Chapter News
March 2013


March 5th, 2013 – 8:00 pm

136 McBryde Hall - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, VA

Meeting called to order at: 8:00 pm


Meeting adjourned at: 9:00 pm

Members in Attendance: 21---Hans VanBenschoten


Meeting Date: March 12, 2013

Start Time: 9:03pm

President Reports:

Vice President Reports:

Secretary Reports:

Treasurer Reports:

SGA Reports:


Extra information:


Meeting Date: March 26, 2013

Start Time: 9:02pm

President Reports:

Vice President Reports

Secretary Reports:

Treasurer Reports:

SGA Reports:

Webmaster Reports:


End time: 9:47pm---Rebecca Rogers.



On Tuesday, March 12th, the Washington D.C. Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (DC-AMS) and the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang (CWG) held a joint meeting focusing on the January 1922 “Knickerbocker” Snowstorm, named for the theater whose roof collapsed due to the weight of the snow. The presenter, Kevin Ambrose, is a member of DC-AMS and a photographer/writer for CWG and recently published a book about the event: The Knickerbocker Snowstorm (Images of America). Around 70 people attended the presentation, which was held in the auditorium at the Washington Post Headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C.

Kevin first walked the audience through the meteorological set-up for the storm. It was a classic Mid-Atlantic Nor’easter and dumped over 2 ft of snow in the DC area. He also provided information on how weather messages were disseminated in 1922, showing the kiosks around the city that were used to display the latest forecast. The audience got a kick out of the forecaster’s frequent use of the term “probably” when discussing the weather through the next day.

The Knickerbocker Theatre was showing several comedies that evening and around 9pm, just at the start of Get-rich-quick Wallingford, the roof collapsed as one piece onto the audience killing 98 people and injuring 133. Amid the photos of the storm and the destruction at the Knickerbocker Theater, Kevin told stories of both survival and death. He painted a picture of the victims, compiled from anecdotes from friends and family members, information from old news articles, and intensive searches through ancestry archives. One such tale followed the story of Agnes Mellon and her date with James Hoffman. They were running late to the show and entered the theater just as the roof gave way. The rush of air from the collapse pushed James back into the lobby but Agnes became trapped underneath the debris from the balcony above. Her body was found the next day.  The story of General Patton, whose convoy of army trucks became stuck in the snow on the way to help with the response and recovery effort, was also highlighted.

Kevin also took us on a journey into the publishing world, discussing deadlines, the search for information and photos, and the process of getting a book published. Due to having to provide a strict number of photos for the work, Kevin had to get creative, which lead to some interesting sojourns that might not otherwise have been made. He retraced the steps of the recovery efforts, taking pictures of some of the sites in their present state. A side by side comparison of photos showing places many in the audience are familiar with, offers a new perspective into the past of Washington’s biggest snowstorm.

The DC Chapter also participated in the Vienna Choral Society event to raise money for disaster relief and science education in the DC area. We had a booth where members of the DC-AMS chapter chatted with the public about severe weather preparedness.

A call for officer nominations was put out to the chapter and plans for the Science Fair Banquet to be held on May 11th have been finalized. Paul Kocin, NWS winter weather expert and former on-air meteorologist with The Weather Channel will be speaking at our event on the University of MD campus where we will be pairing with the UMD AMS group.---Katie Garrett.



March Chapter News.---Sean Stelten.



A Tale of Two La Ninas

The LA Chapter met in March at Colombo’s restaurant in Eagle Rock, CA for an Italian meal and to hear from two speakers about unusual weather of the past year.  Bill Reid, a long-time member and Director of Tempest Tours, shared highlights of the 2012 Severe Weather Season.

Bill leads storm chasers across the plains each spring and early summer, photographing and videotaping their exciting road trips.  This past year’s adventures were not up to normal mayhem due to a persistent drought throughout much of the year.  Nevertheless, there were plenty of magnificent photos of tornadoes, lightning and near misses.

For dessert, Dr. Bill Patzert, oceanographer from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, led a discussion of the wild swings in California (and U.S.) weather over the last 2 years.  Bill noted that forecasting long-term California rainfall can be pretty tricky.  Most NOAA predictions rely heavily on ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) readings.  Dr. Patzert stresses that the longer and larger-scaled Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) can often enhance or weaken the ENSO influences.  He stated that since 1998, the PDO has been mostly in the cool or negative phase, which usually corresponds to fewer El Ninos, more frequent La Ninas and overall drier conditions along the coast.

But not all La Ninas are the same, according to Dr. Bill.  Take the last 2 years, for instance.  Both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 water years (water years run from July 1 to June 30th, since W. coast rainfall is predominately over the winter months) were La Nina years, but during the former Los Angeles had 133% of normal rainfall, while 2011-12 was more typical with about 60% of normal.  The difference, according to Patzert, was the Arctic Oscillation.  So what does the AO have to do with sunny California?  Well, in the first La Nina year, the AO was strongly negative, allowing large arctic outbreaks to infiltrate the lower 48 states.  The east coast got hammered by cold, snowy winter, while the West got some cold air of its own.  But southern California was also visited by a 6-day December atmospheric river that brought buckets of rain into the SW.  The Sierras also had record snow levels in December and ended up the season with a heavy load of white stuff, enough to re-fill thirsty local reservoirs in the spring.  Interestingly, the rest of the country was experiencing a typical La Nina rainfall pattern.  The following year, again La Nina, was a cool, dry season for California, with the lack of atmospheric rivers or heavy snows.  That La Nina lived up to what Dr. Patzert refers to as “the Diva of drought.”  This year has been a La Nada (neither El or La Nina), while the PDO remains mostly cool, or negative.  Southern California has had a dismal rain year or near 39% of normal thus far at Los Angeles (as of late March).  This time the AO has not been strongly negative, nor has ENSO shown any preference.  But the PDO remains mainly in its cool phase.  The fact that the PDO phases do not switch for some 20-25 years does not bode favorably for the next few rain seasons.

