Walter Drag

NOAA/National Weather Service

Taunton, MA

A current weather briefing will be given for Saturday, November 6th and the next few days, prior to the start of the day’s conference.


I was born in Manhattan, NYC and grew up in Newton, NJ in Sussex County -- the snow and ice box of the Garden State.

Listened with great interest and fondness to the WTIC (Barbara Allen), WBZ (Don Kent), WCBS (Gordon Barnes) for synoptic snowstorm potential and WKBW for lake effect squalls (and pop music). Apparently decided on weather as a career when I was about 7 years old (1957). My parents plied my interest with weather instruments and books including weather lore, forecast tools and a shovel to do the walk. In 1962, as part of an elementary school science class project, I visited with NYC USWB chief Gerald Shak in Rockefeller Center and interviewed him.

Earned a B.S. in Meteorology from St Louis University (1972); started my professional career at Accu-Weather Inc; then three years later left the geographical center of Pennsylvania for Weather Services Corporation in Bedford Massachusetts where I enjoyed working for several years. Both industrial sector companies taught me excellent techniques for rapid pattern recognition and application of meteorological information to a wide variety of clients.

I joined the NWS as an intern in Milwaukee in 1980 and was promoted to Lead Forecaster in Cleveland in 1987, and then became a Lead (now retitled Senior) Forecaster at NWS in Boston in 1989. I co-authored an AMS "Weather and Forecasting" journal article (December 1989) on the Milwaukee, WI flash flood of August, 1986; and had a small role in the co-authorship with Lance Bosart and Alicia Wasula in a conference paper titled "The Unusually Intense Coastal Front Passage of 17-18 April 2002 in Eastern New England".

I am a member of the NWA and AMS. I dedicate much non-professional time to cycling, running, and swimming, which are personally and charitably beneficial.


Dr. Chris Landsea

NOAA / AOML / Hurricane Research Division

Miami, FL

The Hurricane Research Division (HRD) of NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory is engaged in a project to extend and improve the quality of the National Hurricane Center's North Atlantic best track and intensity hurricane database, HURDAT, from 1851 to the present. This effort is helping to correct several errors and biases, apply more consistent analysis techniques and modern interpretations, and better determine TC landfall attributes associated with HURDAT.

For the efforts during the 1910s to the 1930s, the reanalysis relies upon station observation records, historical weather maps, COADS ship reports, and written journalistic and private accounts of the tropical storms and hurricanes. An overview of the proposed revisions to HURDAT for these early decades of the 20th Century is presented along with an updated assessment of the frequency and impact of various intensity TCs for the individual years. Statistical comparisons of the total amount of TCs, hurricanes, major hurricanes, and landfalling storms are made in context with the modern climatological record. Additionally, the period is re-assessed to see how it fits into the earlier notions of multidecadal swings of TC activity during the period. Special attention is given to the reanalysis of some of the catastrophic hurricanes of the era including the (two) Category 4 hurricanes to impact Louisiana and Texas in 1915, the Category 4 hurricane to strike both the Florida Keys and Texas, the Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in Texas in 1932, the Category 5 hurricane that devasted parts of Cuba in 1932, the 1935 Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys as a Category 5 and the 1938 New England major hurricane.


Christopher W. Landsea is a Research Meteorologist at the Hurricane Research Division (HRD) in the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) located in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. Dr. Landsea received his Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of California Los Angeles (1987) and his Master's Degree and Doctorate in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University (1991, 1994). His graduate work was under Dr. Bill Gray, one of the world's leading experts on hurricanes and tropical meteorology. Dr.Landsea's main research interests and expertise are seasonal forecasting of hurricanes and El Nino, as well as climatic change issues for tropical cyclones around the world. He currently is leading up a re-analysis of the Atlantic hurricane database. 1992's Hurricane Andrew was recently upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane at landfall in southeastern Florida as part of this project.

During the hurricane season, Dr. Landsea participates in the HRD Hurricane Field Program by flying in Orion P-3 aircraft into and in a Gulfstream IV jet around Atlantic hurricanes (including Gilbert, Opal, Georges, Floyd and Lili) for research and forecasting purposes. He has published over 30 book chapters and articles in the journals Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society_, Climatic Change, EOS, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, Journal of

Insurance Regulation, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Monthly Weather Review, Science, Tellus, Weather, and Weather and Forecasting. Dr. Landsea also assists with the administration of the Joint Hurricane Testbed, a facility for transitioning research demonstrated products into operations at the National Hurricane Center. (cont’d.)

