Chapter News
January 2005


The inaugural meeting of the 2004-2005 academic year for the Arklatex chapter of the American Meteorological Society took place at 7:00PM on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at the Shreve Memorial Library, Broadmoor branch. There were twenty eight people in attendance.

The evening started with President Harry Druckenmiller welcoming members and guests. Members included representatives from Barksdale AFB, National Weather service, and TV Meteorologists from channels 3 and 6.

The business portion of the meeting started off with the introduction of the officers. Mark Frazier, the chapter secretary read the minutes from the October officers meeting to the group. Following this, all members were introduced. Afterwards, the group examined the constitution and By-Laws of the Arklatex AMS chapter. The following amendments were made…

  1. Article 5 - election of officers to be in October/November timeframe.
  2. Article 9 - Quorum is defined as more than one-third of active membership present at a chapter meeting.
Ideas were suggested for the next chapter meeting. It was decided the next meeting would be in March and be held at either the National Weather Service office or Barksdale Air Force Base. The group also discussed the AMS presence in the community such as science fairs and career days or trade shows.

Following the business meeting, annual dues of $10 were collected. Eighteen members paid.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 pm.---Mark Frazier.


First Meteorology Club meeting of Spring 2005 semester:
Wednesday, January 26, 2005 @ 9:00pm ENR building room 223

---Ariana Shah.


DC Chapter. The 26 January 2005 meeting, hosted by WeatherBug in Gaithersburg MD, included a complimentary dinner, (courtesy WeatherBug, a short business meeting and presentations by: WeatherBug President and CEO Robert Marshall, WeatherBug's Chief Meteorologist Mark Hoekzema, and James Aman.

During the business part of the meeting, Vice Chairperson Jason Samenow said the February 2005 meeting would be in Silver Spring MD; the speaker for the March meeting will be Dr. John H. Marburger (Science Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy). Chapter Chairperson Chris Moren encouraged members to renew their membership, to volunteer to be Chapter Officers (since several of the current officers will be stepping down), and to volunteer to be Science Fair judges.

(NOTE: the following narrative is derived from information from the WeatherBug web page,

The topic for the evening's presentation was "The Evolution of WeatherBug." Company President and CEO Robert Marshall stated that the company started in 1992 selling meteorology lessons for classrooms. Shortly thereafter, the company developed WeatherNet services for media broadcasters. In 2000, AWS created the WeatherBug desktop application, providing Internet users access to live (up to the second), neighborhood weather data that had never been available to the general public. Today, with a user base of more than 20 million, the company operates a national system of weather stations, the WeatherBug Network. This network is the largest and most technologically advanced in the world, five times larger than any other weather network including the National Weather Service. More than 7,000 schools and businesses across the U.S. operate WeatherBug Tracking Stations. In addition, the network includes over 1,000+ cameras. The Tracking Stations and cameras are networked together via high speed Internet, gathering the up-to-the-second weather information that powers the various WeatherBug products and services.

Each of the 7,000 WeatherBug NetworkTracking Stations includes the following hardware and Weather Streamer Software: In 2002, the leaders of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Weather Service (NWS) and AWS signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the organizations to more effectively incorporate data from AWS' nationwide, real-time weather sensor network into NWS operations. AWS provides a proprietary feed of data from the WeatherBug Network tracking stations to NWS -- and the NWS uses the data to complement its existing data collection resources. The MOU strengthened the existing partnership between NWS and AWS, and also allowed for enhanced environmental support to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support emergency response activities that need live data about local conditions.

The WeatherBug suite of products and services include those for the consumer (free WeatherBug, subscription service (advertising free) WeatherBug Plus, and WeatherBug Media Services), K-12 and post-secondary education (WeatherBug Achieve and WeatherBug Online Weather Center), and business products (WeatherBug Professional). All are based on the proprietary network of WeatherBug Tracking Stations and cameras. The company is working to develop the Wireless business area (i.e., mobile phones).