March 22, 2013 - Science Fair Winners


On a sunny, warm, spring morning, the Los Angeles Chapter once again made the trek to the beautiful Pasadena Convention Center and judged the best “weather-related” projects at the Los Angeles County Science Fair, held March 22nd.  There were two winners chosen by the judges as the best, with a close second as honorable mention.  Of the two winners, one team was from the Senior Division and one from the Junior Division. 

Chosen the best from the Senior Division, was the project, “Constructing a Multi-variant Regression Model for Hurricane Loss and its Application to Hurricane Sandy.”  10th grader, Alice Zhai from La Canada High School, collected hurricane data from the National Hurricane Center and loss information from ICAT Damage Estimates, insurance corporation.  Looking at variables such as hurricane size and wind velocities, Alice used Excel program to derive a predictive model for calculating hurricane damage losses.  Using over 30 different hurricanes, Alice found that using log data for her variables proved to be most reliable, while the predictive equation turned out to be a higher order non-linear relationship.  Considering that hurricanes hit both urban and rural areas, the model worked quite well, with a high correlation between hurricane variables and hurricane losses.  Alice said she became interested in the project after the devastating Hurricane Sandy caused so much damage to the east coast.

 Senior Division Winner - Alice Zhai

Joseph Black won the first place prize from the Junior Division with his project, “The Effects of Different Materials on a Fog Catcher.”  He is an 8th grader from Miraleste Intermediate School, Palos Verdes.  Joseph used different materials, from cloth to synthetics on his fog catcher.  He then exposed the catcher to the incoming marine layer on top of a hill facing the ocean.  Although there were very few fog days this year, Joseph found that the synthetic materials collected more water than cloth.  Joseph said that he got the idea from reading about how people in the deserts of Africa collected water from fog in places where it hardly ever rained.

Junior Division Winner - Joseph Black

The second best Senior Division project was “The Effects of Man-Made Structures on Wind Patterns, Year 2.” 11th graders Linda Wei Jing and Steven Tan from Gabrielino HS had four years of data from their high school to help back their hypothesis, that building layout influences windflow.  This project was last year’s AMS winner.  It was very impressive indeed. They used several spots on their campus where they analyzed winds all year long, sans the summer when school is closed.  Their goal was to see how orientations of urban structures may enhance wind velocities that could help in producing wind energy, i.e. for electricity, as well as ventilating buildings in warmer weather.

 Senior Division Second Place - Linda Wei Jing and Steven Tan

Both first place winners received a 1-year subscription to Weatherwise magazine and will be invited as special guests with their family to the Los Angeles Chapter of the AMS annual banquet this summer.---Steve LaDochy.



On March 6th at 7:00pm we held our March GBM and 26 members attended.   

President Jeb Postle spoke about the 38th Northeastern Storm Conference coming up that weekend.   He asked the club to act appropriately at the conference because we are representing our college and our club.  He also made sure that everyone coming the conference had a ride down to Rutland. 

*The conference, March8th-10th went very well with just under 250 students, professors and professionals attending. *  Jeb also hinted at a possible flag football tournament that would occur in late April or early May. 

Vice President James Sinko asked for volunteers to help him with the audio and visual setup for the conference. 

Secretary Matthew Davey asked for help from some of members in his preparation for the conference.  Additionally, he told the club members to make business cards and use them to network at the conference.  He said it would be good practice for the national conference in Atlanta next year. 

Torrence Gaucher made sure that everyone who was attending the conference had paid the conference fee and their club dues. 

Public outreach officer Amanda Curran ran sign-ups for the events prior to the conference  and offered her assistance during the conference for anyone board member or member that needed it.

Historian Sarah Murphy informed the club that she was bringing her camera to the conference and that the pictures will be posted on the website.---Matthew Davey.  



Meeting Monday 3/4

Members: 31
Start: 8:02
End: 8:31

-Sugar Bowl this past Saturday 3/2- made $251.26
-Wednesday, April 10- Red Robin Fundraiser- 10% of profits for the night
-Scavenger Hunt: probably Sunday, April 7
-Groups of 2/3 go around campus and take pictures of various things (everything will be within walking distance)
-Need ideas of places/things to take pictures of- please message Ian or Jimmy with your suggestions

-Banquet: Friday, May 3
-"Sit and Dine" (like last year, no buffet)
-No appetizer this year- will save $150-$200
- Meal will consist of salad, entree, dessert
- Entree Options (by popular vote): Chicken Saltimbocca or Sirloin Tips
- Sides (by popular vote): Starch- Garlic Potatoes
Vegetable- Broccoli
-Dessert (by popular vote): Chocolate Blackout Cake

Vote to amend the AMS Constitution and add a sixth officer: Historian
Responsibilities: Wiki Page
Organizing Secretary
Organize as much as possible from previous years

Google Doc file will be created and emailed to all members- must be completed by Friday 3/8

52 people (majority) must vote "yes" to make it happen

Start: 8:39pm
End: 8:47pm
Attendance: 37 people

-Banner is made
-Anyone interested in advertising contact Tyra to hand out flyers.
-IDEAS FOR 50/50 PRIZES contact Tyra ASAP. There are already a few things in mind such as a mall gift card or an ipod shuffle.
-Looking to ask a few place to sponsor us (Turkey Hill).
-Handed in supply list needed for each booth. If you are running a booth and did not make it to the meeting, be sure to email Tyra with a list of everything you need for your booth.

