storm better when that storm is near the edge of your CWA.  In summary, Al suggested:  1. Be aware of your VCP, even though storms may not be in your CWA, a neighboring CWA may want to use your radar to view their storms better; 2. Don’t always rely on your radar for the best display of a storm; use other radars when storms are near the edge of CWA; and 3. Be aware of the Hydro QPE issues, other radars may estimate rainfall better than your radar.  The training ended with a question and answer period. 

Our business meeting began after the GoToMeeting.  Comments included from a few offices stated the NWS budget that was recently published indicated there may be a little more travel money than earlier thought. Each NWS office thought 1 to 3 members could attend to conference, but nonetheless, the decision remained not to host a 2012 HP conference, and rather concentrate in making the 2013 conference even better.  Mike Umscheid/DDC briefed the chapter on the Tax Exempt status – they are making progress.   A tax attorney is preparing a package for the IRS, and this process takes time.  Mike is continuing to work on these needed changes.  President Chris Foltz informed us the electronic vote conducted earlier was unanimous to change our Constitution to allow that only the President Officer position needs to be a member of the national AMS organization.  Also voted in was that the President can request the Chapter to pay their national dues.  The next meeting is scheduled for June 13th (2nd Wed).  Details for the meeting will be forthcoming.---Tim Burke.



March Meeting Minutes.---Ryan Lueck.



Meeting Minutes for March 19, 2012

I.  Call to Order

The March NWA/AMS meeting of 2012 was called to order at 6 p.m. by Corresponding Secretary, Mr. Eric Carpenter.  The Chapter meeting was held at the National Weather Service office, 234 Weather Service Drive, in Flowood, MS. 

II. Rolls & Old Business

Recording Secretary Ms. Nancy Lopez took attendance, and the sign-in sheet confirmed 20 attendees.  The Chapter e-mail list was updated, and the meeting was announced on Facebook and Google Plus by Social Media contact Mr. Daniel Lamb.  A twitter account is available at: @CentralMSnwaams.   Mr. Lamb may be taking on the webmaster role as well for posting materials, and NWA Vice President Mr. E. Huston approved it. 

III. Minutes Approval and New Business

Treasurer Ms. Joanne Culin gave an update on the financial report for 2011-12.  The fund had decreased to $88 to pay for travel for the January speaker.  She reminded the group on $20 dues for regular membership and $10 for student Chapter membership.  She collected $90 at the meeting. 

Other news was AMS President Dr. Loren White mentioned NCAR will be coming in a couple weeks to Jackson State University, and that dates for a weather camp will likely be for the end of June.  Mr. Carpenter announced NWA President Mr. Vincent Webb started working at Fox 40 as fill-in.

After the group was briefed on the January talk, the floor was turned over to special guest speaker Dr. Laura Myers.  Dr. Myers is a social scientist with Mississippi State University but works heavily with NWS offices.  She is a Principal Investigator in disaster response planning and gave a Power Point presentation on “Severe Weather Survey Analysis 2011-2012”.  Dr. Myers studies what people do during disasters and works with a variety of groups in the weather enterprise, and has studied in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.  Her applied research is to study perceptions and actions during severe weather events.  Given the April tornado outbreak of 2010, she created a survey last fall to inquire to the public about severe weather while the event was fresh.  The study was funded by SERRI and the Department of Homeland Security, and an online survey was offered during two sessions from mid-Nov 2011 and mid-Jan 2012, even though surveys are still coming in.  She received a good sampling.  Over 1810 surveys were completed with 43% from Mississippi, 20% from Alabama, and 13% from Tennessee.  More males (58%) answered vs. females (42%), but all ages responded over 18 years old.  Most identified themselves as Caucasian with some college with moderate to high incomes.  Ninety percent who answered experienced storm damage, and 75% lived in wood homes with the rest being other materials or hotels or apartment structures.  She found structural protection affected the decisions in response as well as how the message or warning on severe weather was received.  TV was the #1 way of how Mississippi found out about weather while Alabama relied on NOAA radios; Tennessee used both.  Cell phones and sirens weren’t as relied on, but she did state that NOAA weather radio is the most effective source for taking action.  Conclusions on her study was that content of message and timing of message with proximity and path of storm or lead time is key, as well as education to the public.  She found working through myths, i.e. “tornados do(n’t) track there”, is still needed.  She offered her contact info and would love our feedback on how we utilize this info: or (828) 243-2952. 

IV.  Adjournment

The meeting concluded at approximately 7:45 p.m.  An April meeting is possible depending on Dr. White’s NCAR visitors.---Nancy Lopez.



March GBM Minutes

Rachel is asking for pictures from NESC along with uploading many pictures to the website. Please email her with pictures you have. She also informed the club that several pictures are going to be incorporated into the new information pamphlet from admissions for LSC.

