Chapter News
December 2012


The Ark-La-Tex Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held its 6th meeting of 2012 on Monday, December 3rd at Monjuni’s Italian Café in Shreveport, LA.  This meeting began at 6:00 pm, with seventeen members and guests present.

The meeting was a yearly social for this chapter, where members and guests fellowshipped with one another as we celebrate the holidays.  Given the number of attendees from the Barksdale Air Force Base 26th Operational Weather Squadron (OWS), Chapter President Jason Hansford did coordinate chapter information as well as products and services that the National Weather Service Forecast office in Shreveport provides to Lt. Col. Brian Kabat, who oversees the operations at the 26th OWS.  Hansford and Randy Pritchard, Emergency Manager for the city of Marshall, TX also explained the benefits of an enhanced working relationship with the NWS through the presentation of weekly weather webinars, Skywarn spotter presentations, and also the implementation of Dual-Pol technology at the Shreveport office set to begin in late January 2013.  Dual-Pol training information was provided to Kabat so that the officers at the OWS will be up to date and able to use this new radar tool in their forecast and warning decisions.  This meeting did help facilitate a better partnership between the NWS and OWS, with a series of tours expected in the coming weeks and months ahead with new officers at the OWS to familiarize them on the products and services of the NWS office.

The following members and guests were present:

Jason Hansford, President                        Randy Pritchard

Leslie Sexton, Treasurer                           Gareth Juays

Lee Sexton (Guest)                                    J. Lopez-Avila (Guest)

Ken Falk                                                     Sam Lopez-Avila (Guest)

Matt Hemingway                                         Billy Andrews

Brian Kabat                                                 Kathy Andrews (Guest)

Alex Sigler                                                  Kelley Spencer

Rachael Layne                                          Jana Spencer (Guest)

John Beck

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM.---Jason Hansford.



The High Plains AMS Chapter met via a teleconference, accompanied by a webinar, on Wednesday, December 5th, at 1:30 PM CDT.  There were 33 members dialed in.  President Bill Taylor, of North Platte, NE, called the meeting to order and quickly turned the phone over to Treasurer Scott Bryant, of Hastings, NE.  Next discussed was the Jim Johnson Scholarship Program, explained by Scott Bryant.  Basically, we award a $500 scholarship to a worthy high school student in our respective Forecast areas, who is intending to pursue a degree in a physical science.  Members volunteered for the Jim Johnson Scholarship committee, and were Scott Bryant of Hastings, NE, Scott Mentzer of Goodland, KS, Shawn Jacobs of North Platte, NE, and Matt Gerard of Dodge City, KS.  Announcements to area students need to be sent out in January, the selection is made during April, and the scholarship will be presented to the winner by May 1st. 

The webinar was presented by Greg Carbin, WCM of the SPC in Norman, Okl.  His title was “Meteorological Memories of 2012.”  Greg reviewed his top 10 weather events for the U.S. for 2012, in no particular ranking order.  These events ranged from the record warmth last Winter, from January through March; to the very busy tornado season so early in the year, during January through March; to the biggest tornado outbreak of the year during April; to the hotter than normal period of late June to Early July; to the mild hurricane season, except for Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in the mid-Atlantic states during late October.  Several High Plains members commented how much they enjoyed the presentation and commended Greg on a job well done.---Bill Taylor and Tim Burke.



On December 5th at 7pm, we had our GBM in which 25 members attended and it lasted about 40 minutes.  


Matthew Davey, Secretary spoke first about the Weather Center.  Matt has received numerous complaints about it being to loud to study.  Matt explained how we don’t want to eliminate the social aspect of the weather center, but it’s main role is a study hall.  


President Jeb Postle spoke about our club poster and thanked Historian Sarah Murphy for putting it together.  The poster will be displayed at the National conference in January in Austin, Texas.  He aslo spoke about the Flag Football Fundraiser coming up  


James Sinko, Vice President, went through a couple of website  issues and showed the club where to register for our conference.  

Amanda Curran, Public Relations, talked about our upcoming event, our clubs biggest fundraiser, the AMS Talent Show.  She said how there were acts from both the town and the college that were going to perform.  She spoke of the sign ups for both ticket sales and talent show preparation volunteers.  

Kayla Flynn, Outreach, told the club that half of the proceeds that we gain from selling food and drinks at the Talent show will go to the Veterans Club, who are trying to build a memorial.---Matthew Davey.  