Open Officer - 3/10/13

Attendance: 11

Start: 6:30pm

End: 6:59pm

Total: 29 minutes

The Conference went well, no problems






Speaker Series: WeatherWorks

Start: 8:32 pm

End: 9:41 pm

Attendance: 22


Talk was given by Frank Lombardo, Sam DeAlba, Matt Potter


Date: March 25, 2013
Start: 8:30pm
End: 8:41pm
Attendance: 35

April 28, 2013 Kite Day: Noon to 5pm. (Jess, Megan, Andrew H, Andrew Y, Stephen, Michelle, and Felicia). 
-March 23, 2013: Rosa, Tyra, and Jess visited the Lancaster Science Factory: Major success in advertising for PWAD
- Monday, April 8 Booth reserved at the SMC, plenty of volunteers to promote PWAD
-Matt Moore will be advertising through WGAL 

Meeting 3/25

Start: 8:03

End: 8:16
Members: 32

Recycling Wars: 4/1 - 4/19

Points System:

Soda Cans: 1pt

Soda/Water Bottles: 1pt

Soup Cans: 2 pts

2-Liter Bottles: 3 pts

Plastic Food Containers: 3 pts

Condiment Bottles: 3pts

1/2 Pint Milk Jug: 3 pts

1 Gallon Milk Jug: 5 pts

*No negative deductions like in Penny Wars

*Please wash the recyclables before putting them in the bins
*Leave caps on bottles

*Winning class will get pizza at AMS Elections

Red Robin: 4/17

- 10% profit

Speakers: Weather Works: 3/27

National AMS: 4/10

Events: Unisys Trip: 4/13

    Scavenger Hunt: 4/6-4/7 (take pictures of various things throughout campus)---James Fowler.




Meeting Minutes (3/19/13)



March 5th, 2013

37-40 attendees

Opening Remarks:

Event Information

Finding Calm in the Eye of the Storm

Nominee Speeches (In this particular Order)


Election (Results in Order) 59 Votes Cast (many Absentee), meets Quorum

Elected Officers are Highlighted in Yellow

Science and Outreach: Erin Clanahan 15 Antonio Cruz 6 Pete Dellagrotta 7 Sean Viale 29

Secretary: Kirsten Chaney 6 Brandon Daly 20 Pete Dellagrotta 14 Alli Keclik 17
Treasurer: Tawana Andrew 26 Pete Dellagrotta 9 Bianca Hernandez 17 Braden Robinson 5
Vice President: Brandon Daly 7 Lauren Visin 47 Austin Winfield 5

President: Antonio Cruz 15 Pete Dellagrotta 1 Nikki Perrini 42

Next  Meeting:

Find us:

Find us on the Social Media sites (continuously updated):

    - Facebook: northflams

    - Twitter: @northflamsnwa

    - Website:

    - Gmail:

Schedule of Events:

March 22, 2013 Banquet!!!!!

March 26, 2013 Weather Ready Nation Workshop

Late March Publicity Committee Meeting

April 4 Springtime Tallahassee

April 5-6, 2013 Relay for Life

April 14, 2013 Bear Paw Tubing!!!

April TBD Karaoke Night!

March and April TBD Possible Other Events

*All dates are not completely finalized and are subjected to change

Meeting Ends: 8:25 PM---Matthew Brady.



President Greg Story called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.

A. The treasury has $426.00 dollars

B. Tracy Burns and Bernard Meisner presented the report on the Dallas and Fort Worth Science Fairs. Notes from their handout are:

1. The Dallas Science Fair Winners were:

a. First Place Senior Division, Connor Digan of Shepton High School for his project “Stopping Tsunamis with Ocean Floor Trenches.” Connor researched the effectiveness of digging trenches in strategic locations to decrease the damage done by tsunamis. His project was also awarded the NOAA Pulse of the Planet Award.

b. First Place, Junior Division, Claire Gilmore of Frankford Middle School for her project “Do the Wave Again! How Does Tsunami Barrier Texture Affect Tsunami Wave Height?” Claire’s Her project was about the building of artificial barriers to decrease the damage done by tsunamis.

c. Honorable Mention, Junior Division, Mackenzie McCane from Griffin Middle School for her project “How Air Pressure Impacts Hurricanes.”

d. Honorable Mention, Junior Division, Sean Newman of Frankford Middle School for his project “A Study of the Efficiency of Wind Turbines with Different Number of Blades.”

e. The AMS Award for Achievement, Danielle James from McCowan Middle School for her project “Dare to Compare: Which Solar cell Will Prevail.” Danielle used different methods for harnessing the sun’s power for use in a homemade solar cell.