Dr. Landsea is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the National Weather Association and the American Geophysical Union. He served as the Chair of the AMS Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones for the years 2000-2002. Dr. Landsea was the recipient of the AMS's Max A. Eaton Prize for the Best Student Paper given at the 19th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology in May 1991 and was co-recipient of the AMS's Banner I. Miller Award given for the best contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting at the May 1993 meeting of the 20th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. In 2000, Dr. Landsea was a co-recipient of a U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal "for issuing the accurate and first official physically-based Atlantic seasonal hurricane outlooks for the 1998/1999 seasons, based upon new research". In 2002, Dr. Landsea was given the AMS' Editor's Award for reviews for the journal Weather and Forecasting. He currently is serving on the Editorial Board for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as the subject matter editor in tropical meteorology.

A Look Back at the “Sisters of 1954”:

Hurricanes Carol and Edna

David R. Vallee

NOAA National Weather Service

Taunton, MA

It has been 50 years since the last major category 3 hurricane struck southern

New England. Remarkably, not one, but two major hurricanes struck the region late in the summer of 1954, just eleven days apart. This presentation will review the evolution of these two systems and the synoptic patterns that brought them so rapidly toward New England. This presentation will also discuss the tremendous impacts these storms had on the region, with regard to heavy rainfall, high winds and storm surge flooding.


David Vallee is the Science and Operations Officer, and Hurricane Program Leader at the National Weather Service Office in Taunton, MA. David oversees forecast and warning operations at the office and directs weather research and training efforts.

David began his career as a Student Intern Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Boston, MA in May, 1987. He joined the staff at the Providence, RI Weather Office in May, 1989 after graduating from Lyndon State College. He was promoted to the Taunton office, as Service Hydrologist, in November, 1993 where he served as the office hydrologic program director, leading many major river and small stream community preparedness and education initiatives. David was promoted to the Science and Operations Officer position in April of 2001.

David has conducted research on a variety of topics including; flood history in southern New England; flood frequency and the ever changing flood threat, as well as published works which include: Analysis of Orographically Enhanced Heavy Rainfall Events in Southern New England; The EL NINO/Southern Oscillation and its Affects on Hurricane Frequency; A Study of Rhode Island Hurricanes since 1936; and most recently, A Centennial Review of Major Land Falling Tropical Cyclones in southern New England, 1900-1999.

David is currently the NWS lead investigator with the State University of New York at Albany, on a multi-year project addressing land falling tropical cyclones in the northeastern United States. This multi-faceted project is aimed at improving the forecasting of heavy precipitation associated with these land falling tropical cyclones, as well as developing a better understanding the mechanisms which lead to the recurvature and rapid acceleration of tropical cyclones as they approach the Northeast.

David is a life long resident of the Ocean State, having been born in Cranston, raised in West Warwick, and now living in the northern part of Johnston, with his wife and two sets of twins! He considers it a tremendous privilege to be serving the people of the very place he calls home!





Elliot Abrams

Accu-Weather, Inc.

State College, PA

(PART 1):

Picture the scene: A crystalline ticker tape parade of snowflakes drapes the interior Northeast in car capturing, bus blocking, truck trappings drifts. It'll take tons of plowing just to reach the main streets. The storm holds thousands of people under house arrest. Closer to the coast, intrusive mild air transforms the snow first into giant marshmallows, then to missiles of sleet and finally to sheets of rain that turns roads into rivers, lanes into lakes and parkways into ponds. Wind-strewn waves batter and bash the beaches. Then, as the storm center moves northeast, and colder air enters its western circulation, there's a flash freeze. Spongy slush turns into rocks and pebbles that are seemingly welded to the sidewalks as a sheen of ice on the roads makes brakes useless.

To predict the myriad changes in the storm and determine its effects, meteorologists swim through oceans of data and floods of computer models. For radio, all of this information and forecasting has to be sifted into reports people can actually use. How is this done? How can it be done better? Some of the answers are coming to a meeting near you...on November 6th.

(PART 2):

We'll explore such issues as:

Why did the British leave Boston before the Declaration of Independence was signed?

What kind of number 2 pencil has a historic connection?

What really happened on and immediately after the disaster of September 11, 1777?

Could George Washington have won the AMS national award for a specific forecast?

How did an out-of-season back door cold front save George Washington...and perhaps

the Revolution?

Why were many battles fought during the warm seasons?

How was hail measured before the development of the golf ball?


Elliot was born in Philadelphia on May 31, 1947. There was a thunderstorm outside the hospital the day he was born. (When this fact was mentioned at a Philadelphia appearance, a member of the audience came up afterwards and said, "I am the only one here who can vouch for the fact there was a thunderstorm outside the hospital the day you were born. I delivered you!"

At the age of 5, he became interested in weather when his father, a research chemist, built a barometer for him. Elliot was a weatherman in his second grade class play and was blamed for rainy weekends in fourth grade. Elliot earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Meteorology from Penn State University. In college he was a charter member of the Chi Epsilon Pi meteorology honorary society. Elliot is also a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Officer Training School.

