NWA December 2018 Newsletter
Issue 18-11

What's in this newsletter...


Let’s Get Low

Alan Sealls, NWA President

In my final message as National Weather Association President, I’ve got to go low. That’s low as in minimum daily temperature. We’re in the season when reaching 32 degrees is a big deal if the ground is wet or there is precipitation.

A user of my TV station’s weather app recently complained that the app was wrong because it showed a predicted low temperature on the extended forecast that was nowhere near the temperature when he woke up in the middle of the night. He said the actual temperature was closer to the hourly forecast on our weather app. Both app forecasts were correct, but how the temperatures are presented is confusing. Look at the collage of website forecasts in the figure. The high precedes the low or the high is directly above the low. What’s a user to think about when the low happens? Anything they want! The man who complained misinterpreted the low for the calendar day as being the morning low for the previous day. I don’t blame him.

Collage of weather forecasts showing the forecast low temperature displayed below or to the right of the high temperature.

Grab the nearest non-meteorologist and tell them the low for next Wednesday will be 29 degrees. Ask them when they think that low will happen. I predict you'll get an even split of answers between Wednesday morning and Wednesday night (after midnight). That’s not good. Glance through your favorite weather apps and weather sites to see how many of them don’t make it clear when the low will occur. Something as simple as 65/29 implies 65 happens first followed by 29 but we know the minimum for a day is typically before the maximum. The calendar day certainly ends at midnight. Would displaying 29\65 be better? I think so, based on having learned to read from left to right!

Some broadcast TV stations place the low beneath the high on the extended outlook graphic. The artwork is typically designed by non-meteorologists. Does it communicate the message well? I call on you weather vendors, coders, graphic artists, web developers, and meteorologists to not leave something so basic and so important up to the interpretation of the user.

As a profession, we have so much accurate data to communicate but if we fail to specify when it’s valid, we and the public and our clients lose out. As a good example, the National Weather Service (weather.gov) fully separates the night minimum from the day maximum in the online forecast display. Kudos to them!

So now, on a high note, I end my term as NWA President. Paul Schlatter will carry the barometer forward as 2019 President. Thanks for allowing me to lead. It’s been rewarding. Thanks to the many committees and members who put their hearts into supporting the NWA while embracing my diversity theme in models and methods, in the people we hire or elect to lead our organization, and in the folks we serve, network with, or even socialize with. Diversity is the way to be strong and healthy. It extends to your studies, your nutrition, and even to your investment portfolio.

Finally, as you plan your year-end donations, diversify those too by contributing to the National Weather Association Foundation to increase opportunities in operational meteorology. Thank you.


Research Operations Nexus (RON) Meetup to be Held at AMS Annual Meeting

Greg Stumpf

The Research to Operations Nexus (RON) Meetup provides the opportunity for an interactive meetup between research and operational meteorologists. For the second time, a RON Meetup will take place at the 99th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting.

During the Meetup, groups rotate through a number of stations in speed-mentoring fashion and discuss a variety of ideas and themes that could benefit forecast and warning operations. The goal is simple: to build and develop new relationships in the nexus.

Ron Przybylinski, the former Science and Operations Officer (SOO) of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in St. Louis, Missouri, left us the legacy of his unending motivation to interconnect weather operations and research in strong and enduring ways. Ron was a master in the transition zone, or nexus, of operations and research. Research interactions with Ron led to large field projects that provided the great benefit both to operations and the general knowledge. He inspired the idea of the RON Meetups, which have taken place at the National Weather Association (NWA) Annual Meetings since 2015. For the second time, a RON Meetup will take place at the 99th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting.

The 2019 AMS RON Meetup will take place on Monday, January 7, 2019, from 4:15–6:00 p.m. in the North Ballroom AB, Phoenix Convention Center North Building, 100 Level. There is no additional cost to attend, but you must be registered for the 2019 AMS Annual Meeting and sign up for the RON Meetup. Seating is limited to the first 100 registrants. Light snacks and beverages will be served. For more information, please contact co-facilitator Greg Stumpf.

Calling All Synopticians

Dr. Lou McNally

I am developing a short book about the applied art of synoptic analysis, from Espy to the Bergen school to today, and hope to weave in stories of those of us who did it for our careers. I will not attempt to rehash the math as there are plenty of works available on that. My plan is to tell the story of the artistry and intuition that brought forecasting to where it is today.