  1. An opening welcome to everyone and thanks for attending our December meeting.  Please don’t forget to sign in.
  2. If you haven’t paid your yearly dues of $10.00 please see Jim Branda after the meeting.
  3. Dave Brown was given special thanks for WMCTV Channel 5 in Memphis sponsoring our AMS/NWA website again for the next upcoming year.
  4. The treasurer’s report was given; there is $381.15 in the savings/scholarship fund and $973.66 in the checking account.  A new total balance of $1,354.81 dollars are available in funds.
  5. Introduction to tonight’s speaker, Ben Schott the new Warning and Coordination Meteorologist from the National Weather Service office in Memphis. Ben’s presentation was on Conducting Tornado Damage Surveys  It initially consisted of both thunderstorm/tornado climatology, with the percentages of nocturnal tornado occurrences across the United States; and then specifically for the Midsouth.  Next, he showed the breakdown of the Enhanced Fujita scale that was initiated in Feb 2007 and how it compared to the old Fujita scale.  From this, Ben moved into the importance of getting storm reports from the public, media and County Emergency Managers during severe weather to determine where damage needs to be surveyed.  He describe how the Memphis NWS office sets up teams of two with an EF (Enhanced Fujita) kit that consists of documentation and pictures describing both Damage Indicators (DI’s) and Degrees of Damage (DOD’s) to determine wind speed values and potential tornado ratings.  Ben also talked about the importance in evaluating the difference between good and poor construction to help adjust the determined baseline wind speed up or down.  Next Ben showed how the Memphis NWS is planning on mapping damage surveys/tornado tracks using GPS and GIS tools in 2013, along with describing how damage is laid out differently based on storm phenomena, i.e. Tornadoes, and straight-line winds from Downbursts, Bow Echos/Squall lines. Last an invitation for questions was given.---Jim Branda.



PWAD Meeting #1
Attendance: 32 people
Date: December 3, 2012
Start time: 8:04pm 
End time: 8:15pm

5th Annual Public Weather Awareness Day, April 20th, 2013. This event is open to the university and community. 
- Food (1 chairperson to be elected)
- Advertising (1 chairperson to be elected)
- Decorations (1 chairperson to be elected)
- 1 individual to handle the budget ( Budget chairperson)
- Weather balloon launch
- Parachute
- Vendors ( WGAL, ACCUweather, NWS, Weather trends, and many more)
If any students have any other suggestions in terms of vendors, please contact Tyra Brown.
Student Run Booths:
- Wave tanks
- Face painting

Tyra will be making a Facebook page as soon as possible. If anyone is interested in becoming chairperson for any committee, message Tyra.


5 December 2012

Start: 8:32pm

End: 8:55pm

Total: 23 minutes

Attendance: 83

State of the AMS

Introduction/Recap of the Semester (President Peter Mullinax)

Fundraising for next semester (Treasurer Ian Eppig)

Events for next semester (Secretary Jimmy Fowler)

Outreach (Vice-President Tyra Brown)

Website (Web Master Jessica Taheri)



December 6th, 2012

35 attendees


Opening Remarks:

Officer Information:


President – Max Tsparis:

-Science Outreach/Past President Changes  APPROVED WITH MAJORITY

               -Registered Student Organization Changes  APPROVED WITH MAJORITY

Please be conscientious when saying you are

going to attend events that you actually attend.


Vice President – Nikki Perrini:

                   -  $15 for Newest T’Shirts, $20 for Polos!

                                         Blue T’Shirts from 2010: $5

                  - Design: Meteorology in METAR signs!

   - Sign up!

   - Climatology?

                   -Research/Education: Dr. Robert Ross


Treasurer  -  Lauren Visin:

    - Credit Card transaction will be a$1 Convenience Fee

    - For Financial Hardship, email

    - If you don’t pay or contact me before our next    meeting, we can not allow you to attend   events!

    - Paypal account is up on website!!!

    - See me to pay or pick up!

    - $215 dollars (the Registration Fees)

    -  Access to Campus rooms and Meeting spaces

    -  RTAC (Funds for Traveling)

    -  PAC (Funds for Meeting and Events)

    -  Market Wednesday Tabling!!!

    -  We are officially representing Florida State University!