2. The Fort Worth Science Fair Winners:

a. First Place, Emily Russell of Liberty Christian School for her project “Texas Blown Down.” Emily tested the structure integrity of houses against storm force winds.

b. Second Place, Delores Owens from Harmony School of Innovation for her project “May the Blades Be ever in Your Favor.” Delores detailed a study to discover the best size of blades to harness the winds of Texas into usable energy.

c. Third Place, Leslie Price of Granbury Middle School for her project “Wonderful Windmills.” Leslie researched the different materials and shapes of windmill blades.

d. NOAA Pulse of the Planet Award, Cameron Jensen of St. Maria Catholic School for her project “Sprinkler Head Testing for Water Conservation.” Cameron tested five different types of sprinkler heads to fine the most efficient in Central Texas.

e. The AMS Award for Achievement, Thu Pham from McClain Middle School for her project “The Greenhouse effect in a Cup.” Thu studied the effects of the greenhouse effect on the South Pole.

C. Bernard suggested we invite the Science Fair winners to our meeting.

D. Greg asked Tracy to send the science fair results to the National AMS office.

E. March Madness Contest for CoCoRhAS. Greg ask the members to recruit new participants in DFW area as our representation is pretty sparse.

F. The speaker for the April 16 meeting will be Patrick Marsh.

G. Greg said there was no speaker scheduled for May and asked for suggestions.

The Speaker for the evening was Stanley Christmas, retried meteorologist from the Fort Worth Weather Service Office. Stanley had accumulated NWS documents (Satellite photos, aviation weather forecasts and NWS public statements) after the eruption of Mount St Helens on May 18, 1980. Stanley used these documenst to presented the progression of the ash cloud over the next four days across the US and the ash clouds impact on aviation and the general public. He reviewed the changes that were made in ash cloud forecasting by the NWS after Mount St Helens eruption.

The meeting adjourned around 8:30 pm.---Bobette Mauck.



-OUCAMS sent a few students to support the OSU meteorology club’s symposium.

-Members we notified of a summer volunteer opportunity with the NWS Grand Rapids office as well as a NASA scholarship and internships, NWA scholarships, and a summer internship with ABC News 4 in Charleston, SC.

-Our advertising chair has been working to design apparel for the club, which should be ready by the end of the year.  This includes t-shirts and hoodies.

-Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis was awarded 3 PACE positions for the 2013-2014 academic year.  Members were notified that they can apply for one of the three positions: midday forecaster, evening forecaster, or observer/webmaster.

-Students continue to forecast for WxChallenge.

-Student members took time after a chapter meeting to clean up the meteorology lab in order to make it look more presentable for the spring symposium. 

-To end March, OUCAMS elected its 2013-2014 chapter officers!---Elise Dolinar.


March has been a busy month for the Oswego State Chapter! On March 8-10, we attended Lyndon State's conference, the Northeastern Storm Conference (NESC). We had 28 active club members, and 2 professors attend, giving Oswego a representation of 30 people! 

March is a very busy month for us, in the sense that we have a lot of planning going on for April (usually our most active month). We are preparing for Oswego State's "Science Day", where local high schools can come visit our science department here at SUNY Oswego. On Science Day, different departments give a short presentation, demonstration, and submit 3 questions for a multi-department wide Jeopardy game.

We are also currently planning on participating in Oswego's "Relay for Life". Relay for Life is a great opportunity for our club members to lend their support to an important cause, while having fun at the same time. We also plan on incorporating meteorology into a fundraising activity at the Relay for Life event in April.

The big event our attention has been focused on this month is preparing for our annual conference, the Great Lakes Atmospheric Science Symposium, otherwise known as GLASS. This year, it will be held on Saturday, April 20th. It'll run from 8am-10pm here on the SUNY Oswego campus. Check out our student-run website as we update as this event quickly approaches.

To check out what we're up to, and for updates pertaining to our club, check out our student-run website at Pirraglia.



The month of March held a few big events for the Rutgers University Meteorology Club.  The first was our general club meeting which was held on Thursday March 7th at our usual meeting location in the Environmental and Natural Resource Building on Cook/Douglass campus at 8 pm.  There was food and drinks served and the attendance during the evening reached 32 members.  Several of the students who attended the AMS conference with us in January gave their presentations summarizing one of the talks they saw so as to share the experience with the rest of the club.  After those were finished, some final announcements were made about the upcoming trip to Northeast Storms Conference for those who were going and then we had our special guest speaker, Dave Curren, the evening meteorologist from News 12 New Jersey, speak to everyone about his experiences in the field.

The very next day on Friday the 8th, the attendees for the Northeast Storms Conference hit the road headed for Rutland, Vermont.  The conference is the largest student run conference in the nation and is graciously organized by the Lyndon State College AMS chapter and the National Weather Association (NWA).  It is a weekend long conference that the Rutgers chapter has been attending for many years now and is always one of our big trips to plan for the year.  We had 17 students take part this year and overall it was a successful trip.  Before returning home the attending group continued another non-official tradition of having a group lunch before driving back home to New Jersey.  It is always a good occasion at which all the students are able to talk and socialize with one another.---Jeffrey Mart.



