TESSA Serving the community since 1993.
The Texas Severe Storms Association 

The 2018 National Storm Conference

9:00 a.m. - Welcome & Announcements, Martin Lisius, Chairman, TESSA & Kim George, Conference Coordinator

9:15 a.m. - Gary Woodall, KD5WUT, WCM National Weather Service - Memphis, TN

10th Super Storm Spotter Training Session:  "Structure and Behavior of Severe Storms: A Storm Spotter's Toolkit"

This presentation will review the types of organized storms and discuss environmental characteristics typically associated with each type. Gary will present theories of storm behavior and spotter clues which are  associated with these processes. He will highlight diagnostic and prognostic tools to assist the
spotter in evaluating the convective environment and anticipating storm behavior. The presentation will conclude with two case reviews of recent severe weather events.

Gary is the WCM at the NWS Forecast Office in Memphis, TN. He received his BS in Meteorology from the Florida State University in 1985, and his MS in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 1988.  This year marks Gary's 30th year of presenting spotter training programs.

11:15 a.m.  -  Mark Fox, WCM, National Weather Service -  Fort Worth, TX

"An Operational Look at the Canton, Texas Tornado Outbreak"

The Canton tornado outbreak of April 29, 2017 posed several operational challenges. These ranged from forecasting the synoptic and mesoscale meteorology of the event, but also in communicating the possibilities and severity of the event. This talk will show these challenges from the operational viewpoint of WFO Dallas/Fort Worth. Challenges include: a perception of a busted forecast, since thunderstorms did not impact a major populated area, the lack of a "classic" setup for violent tornadoes, and the extreme rural nature of the storms (and poor cell phone coverage) made real time reporting of the storms difficult.

Mark Fox is the Warning & Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Fort Worth. Mark earned his degree in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 1989. After graduation, he worked as a broadcast meteorologist for about ten years, before joining the NWS in 1999 in Fort Worth. Mark worked as a forecaster in Amarillo and Lubbock, before working at Southern Region Headquarters. After four years as the Regional Training Officer, Mark began his current position in 1999.

12:00 p.m. -  Lunch break. BBQ sandwiches of pulled pork or chopped brisket with chips, cookie and drink is available for $5 in meeting room. Local restaurants nearby 

1:00 p.m.  -  Roger Edwards, Editor of Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology

"Tropical Cyclone Tornado Concepts:  Harvey as an Example"

Tornadoes in tropical cyclones typically are weak (EF0 to EF1 damage), in a sector north through southeast of center.  That is where the climatology of landfalling and inland TC environments shows the greatest overlap of strong low-level shear and at least marginal instability to support supercells.  Hurricane Harvey was no exception.  What made Harvey's tornado threat unique was the same factor contributing to the storm's record rainfall and flooding:  its slow movement, which allowed the threat to linger for days.  Houston (Harris County) was in tornado watches for sixty straight hours, almost certainly a record for any large city!  We will discuss concepts of forecasting tornadoes from tropical cyclones, and illustrate them using SPC forecasts for Harvey.

Roger is a lead forecaster at SPC in Norman with 25 years' tenure there.  He is happily married to Elke, who also is a dedicated nature photographer and storm chaser.   They have two kids named after four hurricanes.   Roger was born and raised in east Dallas and attended Woodrow Wilson High School.  [Yes, he has watched all five Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl victories.]  He doesn't remember when he became obsessed with severe weather because he always has been.  When he was a baby he would crawl to the screen door to watch lightning.  By age 6 he had already announced to all who would listen that he would grow up to be a meteorologist specializing in tornadoes.

Since then, Roger got his meteorology degree at OU, while working at NSSL and chasing with their storm intercept teams, including the TOTO and DOPLIGHT programs, and paid supercell penetrations from every angle to verify the prototype WSR-88D.  Roger since has worked at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City, part of which became SPC.  His homes have been inside a hurricane, tornado, and earthquake.   He has been fortunate to witness the most damaging hurricane, flood and tornado in U.S. history at their times:  Hurricane Andrew in Miami in 1992, the Missouri floods of 1993, and the Moore, OK F5 tornado of 1999, and has been chasing storms every day possible for 33 years.  He has led or co-authored 75 scientific papers (formal and conference).  Roger's main research specialty is hurricane-spawned tornadoes, and he published a major review paper on the topic in 2013 in the Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology.

2:00 p.m.  - Lance Woods, Meteorologist, Science and Operations Officer NWS League City, TX

"Harvey: Warning and Messaging Challenges during an Extended Tornado Threat"

The slow movement of Hurricane Harvey, coupled with the center being south of southeast Texas, produced a prolonged favorable tornado environment. Southeast Texas was under a continuous tornado watch for 4 days. The NWS Houston-Galveston office issued 157 tornado warnings during Harvey, which is more than the previous 5 years combined. This presentation will examine Harvey's tornadoes, as well as the messaging challenges of a concurrent tornado/flood threat during a flash flood emergency.   

