NWSEO 36th Annual National Convention Update
Monday, September 26, 2011
NWSEO President – Dan Sobien
Sunday, September 25, 2011
NWSEO President Dan Sobien welcomed the NWSEO members to the national convention. Minutes from 2010 NWSEO Convention reviewed and accepted. NWSEO Vice President Bill Hopkins provided an overview highlights and accomplishments for the past year, including NWSEO’s work in keeping the National Weather Service fully funded for FY11.
Communications Director Lisa Luciani discussed NWSEO media efforts to keep the National Weather Service fully funded. In February, NWS was facing a 28 percent budget cut under House proposed HR1 equal to $125 million taken from the remaining $446 million for the last six months of FY11. The move would have necessitated work furloughs and forced rolling closures of Weather Warning offices across the country.
NWSEO activated a full scale communications and media approach to inform the public on how the cuts would impact the Agency’s mission of saving lives and property. Efforts included a webpage that provided clear, concise information, sample letters to legislators and legislator contact information, a call to action for NWSEO stewards and talking points that resulted in news stories nationwide and captured the interest of major media outlets. The development of the Protect the National Weather Service Facebook page which now has 68,000 fans was born out of these efforts. The page is maintained by NWSEO and is a successful tool for keeping the public informed on weather related and funding issues.
Southern Region Director Bill Proenza thanked members for their dedication to their jobs and the mission of saving lives and property. He expressed appreciation for the work of NWSEO. Proenza said the attention and visibility of the National Weather Service is based on the work of members and what NWSEO is, “We can’t do what NWSEO does, and they do it effectively.”
General Counsel Richard Hirn's report focused on the work of NWSEO. The vast amount of work accomplished by NWSEO with the help of Mr. Hirn can be found on the Member News page. To receive the Four Winds newsletter and stay apprised of NWSEO accomplishments, please send your private email address to Director of Communications Lisa Luciani.
NWSEO Eastern Region Chairman and Senior Hydrometeorologist at the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, David Solano provided an update on the evolving role of River Forecast Centers and the team’s work on National Water Support Center. The role of the RFC is increasing. RFCs will remain the experts when it comes to river forecasts across the country. They play a key role in new products and information services to meet the nation’s needs now and in the future. All field offices will maintain ownership of river and regional water resource products and decision support services, now and in the future.
NOAA Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan is the honored guest speaker of the NWSEO convention. Dr. Sullivan, a renowned astronaut, holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space. She flew on three shuttle missions during her 15-year tenure, including the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope.
NWSEO President Dan Sobien talks about Weather Ready Nation. His topic - Making Tornado Warnings Obsolete focuses on the idea that in the future, the NWS could work with emergency managers, and local government leaders to provide tornado warnings early enough for people to evacuate.
The issues at an inland site such as Omaha will be much different from a marine or coastal site. So, there is concern about going forward without testing the full suite of NWS products and services. Also, there is little planning for RFCs. Much of the work to date has been done by field RFC personnel. There are also questions on how the National Center component will work within the AWIPS II framework. All of these questions need to be addressed before the AWIPS II program as a whole can move forward.
National Weather Service Assistant Administrator, Dr. Jack Hayes was present at the convention and said that while the plan is aggressive, he stressed that he is listening to the issues to ensure that the system can perform the NWS mission. Lock-ups and crashes will not be tolerated. Dr. Hayes assured the group that Mary Glackin, Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, understands the challenges and is very supportive. Dr. Hayes says there has been good progress since AWIPS II started three years ago. He is briefed weekly on issues and problems and hopes instability will be past history. Dr. Hayes said he’d take the input and suggestions back to the Agency and try to cut the bureaucratic requirements. The hope is to have it operational by first quarter
Stay tuned to www.nwseo.org for more updates from the annual convention.
News from the 36th Annual NWEO Convention
NWSEO will be posting news and updates from the 36th Annual Convention in Raleigh, NC, on Sunday-Monday, September 25-26.
Are you a member of the NWSEO Facebook group? If not, this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the NWSEO Facebook page. Currently, there are 262 members of this closed group. Become a member and get the convention news as it happens.
Twitter: We will be sending “tweets” throughout the convention to give you a quick heads up on the news as it happens. If you have a Twitter account, sign up to follow NWSEO on Twitter. Don’t have an account? It’s easy to sign up at Twitter.com.
We’re looking forward to providing you with the most recent updates and news from NWSEO with access at your fingertips!
National Weather Service Employees Organization
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