NWA November 2019 Newsletter
Issue 19 - 11
What's in this newsletter:
President's Message

NWA President Paul Schlatter

The EPIC Legacy of Bill Lapenta

The entire Weather Enterprise mourns the loss of Dr. Bill Lapenta, who died in September. If you were in any way involved in numerical weather prediction (NWP) or worked for the NWS, chances are you crossed paths with Bill. Perhaps you knew him well. In the NWS Bill ran the Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), then the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), and recently he was the champion of the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) among many roles he fulfilled while on a detail to the Office of Weather and Air Quality, housed in NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). The title of this month’s message is both figurative and literal. First, the figurative.

Some of you reading this message knew Bill much better than I. To you, he may have been your mentor, friend, boss, and/or colleague. I was amazed, but not surprised, to read how much he impacted many of your lives after news got out that he had passed, and now there is a large void. I knew Bill better than many. We met when I moved to Maryland in 2011 to become the Program Coordination Officer, and later the Deputy Chief of Staff and acting Chief of Staff for the NWS. It was during this time Bill and I got to know each other well. Being the director of NCEP is a challenging job to say the least. They get pulled in hundreds of directions and are not immune to internal and external forces that try to pull them down. There were many fires I worked with Bill, whether related to a weather event or the NWP competition between the U.S. and the European Center for Medium Range Forecasting (ECMWF) models. There was never a shortage of texts and phone calls I made to Bill with bad news, or at least something that needed immediate attention. When he saw I was calling, he knew it was almost always some form of bad news, and that he, his team, the NWS front office, and I would need to find a solution.

EPIC Community Workshop Participants

Through these challenges I saw how positive Bill remained. He only got angry when it was warranted, and never at a person, just at the situation. He always treated his staff, and me, with the utmost respect. He understood political pressures and was adept at threading the needle. Most of all, he CARED about me, his staff, everyone. He let everyone know how much he appreciated them. At the end of my time at NWS HQ, he pulled me aside and let me know how much he appreciated all the help I provided him during all of those fire drills. He let me know I would be sorely missed, and that the front office was a better place because I was there. He was under no obligation to say anything, let alone something he clearly meant, so that will stick with me until the day I die. His words and actions meant a lot, so much that I want to pay tribute. That’s the personal side, and the figurative interpretation of the title of this month’s message.

How about the literal interpretation of the title? Bill was absolutely brilliant and passionate when it came to NWP, and during the last year or so he’s been “spreading the gospel” of EPIC. Unless you were hiding under a rock for the past eight years, you know the ECMWF is overall outperforming the U.S. global model known as the GFS. It’s been this way for a long time. There are many reasons why, and I don’t need to cover them here. Congress has also been aware of the long-standing shortcomings in U.S. weather prediction, so much so that they included language in two bills that were signed into law over the past two years. The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (WRFIA) instructs NOAA to prioritize improving weather data, modeling, computing, forecasting and warnings for the protection of life and property and for the enhancement of the national economy. The National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2018 instructs NOAA to establish the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) to accelerate community-developed scientific and technological enhancements into the operational applications for NWP.

Suffice to say, the U.S. can do so much more to improve our predictive capabilities for high impact weather and climate events. Bill believed, as do I, that it will take all of us to reach the goal of excellence in NWP. EPIC was his vision and passion, and there is a growing momentum across the NWP enterprise in the U.S. for EPIC to succeed. Recently I attended the EPIC Community Workshop in Boulder (photo of the participants included). It was clear from all that attended that EPIC represents the last chance to evolve how the U.S does NWP, because political pressure could come to a head if we continue to lag the rest of the world in predictive capability. In a nutshell, EPIC will focus research and development on a single platform, the Unified Forecast System; and with the various sectors across the modeling community using the same system, model skill will leverage the enormous skill sets across academia, the private sector, and the federal government. That skill with the U.S. model developers has always been there; the problem is they have not pulled those skills together in the same direction on the same platform. The effort is just getting underway and finding a replacement for Bill Lapenta will be no easy task. EPIC deserves the NWA’s attention and our full support. After all, where would operational meteorology be without NWP? To learn more, check out the EPIC website.

