Chapter News
August 2002


The 6th High Plains Conference will be hosted by the High Plains Chapter of the American Meteorology Society in Dodge City, KS October 9-11th. All AMS members, their guests, and students are invited, as well as anyone with an interest in weather. Please visit our web site for schedule, registration, hotel and general information at:


The conference will take place in the recently restored historic Santa Fe depot and theater in downtown Dodge City. Some meals will be included in the $50 registration fee. Pre-registration, with a discounted fee of $45 is September 25th. A banquet is planned the evening of Oct 10th. The Dodge City area is rich in old west history and attendees are encouraged to bring family and/or friends along.

Call for Papers:
Sessions will begin the morning of the 10th and run through early afternoon on the 11th. The main theme of the conference will be high plains severe convective storms. The keynote speaker for this session will be noted author Dr. Charles A. Doswell III. The morning session on the 11th will address emergency preparedness and severe storm spotting/observation. This session will be less formal with attendance anticipated to include emergency managers, spotters, storm chasers, possibly some media, as well as meteorologists. Friday morning's keynote speaker will be Dr. Eve Gruntfest, professor of Geography from the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs. Additionally, a panel discussion on Aviation weather concerns will be conducted the afternoon of the 11th, with guest panelists from the FAA, NWS, and aviation community.

Authors should submit abstracts of one page or less to Jim Johnson for the consideration of the program committee at Abstracts may also be mailed to the National Weather Service, 104 Airport Rd. Dodge City, KS 67801. Deadline for abstracts is August 15th, 2002. In the event of numerous abstracts, the conference program committee will rank presentations according to those most suited to the conference theme and provide for a poster session for those not chosen as oral presentations. For additional information on the conference, on line abstract submission,registration and pre?registration please visit the chapter web site at: http://www.highplains?

For the second year in a row, the High Plains Chapter announces a student paper competition geared toward graduate and undergraduate students in meteorology. There will again be a scholarship awarded for first and second place in the student competition. The student competition may also overflow into a poster session if necessary.

Provisions are also available for vendors and/or vendor displays. We anticipate little or no charge for vendor space. Those interested should contact Jim Johnson at:

The High Plains Chapter held a meeting on August 6th, 2002, at the Town and Country Kitchen in Norton, KS. The meeting started off with a fine lunch, with only 7 members present. Recent staff shortages, coupled with peak summer vacation time were a couple of reasons for the low turnout. The intended mission of this meeting was to discuss plans for the upcoming conference in Dodge City (see above). One of our attendees was a visitor, Jerrod Frederking, a SCEP participant at the Dodge City NWS office. Jerrod is a Junior at Oklahoma University in Norman, OK, and a member of both the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the AMS (COCAMS) and the Oklahoma University Student Chapter of the AMS (OUSCAMS). The Chapter membership roster will be updated toward the end of the year when dues are renewed. Chapter dues will remain at $10 for 2003. Jim Johnson did a nice job of restoring a Chapter website since our last meeting: http://www.highplains? Jared Guyer of the Hastings NWS office graciously stepped forward and took on the role of web master. A suggestion was made for our chapter to look into sponsoring a scholarship for women in science, as there are not many scholarships of this type available. President John Stoppkotte will head this effort. At least 1 or 2 of our chapter members will attend the AMS Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA, Feb 9-13th,and will look into displaying a poster representing our High Plains Chapter at the poster session. The next meeting will be at the Oct. conference in Dodge City.---Tim Burke.



The well-attended forum was held at the Academy building in New York the evening of 16 May 2002 and was sponsored by the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the New York Academy of Sciences and the New York City/Long Island Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. For the past few months, the drought in the tri-state region has made headlines almost daily. In fact, Mayor Bloomberg declared a drought emergency (Stage 1) on 26 March 2002. Consequently, a forum was designed to help understand the drought, learn of its impacts, and of what related weather phenomena may transpire in the future.

Three experts were invited to present various aspects of the drought. The panel consisted of Allen Frei, a professor of climatology from Hunter College, New York, NY, George McKillop, senior hydrologist of the National Weather Service Forecast Office, Upton, NY, and Warren Liebold, Director of Technical Services and Conservation at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Professor Frei presented a brief history of the drought and discussed key results of his research on climate-change implications for the NYC water supplies. According to Frei, the 1960s were the worst drought years on record in terms of intensity and duration. The wet years of the 1970s brought relief from the earlier decade of dryness. The current drought, so far, is comparable to more recent droughts since 1980 in that they have been primarily precipitation driven. However, future droughts may be temperature-driven resulting in significant warming by the 21st century. Water supplies will suffer if the warming is not accompanied by increased precipitation (3 - 4% increase per C increase). Frei indicated that the worst case scenario is a 25% reduction in average precipitation in the 2080s producing conditions similar to 1960s drought conditions. The best case scenario is a 10% increase in precipitation producing conditions that will enable increased reservoir capacities.