Torry went over our budgeting for next year. We were awarded $100 more than this year for our overall budget from SGA. However, there will be available money in the general fund to ask for more if we need it next year. All good news.

Laura, told everyone about the multitude of compliments from professors and other schools for our execution and running of the NESC.  She also reminded us how quickly new board elections are going to occur. We will be coming up with a date that candidates for the new board should attend to run for a position. If you are unable to make it, you must meet with a current board member about your interest. Watch your email; Pat will fill in with all details needed to be prepared for elections and when they will be held.

Craig, Brian, and Pat, reminded everyone to see them if there is interest to run for their position and had not already seen them.

George once again reminded everyone of Science Fair, on Friday March 23rd. He is looking for help from 8AM through the end of the sessions around 2. There will be free lunch from Pizza Man, and there will be three separate presentations, and three sessions for the students to tour News7 studio. If interested in helping with either, contact George. This is a fun and unique event with many different science projects, such as the creation of a light saber.---Brian Knopick.




  1. Opening Comments, - a welcome to everyone and thanks for attending.
  2. The 2012 scholarship committee volunteers were named and given thanks for their upcoming participation.  The deadline is May 15th for scholarship nominees.  Applications have been sent out to nearby colleges that may have students from the Memphis CWA.
  3. Nominations for next year’s AMS Memphis Chapter officers are due in May at the next meeting.
  4. Jim Branda gave the treasurer’s report; there is $640.95 in the savings/scholarship fund and $755.36 in the checking account with a new total balance of $1,396.31 in available funds.
  5. If anyone has not paid dues and would still like to; please see Jim Branda.
  6. No other business was brought to the table and everyone was asked if they had any questions.
  7. Introduction to the night’s speaker: Matt Reagan a graduate student from Mississippi State University.  Matt first discussed the climatology of cloud to ground lightning and severe hail in storms across the Memphis and Jackson NWS’s County Warning Area since 2005, second he discussed his attempt in modeling cloud ground strikes in forecasting severe hail and how it compared to a logistic regression model.  Third, the study allowed for a good script of lightning data for further study and flexibility.---Jim Branda.



Meeting Type: Speaker Series- NWS Skywarn training

Date: March 21, 2012

Attendance: 66

Meeting in Session: 8:34 pm 

Meeting Ended: 9:55 pm---Colin Thomas.



Greg Story called the March meeting to order at 7:05 pm. He welcomed members to the meeting and asked any first time people in attendance to introduce them.

As a reminder if you would like to go ahead and pay your dues for next year they are $10.

Stan Christmas gave a treasury’s report.

Both the Fort Worth and Dallas Science Fairs had good turn outs.

Greg Story has some hail pads for CoCorRaHS observers, if you would like one please contact him.

The Chapter said good-bye to Bill Bunting MIC of the Fort Worth office. Greg Story thanked Bill for all his hard work and dedication to the chapter.

Harold Taft Scholarship - Money for Meteorologists

KXAS-TV and David Finfrock asked me to help spread the word about the Harold Taft Scholarship ($2000) for students majoring in meteorology or a related field. You must be attending a Texas college or have attended a Texas high school for 4 years.  Official details at

Bruce Thomas was our March speaker. Bruce spoke about his 25 year career and how you never know how the people you met today can affect your life tomorrow.

Bruce Thomas began his presentation by apologizing to the group for having to cancel in December.  Bruce’s first weather job was in Jackson Mississippi, when he was nineteen.  In his early years Bruce worked for a media family owned TV station KCEN-TV in Colorado. At twenty-five Bruce moved to College Station and while looking for an apartment, he met a girl with pets. He later married her and they have been married for twenty years.  They moved to Kansas City where he worked at KCTV. Bruce surrounded himself with lots of smart interns; many of them went on to work for the National Weather Service.  Bruce also had the privilege of working with Harold Taff.  Bruce went to Midland Radio and talked to them about taking a weather radio to all the broadcast media. He talked Midland Radio into letting him test a weather radio during Hurricane Charlie. That was such a success that he started his career with Midland Radio on September 13, 2004 as their national spokesman.  NOAA Weather Radios are in every school in the United States and Canada.  Captain Kidd of the San Antonio fire department and the MIC of the San Antonio/Austin office helped Bruce to get HEB grocery stores to sell weather radios.  From the sale of those weather radios on September 4, 2008, Midland Radio contributed $69,496.00 to the Harold Taft scholarship fund.  Don’t forget to visit the Midland Radio Facebook page.---Bobette Mauck.



OUCAMS only had two meetings during the month of March because of finals and spring break.
-We finished up our peer speaking series for the quarter with a presentation from one of our grad students on her research.

