Day 3 (Tuesday) – Morning Session –Emerging Technology
Russell Dengel (SSEC) began the new-tech session by talking about new types of mapping software called WMS that makes giving and viewing forecasts easier. These new technologies make viewing weather faster with google map technology. Viewable here: http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/wms-viewer/
Keith Stellman (NWS Shreveport) talked about smartphone and tablet technology and how it has evolved for storm damage assessment. The technology is compatible with the Storm Damage Assessment Toolkit (DAT), which allows for filtering of events, strengths, pictures. This is available on WMS and KML. Coming up, Cloud technology will be able to share all databases with the public. DAT is used at 40-50 WFO offices. MOSIS, ASTER, and other imagery is being integrated into the WMS feeds. The NWS is partnering with the USGS to use their GeoCloud database for storm surveys. The DAT is saving time and improving rating accuracy. The project will be fully operational in 2014. This will allow for real time tornado damage surveys and more accurate tornado tracking. Geotagging of pictures will help this process along by created day-of-event records even in NWS cannot get to the location of interest on the day of the event. There is hope that the DAT will be accessable to the EM community, but Keith cited security and NWS/NOAA red tape which could push this time line down the road a few years.
Joel Cline (NWS Liason to the DoE) spoke about wind energy. The Wind Forecasting Improvement Project is a private project to assess benefit of large area weather data collection to enhance near term forecasting. It is important to have 10m, 60m, 80m, and possibly 120m wind farms. They are costly, but the effects on modeling are worth the cost. Challenges: wake effects, extreme events such as icing and hurricanes, and the cost of manpower. He proposed that all advancements in power production will come from wind turbines in the next 10 years. The size of each of turbine blades is the size of a 767 airplane. This is hugely a field project, but does have a large modeling aspect since there are few to no observations at 80m.
Tim Troutman (NWS Huntsville) gave a presentation from Alabama via google hangout on live video conferencing technology in the NWS. Requirements for video conferencing must have desktop sharing, a user friendly interface, and multi point video conferencing. NWS looked at GoToMeeting HD Faces, which has the ability to show desktops in one on one and in group chats, and Google Hangouts, which has a larger user base with up to 9 users in one group chat at a time. For group chats with the media, HD is a requirement.
Day 3 (Continued) – Afternoon Session –Weather Ready Nation
The Testbeds/pilot projects are here: http://www.testbeds.noaa.gov/
The keynote this afternoon is Laura Furgione (Acting Director NWS) who talked about the progress of WRN one year in. WRN was born due to the extreme weather in 2011. Just one year in, they have built a roadmap, but the road is still being built. Highlights from the first year include 6 pilots including numerous city hubs that focus on different types of severe weather and communication. 34 WFOs and numerous RFOs have AWIPS II, which will help with decision support in the years to come. We need to outreach to professional societies like AMS and NWA, to congressional meetings, and to our business partners to expand the reach and dialogue of WRN. We need to find a balance between increasing lead times while lowering false alarm rates. It will take a village of all attendees and meteorologists to make WRN effective. To help with disaster preparedness, the NWS has teamed up with planitnow.org .
Mike Hudson (NWS Kansas City) discussed the challenges of characterizing risk and how to get those characteristics to the public. The impacts based warning project was in place and then mother nature took a break from severe weather this summer. Surveys based on Impact Based Warnings have found that people want to know about forecaster confidence, danger, timing, longevity, confirmation, and each impact within a warning. Discussion has been made for an alert in between watch and warning.
Kim Runk (NWS Central Region HQ/Operations Proving Ground) continued the discussion of WRN and the proving grounds for validating old techniques and trying out new capabilities. They are hoping to simplify NWS winter storm products and make them easier to understand, even for meteorologists.
Kyle Struckland (NWS Sterling) discussed one of the WRN pilot projects located near Washington DC, which deals with Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS). During IDSS, the 2012 4th of July fireworks were disturbed by severe weather. In that situation, briefings with the US Parks Police were increased to hourly, and the fireworks were able to go on based on the briefings. IDSS also lent support during the DNC.
Tim Oram ( NWS Southern Region HQ) spoke about WRN and regional partners and the Regional Operations Center Pilot Project. They are reaching out with each WFO in the region to communicate ideas in a two way relay. Preparedness is a cycle that includes exercising, planning, organizing, training, evaluation, and correction. Southern Region conducted an exercise with Isaac and the RNC. They sent out members of the team to assist WFO Ruskin using coordination techniques including GIS, chat, image editing, EM response, presentations, and mobile meetings.
Mike Smith (CCM Accuweather) spoke about the Joplin tornadoes and the impacts of the false alarms. It turns out that 24 consecutive tornado sirens for Jasper Co, MO on May 22, 2011 were false alarms. One of which was an early tornado warning that did NOT include the city of Joplin, but the sirens WERE sounded. The tornado was invisible to the public, and sirens were turned off. The public had no idea there was a tornado, but a warning was out. The news media was on the tornado, but sirens remained off. Spotters report the tornado multiple times as the tornado moves into Joplin while it does EF5 damage, and finally the sirens were turned on for 3 minutes…warning still active. As the tornado went through St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, sirens remained off. People inside the city were told that the tornado was going north of the city…including those on staff at the medical center, and the NWS had 6 minutes of NWS warning. Recommendations from Mike: do not train the public to ignore sirens and broadcasters need to back up the NWS.
NWA Town Hall – Numerous panelists gave mini-presentations on what they do, which ranged from nursing and EM to an ice cutter and the coast guard. Then, the results of a survey taken in Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Minnesota were shown. Less than 50% of respondents to a survey have greater than 50% confidence in day 1 temperature forecasts, which fell significantly at day 7. Similar results were shown for precipitation forecasts, although the results were much lower at day 7. The most impactful weather was tornadoes and freezing rain, while relative humidity and cloud cover were placed least impactful. Then, the panelists were asked a number of preplanned questions given numerous situations. Toward the end of the meeting, the audience was given a chance to ask and answer questions.