Although the company started as an education tool aimed at bringing live weather data and real-world weather information into the classroom, today the 'bread and butter" of AWS is WeatherBug, the online weather application. It is the number one source for live neighborhood weather and severe storm alerts on the Web. It ranks just behind and ahead of the Weather Channel on the list of Overall Top Internet Sites (in terms of visits per day). The personal computer (PC) desktop software streams live, neighborhood weather directly to millions of PC users each day. It provides live, local weather conditions, forecasts, severe weather alerts, and radar and camera images.

James Aman focused on the TV part of the company. Meteorologists at more than 100 television stations rely on WeatherBug's local weather network data to deliver tailored, reliable local weather data and forecasts to their broadcast audience.

WeatherBug Chief Meteorologist Mark Hoekzema stated that the company employees 12 full time meteorologists, four of which are operational meteorologists. They hope to have 8 full time operational meteorologists by the end of the year.

For more information, visit WeatherBug's web page: O'Connor.


January's meeting was held at the City of Houston's Emergency Management Response Center. Mr. Bob White, an emergency manager, gave the group a presentation of his duties and a tour of this awesome facility. The meeting commenced with a slide show presentation of the duties of Houston's Office of Emergency Management. Their mission is to keep the public safe in the event of a weather-related disaster, a terrorist attack, or even a traffic pile-up on a major route artery. Of course, since the unfortunate events of September 11th, 2001, the office's main focus has been on preparing for a terrorist attack on the city and surrounding metropolitan areas. Mr. White demonstrated that they could quickly change gears if severe, or tropical, weather threatened Houston. He used the example of a squall line that came across the metroplex that prior evening as to how they monitor the progression severe storms and the decisions that are made during the forecast, life, and aftermath these storms as they track across our city.

After his presentation, Mr. White provided a tour of the newly-built Emergency Center. This is a very impressive facility with thousands of square feet of operational space. The 9-1-1, Fire, and Police dispatch all reside in one large operations center with wall-to-wall large flat screen displays of the "current events" happening locally and nationally; or a large matrix of 'situational awareness' screens. Communication is of the utmost importance to this operation's success, along with the highest state-of-the-art monitoring systems. All personnel under one roof are linked to the city's and state's central nervous system of telecommunications; from the 9-1-1 operator receiving a life threatening public call on the main ops floor to the emergency manager's video conferencing session with the Texas Governor in hurricane evacuation mode upstairs in the "War Room". During last year's Super Bowl at Reliant Stadium, this facility housed the FBI, Homeland Security, and Houston area police for the countries' largest sporting event!---Patrick Blood.


The first meeting of 2005 for the Kansas City chapter of the American Meteorological Society was held at the National Center for Environmental Prediction's Aviation Weather Center (AWC) located in Kansas City, Missouri. Jack May, director of the AWC, briefed chapter members on the continental and international products and services of the AWC, including theAviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) website that makes available to the aviation community text, digital and graphical forecasts, analyses, and observations of aviation-related weather variables, the International Flight Folder and the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product - a graphical representation of expective convective weather coordinated by NOAA, FAA, private and commercial American airlines and the Canadian Meteorological Center. In addition, chapter members were given a tour of the AWC's operations area and were briefed by forecasters working the international, CONUS and convective desks.

This meeting marked the first official meeting in which Bruce Thomas, Midland Radio, presided as president, a role he took over from Tina Simpkin after she accepted a job in Indianapolis. Bruce also gave a quick synopsis of the national AMS meeting held in San Diego. Finally, Suzanne Fortin, secretary, will represent the KC AMS and NOAA NWS, at Science Pioneer's Teacher Expo that will be held February 12th at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. Several hundred teachers are expected to attend. Suzanne will present information on NOAA's NWS, Datastreme Atmosphere/Water in the Earth System, and will promote pre-college AMS chapters.---Suzanne Fortin.


The January 2005 meeting of the Memphis, TN chapter of the American Meteorological Society took place at 7:00 PM on Thursday, January 20, in the Agricenter Board Room at Agricenter International. There were about 25 people in attendance.

