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7th Annual NWS Wilmington, NC Groundhog Day Workshop
February 2, 2005 at Horry County M. L. Brown Building

Picture from Groundhog Day Workshop

For the past seven years, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Wilmington, NC has conducted a workshop on Groundhog Day to provide an opportunity for NWS partners and users to get together to discuss various weather topics, and to learn about changes at the NWS. Participants typically include state and county emergency managers, 911 personnel, television and print media, SKYWARN Spotters, Ham Radio operators, University and Governor's School representatives, the Red Cross, and others.

This year, the workshop was held at the Horry County M. L. Brown Building in Conway, SC on February 2, 2005. Approximately 40 people were in attendance. Following is a list of presenters at this year's workshop, along with a description of topics covered.

Thomas Matheson
Thomas Matheson
Michael Caropolo, Meteorologist-in-Charge, NWS Wilmington, NC
Thomas Matheson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Wilmington, NC

Introductory Remarks: Michael Caropolo welcomed everyone to the workshop. Tom Matheson gave a climate overview, including the long range forecasts produced by the Climate Prediction Center. The "Warn by Polygon" test that NWS Wilmington, NC will be participating in during the upcoming severe weather season was also discussed, in which the NWS will try to reduce the false alarm area of warnings by using polygons to warn only those at risk of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flash floods, instead of issuing large county-based warnings.

Pictures of Suzanne Blake
Suzanne Blake
Thomas Matheson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Wilmington, NC
Suzanne Blake, Emergency Manager, University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW)

StormReady Status/Updates, StormReady Colleges and Universities: Tom Matheson gave a discussion on the StormReady and TsunamiReady programs, including the status of StormReady Counties and Communities in the NWS Wilmington, NC Forecast Area. Suzanne Blake gave a presentation on how colleges and universities can become StormReady.

Picture of Ronnie Hayes
Ronnie Hayes
Ronnie Hayes, Emergency Manager, Columbus County, NC

Winter Ice Storms: Ronnie Hayes gave a presentation on the difference between the ice storms which effected Columbus County in January 2004 and December 2004. Ronnie discussed how the county prepared for the events, and had pictures of the extensive damage that occurred when over 1 inch of ice accumulated in the county in January 2004.

Picture of Richard Neuherz
Richard Neuherz
Richard Neuherz, Senior Service Hydrologist, NWS Wilmington, NC

Hydrology Update: Rick Neuherz gave an update on the hydrology program, including the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) and the Flash Flood Monitoring and Prediction (FFMP) program.

Picture of Jason Caldwell
Jason Caldwell
Jason Caldwell, South Carolina State Climatology Office

Hurricane Season '04 in the Carolinas: Jason Caldwell gave a presentation on all of the tropical systems to affect the Carolinas in 2004. While Florida experienced four landfalling systems, the Carolinas had outbreaks of tornadoes and floods as the systems moved inland across the Southeast U.S. and weakened.

Picture of Ed Piotrowski
Ed Piotrowski
Ed Piotrowski, Chief Meteorologist, WPDE-TV

Hurricane Forecasts and Public Perception: Ed Piotrowski presented the results of a survey in which he helped conduct, which looked into if and how  television meteorologists across the U.S. display the National Hurricane Center 5-day tropical cyclone forecast track, and how the public perceives this information. The survey concluded that since most people get their weather information from television, that it is important for on-air meteorologists to not only show graphics of the forecast track, but to also effectively communicate the uncertainty in the forecast.

Picture of Don Luehrs Don Luehrs, Chief Meteorologist, WBTW-TV

Media, NWS, and Emergency Management Public Service: Don Luehrs discussed the importance of effective communication between the media, NWS and the emergency management community. He also put together and distributed a guide with contact information for local media, NWS offices, and emergency managers.

NOAA Logo John Quagliariello, Meteorologist and Webmaster, NWS Wilmington, NC

National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) Graphics and Website Enhancements: John Quagliariello showed how to access graphics on the internet from the National Digital Forecast Database, and demonstrated future enhancements to the NWS Wilmington, NC website which include detailed point forecasts.  

NOAA Logo Reid Hawkins, Science and Operations Officer, NWS Wilmington, NC

HUN-TV Software Application: Reid Hawkins demonstrated the HUN-TV software application which was developed by the NWS in Huntsville, AL. This software application displays NWS forecasts, observational data, satellite, radar, and warnings and could be used by emergency management, or on a public TV channel that might not otherwise have access to weather data to provide the public with potential life saving warnings.

NOAA Logo Thomas Matheson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Wilmington, NC

How to Conduct a Storm Survey: Tom Matheson gave a presentation on how to conduct a storm survey. He also described how to differentiate the difference between straight-line wind damage (resulting from severe thunderstorms) and tornado damage, and how to rate tornado damage using the Fujita Scale.



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