Chapter News
July 2006


The High Plains chapter of the AMS met on Tuesday, July 18th, 2006. This meeting was held at the Golden Ox Pavilion in Hays, KS, beginning around noon as various members and guests arrived and mingled. Lunch was served at noon, followed by a short business meeting, then by an engaging presentation by Dr. John Heinrichs of Fort Hays State University. This gathering drew 32 interested parties from various parts and professions within Kansas and Nebraska. This was by far the largest attendance at a HP Chapter meeting in years, and 4 new members joined our chapter that day!

Dr. Heinrichs' presentation, ""Can the recent increase in reported tornadoes in Kansas be attributed to demographic changes?" was well received and generated plenty of discussion. Samuel Lane, a FHSU student, did much of the research and compiling of this paper, and was present at our meeting. Through a very thorough approach, Dr. Heinrichs showed statistically that the recent increase in tornado reports can not be directly related to the increase in population over the same time period. A link will be provided to our website soon, referencing this paper by Dr. Heinrichs and Sam Lane.

Jim Johnson/DDC gave a status update on plans for the HP10 conference coming up on October 4th-6th, in Dodge City. An exciting and stimulating conference is shaping up, with 3 keynote speakers scheduled: Dr. Paul M. Markowski, the PSU; and both Dr. David M. Schultz and Dr. Erik Rasmussen from CIMMS/NSSL/OU. All conference information, including registration, can be found via our website: New this year will be a conference poster section, to be viewed during breaks; so poster submissions are welcome. The student presentation contest will likely award $500 prizes to the top presenters in each of two categories, undergraduate and graduate. There will be a pre-conference workshop at the WFO DDC Wednesday afternoon, mainly for NWS personnel to share and exchange ideas with the use of AWIPS, IFPS, etc. Email if you want to attend this session. The next meeting will be held during the HP10 Conference at Dodge City in early October.---Tim Burke.


Tallahassee - Hurricane Town Hall Meeting and Community Weather Day
WCTV Studios, Saturday, July 15, 2006

On Saturday, July 15, 2006, Mike Porter, Jessica Fieux and Alec Bogdanoff participated in Community Weather Day and the town hall meeting at the WCTV studios in Tallahassee. Our chapter had a booth in the lobby of the studio. As the public lined up for tours on the studio, we were able to capture the interest of many folks. One demonstration at the booth was the cloud in the bottle experiment. As the bottle is contracted and released, it becomes foggy and clear inside based on the change in air pressure. Also, the public was exposed to a Davis weather instrument with numerous sensors including an anemometer and tipping bucket. Participants could blow on the anemometer to see how fast they could make it spin. Numerous handouts were available at the table including information on our chapter, a calendar with weather events, and specific information for teachers about weather.

During the town hall meeting part, Jessica Fieux spoke about the chapter and our community outreach participation. She noted that we are willing to speak to other groups about weather, including schools. Many people seemed interested in this and took contact information for the chapter. Bill Cottrill spoke after Jessica with a broader emphasis on Florida State University and showed some pictures from the TCSP experiment in Costa Rica during the summer of 2005. Due to the large interest by the public, two town hall meetings were held.

Approximately 300 people were in attendance for community weather day and the town hall meetings. Other organizations that participated included the American Red Cross (Chris Floyd), Florida Division of Emergency Management (Ben Nelson), Florida State Department of Meteorology (Bill Cottrill), National Weather Service (Bob Goree), City of Tallahassee Emergency Management (Robby Powers), and Department of Financial Services (Arthur Youngblood).

For more information, email Jessica Fieux at Fieux.


Everyone met at Barley's Taproom in Knoxville's Old City for dinner around 6:15 pm, and then moved to our usual room on the UT Ag Campus for the talk. Our speaker was Rusty Kirby who was the assistant manager of the Leconte Lodge from November 2004 to November 2005. During that time, he served as the winter caretaker at the top of our east Tennessee world. He was all alone in charge during the winter months, with only the passage of a few hikers, critters, and lots of interesting weather experiences. The Knoxville News Sentinel printed a Sunday Feature on his job and perspective back in January 2005.

Rusty provided a synopsis of his talk as follows: "As for the content and format, I'd like to informally discuss my experience over the course of the year I spent on Mount Leconte. I'll give a brief history of the Lodge, a description of the mountain, and discuss the seasonal variances, including some of the more dramatic elements in weather. I can only offer a layman's perspective, so I'd like give others the chance to explain some of the larger systems that created the conditions I observed, perhaps in a discussion type format. My hope is to convince those who haven't been to make the trip, particularly in the wintertime as the conditions are unlike anywhere else in the region."---David Gaffin.


On July 2, chapter President Jonathan Jennings and chapter member Casey Zuzak worked as the official weather observers for the Fayette County Rib Festival and cook-off in Uniontown, PA. The two students used their forecasting skills to assist planners in the preparation for unwanted precipitation event that occurred that day. Zuzak and Jennings utilized the Baron ThreatNet Radar system to evaluate near real-time radar reflectivity.

In preparation for the upcoming academic year, the officers held an executive meeting in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Each officer reported according to their duty. Colloquium plans were established, meeting dates were set, and fall semester preparations were finalized.

Chapter Historian, Kyle Olmstead, continued to update our local chapterís webpage. Event pictures, club calendar, and updated/archived meeting minutes are just some of these useful updates. More information can be seen on our website: J. Allen.


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