Elliot joined AccuWeather in 1967, and was a co-founder of AccuWeather's radio service in 1971. Elliot is now a Senior Vice-President and Chief Forecaster for AccuWeather. He is a co-author of the college level text, Meteorology 2/e, published by McGraw-Hill. Elliot is also co-author of AccuWeather's award-winning On-Line With AccuWeather instructional program for secondary school classes.

Elliot is one of the few people who has earned the accredited status of Certified Consulting Meteorologist along with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Seal of Approval for both radio and television. He currently serves on the AMS' CCM Board. Elliot earned the AMS 1993 award for Outstanding Service by a Broadcast Meteorologist "for his decades of significant contributions to radio weather broadcasting and to weather education at all levels," and followed this up with the AMS 1994 Charles Mitchell Award for "outstanding and unique dissemination of weather forecasts to the nation's public by radio and television." A National Weather Association award for Broadcaster of the Year followed. In 2004, Elliot was elected as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Elliot observes that none of this guarantees that tomorrow's weather forecast will be correct!

Elliot has served as an elected official in central Pennsylvania for 20 years, and is currently chair of the Patton Township Supervisors. His wife Bonnie, a second grade teacher, has put up with him for 35 years. They have two sons: Mike, on the staff of The New York Times, and Randy, an analyst for CSFB in San Francisco. Mike's son Jacob is a professional grandchild.


Tom Shyka


Portland, Maine

John W. Cannon

NOAA/National Weather Service

Gray, Maine

Our nation stands on the verge of creating a national system for observing and predicting the myriad events that impact America’s vital coastal waters. This system will impact the use, stewardship and management of our coastal regions, and will allow the protection of a host of man-made and natural hazards. Such an integrated system does not exist today on a nationwide scale; however, regional systems are being deployed by partnerships of research institutions throughout the nation. Elements of a national backbone exist within NOAA, EPA, and other federal agencies to support this vision.

The Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS) is one such regional partnership. It is one of the first ocean observing systems in the U.S. to focus on a regional scale and to be responsive to the needs of its users. GoMOOS is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the public with access to oceanographic and weather information in the Gulf of Maine. Funding for GoMOOS is from the Office of Naval Research and NOAA’s National Ocean Service. Information from the Gulf is collected hourly by an array of moored buoys, land-based radar, and satellites. The data is routinely ingested through a Local Data Acquisition and Dissemination (LDAD) function at the National Weather Service (NWS). It is then graphically displayed for diagnosis in the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). Each hour a GoMOOS buoy collective is produced and combined with NOAA National Data Buoy Center observations for airing over NOAA weather Radio. In addition, GoMOOS has added a new download and graphing tool on their homepage The tool has the capability of plotting large volumes of multiple data types. This method of displaying marine information has been well suited for post storm analysis and verification.

This presentation will focus on the NWS active use of GoMOOS information in the forecast process and its commitment to working cooperatively with GoMOOS directors. The fundamentally strong value of high quality, densely spaced observations has been demonstrated during marine seminars and outreach events which has increased network visibility. The download and graphing tool will also be demonstrated. High wind, dense fog and severe weather episodes will be examined to demonstrate the effective use of this tool. Data transmission reliability and environmental sampling biases of the system will be discussed for these events.


Tom Shyka is the program specialist at the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS). He grew up in Orrington, Me and received a BA in Biology and Environmental Science from Colby College. After college he worked and taught at marine science laboratories in the Virgin Islands and California. He returned to graduate school at the University of Maryland where he received a MS in marine ecology. Since then he has worked for NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program and as an environmental consultant. In his current position at GoMOOS he works with the GoMOOS users (fishermen, commercial and recreational mariners, scientists, resource managers, and teachers) to help design useful information products that are available on the GoMOOS website.

John Cannon grew up in Maine and upstate New York. He received at BS in Meteorology from the State University of New York at Oswego. He is currently a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine and has also worked at the NWS Albany office.

John enjoys his little rug rats…Ally and Jack with his wife Wendy. He loves lots of snow and Walt Drag’s personalized super storms! He is still waiting for the big snow year in Maine and a summer when you can actually swim in the ice cold ocean. John has a boat for sale and will take anything to get rid of it !



Dr. John G. W. Kelley

NOAA/National Ocean Service

NOAA-UNH Joint Hydrographic Center

Durham, NH

nowCOAST is a web mapping portal providing spatially-referenced links to thousands of real-time coastal observations and NOAA forecasts of interest to the marine community. The portal serves as a ‘one-stop shopping’ web site to real-time coastal information from a variety of Internet sites both within and outside of NOAA. nowCOAST is designed to be a planning aid to assist recreational and commercial mariners, coastal managers, HAZMAT responders, computer modelers, and marine educators to discover and display real-time information for their particular needs and geographic area of interest.

