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Vol. VIII, No. 1


January 1999

Storm Warning Test: The NWS Cheyenne office will test a new storm warning proce- dure this winter that could result in a public rating scale designed to better describe the potential impact of winter storms.

The new rating system should let forecast- ers provide a winter watch and warning service more useful to those affected. The winter storm rating index was created by forecasters in Cheyenne. The new index rates winter storms in five categories: one, a minor inconvenience; two, inconve- nience; three, significant inconvenience; four, potentially life-threatening; and five, life-threatening.

Sanctuary Honored as Conservation Accomplishment of the Century

T he Audubon Society, one of t h e c o u n t r y s t o p e n v i r o n - m e n t a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s , h a s named NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as one of 10 of the “top gems” in the Nation’s “crown jewels of its natural heritage,” alongside such national treasures as Grand Canyon National Park, the

Alaska Lands Act, Nebraska’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, California’s Mono Lake, and the Florida Everglades.

The Society put the sanctuary in such distinguished company in the article “The Century of Conserva- tion,” in the December 1998 issue of Audubon magazine. continued on page 2

News Briefs

Cheyenne forecasters devised the new in- dex after an October 1997 storm dumped heavy snow on parts of two states for 15 hours in gale-force winds.

Dust Bowl Redux?: Droughts more severe than the 1930s Dust Bowl could occur in the Great Plains sometime in the next century, say NOAA scientists Connie Woodhouse, of the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colo., and Jonathan Overpeck, head of NOAA’s Paleoclimatology Program, in the December issue of the Bulletin of the Ameri- can Meteorological Society.

The authors found a greater range of drought variability in the past than found in the instrumental record. Droughts of the 20th Century have been only moderately severe and relatively short, compared with droughts of much longer ago. Woodhouse said that paleoclimatic records of the past 400 years strongly indicate that the severe droughts of the 20th century, the 1930s Dust Bowl and the 1950s drought, were not unusual events and suggest that we can expect to have droughts of this magnitude once or twice a century.

Will Stelle, NMFS Northwest regional administrator (left), gets out the bucket and soap to wash the Bronco of the lucky winner, Randy Cross (in car). Campaign coordinator Cmdr. Michael Mallette, chief of the NMFS fisheries permit office (center), helped to raise more than $20,000 for the Combined Federal Campaign.

Coming Clean for the CFC N OAA’s Northwest Fisheries center in Seattle showed a unique way to raise awareness for the Combined Federal Campaign—a raffle for a car wash by NMFS Regional Administrator, Will Stelle. Randy Cross, a NMFS management and program analyst, was the lucky winner. The raffle, which included other prizes, raised more than $20,800 for the combined charities, a 42 percent increase over last year.


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