I am currently the Science and Operations Officer at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in League City, TX.  My current areas of research focus are improving flash flood forecasting/messaging, as well as messaging excessive heat.  Prior to this position, I was a senior forecaster at the League City office.  I began my career with the NWS in El Paso, TX, in 1994.  I became a forecaster at the NWS Lake Charles, LA, office in 1995, before coming to the Houston/Galveston area in 1998.  I also have experience as a trade floor meteorologist with Duke Energy and am a graduate of Texas A&M University; receiving both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Meteorology.

3:00 p.m.  - Nestor Fecha, MIC Telemundo 39

"Hurricane Harvey: First hand experience from Rockport, combining science and TV"

Harvey presented itself as a once in a life time experience to cover a Category 1 hurricane from a TV meteorologist perspective. The rapid intensification of the cyclone to a Category 4 hurricane and the long hours awaiting for the eye to come, while experiencing the eyewall, changed things. This presentation depicts the experiences of a north Texas meteorologist that live through multiple hurricanes in Puerto Rico, but nothing like Harvey. 

Chief Meteorologist Néstor Flecha is a three time EMMY awarded winner meteorologist. He leads and manage all weather coverages on live television and digital platforms for KXTX, the NBCUniversal Owned Television Station that serves the Spanish speaking community in North Texas (Telemundo 39). Néstor has been in north Texas since the spring of 2013, covering all from killer tornadoes, to cobblestone ice, record flooding, large hail and the heat. He is bilingual, and achieved a B.S. in Theoretical Physics & Meteorology from the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez, PR and a Master's of Science in Meteorology from Mississippi State University - Starkville, MS.

4:00 p.m.  -  Dr. Charles Doswell, retired meteorologist, scientific consultant


A storm chasing career that began in 1972 and continues today is reviewed. Some chase anecdotes are presented and some thoughts about how storm chasing has evolved are offered. There are some controversial issues that will be mentioned. And there will be photographs and video.


5:00 p.m. Raffle prize presentation -for the final prizes of the evening
The Grand Prize raffle drawing at the conference this year are 3--one year subscription to Baron Weather Services Web-Based Monitoring System, instant access on your tablet device, a comprehensive tool for weather tracking, advanced situational awareness and street-level precision weather data, valued at $780.00. A RAOB software package valued at $1,280.00 donated by Environmental Research Services, LLC, Single Day Storm Chasing Tour donated by Tempest Tours, valued at $300.  Other raffle items will be announced during the conference.


TESSA T-shirts, decals and videos can be purchased at the TESSA Store in the vendor area.  Super Storm Spotter items are available.  Please support the conference by purchasing items from the TESSA Store.  Take time to thank the supporters listed below for helping to keep this event free and open to the public.  The 2016 Super Storm Spotter DVD is available at the TESSA Store for $10.00.

Raffle tickets are $5.00 each and can be purchased at the TESSA Store.  Prizes will be awarded at the end of the conference.  Funds from the sale of tickets and TESSA Store merchandise will be used to help pay for today's event.  Must be present to win. New Car Raffle for $2.00 a ticket provided by Toyota and Honda of Denton.

We would like to thank the following for their generous support.

The American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association
chapters of North Texas and the National Weather Service.

Primary Sponsors:
NBC5 Weather Team, Tempest Tours, Inc., Baron Weather Services, RAOB and Keep Safe Shelters

Vendors: SkyWarn Supply, National Weather Center, , NBC5 Weather Team, Baron Weather Services, Texas CoCoRa HS, North Central Texas Council of Governments (COG), MesoMount Designs, J Menzies Photography, Weather Pro Shop and AARL.

Special thanks to Prairie Pictures, Inc. for providing staff and materials.

Conference Team:
Martin Lisius, Kim George, Steve George and Suzanne Winter.

Please advise us before the conference ends if we failed to thank anyone who provided support.

Get Active!
Take what you have learned at the conference with you and help your community.  Commit to doing at least one of these tasks this month: If you are not a storm spotter already, become one.  Volunteer to speak about severe weather safety at your neighborhood school, church or at your place of business.  Write your state or US representative and ask for stricter building codes that address tornadoes and damaging winds in your area.  Ask for laws that require stricter codes or the construction of shelters for apartments and mobile home parks.  Join your local chapter of the American Red Cross, National Weather Association or the American Meteorological Society.  If you think the National Weather Service is doing a great job, share your opinion with your regional NWS office or tell your US congressman.  Finally, identify your best storm shelter option in your home and tell your family (almost always the smallest, most interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy structure).

TESSA Mission Statement
The Texas Severe Storms Association (TESSA) is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization founded to bring together both amateur and professional severe weather scientists in an attempt to better understand dangerous storms through the collection and diffusion of knowledge.

Monetary contributions should be made payable to "TESSA."

A complete list of severe weather safety tips can be accessed on-line at http://tessa.org/safety_tips.html

Texas Severe Storms Association   PO Box 122222   Arlington, Texas 76012   www.tessa.org