The portal includes links to real-time meteorological, oceanographic, and river data from in-situ and remote-sensing platforms from observing networks operated by federal and state agencies and educational institutions. The forecast products that nowCOAST links to include 1) forecast ‘guidance’ from NOAA’s computer-based estuarine, oceanographic, river, and weather prediction models and 2) worded marine weather and general weather forecasts for geographic areas. In addition, the portal includes links to NOAA’s astronomical tidal predictions for sites along the coast.

The portal is based on Arc Internet Map Server (ArcIMS) software. The software was modified to create an interface which allows users to quickly create a ‘clickable’ map of real-time observing or forecast sites via four ‘pull-down’ menus. An user can specify location (i.e. estuary, seaport, coastal region, or lake), 2) type of observation of forecast, 3) variable, and 4) time. Once the map appears, the user can simply click on the observation or forecast site to display the information or use a variety of ‘tools’ to zoom in/out, select, pan, identify, or query. Users can also overlay different types of observation and forecast map layers on a single map. NOAA's nowCOAST portal can be found at


John G. W. Kelley, is a research meteorologist in NOAA/National Ocean Service's Marine Modeling and Analysis Programs within the Coast Survey Development Lab. John is involved with the development and implementation of NOS' operational numerical ocean forecast models for estuaries, the coastal ocean, and the Great Lakes. His research interests are in the area of coastal meteorology and oceanography and the application of GIS technology to these fields.

He has a Doctorate in Atmospheric Sciences in 1995 from The Ohio State University. Before coming to NOS, he was a UCAR Visiting Scientist in the National Weather Service/NCEP's Ocean Modeling Branch of the Environmental Modeling Center. John has a M.S. in Meteorology and M.P.A. from The Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in Geography/Atmospheric Sciences from The University of Rhode Island.



Jeff S. Waldstreicher

NOAA / National Weather Service

Eastern Region Headquarters, Scientific Services Division

Bohemia, NY

An analysis of winter storm warning verification statistics for National Weather Service Offices across the Eastern United States for the winter seasons of 1993-94 through 2003-04 will be presented. This analysis showed that in addition to steady mprovements in the probability of detection (POD) and false alarm ratios (FAR), a substantial 48% increase in average lead time has occurred during the last several winters (from around 12.5 hours during the latter 1990s, to 18.5 hours during 2003-04).

To assess the reasons for these improved verification scores, a number of factors that impact the forecast and warning performance of NWS offices for winter storms will be explored. These include: collaborative applied research and implementation into operations; training activities; computer system advances and software development; improvements in numerical weather prediction systems; changes in operational procedures; efforts to increase collaboration within the forecast process; and climate impacts (e.g., event frequencies and large scale weather regimes). Interactions between these various factors will also be examined.


Jeff Waldstreicher is the Deputy Chief of the Scientific Services Division (SSD), NWS Eastern Region Headquarters in Bohemia, NY. Jeff has been with SSD for the past 3 years, and also served as SSD’s Techniques Development Meteorologist from 1990-1993. Jeff was the Science and Operations Officer at the NWS Forecast Office in Binghamton, NY from 1993 to 2001. Jeff is a graduate of Rutgers University, and has also worked at in the Local Applications Branch of the NWS Techniques Development Laboratory in Silver Spring, MD, and at the NWS Forecast Office in Boston, MA from 1987 to 1989.

Jeff can be reached by phone at 631-244-0131 or by email at .



Frank M. Nocera and David R. Vallee

NOAA/National Weather Service

Taunton, MA

Matthew Sanders

University of Massachusetts

Amherst, MA

The eastern Massachusetts shoreline, historically, has experienced many major coastal flood events; defined as structural damage to homes, complete road washouts, etc. These major events have produced widespread damage from combined very large wave heights (>20 ft) and observed storm tides exceeding area flood elevations by several feet. Examples include the Blizzard of 1978 and the Halloween (Perfect) Storm of October 1991. However, there is a family of coastal flood events which produce moderate coastal flooding, which results in some but not widespread structural damage to homes, coastal roadways and sea walls. This family of moderate events, by their nature, does not produce flooding from observed storm tides exceeding area flood elevations, but instead produces coastal flooding from storm tides approaching flood elevations combined with large wind driven seas.