-A few members of the chapter went out to the communities in need after the tornado outbreak (March 2nd) in the SW, OH  area during break.
-We are currently looking into how we can provide additional relief (canned food, clothing, etc.)  
-In the process of contacting the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

-Our symposium is coming up April 14th, so the chapter has been finalizing preparations for the event.
-We sold dinner tickets to students in order for them to network with our featured speakers.

-We have reached the end of the National Wx Challenge, but OU is currently holding their 3rd annual forecasting tournament alongside the official tournament.

-Once again, students have been offered an opportunity this quarter to forecast alongside a senior forecaster to gain more experience and insight.

-Our Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences will have PACE positions available for the 2012-2013 academic year.
-Students were encouraged to apply if eligible.---Elise Dolinar.


The following is a summary of the OUSCAMS Officer Meeting, which took place on March  6th, 2012.  The first item on the agenda concerned the upcoming March 13th, 2012 General Meeting. Dr. Michael Biggerstaff is going to be the main speaker for this meeting, and he will talk about his upcoming DC3 research project. The food for this meeting is going to be Taco Bell.

The next item on the agenda concerned funding for the potential OUSCAMS field trip to Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, the Boulder trip will likely not get funded, as if OUSCAMS applies for one time funding, we can’t apply for it for three more years.

The next item on the agenda concerned the letter-writing campaign for schools participating in the SPaRCE research program. Megan Rowlison attended this officer meeting for this purpose. The letter-writing campaign is going well, with several letters having already been sent out at the time of this meeting. One thing Megan did want to note is that letter-writers should get a picture taken with their letter, so the schools receiving the letters can put a face to a letter.

The next item on the agenda concerned the upcoming OUSCAMS field trip. Bethany Hardzinski is going to meet with Dr. Gibson to finalize field trip plans to Kessler Wind Farms. The tentative date for this trip is April 4th, 2012.

The next item on the agenda concerned the upcoming OUSCAMS outreach events. OUSCAMS volunteers will be presenting the typical weather demonstrations at a few upcoming events. The first two events will be at the Oklahoma Science Museum on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., as a tornado-themed IMAX movie is premiering there on those days. The third event will take place on March 15th from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., as a group of 4th graders visits the National Weather Center.

The next item on the agenda was just a brief reminder that Big Event is still coming up on April 14th.

The next item on the agenda concerned the upcoming Relay for Life event, which takes place on April 21st. The deadline to sign up for this event is approaching, and the OUSCAMS team needs to raise more money. One idea that was considered concerning how to raise more money was to delegate some of the responsibility from the Freshman Representatives to Casey Hilgenbrink (Secretary) and Addison Alford (Sophomore Representative).  Another idea was to send out a mass email to everyone in the School of Meteorology and call for a simple $5 donation per person. A third idea was to have some sort of weather-related contest in which you pay money to enter, and the winner of the contest wins some sort of prize. A fourth and final idea was to contact COCAMS for additional ideas.

The next item on the agenda concerned the upcoming OUSCAMS Talent Show, which takes place on April 27th. The NWC Atrium has been reserved for this day, but more people are still needed for the show to go on. One idea to get more volunteers is to open it up to the entire college of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences, and to make sure participants know that there will be prizes for the winners.

The final item on the agenda concerned the upcoming OUSCAMS elections, which will take place on April 24th. This was just a brief note that nominations will again be accepted at the April 10th General Meeting. This meeting was then adjourned.

Minutes for General Meeting

March 13th, 2011

This meeting was held at the National Weather Center, in Room 1313. This meeting once again began with an announcement about an opportunity to write letters to elementary schools participating in the SPaRCE (Schools of the Pacific Rainfall Climate Experiment) program.

Next, a brief announcement was made about an upcoming field trip to an ecological farm in South Norman. This field trip will take place at 4:00 p.m. on April 4th, 2011, and is open to any OUSCAMS member.

Next, an announcement was made about the Big Event, which takes place on April 14th, 2011. The deadline has passed to sign up for the Big Event, and this year’s OUSCAMS group has 60 members, who are being split up into 3 teams. Emily Thompson will contact people in the near future with more specifics.

Next, an announcement was made about Relay For Life, which takes place on April 21st, 2011. The deadline to sign up for this event is at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday Night.

Next, announcements were made about a couple of upcoming OUSCAMS outreach events. First, 90 fourth graders are visiting the National Weather Center on March 15th, and OUSCAMS members are also needed to do weather demos on that day.  Also, on April 22nd, OUSCAMS has a booth on the Earth Day event at Reeves Park in Norman, and people are needed to staff that booth.

Next, Lauren Duhon talked about the upcoming Talent Show which takes place on April 27th.  Volunteers with talents are needed to perform, particularly freshmen who are willing to participate in the Freshman Dance. Proceeds from this show will go to the American Red Cross to aid in natural disaster relief.

