Sunday, March 22, 2009
2009 Amarillo NWS Weather Workshop Was An EF-5 Success!
It was good to see over 200 people attending the Amarillo NWS office's Bi-Annual Severe Weather Workshop at the Amarillo Civic Center yesterday (March, 22).
Storm chasers, spotters, local weather meteorologists and just plain ol' folk interested in our amazing Panhandle Skies filled the Heritage Room to listen to great lectures, watch amazing video and (or) take the annual Advanced Storm Spotters (NWS certification) course so they could be Oh-Ficial storm spotters.
There were also some weather-related booths set up by vendors and emergency management organizations. It did my heart good to see regular AES (Amarillo Emergency Service) members showing up to man their own (emblazoned with the logo I designed) booth (for a change) to try and snag a few recruits.
If you applied to the storm AES spotters auxiliary, drop me a line and I'll fill you in on what to expect. Don't expect kind words.
Never-the-less I will be spotting (independently) this year for the NWS and shooting for KVII which is a wonderful thing because I won't have to deal with the internal politics and egos (that unfortunately plague AES) and as a result am free to chase and spot anywhere and anytime I please.
Damn! Did i just post a tirade? I hate when that happens - oh well.
Back to the weather workshop.
Heres a shot of the NWS booth and some of the friendly folk who greeted us as we walked in.
NWS gave everyone a really nice rain gauge and a ticket for one of the door prizes, plus they had plenty of severe-weather related pamphlets and SWAG to snag, including stickers, pencils and weather coloring books for the kids.
I showed my video : "West Texas Weather Rhapsody" that (happily for me) garnered loud and long applause, as well as the much appreciated pats-on-the-back, and many "Ay Attaboy Steve" from many of my friends and fellow chasers.
It felt good to get the recognition especially in light of all the hard work that went into producing it, not to mention last year's non-severe weather season that started with wild fires and ended with my feud with AES and getting all my radio gear ripped out of my car by some dirty rotten thieving crack heads.
But I digress - again. Stop that Steve!
If you missed it, its posted HERE.
Door prizes (donated by Walmart) included some pretty nice stuff, including; weather radios, DVD players, digital weather stations, MP3 players, ice chests (with built in radios) and huge (official NWS) rain gauges, which the winners will see filled with dust this Spring if the drought continues.
But the show-stopper (and the prize everyone wanted to win) was a beautiful 32 inch HDTV.
At 12:30 PM the lectures began (intros by NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steve Drillette) and included talks by the local TV weather-cast teams, John "JJ" Brost - Amarillo NWS, Kevin Starbuck (city of Amarillo) Emergency Management Coordinator (a guy I really respect) and the amazingly funny and informative Dr. Kevin Kiosel from the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. "wind is wind" Kiosel's lecture on the difference between downbursts, macro-micro -bursts and tornadoes was the highlight of the day.
Dr.Kiosel is a combination of serious professor/researcher and Bill Nye - The Science Guy and if you ever get a chance to hear him talk, you are in for a real treat. He takes the "sigh" of science that's for sure.
Here's a photo of him shooting huge vapor rings acros the room with his trash-can weather replicating gizmo.
In between speakers, door prizes were given away. Everyone laughed when Doppler Dave (KFDA) won a digital weather station and veteran Amarillo weather-caster) Rot McCoy won one of the jumbo rain gauges.
Speaking of Roy, a very touching moment occurred when Roy McCoy was introduced ( by KAMR's John Harris) and everyone stood up and gave him a great ovation. Anyone who lives in the Texas Panhandle knows that Roy McCoy is one of the area weather icons and it was good to see him get his due.
It was also great to see his son (Jay) was there to witness it.
All in all it was a very enjoyable event. I got to hob-knob with some old friends and fellow weather junkies such as Steve Miller, Jason Boggs,, Dale Stanton,, Ken Hanson and lots of others too many to mention here.
Here is a photo of the KAMR TV storm chase team (left to right) Steve Miller, Jay MCCoy and Jason Boggs.
To visit Steve Miller's Texas Tail Chasers blog click HERE.
View Jason Boggs' blog ( that's fun to say) HERE.
After the workshop I stayed for the Advanced Storm Spotters (NWS certification) course which was attended by even more people than the lectures. Those there to get their certification included housewives, smart kids, area-wide law enforcement and public safety officers, farmers ranchers, (and even yours truly) who had missed the class offered by the NWS in February.
And as if the skies knew - just s the class finished up, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued on storms just to our Northwest!
I'll close by saying a special thanks to everyone at the Amarillo NWS for their great sense of community awareness and for putting together a great workshop. See you in two years!
I case you were wondering - I won the HDTV.
Click to enlarge!
Please click on each image to enlarge them and see them in their proper color and contrast.