NOAA 2004-R299-34
Contact: Ron Trumbla

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Weather Association has recognized the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service employees and partners whose dedicated efforts provide critical meteorological services and information to the public. Launched in 1977, the NWA Awards program is designed to recognize exceptional group or individual achievements in a variety of categories. NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

The awards were presented today at the 29th NWA Annual Awards Luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Portland, Ore. National Weather Service Southern Region employees and a newspaper science writer were honored in four categories.

“I would like to add my personal congratulations to the National Weather Service employees and partners being honored this year,” said Bill Proenza, director, NWS Southern Region. “While we have been well aware of their outstanding contributions for some time, it’s gratifying to see them receive the national recognition they deserve.”

“These awards presented to the National Weather Service employees are a testament to the outstanding work being conducted on behalf of all Americans,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of the NOAA National Weather Service. “Our people are truly dedicated. I thank them for all their hard work.”

Operational Achievement Group Award: This award is presented to a group of two or more individuals for a significant contribution to operational meteorology. The award was presented to Miami Weather Forecast Office forecasters Barry Baxter, Wayne Colin, Pablo Santos, Kim Brabander, Robert Handel, Eric Christensen and Guy Rader. They were on duty late in the afternoon of March 27, 2003 when a strong F2 tornado touched down in the Brownsville/Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. Despite the widespread destruction attributed to the tornado, only one death and 14 injuries resulted. A warning lead time of 51 minutes is credited with keeping the death and injury toll at such a minimum. The tornado was one of nine warned for by the Miami forecasters that afternoon. The average lead time was 23 minutes, more than double the national average of 11 minutes.

Aviation Meteorology Award: This award is presented to an individual or group to recognize significant contributions to aviation meteorology. This year’s award was presented to Thomas Amis, James Ott, Doug Reno and Charles Hays of the NWS Center Weather Service Unit in Fort Worth, Texas; and Lynn Sherretz, Greg Pratt, Dennis Rodgers, Jim Frimel, Yung Chun, Lisa Gifford, Chris Masters and Doug Ohlhorst of the Aviation Division, NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. They are being recognized for their outstanding daily efforts to enhance and develop new methods of displaying weather information for the aviation community. During a period of phenomenal growth in commercial and general aviation, the air traffic control system has increasingly relied on accurate weather data to help maintain safe and efficient control of the National Air Space system.

Larry R. Johnson Special Award: This award is presented to an individual or a group for recognition of unique events or extraordinary accomplishments, which significantly contributed to operational meteorology. This year, the award recognizes the entire staff at the Midland/Odessa WFO for an exceptional series of outlooks, watches and warnings issued before and during a major West Texas rainfall and flash flooding event. Of particular note was the close working relationship between the staff, county and state officials that led to the closure of an Interstate 20 highway bridge before it collapsed under the pressure of floodwaters racing through the Pecos River’s Salt Draw tributary.

Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award: This award is presented to individuals who directly assist the meteorological community in providing weather-related information to the public. This year, the award recognizes Albuquerque Journal Science reporter John Fleck. A reporter for the Journal since the early 1990s, Fleck has written hundreds of articles covering a wide variety of meteorological and climatological issues. Working closely with the National Weather Service and the academic community, Fleck’s articles have been instrumental in increasing the knowledge and understanding of science issues for thousands of readers in New Mexico.

The National Weather Association is a professional nonprofit association, incorporated in Washington, D.C., in 1975 to serve individuals interested in operational meteorology and related activities. It has more than 3,000 members and subscribers in the United States and overseas.

The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA 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 stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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