Secretary  -   Matthew Brady:



                   Most Application Deadlines is February 8th, 2013


-NASA Fellowship:

 Earth and Space Science Fellowship (have a Major Professor)


                   Application Deadline: February 1st, 2013


Science and Outreach -  Connor Dacey:

                  - Time change from previous years!  (1 PM)


Past President  -  Jonathan Belles:

                     - January 5th – 11th, 2013

   -Change: Student Conference information has changed since the first meeting


Speaker:  Kelly Godsey,  NWS Meteorologist

                                        Tallahassee,  FL



Dual Polarization

Radar has changed tremendously over the last 40 years, from 4-bit to 8-bit to nexrad to dual polarization

Dual Polarization Radar sends out Horizontal Pulse and Vertical pulses

Vertical Pulse helps determine size, shape, and density of target (especially helps with Hydrology)

New base products added by Dual pol gives Differential Reflectivity (ZDR), Correlation Coefficient (CC) and Specific Differential Phase (KDP)


ZDR shows the orientation of the target (size), can help determine between Rain, Hail, Snow, Debris, Clutter, etc

Must still use Nexrad products to collaborate to determine what is going on

Operational Applications: determine between hail, melting line, etc


CC is the correlation of the returns that is returning to the radar

If low then it’s a non meteorological effect

If all rain or all snow, the CC will be roughly same everywhere

IF there is a mix precip, then CC will vary in values, suggesting there is a mix precip

CC can help determine Debris from a Tornado, really helps if tornado is rain wrapped or no hook is determined, so this helps confirm tornadoes that are on the ground


Specific Differential Phase (KDP) – helps determine rainrate

Can help determine rain shaft strength (rainrate) if its hidden behind other rain shaft/hail shaft

Larger number represents more liquid precipbable water

Medium number represent some liquid precip but not too heavy

Smaller number represents if in storm, frozen return, or likely a Hail stone



ZDR – helps identify median dropsize distribution

KDP – Determines Rain rates

CC – gives us uniformity of the precip


Computers use algorithms but it can cause error, so reason NWS employees are still needed

HCA – (Hydrometer Classification Alogrithms)

Can tell us Precip types of storms


Steps to Detech Hail using PCR ALL-Tilts

1. use all tilts of Reflectivity

2. Start at 0.5 deg

2.  go to CC

3. then to ZDR

4. then KDP

5. Repeat on all other radar tilts


Also can use Cross sections to determine help, also using the new Dual Polarization Products


For tornado debris signatures when Debris ball may develop, When ZDR is extremely low, so cant be rain, and CC is low then this confirms that there is debris from a tornado, and that a tornado is on ground


Strengths of Dual Polarization with Tornado Debris signatures:

Shows where tornado is and dangerous debris is occurring

Shows exact location of the tornado

Not a predictor of tornado, Should of already been warned, justs confirms that it is on the ground

Training Branch of Dual pol is at then click on Dual Pol



How realistic is this used in your processes?

It will change a lot, there is so much information now provided, that we need likely more people focused on radar, it will change a lot when we do get a severe case in our area.


When did we get Dual Pol?

Tallahassee got it last month, in November, but Oklahoma has been testing it for 10 years or so.


Student Opportunities (Katie Moore):


Pathways Program (formerly SCEP):

Current students and Recent Graduates (past 2 years) can apply

640 hours of work at office

Completion of degree requirements

Meet agency requirements


Hollings Scholarship

Must be a sophomore (2nd year in 4 year program or 3rd year in 5  year program)


Receive Scholarship, you contact mentor


Mentorship at NWS

Rising Junior or Senior undergraduate Students

During Summer you shadow a forecaster

25 plus of hours of work expected


Internship at NWS

Undergrads and Grads can apply

Fall apply and get an interview

If selected work with science and operations officer (SOO) to create schedule

15-20 hours of work a week

Discover forecasting in Operation Scenes in office


Research Program

Students who applied for internship opportunity may be offered a research project instead

May result in a paper


Shift Shadowing: Students welcome to contact us and schedule a tour and watch a balloon launch during a shift


Operational Class

2 credit hours

Led by Forecasters from the office

All basis learning how to forecast in a operational sense


Other Offices

You can contact other offices, by looking at the NWS homepage and find Contact information on left side of column


IF serious for NWS, may have to take additional classes to get involved

Such as Instruments and observation



8:45 PM



Next  Meeting


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

    - Facebook: northflams

    - Twitter: @northflamsnwa

    - Website:

    - Gmail:


Schedule of Events:

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


Meeting Ends: 8:45 PM---Matthew Brady.



