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Contact: Tanya Fransen and Marilu Trainor
News Releases 2003
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DEPARTMENT AWARDS BRONZE MEDAL
The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its Bronze Medal to the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Glasgow for its public service. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's NWS Forecast Office in Glasgow was recognized for providing outstanding service to the citizens of northeast Montana during two significant flash flooding events, which resulted in extensive property damage including two dam breaks. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
NWS Glasglow’s Meteorologist in Charge, Julie Adolphson, was presented the award today in College Park, Md., by retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. The Bronze Medal is the highest honorary award given by NOAA and is granted for a significant contribution to NOAA or the Department of Commerce.
“The forecast office in Glasgow is recognized for providing outstanding warning services to the citizens of northeast Montana during two significant flash flooding events on June 22-23 and Aug. 21, 2002. Because of their efforts, no lives were lost, no injuries occurred, and property loss was minimized,” said Vickie Nadolski, NWS Western Region director. “The Glasgow team demonstrated the effectiveness of their comprehensive severe weather preparedness programs.”
Adolphson explained the community was well warned for the June 22-23 event. The forecast team put out early warnings for the likelihood of flash flooding more than three hours prior to water from the break.
on June 22, forecasters used our severe weather checklists and issued
a Severe Weather Outlook indicating that severe thunderstorms were
possible from the afternoon through evening. A flash flood warning
was also issued and the storm’s total precipitation was nearly
ten inches. The next day, a Skywarn weather spotter called to indicate
the dam had given away. Another flash flood warning was issued immediately
because the dam held 2,200 acre feet of water and was 60 feet high
and 500 feet long,” Adolphson said.
The Aug. 21, 2002 event produced more than the average yearly rainfall in less than eight hours and produced hail drifts as deep as two feet. Adolphson said the extreme rainfall rate exceeded anything the local forecasters had seen since the Doppler weather radar became operational in Glasgow seven years ago.
A Severe Weather Outlook was issued early that morning highlighting the potential for severe thunderstorms with large hail and very heavy rain for the afternoon and evening of Aug. 21. “The statement said ‘the best chance of severe thunderstorms will be along and south of U.S. Highway 2' and that was exactly where the severe weather occurred,” Adolphson explained. “Over the next six and one half hours, the severe thunderstorms intensified and continuously redeveloped over southern Valley and northern McCone counties.”
Nadolski concluded, “The Department of Commerce, NOAA and the National Weather Service have all benefited from the outstanding performance of the entire staff of the weather forecast office in Glasgow. They have demonstrated their effectiveness by preparing a well thought out and coordinated warning program that has led to saving lives and property of the people of northeast Montana.”
NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. National 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.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardshipof our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
On the Web:
NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher: http://www.noaa.gov/lautenbacher.html
National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
National Weather Service Forecast Office in Glasgow: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/forecasts/MTZ017.php?warncounty=MTC105&city=Glasgow