This paper will present results from a study on this family of moderate coastal flood events, from 1987 through 2003. A total of 9 events were examined, with 4 of the 9 events experienced moderate coastal flooding with Storm Tide elevations below the 13.6 ft flood stage at the Boston Harbor tide gauge. In addition, the study will examine the synoptic scale environment, including sustained onshore winds and gusts, storm tides, and wave heights as observed from the Boston Buoy (44013) located 16 miles offshore. Together these parameters will provide a forecast approach to determine the point at which moderate coastal flooding can be expected to commence.


Frank Nocera earned a B.S. in Meteorology at S.U.N.Y. at Albany, NY in 1992. During his college years, he interned at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Albany, NY. In addition, he was a Weather Intern at the Albany ABC affiliate WTEN. Upon graduation, he was hired as a Research Marine Meteorologist at Oceanweather, Inc. in Cos Cob, CT.

Frank joined the NWS in November 1993, as an Intern at the New York City office. He then accepted a Journeyman Forecaster position at the Taunton, MA office in November of 1998. In February of 2003, Frank was promoted to Senior Forecaster. Frank’s responsibilities include managing the office’s Marine and Service Backup programs, along with conducting research in local severe weather and coastal flooding applications.

Matthew Sanders is a senior at the University Of Massachusetts Amherst. As a member of the Commonwealth Honors College, Matthew is majoring in Earth Systems with a minor in Geology. This concentration has given him a strong background in meteorology, climatology, and many other earth, ocean, and atmospheric processes. Entering his senior year at UMass Matthew has

consistently appeared on the Dean’s List and has been recognized as one of the outstanding members of his school. Upon graduation in spring of 2005 Matthew plans to attend graduate school and receive a professional degree in Meteorology.

Matthew has been a student volunteer for the National Weather Service – Taunton, MA in the summers of 2003 and 2004. Over the past year he has worked on developing a local climatology for numerous cooperative observer sites across the NWS Taunton forecast area and performed a verification study aimed at improving the new National Digital Forecast Database. Of particular note is Matthew’s Coastal Flood Study for Eastern Massachusetts. This project established a coastal flood climatology for events in eastern Massachusetts since 1900. From these data he developed a new forecast approach to handle future coastal flood episodes in the Weather Service Taunton area. Additionally, Matthew has participated in producing daily forecasts, supporting severe weather events, and is familiar with NWS operations. During his senior year Matthew plans to collaborate with the NWS on his final honors project focused on developing diurnal forecasting tools. Matthew can be reached at



Mish Michaels


Boston, MA

Weir Lundstedt

NOAA / National Weather Service / Center Weather Service Unit

Nashua, NH

Dr. Frank Colby

University of Massachusetts

Lowell, MA

PART 1: Defining Snow Squalls - Dissecting Events (Mish Michaels)

December 2, 2003 will long be remembered as one of the worst commutes since the Blizzard of '78. The first snow of the season fell in a narrow line of sunrise snow squalls that turned roads into skating rinks and the morning commute into gridlock. Travel to local destinations was on the order of hours not minutes. The Massachusetts Highway Department reported over 500 accidents and 911 calls quadrupled in number. Economic losses due to resulting delays are estimated to be in the millions.

Snow squalls are usually short lived, but can have a major impact on life in New England. Yet, the recent edition of the Glossary of Meteorology published by the AMS does not include an entry for "snow squall." Standard definitions aside, public perception of local winter language is the key to action. My presentation will explore how snow squalls are officially defined by the science and unofficially defined by the local viewing public.

Through the efforts of Weir Lundstedt (NWS/WINDEX), Dr. Colby (UMASS Lowell Meteorology Department), and the CBS 4 Weather Team, five snow squall events were identified during the bitter cold winter of 2003-2004. A vast array of data was collected on each event including model data, remote sensing imagery (radar/satellite), weather observations, still photos, newspaper articles, and television coverage to determine the overall impact of each event and to improve forecasting techniques. My portion of this study will conclude with an overview of the societal impact of these snow squall events with emphasis on transportation and safety. December 2, 2003 will be presented as a detailed case study to highlight the need for improved operational forecast techniques.


Mish Michaels has been a meteorologist for CBS 4 in Boston since the fall of 2001. Prior to that, she was co-host of Atmospheres, a weather magazine show on The Weather Channel. Before joining TWC, she worked for WHDH in Boston as the weekend meteorologist for over 8 years. Her current duties at CBS 4 Boston include forecasting, storm coverage, and the production of weather stories. Part of her duties include work as co-principal investigator on a $2 million NSF grant that will culminate in a permanent weather exhibit on "nowcasting" to open in the spring of 2005 at the Museum of Science, Boston. Mish also recently published her seventh local weather almanac for 2005, which will be available later this year.

Mish currently sits on the AMS Private Sector Board, the Blue Hill Weather Observatory Advisory Board, and was just named the Outstanding Young Alumni for 2004 by her college at Cornell University. Mish has an EdM from Harvard University and a BS in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University.