President Erik Proseus began by welcoming members and guests and the business portion of the meeting included announcements on the new web address for the local chapter ( and upcoming science fairs (West Tennessee Regional Science Fair - March 29 at Union University and Memphis-Shelby County Fair - TBA). In addition, the Southeast Severe Weather Symposium and associated Broadcaster's Workshop will be held at Mississippi State University March 4-6, 2005. Members were encouraged to attend if possible. Our next regular meeting will be in March, with a Dutch-treat lunch scheduled for February (details on both forthcoming). Dues of $10 were collected from 7 members.

We were then pleased to welcome Dan McCarthy, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK, as our guest speaker.

Dan mentioned that the National Severe Weather Workshop was also coming up in March and that anyone was invited to attend, particularly emergency management officials and media partners (more details at He then began his presentation with a short background on the Outlook-Watch-Warning process and what his hope was for public response in an "outlook" situation - better preparedness - with the ultimate goal being the protection of life and property. He briefly discussed the types of watches issued, including the sub-category of "PDS" watches. Dan then discussed the criteria followed by SPC forecasters, and the tools they use, when evaluating the atmosphere for a potential convective watch. The criteria comprise three main focus points: moisture, instability, and shear. Dan discussed the finer points of each and how vital each was to the potential severity of a situation. Special attention was paid to the various parameters and indices used by the forecasters in evaluating the atmosphere.

Dan also talked about new products that are on the horizon, specifically a 4-8 Day Convective Outlook based on pattern recognition and ensemble forecasting and an Enhanced Thunderstorm Product that would assign probabilities to thunderstorm potential. Finally, Dan spent some time discussing the new "Watch-by-County" process, how it will work, what it is intended to do, and how the products that are issued will differ from the way watches are currently issued. In essence, Watch-by-County will provide one-stop shopping for all product users, from those on a national scale, to individuals residing in counties that are under a watch. It also will provide a more flexible means of defining the severe weather threat. SPC will issue a watch box, and associated Watch Outline Update (WOU), while the local offices will issue Watch County Notification (WCN) statements defining counties to be included. The local office can then clear, or add, counties as necessary with the WCN message.

We wish to extend a special thank you to Mr. McCarthy for traveling to Memphis to share the evening with us and for making an informative and very interesting presentation.---Erik Proseus.


General Meeting Minutes
January 20, 2005

President Chris Bennett called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. The following executive members were present: President: Chris Bennett, Vice -President: Geoff Wagner, Treasurer: Cerese Albers, Secretary: Robert Banks, and Past-President: Clark Evans. Approximately 20 members were present including the executive board. The meeting began with Chris opening the meeting with an overview.

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Cerese Albers gave a report on the current financial status of the chapter and encouraged members to pay their dues as soon as possible in order to be eligible for officer election. She announced her committee's next meeting time which is Wednesday, January 26th at 6:00pm. She noted that several fundraisers are planned to help defer the costs of tickets for the annual banquet in April. If you have any questions you can stop by her office or email her at

Program Committee Update

Vice-President Geoff Wagner gave a brief but informative update of the program committee. Banquet speakers are currently being discussed but will be kept unreleased for the time being. The possible venues for the event are either The Silver Slipper or The University Club and costs are going to be derferred by fundraising activities in the coming months. Polo shirts will go on sale immediately. They are royal blue with the chapter logo on the front. Cost for a shirt is $18 before January 31st and $20 after the 31st. A social event is planned for February 20th from 11am-1pm and will be confirmed by email soon. It will be a tailgating event form the FSU bashetball game and will take place near the love building like the last tailgate.

March - Outreach Month

President Bennett announced that the chapter is deeming March 2005, another outreach month where the chapter really gets out and lends a helping hand to the community. This month is generally the most active for science fairs, etc. so the chapter plans to get out and help with all that. He expresses that the entire chapter will be needed to make this month a success.

Report from Science and Education Committee

Past-President Clark Evans gave a brief synopsis of what occurred at his last committee meeting. Clark's committee has set Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week as the days for visiting schools on a regular basis. Contact Clark Evans at if you would like to participate. A few of the upcoming presentations are teaching disabled children at Madison County, a science Olympiad training at Fairview Middle, and a possible Chiles High school presentation. The K-12 AMS local chapter is almost off the ground and the paperwork should be finished by next week. A website is in the making for this new AMS chapter.