Then, the main speaker, Dr. Michael Biggerstaff, took the stage.  Dr. Biggerstaff talked about a research project that he and many other people will be working on this summer. The purpose of this project is to examine how convection affects trace gases in the upper troposphere. This is important because trace gases have a profound effect on the radiation budget of the earth-atmosphere system. Therefore, the more we know about exactly what effects trace gases have, the less uncertainty we will have with regards to climate change, as trace gases are one of the main factors of uncertainty in climate change models.  Thus, this is an important research project. Help is needed to launch electric field meters into clouds, and interested students should check the OU jobs site, as more info will be posted there shortly.

Finally, after Dr. Biggerstaff was done speaking, nominations for OUSCAMS officer positions for the 2012-13 school year were accepted. Elections will take place during the April 24th meeting.

This meeting was then adjourned.---Emily Thompson.



Monday, March 14 2012 Meeting Minutes
Garden Café and Bakery, Omaha, NE

Jay called the meeting to order at 6:37 p.m. and greeted the 29 members and guests in attendance. 

President’s Report (Jay Martinelli): Jay announced that our next meeting will be on Monday, April 23, 2012 at Creighton.  There will be no meal/food service at this upcoming meeting.  It will be a Career Night with several meteorologists and weather professionals in a panel format.  Details TBA.  We do not have complete details for our May meeting yet, but our speaker will be Capt. Ken Fenton, Space Weather Flight Chief at Offutt AFB.

Treasurer’s Report (Fritz VanWijngaarden):

Beginning balance: $ 321.40 Petty Cash. Closing checking balance = $1183.77. Total = $ 1505.17.   He also noted that we have 53 full members and 12 student members at this time.

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

Since we did not have a formal meeting in February (joint meeting with UNL and Creighton), the minutes from our January meeting still needed to be approved.  These were sent to the membership via email, posted to our Facebook page, and also forwarded to the National Chapter. 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): not present

Old Business: Jay reported that Kristen could not attend this meeting, but she has the order for our t-shirts ready to go.  However, the officers were thinking about ordering extras, as the more t-shirts we buy, the less the price per t-shirt.  The floor was opened to the membership, where we discussed that we could use a few extra for speaker gifts and for other members who don’t attend meetings frequently and have not had opportunity to order them.  The discussion lead to us deciding that it would be more cost effective to purchase them at one time in a bulk order.  Bruce Telfeyan moved that we allocate sufficient funds up to $100 for the purchase of extra t-shirts to give us an optimal cost, since the exact price per unit was not available to us at the time. Barb Mayes Boustead seconded the motion, and it was voted on and approved.  Jay said that Kristen would be computing our price point and making the order tomorrow.  The t-shirts should be available at our April 23 meeting.

New Business:  Bruce Telfeyan is on the National Local Chapter Affairs Committee, serving as an advocate for all local chapters across U.S.  Duties include providing administrative support, (i.e. stationary, newsletter), judging the Chapter of the Year Award and the posters at the Annual AMS meeting.  One initiative they are pursuing is to come up with a marketing program to encourage local chapter members to join the national AMS Chapter.  Bruce said that our chapter is viewed with great esteem, and to his knowledge an Omaha-Offutt member has been on the Local Chapter Affairs Committee for what he believes is the entire time the committee has existed.  Bruce’s seat on the committee ends in January 2013, and he is actively recruiting for someone from our chapter to fill his position.  (Recording Secretary note – website is at

Jay said that we need to think about chapter elections. VP, Treasurer and Recording Secretary officers have reached their 2 year term limits. Jay said that he would run again for President, Richard Ritz again for Corresponding Secretary, and past President Barb Mayes Boustead indicated that she would be running for VP.  We are hoping for some friendly competition and also others to fulfill the positions of Treasurer, and Recording Secretary.  Becky Selin is heading up the Nomination Committee.  Please contact her or an Officer for details about the positions,  either in person or at our email at

We will be having elections at the May meeting. (Recording Secretary note – position duties and documents can be found at

Fritz showed the chapter our Local “Chapter of the Year” 2010-2011 banner.  It was noted that our combined efforts is what makes our chapter great and the award belongs to all our members.  This banner will be displayed in several of the offices where our members are employed, rotated throughout the year.  

Our meeting was adjourned at 6:52 p.m.

Our speaker was Kevin Grode, P.E.. Reservoir Regulation Team Lead. from the Army Corp of Engineers.  He gave an extremely informative talk about MO River flooding of last summer, answering many questions from our members. 