PART 2: WINDEX V2.0 – An improved forecast technique to assess the threat of snow squall potential over a given area (Weir Lundstedt)

During the early 90’s a wintertime instability index (WINDEX) was developed to assess the potential for snow squalls along frontal boundaries across New England. It was that study which attempted to quantify moisture, lift and instability in the low levels of the atmosphere needed to produce snow squalls in an environment unstable in respect to shallow upright convection. WINDEX V2.0 is the second version, or next generation of WINDEX which makes use of improved model resolution, better understanding of dendritic growth and the utilization of the latest software of BUFKIT to produce what is believed to be an even more robust technique to forecast snow squalls. A review of the new parameters will be presented along with a recent case study from the winter season of 2003.


Weir Lundstedt currently works for the National Weather Service (NWS) as an aviation weather forecaster in Nashua, New Hampshire. He has been working in the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) within the Boston Center Air Traffic Control Facility since the fall of 1992. His duties include providing Air Traffic Controllers timely weather forecasts for such things as icing, turbulence, thunderstorms and IFR conditions for the safe and efficient movement of aircraft over the northeast corridor of the United States. Before working at the CWSU, Weir entered the NWS in the fall of 1986 and worked as meteorologist intern for over 5 years at the Weather Service Office (WSO) in Concord New Hampshire. While there he published WINDEX – A wintertime instability index to aid in forecasting snow squalls. Weir’s interest in snow squalls stem back to his days at Lyndon State College where he watched forecast “flurries” occasionally turn into several inches of snow. He graduated with a BS degree in meteorology in 1986.

PART 3: Snow Squalls in Current Mesoscale Forecasting Models (Dr. Frank Colby)

In this part of the talk, we will concentrate on the ability of currently available forecasting models to forecast the occurrence of snow squalls in advance. We will compare the operational National Centers for Environmental Prediction Eta model output with output from an NCAR/PSU Mesoscale Model (MM5) run made in the UMass Lowell Weather Lab. The Eta model ran on a 12 km grid, but the output is typically viewed on a 40 km grid, due to Internet bandwidth limitations. The MM5 model ran with 3 nested grids: 36 km , 12 km, and 4 km. The 4 km grid output will be highlighted here, illustrating the importance of the fine-scale grid in simulating snow squalls.


Frank Colby is a Professor of Meteorology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. He has been a Professor since 1995, and has been at the University since 1983.

Professor Colby received his B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1976, his M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 1979, and his Ph.D. in Meteorology from M.I.T. in 1983, under thesis advisor Professor Fred Sanders. Dr. Colby’s research interests include a blend of analysis, forecasting, and modeling, especially relating to the atmospheric boundary layer.


Marc Hodges

NOAA / National Ocean Service

Seattle, WA

Steve Lehmann

NOAA / National Ocean Service

Boston, MA

Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) is a small division in the Federal Government that responses to over 100 spill events per year in all U.S. coastal and navigable waterways. These include oil, chemical, search and rescue and other incidents. Critical to a successful response is HAZMAT’s continuing relationship with the forecasters of the National Weather Service as an essential element in its predictive modeling and support to on-scene operations. Discussed will be the case studies in which weather played an important part and how this partnership can be improved to support HAZMAT’s emergency response efforts.


Marc Hodges is a Trajectory Analyst for HAZMAT. He has worked for HAZMAT for 17 years as a member of the Modeling and Simulation Studies team. For the last 15 years, Marc has been the HAZMAT weather focal point and is active in tightening communications with the National Weather Service during spill events. Current research projects include Long Range Trajectory Forecasting and Wind Uncertainty using Climatology.

Steve Lehmann has been the Scientific Support Coordinator for New England for the past 15 years. He is responsible the assembly and management of a scientific support team for the support of federal on-scene coordinators during marine emergencies. On-scene responses include the Exxon Valdez (Alaska 1990, 1991, 1992), the Persian Gulf Spill (Saudi Arabia) 1991), the North Cape (Rhode Island 1996) and the Bouchard 120 (Massachusetts 2003).


Joe Sienkiewicz

NOAA / NCEP - Ocean Prediction Center

Camp Springs, MD

Atlantic hurricanes have been tracked for well over 100 years. They have been given names for over fifty years. Their life span can range from several days to nearly two weeks. Gale force winds from these storms can extend out from the center several hundred miles. Only upon rare occasions do their winter cousins acquire a name. Storms that impact coastal areas such as the Blizzard of 1978, the Halloween Storm, March of 1962 or those that damage or sink vessels such as the APL China, QE II, Ocean Ranger, Portland Gale, Fastnet 1979, Sydney Hobart 1998 become infamous by being named. Many extreme ocean winter storms live out their brief lives without notoriety with the exception to those who have experienced them at sea.