Mr. McKillop discussed why the drought occurred, its hydrologic impacts, and how long it might last. He stated that the 2001 - 2002 winter season held the warmest temperatures and lowest precipitation and snowfall amounts the region has seen in the last 107 years. The culprit that caused these extraordinary conditions was the strong positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO is the relationship between high-pressure over the Tropical Atlantic (Azores High) and low-pressure over Iceland (Icelandic Low). The NAO drove the storm-producing polar-front jet stream farther north which, in turn, snuffed out the famous nor'Easter storm, the major wintertime precipitation-producer. These conditions caused numerous hydrologic impacts. First of all, levels at the New York and New Jersey water supply reservoirs were 45 - 50% below normal as of the first of spring. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, stream flows were the lowest on record for almost all streams in New Jersey and a drought emergency was declared on 4 March 2002. The outlook at the time of the forum was pessimistic. The long-range forecasts released by the National Weather Service on 18 April 2002 indicated a persistence of drought conditions with some improvements likely. However, a strong possibility of future water shortages still exists. As of 26 June 2002, the precipitation in New Jersey has been normal to above normal and the reservoirs have responded. Nevertheless, the drought emergency is still in effect.

Warren Liebold presented the impacts of the drought on the city and identified water conservation measures. Liebold stated that the use of water in the city has decreased more than 0.2 billion gallons from the 1980s to the 1990s. This has significantly helped in reducing the impacts of the current drought. The reductions were achieved primarily by increasing the cost of water from less than $1 per hundred-cubic-feet (HCF) in 1985 to $3.50 per HCF in 2001 - 2002. Conservation is essential in keeping water supply approximately equal to demand. Liebold went on to describe the elements of a city water efficiency plan. The first measure is to internalize system costs and set prices accordingly (e.g. create a Water Finance Board; the city is now 95% metered). The second measure is to reduce distribution losses. This has been very effective; as measured leakage has decreased 4,100 gallons per day per 1000 feet since the 1980s. In addition to this, one-third of all fire hydrants are locked. This has helped in reducing peak hourly flows by 166 million gallons on days with temperatures over 90F. Liebold noted that the cost of conserved water is less than one-half the cost of a new supply.

A lively round-table discussion among the presenters followed to integrate the information and answer the numerous audience questions. Some of the questions dealt with which efficiency resources/ policies are most cost-effective and how low water consumption should go.

The forum was quite informative in detailing various aspects of the drought. The point was made that the tri-state drought is not as severe as the droughts of the 1960s, however continuing global warming may exacerbate future droughts by 2080. Long-range precipitation predictions indicate some relief over the summer. While water conservation measures have already reduced the impact of the drought, ongoing plans are currently underway to minimize the effects of future droughts.---Prof. Edward Hindman (Ward).



Hello fellow chapter members, Thanks to all of you who attended our summer barbeque last week. We had a good turnout, but I feel bad that Spring Creek BBQ was so crowded. We know of at least one chapter member who saw the line literally going "out the door" and turned around and left. I should have mentioned that Spring Creek is cafeteria style, and the line moves fairly fast. We had reserved seats in the back room once we went through the line. Oh well. It was good seeing everyone.

It has happened again! It is the past history of this chapter that once one becomes an officer they get promoted and they move out of the DFW metroplex. The list is long...Roland Nunez, Chris B, Larry Nierenburg, Rick Smith and now Amy Gardner! Yes, our vice president Amy is leaving us within 3 weeks. She has accepted the position of Chief Meteorologist at the FOX television affiliate in Oklahoma City. We certainly wish Amy well in her new position in one of the most active television weather markets in the country. Thank you, Amy for your service to our chapter!

To fill in for Amy, I have asked Krista Villarreal to be our chapter vice-president (she has been our treasurer for over a year). Krista has worked hard in assisting Amy, Dan and myself in getting ready for this coming year, and by having her as vice-president our chapter will not miss a beat. However, this creates an open position for chapter treasurer. Nominations are now open, and if more than one person accepts the nomination we will hold an election at our September meeting. Krista will also serve as treasurer at our first meeting to collect everyone's dues for the new year (still a bargain at $6 per year). She will be happy to train our new treasurer following the election (or sooner if only one person gets nominated). Send your nominations to me at

For those not with us at Spring Creek BBQ last week to hear our list of future meetings, here is the list of speakers with the tentative dates for our meetings over the coming few months:

September 17 Troy Stuckey (to discuss Ozone Alerts), discuss changes to the chapter constitution, election for a new be held at the NWS Forecast Office/River Forecast Center.