Mr. Grode  holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD.  He has been with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1986. Most of his tenure with the Corps has been in area of water management. He worked in the Omaha District Water Control and Water Quality Section (1991 – 2003) as a reservoir regulator and has been in the Missouri Basin Water Management office since 2003. In his current position, Kevin leads a team of hydraulic engineers and computer specialists to conduct studies and forecasts pertaining to the regulation of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System. This includes the update of System water control manuals and various technical studies, as well as producing short-term and long-term Missouri River basin forecasts to ensure compatibility with the System’s authorized purposes. (Recording Secretary note - )---Karen Harder-Sittel.


March Meeting Minutes.---Steve Pierce.



The Oswego State Chapter took the month of March to complete planning for our annual Great Lakes Atmospheric Science Symposium conference!! We’re all set for presentations on April 28th!! March was also a month of opportunity for our club to reach out to the community. On the 24th, 9 of our members participated in our school’s Relay for Life. For 12 hours, we took turns walking around the track for cancer awareness. On the 26th, we enjoyed the company of local 6th graders, and were able to use hands on activities, and presentations, to get them involved in basic meteorology. Also, during March, we were lucky enough to obtain a DOW vehicle for our Mesometeorology students to conduct research of storms with. It was very exciting to have that technology on campus for awhile!! For more information on our club, please visit Pirraglia. 



On March 14th, the Palmetto chapter of the American Meteorological Society (PAMS) had their 18th Annual Mini-Technical Conference.  During the conference, we had a change in officers.  Jordan Payne was nominated to be Secretary/Treasurer, Brian Viner was nominated to be Vice President, and Wes BehrendI was nominated to be President.---Wes Behrend.



March 2012 AMS Chapter News

The Rutgers Chapter had an eventful March this year.  The month started with a large group of 23 of our students driving up to Rutland, Vermont on Friday the 2nd for the annual Northeastern Storms Conference held by Lyndon State College.  All of the talks and events were very interesting and for the Rutgers University Chapter, it is our biggest event of the year that is open to all members of the club to attend.  We stayed through the weekend until Sunday the 4th and then began heading home but not first without having everyone stop for a nice group meal at an amazing restaurant called the Back Behind Restaurant and Smokehouse.

Our next club event was short on notice but a success none the less.  Our chapter was able to have channel ABC-7's meteorologist Bill Evans come back to our school and give a talk and have a book signing.  Hearing him share many of his own experiences in the field with us over his career was one of the most interesting parts of his presentation.

There was a club E-Board Meeting held near the end of the month on Monday the 26th.  The list of topics that were discussed included:

On March 29th three students traveled to Thorne Middle School in Port Monmouth, NJ to give a presentation on severe weather to the 6th grade class.  Meteorology club President Matthew Drews, Rutgers Meteorology Alumnus Geof Grek, and Meteorology club Secretary Jeffrey Mart were the three attending presenters and also the created the presentation.  The severe weather topics included things such as winter weather, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanic lightning.  The presentation also included a section teaching the students about weather equipment as well talking about what it takes to be a Meteorologist.  It was a really fun event for both the Rutgers representatives and the 6th grade students of Thorne Middle School.---Jeffrey Mart.



The March meeting of the Smoky Mountain Chapter was held on the 13th at the University of Tennessee to hear Stephen S. Hall (a science writer famed for his New York Times Magazine cover stories and his six books) speak on "Alternate Universes: Different Ways of Thinking about Science – and Science Journalism". This talk was a part of the University of Tennessee’s annual Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture Series. More information can be found at

Steve Hall has been writing about science for 30 years. In addition to many cover stories for The New York Times Magazine, his articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, New York Magazine, Science, Scientific American, Discover, The Sciences, Smithsonian, Technology Review (where he wrote the "Biology, Inc." column), and other national publications. Hall is also the author of six nonfiction books about contemporary science, most recently "Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience". His other books explore how boys and men are affected by their height, efforts to lengthen the human lifespan, stimulating our immune system to attack cancer, synthesizing the human gene, and developing ways to visualize discoveries about the ocean floor, the distribution of galaxies, subatomic collisions, and more.---David Gaffin.



March 2012



At our March TAMSCAMS meeting, we were honored to have Dr. Jeff Trapp as our speaker. He discussed field work relating to meteorology and gave several examples of field work he has participated in. This was a great way to let members see what goes on in meteorological field work as well as get them excited for opportunities they can participate in as a meteorology student. In addition to Dr. Trapp's speech, we also notified the members of upcoming opportunities they can volunteer and participate. These include Big Event (for which we have a TAMSCAMS group), Weather Camp, a social event at an Aggie baseball game, and a mock chase with the Texas Aggie Storm Chasers. On top of this, we also had nominations for officers. Several people showed interest in running for each of the various positions. At our next meeting (April 9), we will hold elections and have Skywarn training.---Kristen Collier.



