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Contact: Marilu Trainor
|NOAA News Releases 2002
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COMMERCE DEPARTMENT AWARDS BRONZE MEDAL TO SALT LAKE TEAMS FOR WINTER GAMES’ WEATHER FORECASTING
The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Bronze Medals to members of the NOAA National Weather Service in Salt Lake City for an extraordinary effort to support a first time partnership between the NOAA Weather Service, private sector and academic meteorologists for weather forecasting during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the Commerce Department.
The award recipients include staff at the Salt Lake City Weather Forecast Office and several individuals at the agency’s Western Region Headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City. Jim Campbell, deputy regional director, and Larry Dunn, meteorologist in charge of the weather forecast office, led the NOAA Weather Service efforts during the games.
Several members of the Weather Support Group attended a ceremony held today at the University of Maryland in Adelphi, Md. The awards were presented by retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
On April 5, 2001, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the XIX Olympic Winter Games announced a unique partnership formed among the NOAA Weather Service, the University of Utah and thirteen private meteorologists under contract to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. Forecasters from Hill Air Force Base also joined the Weather Support Group and provided weather expertise during the Games.
“For the first-time ever, U.S. government and private meteorologists as well as academic experts shared forecast responsibilities during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The weather team included more than 50 people who collectively had more than 700 years of meteorology experience in complex terrain,” said Vickie Nadolski, NOAA Weather Service Western Region director.
“The forecasters had to prepare for anything Mother Nature could throw at Utah including heavy snow, fog, high winds, air quality, warm temperatures, rain, or avalanches. They also worked closely with agencies responsible for security,” she said. “The partnership was a tremendous success and will be used as a model for future Games.”
“We had Winter Games’ officials, venue managers, service providers, athletes, and the general public making critical decisions every day based on the weather forecasts we provided,” said Dunn.
Campbell added, “The Weather Support Group established the model partnership for showing that government, private industry, and academia can work together to provide a superior product. The multi-sector cooperation has led to improved forecasting tools, a better understanding of winter weather in complex terrain. The data gathered will support future mountain weather research. The special software developed to exchange information between the forecasters has already been used by the National Weather Service to support the NOAA Weather Service’s ongoing mission for fire weather and all hazards forecasting.
“Each person receiving the award was instrumental in contributing to the overall success of the Weather Support Group. I am proud of their work, which has become part of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games history. Our teams started planning more than five years before the events to ensure accurate and timely weather forecasts would be made,” Campbell said.
The staff at the Utah Forecast Office received an organizational team award while several members of the Western Region Headquarters staff were also honored for their work and were awarded individual bronze medals. They included Campbell (Salt Lake City), Delain A. Edman (Sandy. Utah), Kevin J. Schrab (former Park City. Utah), Jeffrey P. Walker (Sandy, Utah), Jason E. Burks ( former Salt Lake City), Randall L. Weatherly (Park City. Utah), and Marilu A. Trainor (Layton, Utah).
Also honored were four meteorologists who augmented the Salt Lake City forecast office staff during the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2002 Paralympics. These include Timothy W. Barker (Boise, Idaho), Joel W. Cline (Raleigh, N.C), Thomas A. Niziol (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Randall A. Graham (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
The Bronze Medal is the highest honorary award given by NOAA. It is granted by the administrator for a significant contribution to NOAA or the Department.
NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.
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