Featured Speaker - 85th Annual AMS Conference Attendees

President Chris Bennett announced that our speaker tonight would be a group forum discussing experiences from the recent annual meeting in San Diego, CA. Each of the officers gave a synopsis of their experiences and showed photos. After the officers spoke, the floor was opened up to the chapter to ask questions, share experiences, or show photos. The general thought from the AMS meeting was that networking was the most important aspect of the meeting.

Next Meeting

Tentatively set for February 17, 2005.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.

The above minutes are a true and correct reflection of the January 20, 2005 meeting.---Robert Banks.


The Omaha-Offutt chapter of the AMS held its January meeting on January 19, 2005, at Valentino's restaurant in Omaha. There were 41 members and guests in attendance.

At 7:32 PM chapter President Jeremy Wesely called the business meeting to order.

Recording Secretary John Roth read the minutes from the November meeting. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Bruce Telfeyan and seconded by Jennifer Roman, and the minutes were accepted without change.

Treasurer Karen Harder-Sittel presented the treasurer's report. The total paid memberships for the year was up to 49, prior to the meeting.

Vice President Matt Sittel announced the results of last month's forecast contest. Joe Hanser was the overall winner, but was not in attendance to receive his coupon.

John Eylander of the education committee reminded everyone of the career fair coming up Wednesday February 9 at Bellevue West High School. There were five speakers lined up for the event, and letters had been sent to high school guidance counselors to spread the word and encourage attendance. There was nothing new to report on matters with the Omaha Children's Museum, and work with them was continuing. Bruce Telfeyan added that individual chapter members could also spread the word about career night, and members in attendance could also talk to the students and answer questions about careers in meteorology.

Old business:
Jeremy and Matt displayed for those in attendance the chapter of the year banner. Certificates were also handed out to last year's chapter officers.

At the national AMS conference the chapter received an All-Hazard weather radio from Midland Radio. It had been given at the local chapter breakfast to the chapter with the most attendees, which was ours. A discussion ensued on what to do with it. Suggestions were made to give it to the annual winner of the chapter forecast contest, to give it to a student at career night, and to give it as a prize at a science fair. The matter was put to a vote, and the membership selected the career night giveaway option. Students would be given tickets for a drawing to determine the winner. The education committee would determine how the tickets would be distributed.

New business:
Dr. Ken Dewey talked about the possibility of getting Dr. Roger Wakimoto to come to Omaha as a guest speaker at a chapter meeting. If he were available it would be the first week in June. Jeremy asked the membership whether it would be better to postpone the May meeting, or schedule an extra meeting in June. After some discussion, Dave Garrison moved for having the extra June meeting. The motion was seconded, voted on, and passed. Additional discussion followed on the matter of funding Dr. Wakimoto's stay in Omaha. Bruce Telfeyan motioned to authorize the chapter to spend not more than $100 to pay for lodging for Dr. Wakimoto, if needed. The motion was seconded by Dave Garrison, voted on, and passed.

With the chapter's fiftieth anniversary gathering at AFWA coming up, it was suggested to make up an access list with guests' names to be given to the Offutt security police, to avoid having to escort each visitor from the gate to the AFWA facility.

Dr. Dewey announced the Central Oklahoma AMS chapter is sponsoring the sale of a DVD entitled "Storms of 2004", a compilation of storm videos, with the profits from the sale being donated to the American Red Cross for tsunami aid. He passed around a fact sheet with the web site. Dr. Dewey also provided an update on the local chapter committee of the national AMS. It is encouraging the formation of pre-college chapters, and is considering a traveling exhibit for local science fairs and recruitment into the field of meteorology. He would provide further updates to the chapter on this project.

The Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium is scheduled for Saturday March 19 at Southwest High School in Lincoln. The March chapter meeting would be held the previous evening and feature one of the speakers from the symposium.

With no more business, a motion to adjourn the business meeting was made by Matt Sittel and seconded by John Eylander, and the meeting was adjourned at 7:59 PM.