Meeting Minutes

March 1, 2012

Meeting Minutes

March 29, 2012



March 2012


Special Meeting


A special meeting was held on March 6 (10:45 a.m.) to discuss and review in further detail the preparations for the upcoming Weather Festival. The meeting was led by the chapter’s vice president, Fernanda Ramos-Garcés. Every year when the chapter is able to hold a Weather Festival, the vice-president is the officer in charge of coordinating the event.  A Weather Festival Committee is established early in the academic year and the vice-president gives specific tasks to each one of its members. This special meeting was mainly intended to sum up the outcome of these assignments.  

Before this meeting, the chapter’s Juracán TV and Demonstrations committees had also been gathering regularly. The evening before the special meeting, the chapter advisor and physics/meteorology professor Dr. Carlos U. Pabón, and the chapter honorary member and physics professor Dr. José R. López evaluated the students while they rehearsed the demonstrations. Their suggestions were extremely helpful and made the students feel well prepared for their demonstrations at the Weather Festival.  

All the chapter members were encouraged to promote the event, and to help prepare UPRM’s sports arena the evening before the activity. The chapter’s Juracán TV Committee prepared two videos to announce the event through the web. These are available at: and

Monthly Meeting

The monthly meeting was held on March 8 at 10:45 a.m. A total of 20 members attended. Due to the proximity of our biggest activity, the Weather Festival, the agenda for this meeting was brief. The chapter officers summarized past events, provided a financial statement, and discussed future activities. The latter included the inauguration of the chapter’s new office, the monthly Weather Today, a visit to a children’s home, and the traditional hot dog and donut sales. The officers announced the US Air Force WC130-J hurricane hunter aircraft visit to Puerto Rico as part of the 2012 Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour. This activity is usually one of the most awaited by the chapter members, and is an excellent opportunity for the chapter to do community outreach. The officers also highly encouraged the members’ participation in an event coordinated by UPRM’s Campus Verde (Green Campus), both during the meeting and in the following days.  Campus Verde is an organization mainly dedicated to create awareness about the importance of environmental protection and sustainability. The purpose of the activity was to celebrate the worldwide event Earth Hour to create light pollution awareness, and to raise money for Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The last part of this meeting was dedicated to discussing details of the Weather Festival that were not addressed at the special meeting. Special t-shirts ordered for the event’s staff were handed out at the end of the meeting.

Activity: Weather Festival

The 5th edition of the chapter’s Weather Festival was held on March 9 from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. (Figure 1). The purpose of this event was to increase interest in meteorology and related sciences among students at the K-12 levels.  The setting of this important activity was UPRM’s sports arena, the Rafael A. Mangual Coliseum. More than 400 students and teachers from many schools attended.

Figure 1. More than 400 students learned about meteorology and related sciences interactively at the chapter’s 5th Weather Festival. More pictures are available on the chapter’s online gallery:

The event featured around 25 exhibit booths with hands-on demonstrations of different atmospheric phenomena, meteorological instrumentation, information and personnel from different agencies, programs or student organizations, among other exciting activities. Exhibitors included: Ada Monzón (Chief Meteorologist, WLII-DT) and the Digital Planet, National Weather Service, Puerto Rico Weather Camp, Puerto Rico Sea Grant Program, Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, Puerto Rico Seismic Network, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, UPRM student chapter of the American Chemistry Society, Student Geological Society, Campus Verde, UPRM and UPR-Río Piedras chapters of the Society of Physics Students, UPRM’s Atmospheric Science and Meteorology Program, and our own chapter.

Scientific research posters from chapter members were also exhibited, as well as the chapter’s award-winning posters. The Demonstrations Committee brought activities about tornadoes, storm surge, clouds, the water cycle, atmospheric pressure, density, and other weather-related concepts. The chapter’s weather channel Juracán TV set up a chroma-key station to let students experience television weather reporting. The Weather Today Committee set up a trivia station for students to test their knowledge of meteorology and related sciences.  Refreshments were offered to the attending students and teachers at the end of their tour through the exhibits. Many of them expressed their satisfaction with the scientific knowledge acquired at the event.

The activity was live-streamed by Juracán TV through the chapter’s website. In addition, UPRM media station, Prensa RUM, published an article about the event, which can be accessed at:

The chapter would like to express many thanks to our members, and to all other participants and sponsors of the Weather Festival. Sponsors included: Mayagüez Municipality, UPRM (including UPRM’s Atmospheric Science and Meteorology Program), NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Hielera Nadal, Holsum, Malta India, Brazo Gitano Franco, among others. Special thanks are extended to chapter honorary member Virginia Figueroa for helping plan the logistics, and to Dr. Héctor Jiménez, director of the Atmospheric Science and Meteorology Program, Dr. Carlos U. Pabón, chapter advisor, and Dr. María Barbot, Associated Dean of Academic and Student Affairs of the UPRM College of Arts and Science, for their presence and support. Finally, our gratitude goes to parents of chapter members who provided valuable support before, during, and after the event, as well as to Alexander Rodríguez, UPRM student who helped design the event’s logo and banner, and supported Juracán TV in many of their tasks.