Let’s all rally around Bill’s vision.

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NWA Official 2020 Election Ballot  

More information on these candidates. To vote, visit this form.

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Dues Changes in 2020
by Janice Bunting, NWA CEO

The NWA Board of Directors has approved new dues for 2020, and a dues increase structure consistent with industry standards. This decision to increase dues was made after careful consideration. They assessed the NWA’s current financial situation, goals tied to a new strategic plan being developed, and new member services on the horizon, all of which require an increase in dues.  This is the first time dues have been increased in three years. Here is the history page for NWA highlights and dues.

Regular Member dues will be $75 in 2020. Students, active military members, and full-time retired members’ dues will be $30. A new structure will be introduced for member dues that gradually increases them from Student to Regular Member rates over a five-year period starting the year after they graduate. Corporate Member rates will be $325 for a year, and Lifetime Memberships $1875.

In the past we have increased dues every three to five years. In the future, the plan is to increase dues by a small amount each year, per Board approval, to keep up with increasing costs and inflation to maintain and grow NWA member services.

The NWA Board received feedback that the jump from student to regular member dues and annual meeting registration rates were too high for most early career professionals. Early career professionals are vital to sustaining membership in the NWA, thus in addition to the five-year transition to Regular Member dues, early career members will see lower annual meeting rates starting in 2020.

What will the NWA do with the additional funds? One item is the new NWA all-year app that is being rolled out. New Tools in Member Connect will be implemented; more information about them will be provided soon. Funds will be available to add staff to assist in member services, and there is a plan to replenish and increase reserve funds that have been used to create new bylaws and other business tasks.  Bottom line: the new dues structure this will enable fiscal sustainability AND enhance the member experience.

If averaged over a full year, the increase is less than a dollar per month. Once dues renewals go out later this year, we hope you will continue your NWA membership, help us grow the NWA and participate in keeping it relevant for years to come.

If you have any questions or comments, you can reach us at [email protected], 405-701-5167, or contact any Board Member. Contact information is located on the NWA website.

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NWA 365 Mobile App Now Live
Bryce McElhaney, NWA Communications and Marketing Coordinator

The NWA all-year mobile app, titled "National Weather Association" in the Android and iPhone app stores, is now live! The app we use for our Annual Meeting is now extended to keep our members connected with NWA news year-round.


Here's a list of features the app will include:

One-time sign-in for members

Sign in once and stay signed in through the app! Upon opening the app, you will see a "Login" menu tile, where you will sign in to access member resources. This is a convenience we wanted to introduce to our members who regularly sign into their profiles to check announcements, features and invoices. 

Receive notifications

Through the app, members can now select which news and updates they would like to be notified by, including new JOM articles, webinars, job announcements and newsletters. To change your notification settings, select the menu and go to "Subscribe" — from there, you can check the boxes of which announcements you would like to be notified with.

Social Feed

Did you miss our latest content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? The Social feed archives our latest posts and videos from our social media platforms, so you can stay connected.

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NWA Presented with WRN Ambassador of Excellence Award
by Janice Bunting, NWA CEO


The NWA was honored to be presented with the WRN Ambassador of Excellence from the NWS. NWS DIrector Louis Uccellini presented the award to President Paul Schlatter and CEO Janice Bunting at the NWA Annual Meeting in Huntsville in recognition of the WRN efforts of NWA members. The NWA social Media Committee and the NWA Foundation WeatherReady Fest Committee deserve a special thanks for their work on the #SafePlaceSelfie and WeatherReady Fest projects respectively.

NWA Foundation Opens Fall Scholarships & Grant


The National Weather Association Foundation is taking applications for two scholarships and one grant.

Applications are due December 12, 2019, for the Arthur C. Pike Scholarship in Meteorology and the Phillips Family Undergraduate Scholarship for Meteorology. Both are $1000 scholarships.