Guest Speaker:

The guest speaker for the evening was Martin A. Baxter, a graduate student with the Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems at Saint Louis University, and a member of the St. Louis AMS chapter. His presentation covered the use of snow-to-liquid ratio in forecasting winter precipitation. It began with a discussion of the history of forecasting snow amounts and the development of using snow-to-liquid ratio (SLR) when using soundings to forecast QPF, the variance of snow-to-liquid observations in past studies, and the emergence of the ten-to-one rule. He mentioned a table developed by NCDC for use in determining SLR based on surface temperature, but stated that it wasn't always very accurate, since it didn't account for geographic and cloud microphysical process effects. He went on to describe his study, which used 30 years of cooperative observations from around the country. Only significant snowfalls, with snow of at least 2 inches or 0.11 inches of liquid equivalent, were counted, and individual stations needed at least 15 observations to be counted in the study. He mentioned some of the biases and possible problems with the measurements in the data set. As for the results; geographically, the highest SLRs were found in the northern Rockies, and the lowest in the southeastern U.S. SLRs were highest in cold and dry climates/regimes, and lowest in warmer and higher moisture situations. Storm tracks were also important determining factors, with lower SLRs noted when more gulf moisture was available to the storm. Numerous maps and charts were presented to illustrate these findings, including one broken up into National Weather Service county warning areas, that could be made use of by individual forecast offices. He then went on to examine the processes of snowflake formation in clouds to explain these findings. The temperature and degree of saturation are determining factors in the method of crystal formation and the types of crystals that result. Crystals with more embedded air space, and hence higher SLRs, form with temperatures around -15 degrees C. With warmer temperatures the crystals are more prone to riming, and with cooler temperatures the crystals are smaller and more needle-like, which compacts easier on the ground. The presence of an inversion was also found to be an important factor in maximizing crystal growth. The conclusions were that a thirteen-to-one ratio is a better average value for SLR as a first guess than ten-to-one, and that the vertical temperature profile was the largest factor in determining the SLR for a particular event. A good rule of thumb was to use a climatological average value of SLR based on the geographic location and time of the year, and adjusting it based on whether the sounding of the current event was warmer or cooler than the climatological average. More research would need to be done to come up with situational parameters that determine actual SLR values that can be accurately forecast.---John Roth.


Summary of January 19th, 2005 SEACAMS Meeting

The first meeting of 2005 of the Southeast Arizona Chapter of the American Meteorological Society was held on January 19th, 2005 and was attended by 16 members and guests. Our guest speaker was Mike Flores with Tucson Electric Power Company. He spoke about the Westwing Transformer Fire that took place July 4th, 2004 in the Phoenix area in a 500,000 volt substation. The fire itself had no impact on the Tucson area, but those associated with Arizona Public Service (APS), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), and the Salt River Project (SRP) were all affected by this fire. All transformers affected by the fire were taken out of service; this included 4 transformers and 21 tanks. Each tank contained about 10,000 gallons of oil, almost all of which burned in place. This electrical/oil combination fire had plenty of fuel to burn through and did burn continuously for 4-5 days with isolated flare-ups occurring for almost a week. Work at the substation had to continue despite the fire, but firefighters require complete electrical isolation of the transformers before fire fighting can occur. Such isolation can cause energy shortages during the summer months where the demand for electric power peaks along with the extreme heat. Crews from TEP, APS, and SRP worked around the clock, side by side, to stabilize the condition and prepare the substation for replacement transformers. High temperatures during the day was hazardous for the construction crews, but working at night created new hazards, such as snakes and operating heavy equipment with reduced light. Despite the situation, there were no injuries during the entire incident.

Our next meeting will be held on February 10th and will feature guest speaker Yossi Leshem. Dr. Leshem is currently director of The International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun and is a Professor of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, where he earned his doctorate in 1991. His life focus has been the promotion of coexistence between birds and aircraft, agriculture, and utilities. To address the bird-aircraft collisions [birdstrike], he embarked as a graduate student in the 1980s on the thorough mapping, in three dimensions, of the immense bird migrations between Eurasia to the north and Africa to the south. Finally, Prof. Leshem sees the appreciation of birdlife as a means of encouraring cooperation among nations and nationalities, especially in the Middle East.