Activity: Special Meeting / Inauguration of New Office

A special meeting was held on March 15 (10:45 a.m.). The meeting started with the announcement of the secretary’s resignation from her position due to personal reasons. The student Irmarís Rivera-Llavona was then elected by the members as the new chapter secretary. The former secretary, Ashley Cruz, will continue supporting the chapter through her active participation as a member. A large part of the meeting was dedicated to a fruitful discussion of the Weather Festival. The purpose was to get feedback from the members about things that worked, things that went wrong, and ways to improve the event in the future. Some of the suggestions were related to financial aspects, and others to the logistics of the activity. The vice-president took note of the discussion so that future chapter officers can take advantage of it.

After the meeting, the group officially inaugurated the chapter’s new office at the Physics Building. The office, which is in a more accessible location for most of the members, is an excellent room for students to spend free time, study, or have meetings. The previous office will serve as the chapter’s weather channel Juracán TV’s studio.

Activity: UPRM Open House

More than a thousand high school students from different public and private schools around the island visited UPRM for its annual Open House on March 16. Chapter members were invited to offer information about the Atmospheric Science and Meteorology Program and about the chapter at this event. The members offered hands-on activities and handed out brochures. Many high school students showed great interest in attending UPRM to obtain an education in meteorology or related sciences.

Activity: Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Visit

The US Air Force WC130-J aircraft, its crew, and personnel from the National Hurricane Center visited Puerto Rico on March 17 as part of the 2012 Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour. The event was held at San Juan’s Isla Grande Airport (Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport), and hosted by the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in San Juan. The chapter was invited by meteorologist Ada Monzón (Chief Meteorologist, WLII-DT) to offer weather-related demonstrations to the public at Univision TV’s designated area.  The 18 members who participated in this activity were rewarded with a special orientation from the Hurricane Hunter crew and t-shirts from Univision’s crew. However, the most rewarding aspect of the event was to see the expressions of fascination in the attendees as they participated in the chapter’s hands-on activities. Alexis Orengo, leader of the chapter’s Juracan TV Committee, helped Univision TV by interviewing the public and special guests. Many other agencies and organizations participated in this activity, including the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, the Environmental Quality Board, the Red Cross, and WAPA TV station.  Néstor S. Flecha-Díaz, former chapter president and current broadcast meteorologist at WAPA TV, offered the members a special tour of the facilities set up by this TV station at the event. The members felt very grateful for the exceptional treatment received from all the professionals participating in this activity.

Activity: Visit to a Children’s Home

One of the most rewarding activities of the year was held on March 22 at a children’s home in Mayagüez, a shelter for kids who have been removed from their houses due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. A group of 12 chapter members brought joy and excitement to these children while teaching them about meteorology (Figure 2). The chapter members offered weather-related demonstrations and played with the children in an informal environment. The members also brought personal items that the chapter had collected to fulfill some of the children’s needs.

Figure 2. Chapter members brought joy to a children’s home by involving the kids in hands-on weather-related activities.

Activity: NASA Teacher Workshop

On March 24, the Puerto Rico NASA Space Grant Consortium hosted a workshop for teachers from around the island at UPRM. The workshop was entitled “The biosphere interactions: an ineludible connection of events”. Members of the chapter’s Demonstrations Committee attended this event to show weather-related hands-on activities that the teachers could use in the classroom.

Activity: Hot Dog and Donut Sales

Four hot dog and donut sales were held during March for fundraising (March 5, 12, 19, and 26). Part of the funding raised during the sales was used to cover costs related to the Weather Festival.

Activity: Weather Today


The chapter’s Weather Today Committee invited the members to watch a documentary entitled “Tsunami en Puerto Rico… El Peligro Olvidado” (Tsunami in Puerto Rico… The Forgotten Danger) on March 27. The documentary included information and history about tsunamis, specially regarding Puerto Rico, as well as protective measures to take in case of such an unfortunate event. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network and UPRM’s Department of Marine Sciences, in collaboration with other agencies, prepared this informative video. Eight members attended this event and learned about potential tsunami hazard in our region.

Activity: Ultraviolet Radiation Awareness


On March 30, the chapter’s Demonstrations Committee leader, Suheily López-Belén, joined broadcast meteorologist Ada Monzón to inform a group of journalists about the hazards associated with exposure to ultraviolet light. The talk, which was part of a Neutrogena sun care product launch, explained the types of sun radiation and associated skin damages, and stressed the importance of skin protection. 

Juracán magazine new edition release!