I am looking for stories from those who could work the light tables, plot a regional surface map as fast as the “Service A” teletype could print the SA’s, change the fluids in the satellite photo printers between images, operate a WSR-57, track a pibal with a theodolite, change a helix on the fax machine between DIFAX maps, etc.

From whom did you learn the trade? Where did you practice it? What anecdotes can we enjoy together? Was there a special forecast from back in the day that soundly trounced the models?

Send your story to me via email. No real deadline here, but I’d like to have a draft done over the winter (the Northern Hemisphere winter, that is…)



Our next Webinar Wednesday is titled:

The New Age of Networking: How to Use #WxTwitter and other Social Media to Build Your Professional Network

When: Wednesday December 12
            2:30 pm EST (1:30 pm CST)

Panelists will be: 
John Banghoff (NWS State College/PSU) 
Becky DePodwin (AccuWeather)
Rick Smith (NWS Norman)
Morgan Barry (NWA Social Media Committee Chair/NWS Mobile)
Hannah Strong (NWA Social Media Committee/WDRB Louisville) 
Courtney Obergfell (NWA Social Media Committee/NWS Seattle)

Watch the Webinar

The panel above will be an excellent group with diverse perspectives on this topic, specifically how social media has changed the game of networking both in conferences but also everyday.

GOES-17 Transition to Operations                         

GOES-17 is at its final operational location of 137.2 degrees west. Following two days of calibration, all instruments resumed data distribution on November 15, 2018. GOES-17 is still non-operational to allow for operational testing. After successful test completion, the satellite will go into operations as NOAA’s GOES West satellite on December 10, 2018.

GOES-15 is drifting from 135 to 128 degrees west longitude to eliminate radio frequency interference with GOES-17. GOES-15 and GOES-17 will operate in tandem for at least six months while the performance of GOES-17 is assessed as the GOES West operational satellite. For more information, check out the GOES-R website.

First full-disk image from GOES-17 at its new position over the Pacific Ocean.


NWA Member Rates for AMS Annual Meeting

NWA is a co-sponsor of the AMS 99th Annual Meeting. This allows NWA members, who aren't currently AMS members, to register at the Co-Sponsoring Society Member Rates.

The AMS Meeting will be held in Phoenix January 6-10, 2019.


Congratulations Hulda!

 NWA Communications Coordinator Hulda Johannsdottir has taken a new job. Her last day with the NWA was November 30.

We are very happy for her, but will miss her. Fortunately, she is still nearby so we look forward to seeing her from time to time.

She was responsible for modernizing and improving many NWA services and internal tasks. We are grateful for all she has done for the NWA.

Hulda, we wish you much success with your new job. Thank you for a job well done!



Thinking about Donating?         


The National Weather Association Foundation is a 501(c)(3). Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible.


Please consider donating to the Foundation to support scholarships and Sol Hirsch Education Fund Grants for K-12 educators.


The NWA (501(c)(6)) accepts contributions to our General Fund. Contributions to the NWA are not tax deductible, but they do support our operations.

NWA 44th Annual Meeting

The 2019 NWA Annual Meeting will be held in Huntsville, Alabama, September 7-12. The Call for Abstracts will be announced in January. Information about the theme will be added to the NWA website later in December.  



Survey on Involvement in and Perception of Atmospheric Science Education Research by the Members of the Atmospheric Science Community

Dear colleague,

You are invited to complete a survey that will help us learn more about the involvement in and perception of education research by the members of the atmospheric science community. The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. The quality of our study lies in our ability to provide a complete representation of the atmospheric science community. We are very thankful for your participation as it will contribute to a high response rate and consequently enhance the validity of the findings drawn from the data.

Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary, and you may answer all or none of the questions. You may start the survey, leave it for a while and go back to the survey; the system will send you back where you left off and will have recorded your previous answers.

Your responses will be kept confidential. Responses will not be identified by individual. All responses will be compiled together and analyzed as a group.

CLICK HERE to take the survey, or copy and paste the following link into your internet browser: https://unlcba.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6m0we3MfPw7Nw0d

Thank you for your help!

Dawn Kopacz 
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 1 (402) 472 - 2638
Wendilyn Flynn
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1 (970) 351 - 1071
Adam Hirsch
Email: [email protected]
Lindsay Maudlin
Email: [email protected]
Zachary Handlos
Email: [email protected]
Swarndeep Gill
Email: [email protected]




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The NWA Board of Directors and Staff Wish you Happy Holidays!