October 22 Les Lemon (to discuss the WSR-88D) at the Radisson Hotel in conjunction with the NWA annual meeting.

November 19 Doug Reno (to discuss aviation meteorology issues) at either the CWSU or NWSFO/RFC. December 17 Tour of Channel 11 (Neal Barton)

January 21, 2003 Severe weather seminar with Al Moller, WSFO Fort Worth. Location TBA.

February Yet to be set up, but we will invite someone from the Texas Motor Speedway to discuss the weather concerns and the action plans for race days.

Remember, these are tenative dates, but it gives you an idea of what we've been planning this summer for the upcoming year.

Hope you're having a great summer. See you in September.---Greg Story.


The NEOCAMS Chapter met on July 9th, with 23 members and guests attending. The featured speaker was Don Burgess who serves as the Assistant Director of the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, OK. He also is the Chief of the Warning Research and Development Division at the NSSL. Don's research interests concentrate on severe weather and on techniques for improving warnings of weather hazards, particularly techniques using Doppler radar to detect and warn of tornadoes.

Don's presentation focused on the May 3, 1999 tornado which caused devastating damage in the Oklahoma City area. The tornado passed relatively close (15-60 km) to two fixed-location Doppler radars: the National Weather Service WSR-88D at Twin Lakes (KTLX), and the Radar Operations Center WSR-88D Test Radar at Norman (KCRI). Two mobile Doppler On Wheels (DOW) radars also observed the tornado at very close range (3-8 km).

Don compared the high resolution data from the DOW, to the lower resolution WSR-88D data and provide detailed information on the high-resolution velocity field in and around the tornado. These data permit good estimates of tornado rotational velocity and diameter. Don also discussed how much tornado information is lost due to the broader beam width (longer range) and longer gate length of the WSR-88Ds.

Results of the study will be useful in determining how to better interpret future WSR-88D observations of near-range tornadoes, including any possible real-time estimation of tornado intensity and evolution.---Sarah Taylor.

NEOCAMS members chat with NWS Tulsa Meteorologist-in-Charge Steve Piltz.
From Left to Right:
KOTV Meteorologist/NEOCAMS President, Dick Faurot
HAM Radio Operator, Merlin Griffin
NSSL Assistant Director, Don Burgess
NWS Tulsa Forecaster, Eric Howieson (in back)
NWS Tulsa Meteorologist-in-Charge, Steve Piltz


NOAA Researcher Elaine Prins set our minds on fire at last (7/30/02) night's meeting at the Brown County Central Library. Elaine is one of the handful of federal employees who work out of the Space Science and Engineering Building at UW Madison. Together, they come up with new products for NASA. About three years ago, they started using the GOES satellites to detect fires. Elaine says they have the ability to see a fire one acre in size if it is hot enough. She says they can detect fires that are 750-degrees Kelvin. However, most forest fires are 12-hundred degrees Kelvin. There are two applications for this information, hazard detection and monitoring and global change monitoring. It's not known if fires are assisting in the "greenhouse effect" since the carbon dioxide in the smoke helps trap heat. However, since the smoke is white, it reflects the sun's rays. The smoke can also be tied to an increase in malaria in South America. The smoke blocks U-V light, which creates a better environment for mosquitos, which carry malaria. Information about forest fires also helps the Navy. The aircraft carriers need to know where the smoke is so they can provide the best possible conditions for the pilots. For more information log on to the following web sites...
- or -

By the way, Elaine said we are welcome to come down and tour the Space Science and Engineering Building at UW Madison any time we want.

New Business - PCAMS VP Jim Brey could use some help creating an abstract and poster for this year's AMS meeting. If we want to compete for Chapter of the Year honors next year, we need to have an abstract put together. If you're interested, give Jim a shout.

Future Meetings - A number of great ideas came up. Jim Brey mentioned the possibility of an evening program with a tornado expert who's going to be at UW Fox Valley in September. Dale had an interesting idea for taking people up in a plane to get a feel for the weather. At a future fall meeting, we'll further discuss putting together a storm chaser group.---Scott Patrick.


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