A new edition of the chapter’s magazine Juracán was made available through the chapter’s website on March ( This edition features information and pictures of the chapter’s endeavors, information about scientific research done by our chapter members, definitions of meteorological terms, among other interesting articles for meteorology enthusiasts.

Weather Briefings

Five chapter members became part of the UPRM Meteorological Laboratory’s Forecasting Group, which is in charge of providing weekly weather briefings to the UPRM community and general public. These new members were trained by the more experienced members through a mentor-mentee partnership. During March, part of the group began recording their briefings and publishing them online through different websites and social networks. This initiative is like a two-way street: students learn about weather forecasting while, at the same time, they inform the community about weather conditions in Puerto Rico.

Recent briefings and briefings from former members of the group can be accessed at the UPRM Meteorological Laboratory YouTube channel:



Tour of WTSP Channel 10 News



March 5th, 2012



11450 Gandy Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33702


Bobby Deskins

Meteorologist, WTSP Channel 10


Bobby Deskins is the morning and noon meteorologist for WTSP Channel 10 News, the CBS affiliate in the Tampa/St. Petersburg television market.  He has an Associate degree in Engineering Technology from the College of Southern Maryland, a Bachelor's degree in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, a Bachelor's degree in Geosciences from Mississippi State University, and completed the Broadcast Meteorology program at Mississippi State University with Advanced Standing.  He holds the coveted Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) seal from the American Meteorological Society and is a member of the AMS and NWA. Bobby has won an Associated Press award for Best Weathercast and a national contest for designing weather graphics. 

Chapter Officers with Meteorologist Bobby Deskins

From L-R: Nicole Carlisle, Bobby Deskins, Brian LaMarre, and Matt Bolton

Photo Credit: Matt Bolton



The tour began in the news room. After a brief discussion on the various roles different anchors and employees have behind-the-scenes, we proceeded to the control room. Once there, we learned about how everything worked. We also met the person in charge, and received a brief history lesson on the evolution of the technology involved in managing all the WTSP’s TV programs.

When finished in the control room, Mr. Deskins took us to the weather center/studio. That was where the fun began. Mr. Deskins walked us through his typical morning routine, and told us all about the different tools at the disposal of WTSP meteorologists, from the station’s WeatherBug webcam feed, to the different radar installations across Tampa Bay. At this time, we got to meet Chief Meteorologist Jim Van Fleet, who recently transferred to Tampa from Fox 5 in Orlando.

After meeting Mr. Van Fleet, we were taken to the actual studio, and got to test our weathercasting skills in front of the green screen. When we were finished with the green screen, our group broke up into smaller groups for Q&A with Mr. Deskins and Mr. Van Fleet, and informal conversation commenced.

Cookies, chocolate brownies, and water were provided for the Chapter.


In March, the West Central Florida AMS Chapter had two opportunities to engage the community. The first was a pre-meeting social dinner at Red Mesa in St. Petersburg, where we enjoyed some excellent Mexican food.

The second was a WCFLAMS-sponsored weather day for a home school group in Hernando County. 19 students, ranging in age from 2-15 were in attendance. Chapter President Dr. Jennifer Collins, Recording Secretary Matt Bolton, and member Dave Feller led the day’s activities. 

Barry Damiano, a Senior Flight Meteorologist at NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center, was in attendance, and spoke to the students about what he does flying into hurricanes. He also showed them a video, and brought a dropsonde to show to the students, and answered questions during a Q&A session.

We conducted 6 weather experiments/activities:


Cloud in a Bottle

Fossilized Rain Drops


Measuring Rainfall

Observational Skills

The State of Florida Emergency Management Department, the Hernando County Emergency Management Department, and Bay News 9 all donated educational material to hand out. There was a raffle to give away a NOAA Weather Radio, a Foot’s Forecast t-shirt, and 5 Bay News 9 weather posters. A NOAA Weather Radio was given to the winner of the geography activity, and a CoCoRaHS-donated rain gauge was given to the winner of the rainfall measuring activity. 

A link to educational resources we provided the teachers and students with can be found below

Cloud in a bottle experiment, Photo Credit: Matt Bolton.



As of March 25th, 2012, the treasury stands at $835.41



A total of 38 WCFLAMS members and USF students attended the dinner and tour.---David Roache, Matt Bolton, and Jennifer Collins.



On March 24, 2012 Andrew Ross served as a judge representing the AMS and U.S. Army concurrently. The AMS Certificate was awarded to Jenny Jaskula, with the exhibit "Determine Temperature by Cricket Chirps". She is in grade 7 and is a student at Our Lady of Fatima School Grimbsy Ontario. There were many other fine exhibits outside of meteorology which Ross judged. There is a noticeable amount of bi-lingual (French) students. The event was held at Brock University, Thorold ON Canada.---Andrew Ross.



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