The fourth meeting of the Omaha Offutt Chapter of the American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association was held on Tuesday, December 11th, at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha, Nebraska. Approximately 70 people were in attendance. The guest speaker for the evening was Greg Carbin of the Storm Prediction Center who presented his top 10 weather memories for 2012.

President Jay Martinelli called the meeting to order at 7:36 PM. Announcements for upcoming meetings and guest speakers were made.  The January meeting is set for January 14th where the guest speaker will be Tom Hultquist from the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, MN, and his talk will discuss the Peshtigo fire of 1871.  Discussions are still in place for a joint meeting with UNL in February.  Scott Nicholson will present about his storm chasing and his storm chasing company venture at the March meeting.  Assuming the February meeting is held in Lincoln, the April meeting will feature discussion from a speaker from the Springfield National Weather Service of the devastating Joplin tornado of 22 May 2011.

Treasurer John Roth read the treasurer’s report next. The starting total was $1916.48.  Income for the month was $357.65 and expenses were $732.65, for an ending amount of $1541.48.  $1374.08 is in the bank account and $167.40 is in petty cash.

President Jay Martinelli then made a motion to accept the minutes of the November meeting, which was approved.

Old business was brought to the floor with the search continuing for a science fair coordinator amongst the group.  Experiences from the recent King Science and Technology Fair were discussed.

New business was requested from the floor.  None was brought.

At 7:42 PM President Martinelli made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was approved.



All of the 2012/13 winter weather forecasts from the 20th Annual Oregon AMS Winter Weather Forecast Conference held on Nov. 17th have now been posted, along with a video of the entire meeting.

For full details, please see: Pierce.



The Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana Chapter of the AMS/NWA held its 4th meeting of the year on December 8, 2012. The meeting was called to order by chapter president Donald Jones at 12:00 PM with six active members present. Members then partook in pizza and beverages provided by the chapter. As members ate, the previous meeting minutes were read by President Jones (Secretary/Treasurer Ashley Jones was unable to attend due to illness). The minutes were then approved by members present.

President Jones then informed members present that only 11 members had completed the online ballot regarding the previously proposed changes to the chapter constitution (A slight modification of name in 3 sections). Jones informed members that, per the local constitution, a 2/3 majority was required to approve the changes and encouraged active members who had not yet voted to do so prior to the next meeting.

Jones then informed the chapter that the National Weather Association had granted the chapter approval as a local NWA chapter and given us the designation of “Beta Lambda” chapter.

Next the membership and financial statement was disclosed by President Jones. He informed members that the chapter had 21 active members, 4 pending members (awaiting payment of dues) and $350.00 in the general fund.

Jones then informed membership that the next AMS meeting would be tentatively scheduled for January 12 in conjunction with A National Weather Service media training event (Dual Pol training). He told members that the initial plan was for the training seminar with the NWS to take place from 10:00 AM to Noon and would be followed by a break period for lunch before the chapter meeting would come to order following lunch.

Members then engaged in a discussion of the meteorological and sociological aspects of Hurricane Sandy. Topics debated included whether the National Hurricane Center should have maintained Sandy’s “Hurricane” distinction through landfall despite losing tropical characteristics a few hours earlier, whether hurricane watches or warnings should have been issued for Sandy, whether a proposed revision by the National Hurricane Center of how a hurricane warning is defined should be adopted, and how the NWS and the media could have better conveyed the need to evacuate in the days leading up to the landfall of Sandy. Debate lasted approximately 45 minutes.

Finally, the chapter officers wished everyone a Merry Christmas and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 1:30 PM.---Donald Jones.




The December 2012 meeting of the Twin Cities Meteorological Society was a tour of the WCCO television studios led by their chief meteorologist Chris Shaffer.  The meeting started at about 7:00 p.m., and it included 10 TCMS members. There was no business meeting.

Shaffer got his start in television in 2000 at KMSP (Fox, channel 9) and began at WCCO as the morning meteorologist.  He took over the chief meteorologist position in 2008 with the departure of Paul Douglas.  He earned his degree in meteorology at the University of Utah in 1992.  Before he worked at KMSP, he held down disc jockey jobs at several radio stations across the Twin Cities.