March 4th 2013


[8 members]

Next meeting:

Fall 2013


I. Announcements

The local news station WBOC trip is Friday March 8th at 9:30pm where we will tour the facility and have talk with the weather newscaster, Dan Satterfield. A trip to the NASA facility at Wallops Island, Virginia is tentatively set for April 26th and we will be going for a tour and a weather balloon launch.  Anyone interested should see one of the officers before Spring Break to get your name on the trip roster. We have created a Relay for life team for the event at Salisbury University on May 3rd.  To have a full team, we need ten people from the department to join and our goal is to raise $1500 for our team.  So far, we have five people signed up to participate and have raised $180.  Our team is ranked number 30 out of the 69 teams signed up for the event.

Statement from the President: This semester has been packed planning events and I am glad to have an enthusiastic group of people helping me organize these events. Thanks Carlee Loeser, and Vincent Brown along with Michelle Saunders, and Shaena Hicks along with all the 20 members of this chapter for a great start.

II. Discussion

A. WBOC Trip Info

B. Graduate School/Research Information (by Michelle Saunders and Carlee Loeser)

C. Election of new officer

D. What this chapter is now doing for us and the community



The March meeting of the Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter was held on the evening of the 18th. Around eight people met first for dinner at the Tupelo Honey Cafe on Market Square in downtown Knoxville. Afterwards, around 17 people met in the Ellington Plant Sciences Building on the University of Tennessee Agricultural Campus to hear Dr. Stan D. Wullschleger (of the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory) speak about "Arctic Landscapes in a Warming Climate – Witnessing the Big Thaw." A biography of Dr. Wullschleger can be found at .

The following was a synopsis of his talk: "While society debates the causes of mankind’s most recent fingerprint on the planet, rising temperatures threaten ice-rich ecosystems in the Arctic. Microbes are poised to feast on labile organic matter long frozen in permafrost.

Landscapes, once held together by a matrix of soil and ice, are also being transformed, further contributing to carbon cycle feedbacks to climate. The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project will address critical climate feedbacks in high-latitude ecosystems by quantifying the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of terrestrial ecosystems in Alaska. Initial research will focus on the highly dynamic landscapes of the North Slope where thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and ice-rich polygonal ground offer distinct land units for investigation and modeling. The project will focus on interactions that drive critical climate feedbacks within these environments through greenhouse gas fluxes and changes in surface energy balance associated with permafrost thaw and degradation, and the many processes that arise as a result of these landscape dynamics."

Some chapter business items were also discussed at this meeting, including nominations for new officers and the chapter's continued financial support for the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair (SASEF) to be held April 1-4 at the Thompson Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. The members at the meeting approved contributing $100 to support SASEF itself, and giving our judges the discretion to award prizes of $100 to up to 3 projects (for a maximum of $300 in prize money). The attendees also discussed broadening the chapter's online presence by establishing an AMS-SMC Facebook page.

The main goals were to help more people learn about the chapter's activities, grow the chapter's membership, and provide a fun thing to follow with people adding posts about interesting weather/climate-related matters and local weather-related photos.---David Gaffin.



March 30, 2013 2:00pm - 3:15pm
Lansing Community College
Emergenc Operations Center
Lansing, Michigan

March 30 meeting was called bt Chapter resident Brandon Hoving (National Weather Service Grand Rapids) at 2:00pm. President Hoving thanked the LCCEMC for the space and refreshments. Approximetly 15 people in total were in attendence at the meeting. President Hoving, Chapter Vice-President Nathen Jeruzal, Chapter Secretary Steve Derry, and Chapter Webmaster Linda Paige were in attendence. Treasurer William  Morino was unable to attend. We went around the room with introductions.

Vice-President Jeruzal gave treasurer's report for the Chapter. Chapter has $546.33 in bank accounts.

Vice-President Jeruzal gave a quick update on Winter contest and mentioned to get ready for Summer contest.

Dick Wagenmaker was our guest speaker for the meeting. He is MIC of the Detroit National Weather Service. Dick did a presentation on some of the findings of the NWS Service Assessment regarding the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado. Dick served on the  Service assessment team. Presentaion was "An insider's view of the Joplin tornado". Also had some discussion on some of the new warning criteria, and the NWS survey.

The meeting was adjourned by President Hoving at approximately 3:15pm.---Steve Derry.


March 2013

Eberly Science and Technology, California University of Pennsylvania



The March 2013 meeting of the Twin Cities Meteorological Society took place at O’Gara’s Pub in St. Paul.  The business meeting was called to order at 7:03 by President Mike Greisinger.  Vice President Jim Marusak, Secretary Chris Bovitz, and Treasurer Bryan Howell were in attendance along with six other members.

Griesinger showed the status of the weather contest. He recapped the notes from the January meeting (which were approved) and from the February meeting.

Howell gave the treasurer’s report.  (Amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.)

We have $653 in the bank and $95 in cash for a total of $748.  The report was approved.

The society voted unanimously to allocate $125 to sponsor the Minnesota Skywarn Workshop on April 13 at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis.

Discussions about upcoming events followed:

The business meeting was adjourned at 7:29 p.m.

Our speakers were Dan Miller and Diane Cooper.  Miller is the science and operations officer (SOO) at the NWS office in Duluth.  Cooper is the service hydrologist from the NWS office in the Twin Cities whose responsibilities also cover northern Minnesota.  They talked about the historic flash and river flooding of 19-20 June 2012. 

