A Newsletter for Emergency
Managers & Storm Spotters
Spring/Summer Edition, 1999
Albany Office Awarded
Albany Office Awarded
Severe Weather Research Grant
by Kenneth LaPenta
The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Albany and the University at Albany/SUNY have been awarded a
Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training grant to study several aspects of severe local storms. This grant project is a 2 year joint research effort designed to improve the National Weather Service's ability to forecast, and warn for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Two smaller research projects studied the Memorial Day tornadoes of 1995 that struck Columbia County, New York and Berkshire County, Massachusetts; and the July 15, 1995 super-derecho that caused widespread damage across New York and New England. These studies were instrumental in the issuance of timely and accurate warnings for the tornadoes on July 3, 1997 and May 31, 1998, and the two derechos that struck our area last September.
The new project actually consists of 4 separate research initiatives. The first two are designed to improve our Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. They will use WSR-88D Radar data primarily, but will also evaluate the benefits of combining several other data sources (including lighting and satellite data) into the warning process. The third will examine the environmental conditions that spawn tornadoes and derechos and try to evaluate the differences, which sometimes can be subtle. The final project will study the interaction of low-level winds and topography, and examine whether this interaction helps focus severe weather in particular locations.
An Interactive Area Weather Watcher Network
by Steve LaPointe (WRGB-6 Chief Meteorologist)
The diversity of the terrain and its effects on meso and micro scale weather in upstate New York and western New England make local observations of weather imperative to providing accurate local forecasts. Until this year, there have been only a limited number of local weather observations available to us in the WRGB Channel 6 Forecast Center. In an effort to expand our local weather data set, we at WRGB Channel 6 in cooperation with our Internet provider, Global 2000, have developed an on-line Internet site, called WeatherNet 6, which accommodates the reports of local volunteer weather watchers.
WeatherNet 6 is designed to allow weather watchers in upstate New York and western New England to enter weather observations for their communities around the clock, seven days a week. The observations will display on our site for everyone with a computer and Internet access to view. We, in the Channel 6 Forecast Center, will use the observations to enhance our forecasts for the region as well as make our on-air weathercasts more locally oriented by including temperature and precipitation information in our shows. The National Weather Service can also access the data.
We are actively looking for people who would like to become volunteer weather watchers for WRGB Channel 6. If you are interested in joining the WeatherNet 6 team, go to the Channel 6 web site and click on WeatherNet 6 for more information and to apply on-line.
by Dick Westergard
The middle two pages of this StormBuster are a survey, intended to help us serve you better. When you have completed it, you can mail it, e-mail it (both addresses are in this issue), or FAX it to 518-435-9587
As always, check your mailing label. It contains the date of your last training. If that date is more than 2 years ago, you should plan to attend another training session soon. Once that date is more than 5 years in the past, your name will be purged from our database.
As we begin our summer, it seems appropriate to remind everyone of what we'd like you to call us about during the convective season (May through October). 1) Tornadoes, water spouts, funnel clouds, wall clouds. 2) Damaging Winds (58 mph or more). 3) Any hail. 4) Damaging lightning. 5) Flooding, including bankfull or near bankfull streams. 6) Measured rainfall - 1.5 inches or more in 4 hours.
On the technology front, our new Weather Radio consoles became operational during the last week of February. We are getting the bugs ironed out, and the computer voice is becoming more understandable as we learn how to write for it's quirks. We also took delivery on our new Advanced Weather Interactive Processing system (AWIPS) the first week in May, and all of the forecasters have been trained in using it. This system gives us communications and information display/manipulation capabilities which will bring us into the new century.
In other news, WRGB-TV's Steve LaPointe is looking for people who are willing to provide spotter reports. He thought it might make the information more useful, if some of them were trained spotters. While the National Weather Service needs your reports first, his letter is provided here to offer you the opportunity to participate in his program in addition to your spotting for us.
National Weather Service Forecast Office
251 Fuller Road, Suite B-300
Albany, NY 12203-3640
StormBuster is a publication for Emergency Management Officials and Skywarn Spotters in the Albany, New York National Weather Service Forecast Office County Warning Area.