The QuikSCAT scatterometer has given ocean forecasters to ability to see the wind field inside extreme ocean storms. Forecasters can now differentiate between more common storm force cyclones (winds 48 to 63 knots) and the extreme hurricane force cyclone (winds in excess of 63 knots). Over the past three winter seasons the Ocean Prediction Center has tracked and logged each cyclone observed to obtain hurricane strength over the North Pacific and North Atlantic. There appear to be both preferred tracks and seasonal frequencies. The North Pacific is active from October through December with a lull in January. The North Atlantic was observed to be most active in January. The most frequent areas of occurrence are the western portions of the ocean basins. One favored area for development of these high impact storms is the western North Atlantic north of a line from Cape Hatteras to Nova Scotia…off the New England coast. Four additional tracks farther out in the Atlantic have been observed.

This paper will examine the nature of hurricane force ocean storms. Current forecasting skill will be assessed. Composite wind fields from several cyclones will be shown to illustrate the distribution of extreme winds. Cyclone phase diagrams have been used to examine the structure of transitioning tropical cyclones. Phase diagrams have proven useful for determining the inner core structure of hurricane force extratropical cyclones. These extreme ocean storms tend to have a shallow, asymmetric, warm core during their most intense period.


Joe Sienkiewicz is both the Science Operations Officer and Chief of the Ocean Applications Branch of the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center located in Camp Springs, Maryland. Mr. Sienkiewicz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Boston Latin School. He then attended SUNY Maritime College and graduated with a B.S. in Meteorology and Oceanography (with honors) and a USCG Third Mate License (unlimited tonnage). For the five years after graduation Mr. Sienkiewicz worked in the Merchant Marine as mate and relief captain aboard tugboats based in New York Harbor. He then returned to school and received an M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington. Since 1988, Mr. Sienkiewicz has served as intern, forecaster and senior forecaster at the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction's Ocean Prediction Center. His professional interests include: extreme ocean storms, dynamic wave fetch or development, scatterometer derived winds, and the impact of the Gulf Stream on winds and waves. His hobbies include: sailboat racing, vegetable gardening, and woodworking. He lives near Chesapeake Bay in suburban Maryland with his wife and three children. Joe can be reached by email at .



Dr. Lance F. Bosart

The University at Albany / SUNY

Albany, NY

Walter Drag

NOAA / National Weather Service

Taunton, MA

Alicia Wasula

The University at Albany / SUNY

Albany, NY

Weather over the northeastern US in general and in New England in particular is influenced in all seasons by coastal frontogenesis, cold-air damming, and "backdoor" or "sidedoor" cold frontal passages. Coastal frontogenesis refers to the process whereby often intense frontal zones form along the New England coast. Coastal fronts may feature temperature contrasts of 10°C (or more) over distances of 10-20 km. Their meteorological significance is that they often mark the rain-snow line, they serve as a focus for heavy precipitation, and they are beacons for poleward moving cyclones. Cold-air damming refers to the tendency for cold air masses to be trapped east of mountain barriers such as the Appalachians when a cold anticyclone lies poleward of the damming region. Cold-air damming often serves to reinforce the intensity of coastal fronts. Backdoor and/or sidedoor cold fronts arrive from the north and east and are noteworthy for producing temperature decreases of 10-15°C in 10-20 min along the coast of eastern New England, especially in early spring when the waters of the Gulf of Maine are still very cold.

This talk will review significant meteorological aspects of coastal frontogenesis and cold-air damming as related to the weather forecasting problem. An example of a backdoor/sidedoor cold front passage will also be presented from 17 April 2002. Record high temperatures in the 32-34°C range were noted in parts of southern and central New England on 17 April 2002. Late that afternoon a marine surge of cold air chilled by the 5°C surface waters in the Gulf of Maine pushed onshore across eastern New England. The resulting strong coastal front passage featured vector wind shifts in excess of 40 kt and temperature decreases of 15-20°C with most of the temperature decrease occurring in less than one hour. The evolution of this marine surge event will be described from a synoptic and mesoscale perspective. The forecastability of the event will also be discussed on the basis of the performance of the operational model and statistical-dynamical guidance.