Miller spoke first, and he summarized the event:

The WFO had upgraded its radar to dual-polarization a month earlier, but the clutter suppression and cone of silence caused severe underestimation of the rainfall over Duluth where many of the heaviest gauge reports were.  These caused the radar’s precipitation accumulation estimates to be low.  Post-storm analyses indicated precipitation rates had exceeded 2 inches per hour eight times during the storm.

Duluth and its surrounding area have a unique geography.  The city rises to the west 800 to 1,000 feet from the southwestern corner of Lake Superior near the mouth of the St. Louis River.  Some places have a 20 to 25 percent grade.

The meteorological setup was a classic instance of warm season frontogenesis. The area was on the anticyclonic side of an approaching jet streak and in the right entrance region of a departing jet streak.  At 850 mb, there as a 30- to 40-knot low-level jet wide open to the Gulf of Mexico with 16 to 18 g/kg of absolute moisture.  A stationary front was just south of Lake Superior through central Minnesota through northwestern Wisconsin was reinforced with recent outflow from the north.  That evening’s sounding from International Falls (on the far on the cold side of the warm front) didn’t show much, but the upstream sounding from the Twin Cities showed a freezing level of 15,000 feet with a mixed layer from the surface to 850 mb.  The precipitable water was above the 99th percentile.

Ten counties were declared as disaster areas.  The Port of Duluth didn’t close, but most docs were inaccessible for up to a week due to strong currents.  Rail lines which carry trains that bring goods to and from the port were washed out.  A fleet of dump trucks was needed used to bring iron ore pellets from the Mesabi Range.  The trucks returned to the range with loads of limestone to make pellets.


Similar rainfall rates and amounts occurred to a much lesser areal extent on August 20 and September 20 in 1972.  On August 20, three to four inches of rain fell in a band perpendicular to the shore (and hill upon which Duluth is built).  A month later, three to five inches of rain fell just northwest of and parallel to the Lake Superior shore.  Overlaying isohyets from the three events, along with the flooding response revealed that there was no comparison between the 2012 event and the 1972 events: Last year’s rainfall was much heavier and broader.

Cooper spoke about the river flooding facet of this storm.  She mentioned river stage, stream flow readings, and lake levels that resulted from the rainfall and runoff:

Much of the heaviest rainfall occurred downstream of flood control structures.  The Corps of Engineers, which operates some of the dams there, held water, more water fell and was flowing through uncontrolled areas. 

There were communication and coordination problems because of the involvement of multiple government agencies.  For example, the NWS attempted to get a handle on the flooding for warning and forecasts.  While some of the dams were operated by the Corps of Engineers, the reservoirs are owned in part by Native American tribes.

Around Big Sandy Lake, people needed to be evacuated from their cabins and homes because the lake was used for storing inbound flood water.

Cooper spent a considerable amount of time talking about the flooding on the St. Louis River and its tributaries.  About it, she wondered when a flash flood becomes a river flood?  How do you tell citizens or water structure operators that it’s going to get worse?  She mentioned that this was the first use in Minnesota by the NWS of the flash flood emergency product.

At Scanlon, the St. Louis River is normally relatively slow responding.  It is the only forecast point for the North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) on the river.  The six-hour model the NCRFC uses did not pick up on the rapid rise of the river primarily because most of the rainfall occurred on the downstream end of the contributing basin to the Scanlon river gauge.

Thompson Reservoir, downstream from Scanlon, was a big dam with 11 little structures which are part of the dam.  Minnesota Power uses water from the dam to power turbines.  All the dam’s gates were open, and the reservoir was still rising.  Downstream from the dam, the road is about 80 feet above the river bed.  During the worst of the flooding, the water was at the bridge deck.  Widespread flooding occurred downstream from the dam.  Otter Creek normally flows into the St. Louis River downstream of Thompson Reservoir, but because the water in the main channel was so high, water did not flow out of Otter Creek and caused flooding of structures downstream of the dam.  Four of the dam’s structures were overtopped.  There was miscommunication and misunderstanding between the reservoirs operators and Minnesota Power.

Flooding also occurred in Moose Lake and Barnum not from the rainfall but because of the ensuing river and overland flooding.---Chris Bovitz.



Monthly Meeting: Friday, March 22nd 2013

The sixth meeting of the 2012-2013 school year for the Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society met on Friday, March 22nd 2013 at 1:00pm in the NSSTC, room 4065. The first item on the agenda was a student led weather briefing by graduate student Ryan Rogers. Ryan reviewed the potential for severe weather in the overnight hours from that Saturday into Sunday. He mentioned there would be a chance of high wind and possibly hail, no tornadoes.

The second item on the agenda was the Treasurer report from Ryan Rogers on the chapters budget. The current balance is $567.67. Our President Matt Saari went on to talk about our successful outing at Habitat for Humanity, the North Alabama Regional Science Fair (NARSEF) and the winners from the fair. Our chapter donated a One Year National AMS Student Membership to the winner of the Earth and Planetary Science Category. The club talked and began to prepare for the statewide science fair and the STEM expo at the Hampton Cove Middle School, both on April 5th. Ken Leppert is our designated fundraising chair and he reminded the club about the Yankee Candle fundraiser and that money for that would be due April 8th.

