Minutes of the High Plains AMS/NWA Chapter Meeting

26 June 2014


The AMS/NWA High Plains Chapter held a meeting in Norton, KS on June 26th.  There were 10 members present, including a new one from Goodland, KS.  This gathering began at 11:30 AM, with a short lunch at the Town and Country Kitchen, on the northeast side of Norton. 


After lunch, a presentation started around noon by Mike Kochasic, a Journeyman forecaster from Goodland NWS office, KS.  His presentation was entitled “Neighborhood Approach to Generating PoPs”.  This was a very interesting presentation, which generated many questions and suggestions.  Mike basically explained that the forecast area was divided into cells, and then those cells were populated by past PoPs from several different models.  Then, when the CONSALL populated grids, they were then smoothed over by the Neighborhood grids, which improved the forecast due to finer spacing within the grids.  This approach was earlier published by Schaffer, et al, in 2011, and shows potential use and promise.  One of the questions was this approach being planned for AWIPSII?  There is hope for this approach, with the programming being from FORTRAN and PYTHON.  Mike Kochasic and Jeremy Martin/SOO at GLD are working toward speeding up the Neighborhood approach and populating grids.  They would like a couple more High Plains offices to test out this system, and perhaps one day hand it over to Central Region Headquarters to run. 


The business meeting started at 12:55 PM, with Vice President Jeremy Wesely welcoming everyone, including a new member, Jason Neilson, Lead Forecaster at GLD NWS, transferring recently from Burlington, VT NWS.  Jeremy gave the Treasurer’s report, showing $5,562.80 in the Checkbook, with $1,430 of that dedicated to the Jim Johnson Scholarship, and $4,132.80 available.  There was $230.74 collected in Dues and Interest, and a $500 check given to the Jim Johnson Scholarship winner.


Most of the rest of the meeting was dedicated to updates on the upcoming 16th High Plains Conference to be held in Hastings August 6th and 7th.  There are 3 Keynote speakers lined up:  Dr. Matthew Bunkers, SOO from North Platte, NE NWS; Rick Smith, WCM from Norman, OK NWS; and Karen Kosiba, from the Center for Severe Weather Research, Boulder, CO.  A Conference T-shirt ($17) is now available to be ordered from our website, highplains-amsnwa.org.  Conference updates will be made via this website.  For all presenters, abstracts are due by July 7th, to Jeff Halblaub at Hastings, NE NWS.  Also, since the regional SOOs will be meeting Monday and Tuesday prior to the HP conference, there will be a presentation on Tuesday around 4 PM for any and all conference attendees, by Karen Kosiba.  There will be no extra cost for this presentation.


One other item discussed and voted on was to purchase a $50 gift card and a card of thanks to our long time webmaster, Jared Guyer.  Scott Bryant/Hasting is our new webmaster.


Our meeting ended at 1:15 PM.  The next meeting will be at the High Plains Conference on Aug. 6th or 7th.    




William Taylor                                                                                                            Tim Burke

President                                                                                                                     Secretary