During the Minnesota State Fair WCCO remodeled their main studio.  Much of what viewers see in the studio, including the anchor desk, stand-up weather desk, couch set in front of the window, and a large “monitor” board consisting of four individual high-definition TVs are movable and can be arranged to fit a particular broadcast or reporting need.

The weather chroma key (a.k.a. the green screen) is tucked in behind the anchor desk.  All other aspects of the weather department are located to stage right of the anchor desk (on the left to TV viewers) at the weather desk.  This includes computers to create weather graphics, a stand-up desk, and a large touch screen monitor that is located behind the desk.  As a testament to the adaptability of the set, during the election coverage in November, the stand-up desk was moved, and political reporter Pat Kessler used the touch screen during his election coverage and analysis.

WSI is the sole provider of weather graphics and model guidance to WCCO.  The forecast used is a weighted model blend of the GFS, NAM, ECMWF, and others.  It’s weighted toward the better-performing models, and it’s not uncommon for WSI to throw out an underperformer.

When asked about what the station supplies him outside of a salary, Shaffer indicated that it wasn’t much.  Thanks to budget cuts, he and other on-camera meteorologists are responsible for purchasing their own suits, they must pay for their own parking, and they must apply their own makeup, which is a spray-on liquid that often finds its way inadvertently onto clothing.

Shaffer also shared WCCO’s rules for his station’s breaking into programing for severe weather:

Shaffer shared his best advice for people who want to break into broadcast meteorology:  Have a thick skin.  He shared many stories of “colorful” complaints he has heard over the years.  He said it is best to not let any of it get you down.

A typical day for Shaffer (he usually works on the evening newscasts) starts at 2:00 p.m. to prepare for the 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. newscasts.  He then wraps up after the 10:00 p.m. newscast.  His day starts sooner if he is doing some public relations work such as a school visit or something with their new weather vehicle.

In a typical weathercast, the meteorologists have about 2-1/2 minutes to give a summary of the day’s weather, the current conditions, tomorrow’s forecast, and the next week’s forecast.  That doesn’t allow a lot of time for other weather maps such as those which show the jet stream or weather outside of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.  Also, the weather segment is often trimmed when extra time is needed for other stories.  But Shaffer mentioned that the more frequent weather segments on their morning show allow for more than “just the basics.”

The evening ended with a discussion about the station’s new mobile weather vehicle.  It was on the road that night, so we were not able to see it.  The vehicle is a modified Chevy Suburban with everything behind the front seats removed.  It has several cameras and a satellite dish on the roof that allows for live broadcasts.  There is a large monitor in the back with a computer that lets them show graphics on the fly if needed for a live shot. Shaffer’s favorite camera on the car is the roof-mounted infrared marine camera.---Chris Bovitz.



December 2012

Officers’ Meeting

Before adjourning for the semester, the chapter’s officers held a meeting to discuss the past semester, our involvement in the 93rd Annual AMS Meeting, and our plans for the upcoming year.

UPRM Open House

On December 4th, members from the Chapter were part of our school’s Open House for prospective students. As a part of this activity, members got a chance to perform meteorology related experiments and demonstrations. They also gave academic guidance to those students interested in pursuing an academic career in atmospheric sciences and meteorology. It was a great opportunity for members to get involved and help out.

Figure 1- Students showcase different experiments in UPRM’s Open House

Member of the Month

After reviewing our chapter member’s performance during the month of November, three students were nominated to be Member of the Month. Following some questions and remarks, our chapter chose Glorianne Rivera Santiago as Member of the Month! We are very proud of her and of her achievements in the Chapter.  More information about her and this initiative can be found at .


Activity: Camina Conmigo (Walk with Me)

Our students always like to give back to the community.  On December 9th , our chapter participated in a marathon hosted by SER of Puerto Rico (“Sociedad de Educación y Rehabilitación”, or Society for Education and Rehabilitation) in Ponce, Puerto Rico.  SER is an organization that helps people with physical and mental disabilities and with autism by providing education and therapy. In their marathon, our members had a chance to interact with some of the kids from SER, as well as walk for a good cause and enjoy some fun activities during the marathon.---Ana P. Torres.



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