Ph.D. student Ryan Wade has set up a tour of one of the local TV stations WAAY for both undergraduates and graduate students on Friday April 12th. After the tour some of the students in the club will be attending the Huntsville Stars baseball game Friday night! The club has also been throwing around ideas of having another department picnic at Monte Sano at the end of the semester. President Matt Saari passed around a sign-up sheet to volunteer at the Panoply Arts Festival in downtown Huntsville at the end of April.

Nominations were taken for next year’s chapter officers and these nominations will be voted on at the end of the year meeting, April 19th. Lastly, we had approximately 20 members attend the February AMS/NWA meeting.---Danielle M. Kozlowski. 



News and Information from March, 2013

Meeting Minutes:

Jared Rackley, President

Matt Daniel, Vice President

Minh Phan, Secretary

Lauren Lindsey, Treasurer

Social Event, Interactive Tour of CNN Headquarters

On Wednesday, March 20, UGA AMS was invited to CNN to take a tour of CNN’s World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We were greeted by CNN Meteorologists Brandon Miller and David Hennen. Our group walked to an upper-level atrium, where we were told about the 2008 tornado that devastated Downtown Atlanta and left the CNN Center with significant structural damage. It took millions of dollars and months to fully repair, but the facility and its employees eventually returned to normal operations.

Afterwards, we took a quick refreshment break and talked with Brandon Miller and Dave Hennen about their duties and responsibilities as CNN meteorologists. They reminisced about some of the stories they have covered and some of the problems and challenges they face on a daily basis covering weather for a large cable network. After a quick round of CNN trivia, our group proceeded to the CNN Newsroom, where we talked with a producer about the process of news gathering and presentation. The tour then concluded in one of CNN’s main broadcasting studios. Our members really enjoyed the interactive weather screen, which allowed us to annotate on weather maps and generate interesting graphics.

Community Outreach, Teaching Local High School Students about Severe Weather

Weather and meteorology are seldom discussed in K-12 education in the state of Georgia, so UGA AMS wanted to reach out to the local school system to offer our expertise on atmospheric sciences. Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, GA responded to our outreach and indicated interest in our offer to teach high school students about weather. On Friday, March 22, UGA AMS members went to Cedar Shoals High School to teach an Earth Systems class on severe weather and meteorology. Our lecture focused on the four ingredients of severe weather (shear, lift, instability, and moisture) and on important life-saving tips for when severe weather strikes. The 30 students in Ms. Jackie Elder’s class were very intrigued by the information and asked great questions about the material we presented to them.

After our lecture, we proceeded into a laboratory exercise dealing with moisture measurements. We took the class outside and chose various areas on the school’s campus. Using a sling psychrometer, we were able to calculate wet and dry bulb temperatures, dew point, and the saturation mixing ratio. The interactive laboratory exercise was a great hands-on approach that allowed the students to better understand the material.

Joint Meeting with Metro Atlanta AMS Chapter and Georgia Tech Student Chapter

Molly McCollum, Alan Black, Jared Rackley, and Matt Daniel attended the Atlanta AMS meeting on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 7 p.m. Daniel Dix, president of the Metro Atlanta Chapter invited both the University of Georgia Student Chapter and the Georgia Tech Student to a presentation by the Weather Channel's Social Media Expert, Mark Elliot Papier. At the meeting, Papier discussed his work with social media at the Weather Channel and how it has evolved in recent years. He demonstrated many examples of how to take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other social media platforms. Mark even mentioned the tornado debris research that the University of Georgia Atmospheric Sciences program conducted last summer under Dr. John Knox. The meeting lasted for one hour, and there was a meet and greet session afterwards. Shortly before 9 p.m., the UGA AMS members departed back to Athens.


Fundraising, Homemade Easter Chocolate Sale

The University of Georgia Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held our second homemade chocolate sale in the Geography Building from March 27-29. UGA AMS partnered with a local chocolatier to make dozens of delectable treats. From raspberry dark chocolate Georgia Bulldogs to peanut butter Easter bunnies, the sale was a big hit, and many students and faculty enjoyed sweet treats that went to a great cause. All of the money raised will return to our organization to help fun our many activities planned for the future.---Minh Phan.



March 12, 2013

This meeting was held at the National Weather Center in Room 1313.  The meeting opened with President Lauren Duhon welcoming everyone.

NWA is offering a special to students this month.  We also welcome COCAMS/NWA.

April 9 is the next meeting, and officer elections will be held there.  If you are interested in running or nominating someone, email Andrew with names.

Whose Line/Forecast will be on March 28 and Kate-Lynn is still asking people to sign up for Relay.   We currently have 13 people signed up.

Big Event is April 13 keep an eye out for emails.

There is an outreach opportunity next Thursday at Sam Noble museum.

COCAMS/NWA introduced NWA President Bruce Thomas who is the chief meteorologist at the Midland Radio Corporation.   He talked about NWA saying they have ~3000 members with ~1/3 broadcast, ~1/3 NOAA/Gov., and ~1/3 students.  He discussed the annual conference in Charleston in October 2013, Salt Lake City 2014, and maybe in Norman 2015.  Next, Bruce introduced NWA VP John Gordon.

