Houston Local Chapter of the AMS

          January 2005 Newsletter


Next Meeting: Thursday, January 13th, 2005



Dinner Location: Pappas Bar-B-Q

Address: 4430 I-45 North @ Crosstimbers (near the Northline Shopping Center)
Houston, TX
77022-3606, Phone: (713)697-9533


Meeting Location: Houston Emergency Management Response Center

Address: 5320 North Shepherd Drive
Houston, TX 77091-5738



Time(s):  6:00 PM (Dinner) / 7:00 PM (Meeting)


Directions from Pappas BBQ to the Houston EM Center:




Speaker: Mr. Bob White, Houston Emergency Management Response.

Program: Mr. White will provide a tour of the Office of Emergency Management’s facility along with discussing emergency management response and its public impact.  Mr. White will also talk about how the Emergency Management Center deals with weather emergencies, the history of the Center’s 14 year operation, and how he has personally dealt with such phenomena as ice and wind storms, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and flooding events.  

Speaker Bio: Bob White is a native Houstonian. He attended Sam Houston State University and Houston Baptist University. He also spent six years with the Air Force in communications, and worked in private industry communications and electronics through 1990. During his time with the City of Houston he has worked a number of events such as the heightened awareness and preparatory mode of local government’s emergency services during Desert Shield / Storm. He was on duty in the Emergency Operations Center during the 1991 and 1992 floods, numerous ice storms, the November 1992 tornado outbreak, and the October 1994 flooding. In 1992, as Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Louisiana, spawning numerous tornadoes, the City of Houston sent Mr. White to work with the State of Louisiana’s Emergency Management and New Iberia’s Emergency Management officials during the recovery efforts in dealing with Andrew’s aftermath. Six years later, Mr. White worked Tropical Storm Frances’ 1998 Houston flooding event as well the infamous June 2001 Tropical Storm Allison flood. Mr. White has worked as an Amateur Radio Operator for the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN Program, promoting the program on behalf of the Weather Service and the surrounding counties for which they are responsible. In addition to the weather phenomena which have affected Houston, he has worked a number of man-made incidents. Mr. White aided in the support and coordination of response and recovery agencies during major fires, HAZMAT incidents within the city, on-site operations at the Northline Mall Collapse, and the 1998 aircraft crash near Bush-Intercontinental Airport.



Notes from the President:


A big thank-you goes out to Impact Weather for hosting our December Annual Holiday meeting.  Our speaker was Dr. Larry Carey, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. Carey’s talk centered around the polarity of lightning and its seasonal and regional characteristics. 

The month of December also saw the first freeze at Houston IAH airport. Gene Hafele of the Houston National Weather Service predicted the first freeze on December 15th and was the winner of the Houston Local Chapter First Freeze Forecasting Contest. In addition, parts of southeast Texas saw a “white” Christmas. Approximately four inches of snow fell in Galveston and many locations in south Texas recorded their first ever “white” Christmas. Many Houstonians had measurable snowfall, which was enough for the kids to build snowmen and play in the snow!

This month’s meeting will feature a speaker from the Emergency Management Response Center and a tour of the facility – don’t miss it! We are always looking for new and interesting subjects, and if you have any ideas for topics or speakers please let me know. See you on January 13th for the next meeting!


Your President,

Liz Murphy









As Liz mentioned above, we want to capture all of our meetings, volunteer efforts, school science events, etc. for nostalgia’s sake and for possible entry in BAMS. We may even include them within this monthly newsletter. Please seek out an officer if you are interested in being a photographer.


Chapter Notes:




·         North Carolina State University and Community Outreach: The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Student AMS Chapter is considering how it can maximize their efforts to reach out to their community in the Raleigh, NC, area.  Their student chapter wants to raise awareness of current and emerging atmospheric science topics, careers in the atmospheric sciences, etc., to local middle and senior high school students.  This is partly due to the fact that professors at NCSU are swamped with requests to speak in schools in and around the Raleigh area.  The NCSU student chapter hopes that their student chapter could absorb these requests into a community outreach program. Their idea is to write 45-60 minute technologically exciting presentations, one tailored for middle and another for high schools, to be given by chapter members in the schools.  In addition, they would develop and host a training class prior to sending members into the schools to ensure the students received the highest quality presentation. Depending on the success of this initiative, they would like to make their efforts available to other student chapters so that similar programs could be developed in other parts of the country. However, before they begin on this initiative, they want to know if anyone else has experience in this area, and could provide them some feedback, lessons learned, or help! If you could provide any information to the NCSU student chapter contact, Kyle Presser, kgpresse@ncsu.edu. He would greatly appreciate it!


Upcoming 2005 Conferences:

85th AMS Annual Meeting

9 —13 January 2005, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA


During the 2005 AMS Conference in San Diego, the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC) will be hosting a Chapter Booth located as part of the AMS Resource Center.  Various resources will be available to Chapter members and perspective new members. The booth, which will be open beginning Sunday, January 9th for Weather Fest, and remain open through Thursday January 13th, will provide the opportunity for you to find out more about the diverse activities and tangible benefits of being a member of a Local Chapter.  In addition, various reference materials will be available. We are also asking for your assistance during the conference.  LCAC members will staff the booth during peak hours, but we are looking for volunteers from Local Chapters to assist during these times, as well.  This provides your Chapter another opportunity for National AMS interaction, which is a requirement for the Local Chapter of the Year Award.                      