Our following meeting will be held on March 23rd where we will be given a tour by chief meteorologist Jimmy Stewart of the channel 4 KVOA news studio. We will also be able to attend a live weather broadcast.---Dawn Fishler.


First Meeting of the Semester
January 19th, 2005
Meeting started at 4:30.m.

The meeting started with one of our graduate students, Andrew Molthan, about our forecast contest that he is now in charge of. It will last all this semester, ending in dead week. Our president then took the floor and had all new members stand up and introduce themselves. We also passed around a sheet for new members to get all their email addresses.

The rest of the meeting was focused on many of the conferences being held this year. Our student chapter club will send out vans for each conference if enough of our students sign up for them. Some of the conferences we may be attending: Storm Chasers Conference, Denver Feb 18th-20th, National Severe Weather Workshop, Oklahoma City March 3rd-5th, Severe Weather Symposium, Lincoln Nebraska- March 19th, NWA Radar and Severe Weather Conference in Des Moines, IA.

This concludes the minutes of the first meeting.---Kelly D. Faltin


The Twin Cities AMS did not have an official meeting in January. Instead, the officers participated in the Eden Prairie Science Fest at Eden Prairie High School. The night was for students in the gifted and talented program. There were displays and demonstrations from many aspects of science.

President Rich Naistat represented the Twin Cities WFO with a weather warning simulation. Vice President Doug Dokken and Newsletter Editor Kurt Scholz operated a tornado simulator which received a lot of attention. Secretary/Treasurer represented the National Operational Remote Sensing Center. At each of these displays, the people talked up the local AMS chapter and handed out brochures describing our chapter.

The Twin Cities AMS also had a presence at the Government on Display Exposition at the Mall of America January 29 and 30. Rich and Chris both worked the weather displays, answering weather questions and showing off what is available from the NWS on the Web. They also promoted our chapter to interested people by talking up the group and by making available brochures.

Our next meeting will be an abbreviated storm spotter meeting at St. Thomas University on February 22.---Chris Bovitz.


Instead of having our regular meeting in January, members were encouraged to attend a hurricane relief concert put on by a rising movie star making a homecoming to the Bay Area.

Patrick Wilson plays Raoul in the movie version of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera". He and his family had been planning the benefit concert for a long time but had considered expanding the scope to raise money for tsunami victims, too. In the end they decided that charity begins at home and performed the event for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund. Some of the attendees, still do not have roofs over their head following damage by hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne. In fact, originally the concert was scheduled to benefit hurricane Charley victims, but had to be rescheduled twice due to the next 2 storms.

Patrick Wilson performed songs from Broadway musicals he has starred in during his fast-rising career, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Full Monty and the Gershwin revue Fascinating Rhythm. He was joined by Sarah Uriarte Berry, another Broadway performer who was his co-star in the Carousel tour.

Patrick Wilson's parents, John and Mary K., a popular local duo, sang Love Changes Everything among other songs. His brother Paul, a community actor-singer and public relations consultant, did a Sinatra set. There were patriotic and inspirational songs such as You'll Never Walk Alone. Patrick's other brother, Mark, also a FOX 13 news anchor, emceed.

Proceeds go to the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund ( set up by Governor Jeb Bush to assist communities in rebuilding from devastation caused by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. The Wilsons and other performers, including the 55-piece Suncoast Pops Orchestra, conducted by Robert Romanski, and the Plant High School chorus, donated their fees. Music publishers donated scores. Ruth Eckerd Hall donated the venue and services. They were able to raise more than $50,000.

Broadway and film star Patrick Wilson (recently Raoul in Phantom of the Opera) discusses his hurricane fundraiser backstage with chapter president Andy Johnson (right).

Wilson's first movie was The Alamo, in which he played Col. William Travis along with an all-star cast that included Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid. He was also in HBO's Angels in America, along with Al Pacino and Meryl Streep.

The Ruth Eckerd Hall benefit is his first public performance in the Bay Area since the Carousel tour in 1997. It has been even longer since he did a concert with his whole family. "I can't remember the last time we all performed together," he said.---Andy Johnson.


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