Dr. Lance F. Bosart is a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University at Albany/State University of New York. He joined the University at Albany faculty after he received his Ph.D. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969. He has been a full professor since 1983. His research specialty is synoptic-dynamic meteorology. He works on a variety of observational problems in the tropics and middle latitudes from the large scale to the mesoscale. He also works on operationally oriented research problems through cooperative research projects with staff members of the National Weather Service under the auspices of the Cooperative Meteorology Education and Training (COMET) program run by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program sponsored by the National Weather Service. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He was the recipient of the American Meteorological Society's Jule Charney Award in 1992. He was also the first recipient of the American Meteorological Society's new Teaching Excellence Award in January 2002. Additionally, he was also the recipient of the University at Albany/SUNY Award for Excellence in Research, 2001, and the State University of New York and the Research Foundation Board of Directors Award Honoring Research in Science, Engineering and Medicine, 2001. He is a past editor of the Monthly Weather Review, a journal published by the American Meteorological Society. He is also a past associate editor of the journal of Weather and Forecasting, also published by the American Meteorological Society. Currently, he holds an affiliate scientist appointment at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.


Timothy P. Marshall

Haag Engineering Co.

Carrollton, TX

A violent tornado traveled across the town of La Plata, Maryland on the evening of 28 April 2002. Officials initially rated the tornado F-5 on the Fujita scale as several homes were literally "swept clean" from their foundations. However, the National Weather Service wanted to study the damage in greater detail to determine if the preliminary F-5 rating was warranted. Within days after the tornado, the National Weather Service assembled a team of damage experts, including the author. Our damage survey team spent three days examining specific buildings within the tornado damage path. The survey team found that most destroyed homes had been constructed poorly with minimal attachment to their foundations. We estimated that homes simply slid off their foundations at wind speeds estimated to be as low as 45 m/s (100 m.p.h.). This talk will discuss some of the issues involved in assigning F-scale damage ratings to structures.


Tim Marshall works for Haag Engineering Co. (which has offices in Dallas, Houston, and Tampa) as a Failure and Damage Consultant. He has been with Haag Engineering since 1983. His primary areas of focus include: building damage assessment from all types of disasters (natural and man-made), roofing systems, damage appraisals, and meteorological studies. He has been on many National Weather Service (NWS) Damage Assessment Surveys for major storms and has been an instructor for NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologists. In addition, he is a storm chaser!

Mr. Marshall received his B.S. Degree in Meteorology from Northern Illinois University in 1978; his M.S. Degree in Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech University in 1980; and his M.S. in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1983.

Tim is a Member of the American Association of Wind Engineering; the American Meteorological Society; the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Conference of Building Officials; the National Weather Association; and the Southern Building Code Congress International.

Tim can be reached by email at: .


Joseph D’Aleo

Weather Services International (WSI) Corporation

Andover, MA

January 2004 was certainly cold here in New England. Boston recorded 11 days with temperatures below 10F and 4 days below zero with the coldest –7F. For the month, Boston, the average temperature of 20.7F was 8.6F below normal, which tied with 1893 for the second coldest January since records began back in 1872. The two coldest Januarys were in 1875 and 1888 which both averaged 20.1F. It was tied for the fourth coldest monthly reading ever in Boston behind January 1888, January 1875, February 1885 (20.6F) and February 1934 (17.5F).

It was the second very cold winter in a row. During 2002/03, the cold set in early (October) in the east and persisted into the spring. For the period of October 2002 through March 2003, Boston’s average temperature was the lowest for any such period since 1940/41 and the 11th coldest since 1900. In addition, Boston had 71.7 inches of snow, the most since the incredible winter of 1995/96.

Can we make it three “old-fashioned winters”in a row this year?


Joseph S. D’Aleo, Chief Meteorologist for WSI and received his B.S.and M.S. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin and was in the doctoral program at New York University. He was an Assistant Professor and Chairman of the Department of Meteorology at Lyndon State College from 1974 to 1980 and initiated the Northeast Snow Conference, which continues today. In 1981, he joined John Coleman in Atlanta to start the cable TV Weather Channel. He was the first Director of Meteorology at TWC and played a key role in hiring and managing The Weather Channel’s meteorological staff and in the design of the on-air programming and operations center. In 1988 he joined WSI as a Product Marketing Manager and then as Chief Meteorologist for WSI and WSI’s weather website, At WSI, he designed many value added products, including patented visualizations. He was a major contributor to the design and content of, where he authored unique, graphic-rich stories on weather and climate (a.k.a. Dr. Dewpoint). D’Aleo is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and was elected a Fellow of the AMS. He was a member of the AMS Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting from 1991-93 and chaired it from 1993-94. He also chaired the National Weather Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta in 1984. DAleo chaired many conference sessions, gave several keynote addresses, and presented numerous papers on applications of new technologies, east coast storms, breakthroughs in seasonal climate prediction, and the role of the ocean and sun on climate change. He served as a meteorological consultant and editor for Nature’s Fury, a Reader’s Digest book and authored the Oryx Press Resource Guide to El Nino and La Nina for Greenwood Publishing (2002). D’Aleo also served on the editorial Board of the AMS Glossary of Meteorology, Second Edition in 2000.