Questions or comments? Please contact Sherri Del Soldato, sdelsol@sbcglobal.net, or Kelly Garvey Savoie, kgarvey@ametsoc.org.


National Hurricane Conference
21 – 25 March, 2005, Hilton
Riverside, New Orleans, LA


Atmospheric Sciences and Air Quality Conference
27–29 April 2005,
San Francisco, CA


13th Conference on Middle Atmosphere
13—17 June 2005,
Cambridge, MA


15th Conference on Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics

13—17 June 2005, Cambridge, MA

17th Conference on Climate Variability and Change
13—17 June 2005,
Cambridge, MA

15th Conference on Applied Climatology
20—24 June 2005,
Savannah, GA

13th Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation
20—24 June 2005,
Savannah, GA

34th Conference on Broadcast Meteorology
21st Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting
17th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction
1-5 August 2005, Washington, D.C.

NOAA/EPA Golden Jubilee Symposium on Air Quality Modeling and Its Applications
20—21 September 2005,
Durham, NC

12th Conference on Mesoscale Processes
24-28 October 2005, Albuquerque, NM

32nd Conference Radar Meteorology
24-29 October 2005, Albuquerque, NM




The long-awaited Northeast Snowstorms, an in-depth look at some of the nation’s most powerful winter storms by two of the leading experts in this field, is now available from the American Meteorological Society.  The new book, containing a Volume I and II, is a sequel to an earlier book that quickly earned classic status amongst researchers, forecasters, and storm history buffs.  Authors Paul J. Kocin, winter weather expert at The Weather Channel, and Louis W. Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, combine more than 50 years of professional experience documenting, analyzing, and predicting northeast snowstorms. Their first book set standards for historical storm analysis and clarified the complex issues involved in forecasting of blizzards.
The new two-volume set explores the details of more than 75 snowstorms, including the “Blizzard of 1888,” the cold wave and blizzard of 1899, the “Knickerbocker” snowstorm of 1922, New York’s “Big Snow” of 1947, the notorious 1950 “Appalachian Storm,” the 1993 “Superstorm” and other headline storms from the past. “The combination of both books offers the most comprehensive exploration on Northeast winter storms ever compiled,” said Susan Avery, AMS President.  “Kocin and Uccellini’s excitement and passion for winter storms comes to life in these pages.” 
In the first volume, Kocin and Uccellini examine winter storms from many perspectives, highlighting the roles of the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, and the synoptic and mesoscale influences on storm systems.  This volume includes technical explanations of the underlying atmospheric processes to help readers understand how these storms develop and evolve while differentiating those storms which produce heavy snowfall in the ‘Northeast Urban Corridor’ from storms that pose a threat, but ultimately miss, the Northeast.  It also covers the history and current state of forecasting. In the second volume, Kocin and Uccellini dig further into 32 of the most significant snowstorms examining them with detailed analyses. The authors also review many near misses and early and late-season snowstorms to help describe the many ways winter storms challenge the forecasters and frustrate the public’s imagination.  With Northeast Snowstorms the authors now also address the controversial topic of comparative rankings of history’s great East Coast storms, putting them in perspective with a new objective storm scale devised for this project.

Volumes I and II are available as a set for $95; $75 for AMS members: and $55 for student members.  The 800+ page set includes hundreds of black and white and color photographs and a DVD of the digital data used for the analysis of the cases highlighted in Volume II.  The set is available through the AMS Web site at http://www.ametsoc.org/pubs/books/index.html



The Next Meeting:

Mid-February: Speaker from University of Houston’s new meteorology department.


Chapter Web-site: www.amshouston.org


Contact Information:

Feel free to contact any of the officers for comments, questions, suggestions or even additions to the newsletter.  We would appreciate hearing from you.


President Liz Murphy

Ph: 713-621-4474

email: elm4wx@yahoo.com


Vice President Anthony Yanez

Ph: 713-778-8950



Secretary Patrick Blood

Ph: 281-337-5074 (Ext:304)

email: pgblood@yahoo.com


Treasurer Brian Planz

Ph: 713-430-7100

email: penst8wx-1@houston.rr.com


Or e-mail the Local Chapter: houstonams@houston.rr.com


E-mail is Preferred:

The use of email helps us cut down on costs.  If it is available to you, we would like to add you to our e-mailing list.  If you have changed your address, prefer another address, or no longer want to receive this newsletter, please let us know by filling out the form and giving it to any officer. 


Brought to you by……Houston AMS Chapter ’04-’05 Sponsors:





We are looking for additional sponsors for the 2004-2005 Houston Local Chapter of the AMS.  Please contact one of our officers above if you or your company would like to sponsor the newsletter.


Dues/Address Change:

Don't forget to pay your $10 annual dues that were due this past September. 

Please include dues with the form below and turn it into any officer. If you prefer, you can mail the form and check to our Treasurer, Brian Planz. 


Checks should be made out to:  Houston Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

Send to:

Brian Planz

c/o Wilkens Weather Technologies, Inc.

2925 Briar Park Drive, 7th Floor

Houston, TX 77042

Include Below Information with Dues or Address Change.  Please mail to Treasurer or give to an Officer.




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Houston Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

c/o Patrick Blood

Houston/Galveston National Weather Service

1620 Gill Road

Dickinson, TX 77539