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Collage of NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley presentations at three tropical themed conferences in spring 2015
Clockwise, from top left: NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley Warning Coordination Meteorologist Barry Goldsmith addresses a session on "The Changing Face of Hurricane Meteorology and What it Means to Business" at the National Hurricane Conference; Goldsmith discusses NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley continuity of operations in case of a hurricane catastrophe at the National Tropical Weather Conference; Goldsmith and Information Technology Officer Pablo Gonzalez staff a booth at the South Texas Hurricane Conference.

NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley Addresses Trifecta of 2015 Conferences
Local, State, and National Hurricane Related Topics Discussed

A whirlwind three weeks of significant outreach to local, state, and national customers that began with the 2015 Rio Grande Valley Weather Festival at the NWS Office in Brownsville and stretched to Austin, included several important presentations on a variety of topics that helped educate hundreds of core partners and affiliates from Texas to Maine beginning the final week of March and concluding the second week of April 2015. Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) Barry Goldsmith spoke at each conference, and was accompanied by colleagues from neighboring offices serving Texas, for the first two conferences.

National Hurricane Conference, Austin, March 30–April 2
Mr. Goldsmith joined many other NWS colleagues from around the Gulf and Atlantic coast, including National Hurricane Center staff and WCMs from Corpus Christi, Houston/Galveston, and Port Arthur/Beaumont to participate in a half–day session on "Knowing Your Hurricane History: Texas" on March 31st. Goldsmith’s presentation, A Hurricane History of the Rio Grande Valley: Will Past Stories Prevent a Future Human Catastrophe?, concluded the discussions provided by all NWS offices serving the Texas coast to a full room of more than sixty persons. On April 2, Mr. Goldsmith provided a second invited presentation to a session on The Changing Face of Hurricane Meteorology and What it Means to Businesses, titled Hurricane Information for Business Protection: Forecasts You Can Use to Make Smart Decisions. This talk included an overview of forecast improvements, followed by a full discussion on the birth and growth of what will be known as Hurricane Threats and Impacts, which incorporate uncertainty into producing a reasonable worse case scenario for preparedness decisions.

National Tropical Weather Conference, South Padre Island, April 9–10
The following week, dignitaries and notables came to the Rio Grande Valley’s beach playground for the 3rd annual National Tropical Weather Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn and Resort on South Padre Island. Key presentations included the April pre–season forecast from the Tropical Meteorology Project (out of Colorado State University), headed by Dr. Phil Klotzbach; two presentations on improved products from the National Hurricane Center by Director Dr. Rick Knabb, a compelling keynote presentation on post–storm survey following Hurricane Ike by Dr. Tim Marshall, and the awarding of the Dr. Robert and Joanne Simpson Award for distinguished service in hurricane forecasting to Dr. Neil Frank, National Hurricane Center Director from 1973 to 1987 (below). NWS offices from Houston/Galveston to Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley kicked off the formal presentations on April 9th, with a series of short presentation on decision support services. Mr. Goldsmith (with assistance from Information Technology Officer Pablo Gonzalez) provided a summary of the NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley Continuity of Operations Plan should a catastrophic hurricane strike the office, located just 18 miles from the Gulf. The short presentation, entitled Always Working for You: Seamless Impact Based Decision Support in Hurricanes, was given to one of the larger crowds of the conference, with more than seventy people filling the ballroom.

Photo of south/southeast Texas WCM at the National Tropical Weather Conference on South Padre Island in 2015
Warning Coordination Meteorologists Barry Goldsmith, NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley (left), Dan Reilly, NWS Houston/Galveston, and John Metz, NWS Corpus Christi, pose in front of NWS booth at the National Tropical Weather Conference on South Padre Island in 2015.
Dr. Neil Frank accepting the Dr. Robert and Joanne Simpson Award at the National Tropical Weather Conference; Max Mayfield assists in the presentation via Skype.
Max Mayfield, National Hurricane Center Director from 2000 to 2007, looks on as Dr. Neil Frank, National Hurricane Center Director from 1973 to 1987, receives the Dr. Robert and Joanne Simpson Award at the National Tropical Weather Conference on South Padre Island in 2015.

South Texas Hurricane Conference, McAllen, April 14–15, 2015
Mr. Goldsmith, joined by Mr. Gonzalez, staffed a full booth inside the McAllen Convention Center and distributed hundreds of brochures, as well as items such as can/drink insulators, magnets, and key chains, to core partners from Emergency Management and related functions, local media, academia, and others. The conference, in its third year, drew a crowd of more than 1,000 attendees. The South Texas Hurricane Conference is one of several regional conferences along the Texas coast held in the spring of each year. The 2015 theme was "Resilient Regional Communities for Today and Tomorrow". Mr. Goldsmith was invited to speak, and kept a packed session enthralled with a the presentation titled Building a Weather Ready RGV: One Person, One Family, One Neighborhood at a Time. The presentation, given for more than 100 session attendees, focused on local resilience building through the NOAA Weather Ready Nation initiative using a "Thousand Points of Light" approach to spread the word throughout the unique familial culture that is the Valley.

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