4.1 Importance of Technology as Part of the NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge Impact-Based Decision Support Pilot Project

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 3:30 PM
Ballroom E (Austin Convention Center)
Matthew J. Moreland, NOAA/NWS/WFO in Slidell, LA, Slidell, LA; and A. Montanez, T. Erickson, and K. Graham

Handout (2.8 MB)

One of the six NWS Pilot Projects as part of the Weather-Ready Nation initiative has been established at the NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge office as of December 2011. Three new Emergency Response Specialist (ERS) positions were hired as part of the Pilot Project. One of these positions is dedicated to techniques development and the application of new technologies, software, and the development of apps to support decision support. The use of advanced technologies is an important part of the Pilot Project. The Pilot Projects are equipped with the personnel, time, and funding to make an effort to test new technologies in the field and map out how best to implement these in NWS operations.

The ERS team is equipped with three laptops and an iPad and Android tablet for use in deployment. The laptops are running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (32 bit version). The laptops are equipped with VMPlayer to run Windows virtually. The team will be testing the AWIPS 2 thin client on both Windows and Linux Red Hat platforms. This gives the deployed ERS the ability to have the same tools to use in the field that are available in the home office. Other software which have high use in deployments such as GR2Analyst, GREarth, and HurrEvac can be run virtually in the Windows environment. A convective threat has been present during many of the team's deployments thus far and short-fuse mesoscale models such as the HRRR and the 4km NMM-WRF have gotten wide use. The team will be testing several versions of Hysplit software packages to see which is the most effective in the field. This will include testing of HPAC a Hysplit software package used in the US military. The ERS Team is working closely with developers in the other Pilot Projects to implement the experimental Enhanced Data Display (EDD) and Marine Portal software interfaces in NWS office and IDSS operations. This software will enable forecasters or deployed meteorologists to overlay layers of meteorological parameters or forecast information on a Google Maps type background interface. For example the meteorologist can overlay NHC hurricane forecast tracks, sea surface temperatures, surface obs, tide and river gauge information, satellite, and radar data on a high resolution map.

The NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge ERS team is working closely with Global Systems Division (GSD) at NOAA in Boulder on testing and implementation of new hazard services software. This software will provide an two-way interface where the forecaster can issue hazards and warnings on one end and the emergency manager, end user, or deployed meteorologist can input data (such as shelter or incident locations or damage reports) on a web interface which can aid the forecast meteorologist in issuing their hazards. The ERS Team will be working with researchers at NSSL on testing and participation of several of the operationally relevant tools being developed there. Among the projects the team hopes to provide support and testing are SHAVE (Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment), FLASH, and the Warn-On-Forecast project.

The team is planning to develop a one stop shop mobile tool for emergency managers to get a quick scan of weather information for use on smart phones or tablet computers.

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