The Pike Scholarship was established to aid students in their final two years of undergraduate study or in graduate study, enrolled in a program of meteorology or atmospheric science (or related field).

The Phillips Family Scholarship fund was established by Ryan Phillips and Patricia Phillips to provide direct assistance to aspiring meteorologists enrolled in an undergraduate program for meteorology or atmospheric science (or related field).

The Meteorological Satellite Applications Award Grant is open until March 26, 2020, and is supported by Frances Holt. Applicants must write an original paper on meteorological satellite applications. If a suitable recipient is available, that individual will receive a Grant of $500, free registration at the NWA Annual Meeting to present their paper, and a stipend of $500 to help cover associated travel and hotel expenses.

More about NWA Foundation scholarships and grants can be found here.

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 NWA Event Calendar 

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NWA Presented with WRN Ambassador of Excellence Award


The NWA was honored to be presented with the WRN Ambassador of Excellence from the NWS. NWS DIrector Louis Uccellini presented the award to President Paul Schlatter and CEO Janice Bunting at the NWA Annual Meeting in Huntsville in recognition of the WRN efforts of NWA members. The NWA social Media Committee and the NWA Foundation WeatherReady Fest Committee deserve a special thanks for their work on the #SafePlaceSelfie and WeatherReady Fest projects respectively.

Thanks to all our members who support a WeatherReady Nation!
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New Seal Holder
by Laura Velasquez, Broadcast Meteorology Committee Public Relations Chair

Congratulations to Jorge Torres on earning the National Weather Association Television Seal of Approval. Originally from Austin, Texas, Jorge earned his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Texas A&M University in College Station in 2009. While a student there, he was president of the American Meteorological Society student chapter. He also started storm chasing and doing weather forecasts on the local NPR station.

He landed his first job out of college at KVIA in El Paso. Several years later, he moved to KOB-TV in Albuquerque where he eventually became the chief meteorologist. Recently, he accepted a position at KNXV-TV in Phoenix as a weekend meteorologist.

Jorge says the most impactful weather event he remembers is the Jarrell, Texas, tornado of 1997. In his role as a meteorologist, he enjoys going to schools and community events to help educate viewers and students about weather safety, climate and science.

Congratulations again, Jorge!

Also a congratulations to our latest Seal Holder David Heckard!

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#WhyINWA with John Keyes

by Bryce McElhaney, NWA Communications and Marketing Coordinator

John Keyes talks about his diverse background in meteorology, how he became an NWA member and how he contributes to the Social Media Committee. John also gives advice to non-members who are considering joining the association!

Watch John Keyes' #WhyINWA video here. 

Submit your NWA Member peers, or yourself, on this form to be considered for a future #WhyINWA. And don't forget to chime in on Twitter using '#WhyINWA'!

November Webinar

Register and watch our November Webinar: “How to Find & Create a Meaningful Mentorship" on November 4 at 11 a.m. CST.

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New Article in the Journal of Operational Meteorology

A new NWA JOM article was published in October.

JOM 2019-11: Identifying Plume Mode via WSR-88D Observations of Wildland Fire Convective Plumes and Proposed Tactical Decision Support Applications by Gregory P. Murdoch, Christopher M. Gitro, T. Todd Lindley and Vivek N. Mahale.

The JOM publishes submissions in three categories: Article, Short Contribution and Commentary. The JOM is a peer-reviewed, all-electronic journal with an international scope, providing authors with the benefits of economical publication costs and rapid publication following acceptance.

If you are interested in submitting a paper to the JOM, please go to the Call for Papers webpage.

Thank you to the JOM authors, reviewers and editors for continuing to make JOM a success!

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 National Weather Association | 3100 Monitor Ave, Suite 123 | Norman OK 73072 | 405.701.5167 

Publisher: Janice Bunting, NWA CEO
Editor: Bryce McElhaney, NWA Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Technical Editor: Winnie Crawford

ISSN 0271-1044

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using the NWA Newsletter Instructions for Authors

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