Week 4 Summary: 19-23 May 2008

This week, visiting participants included Steve Hodanish (WFO Pueblo, CO), Jonathon Howell (WFO Memphis, TN), Ryan Knutsvig (WFO Elko, NV), Steve Rogowski (WFO Sterling, VA), and Dave Patrick (Environment Canada, Winnipeg) as full-time participants. Other participants this week included Mike Magsig (WDTB), Paul Schlatter (WDTB), Don Rude (U. Virginia), Jerry Brotzge (OU) and an NSSL support team of Kevin Manross, Kiel Ortega, Kristin Kuhlman, Pam Heinselman, Dave Preignitz, Angelyn Kolodziej, and Greg Stumpf. Travis Smith (NSSL) was the Weekly Coordinator.

Monday, May 19:

There was very little threat of significant severe weather anywhere in the CONUS today, which made it an ideal training day for our visitors. The afternoon consisted of general orientation, map discussion, CASA & PAR orientation, and WDSSII training. In the evening, the forecasters participated in probabilistic warning guidance training on some real-time data SW of Brownsville, TX (issuing warning guidance for Mexico!)

Tuesday, May 20:

PAR and CASA playback cases in the afternoon, followed by a probabilistic warning IOP starting around 4pm CDT. The area of interest is the Carolinas and Georgia. A detailed summary of the post-event discussion for this case can be found in the blog entry “20 May 2008 – Summary”.

Wednesday, May 21:

Similar to yesterday – PAR and CASA playback cases in the afternoon, followed by an IOP around 6pm for NE Colorado. A detailed summary of the post-event discussion for this case can be found in the blog entry “21 May 2008 – Summary”.

Thursday, May 22:

HP Supercell event in Oklahoma, outside the PAR domain, but we worked it anyway to try to get the forecasters a real-time event.

Friday, May 23, Summary Discussion

CASA – no real-time operations this week.

  • Dave: really like the assimilated data display, saw it as advantageous to look at velocity data as vectors as opposed to the radial velocity display.
  • SteveH: 2D Wind display was a bonus.
  • Several forecasters like the idea of a 2D wind field presentation.
  • SteveH: would like to see data out to 60 km, or some way to see the big picture.
  • SteveR: not confident in the sectored scanning.
  • Dave: wants to make sure he can see low-level boundaries.
  • Need a visual cue for the cross-sections.
  • Dave: cross-section is overkill,
  • SteveH: can do the same thing better with rapid scan of sector
  • Dave: would like RHI capabilities.


  • SteveH: 100% wind/hail for HP supercell was a no-brainer, tornado was not so clear. Noisy, range-folded. Reflectivity was excellent, however, and FSI cross-sections were very useful. Thinks it will be a huge improvements once it gets the bugs out. Was most impressed by pulse storm playback case – can see core development aloft (rather than by luck with 88D).
  • Jonathan – good tool to update warnings as well. Can see more variation in intensity, see microbursts, etc.
  • No one uses detection algorithms in their offices, except for the gridded MESH. SteveH: can better interpret the raw data than algorithms. Need to be able to trust the algorithms (like MESH).
  • Dave: likes algorithms, if they are trustworthy.
  • Everyone liked the pulse storm case – “Pulse storms are a pain…!” – SteveH.
  • Jonathan: can see between volume scans.
  • This could help with longevity of warnings.
  • “The fire hose is coming, but that’s why they teach the fireman how to hold the hose!” – Steve H
  • Jonathan – not going to be a big change, things will look the same as the 88D (same conceptual models).
  • 3D will be valuable in the future – need to be integrated into operational system – lots of things need to be learned about it.
  • Scan strategies? SteveH: does it need to be adaptive? It already scans really quickly.
  • There are trade-offs with high-resolution temporal versus spatial sampling.
  • SteveR: higher resolution at lower tilts would be nice.
  • They would like to show some simulated cases to their staff. Could do in FSI. Have other training priorities, but could be worked in.

Probabilistic warning guidance:

  • Ryan: new way of thinking. More sophisticated users will love it.SteveH: thinks it is straightforward for forecasters.
  • Jonathan – protecting life is the primary objective; need to be clear on call to action (yes/no answer for most users)
  • SteveR: we could do both methods –
  • SteveH: need training to forecasters on what the probabilities mean. Need to train public is more important though – forecasters
  • SteveH doesn’t like the future trend prediction. Didn’t know what to do with it (forecasting the short-term intensity variations is very difficult)
  • Need organizational software

May 30 playback case:

  • Mark is very comfortable with a high level of automation, even for low-end warnings, so long as forcaster has final approval. Canadian way of doing things.
  • Eric thought the workload for the prob warn playback case was about right.

General final thoughts:

  • SteveR: exceeded expectations
  • SteveH: tour of SPC would be nice
  • All: Good pace – they were here to work, so no problems.
  • SteveH: more training on probabilistic warning tools. Had a good experience.
  • Dave: was action filled.
  • Jonathan: send out WDSSII to offices beforehand.
  • Jonathan: had a very good experience
  • They would come back next year.
  • SteveH: wants 30-minute training sessions.

Travis Smith (EWP Weekly Coordinator, 19-23 May)

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