John gave a presentation over increasing your chances of getting a job.  He said there are roughly 500-600 grads a year in meteorology with roughly 150-250 jobs available a year.  He proceeded to tell us about the skill sets he believes are needed.  GIS, web, database, marketing, research capability, PowerPoint/communication, journalism, leadership, software (python, java, Linux), and social media.  When he is looking to hire someone, he looks for people skills, customer service, innovation, strength/weaknesses, and if they are the right fit for the company.

John also suggested volunteering as much as you could.  Volunteering allows you to point to a project you did or helped on.

Next, we split into our speed mentoring groups.

The meeting officially concluded at 8:30, with most people sticking around to continue to talk to people.

Our next meeting will be April 9th with officer elections.---Megan McClellan.



March 2013

Visit to the local news channel

On March 2, the Chapter had the opportunity to visit Puerto Rico local news channel WAPA-TV. The participating students were received by Nestor Flecha, former UPRM Meteorology student and Chapter President, and current weather broadcaster at the channel. While there, he introduced us to the software he uses to put together the visuals for his forecasts, and he tutored the students on how to present weather events on camera. They even got to see him in action while on air!

The visit the news channel also served as a platform for the promotion of the Chapter’s Weather Fest, which would take place a week after the visit.

Weather Fest 2013

On March 8, the Chapter hosted its most important event of the year: the annual Weather Fest! Held in the Mezzanine room from 8:00AM to 2:00PM, this activity gave an unique opportunity to approximately 600 high school students from across the island: to experience and learn about meteorology first hand through the use of interactive experiments and very visual demonstrations.

Figure 1 – Water Cycle booth.


The event had chapter students working in themed booths where they taught concepts like the water cycle, Bernoulli force and atmospheric pressure to high school students. The event also had the participation of various exhibitors from agencies like the Tsunami Ready initiative, Cari-COOS, WAPA-TV, Sea Grant, among others, and other university organizations like the Society of Physics Students, the Geology Society, and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Figure 2 – Sea Grant booth.

The event was a complete success, for it brought Chapter members together under a common goal, and was triumphant in educating students about meteorology and the atmospheric sciences.     

Figure 3 – Weather Fest staff!

Fundraising Opportunities

During the month of March, the Chapter held two hot dog sales that helped fund Weather Fest-related costs. The Weather Fest committee also held a raffle of a $25 gift card to the restaurant of the person’s choice in order to raise funds for Weather Fest decorations. Any surplus money made in these fundraising activities will be used to fund other Chapter activities.

Monthly Meeting

The Chapter had its last regular monthly meeting in March 11 at 10:30AM. A total of 23 members were present. During this meeting, the students had the opportunity to discuss and compare their Weather Fest impressions, and they put forward suggestions to better the event next year. Students also discussed upcoming activities like a visit to the National Weather Service Weather Forecasting Office in San Juan, and the End-of-the-Year Banquet. Also, students chose the February Member of the Month: Cesar Rios-Cuevas! His profile can be found in the Chapter’s webpage, Patricia Torres.




Towards building and implementing a Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System (RCOOS) for the Southeast Region of the US


March 21, 2013, 6.45 PM


USF Advanced Visualization Center, University of South Florida, Tampa


Vembu Subramanian, RCOOS Manager, SECOORA


              The meeting began at 6.45 with a social (drinks and snacks) in the reception area where members gathered before the business meeting and presentation. Dr. Jennifer Collins, President of the Chapter, welcomed everyone and noted that the room where members were gathering tonight was the new USF Advanced Visualization Center. She then proceeded to discuss recent chapter meetings and upcoming events. The annual chapter banquet will take place on April 15th with speaker Kerry Emanuel. He will discuss hurricane risk in Tampa. Tickets are $45 for a three course dinner at Brio Tuscan Grill.

              Vembu Subramanian is the RCOOS manager for the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA). He has over 20 years of experience in coastal oceanography, including coastal ocean circulation modeling, remote sensing, coastal ocean observing systems and ocean data management. His current responsibilities as RCOOS manager include coordinating SECOORA’s regional coastal ocean observing system projects and building a solid data management infrastructure for SECOORA.

              Vembu began with an overview of the SECOORA region stating that it covers 4 states, over 42 million people and spans the coastal estuarine and ocean waters from North Carolina to the west Coast of Florida. The region is vulnerable to extreme events such as hurricanes, tropical storms and winter cyclones, harmful algal blooms, potential impacts from oil drilling off Cuba and neighboring regions, and climate change. Building and implementing an end-to-end Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System (RCOOS) for the southeast US is critical to improve our understanding of risks, improve decision making, reduce environmental and societal impacts, and support the economy of the region. SECOORA, with the funding support it receives from US IOOS and other sources is building a RCOOS that leverages, integrates and augments existing observational, modeling, data management and education and scientific assets within the region.

Vembu went on to say that SECOORA is building a RCOOS that leverages, integrates and augments existing observational, modeling, data management and education and scientific assets within the region. SECOORA is creating customized data and information products to address these thematic areas: Marine Operations; Coastal Hazards; Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Living Marine Resources; and Climate Change. The presentation which was given by Vembu to almost 50 WCFLAMS members and guests covered information on US IOOS, SECOORA's existing capabilities, its on-going RCOOS projects, the services it provides to coastal oceanographic community within the Southeast and how different sectors and communities can get engaged with SECOORA.

SECOORA Marine Weather Portal Product: ( Hartnett, Kelsey Roberts, and Jennifer Collins (with contributions from Vembu Subramanian).





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