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Title 15 Part 946

Title 15 → Subtitle B → Chapter IX → Subchapter C → Part 946

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 15 Part 946

e-CFR data is current as of December 11, 2018

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter C → Part 946


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade


§946.1   Purpose.

(a) This part sets forth the procedures for certification by the Secretary of Commerce that the closure, consolidation, automation or relocation of any field office of the National Weather Service (NWS) pursuant to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Modernization of the NWS will not result in any degradation of weather services. Section 706 of Pub. L. 102-567 requires that no such field office be closed, consolidated, automated, or relocated until such certification is made. This part distinguishes these modernization activities which require certification from those changes in operations at a field office which do not require certification.

(b) This part, including specifically these sections which specify when certifications are required, is intended to promote confidence that public safety is being adequately considered during the modernization process. While some of the terms used in these regulations may be identical to those used by the Office of Personnel Management, the General Services Administration, or by NOAA in personnel regulations, this part does not affect or supersede those regulations. In particular, a determination that the move of a field office is not a “relocation” for purposes of these regulations does not affect an employee's rights to relocation assistance, discontinued service retirement, severance pay, or grade and pay retention.

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§946.2   Definitions.

Automate (or automation) means to replace employees performing surface observations at a field office with automated weather service observation equipment. For the purposes of this definition, an employee performing surface observations at a field office is replaced when that office, after installing such equipment, reduces or eliminates its responsibility for taking surface observations and removes the employee from that field office, or formally requests the employee to cease performing all observational responsibilities at that office. Automate does not include temporarily reducing the hours of operation during which a field office is responsible for surface observations or augmenting/backing up an ASOS when such reduction results from an unplanned decrease in staff.

Category 1 radar means an existing NWS radar which is to be replaced by a NEX-RAD on the same site or on an adjacent site from which the two radars cannot operate concurrently. A Category 1 radar must be dismantled when the existing tower prevents building a replacement NEX-RAD on the same site or operationally demonstrating and commissioning a replacement NEX-RAD on an adjacent site by physically blocking its beam. A Category 1 radar must be turned off when it prevents operationally demonstrating and commissioning a replacement NEX-RAD on an adjacent site by creating substantial electromagnetic interference.

Change operations at a field office means to transfer service responsibility, commission weather observation systems, decommission a NWS radar, move an entire field office to a new location inside the local commuting and service area, or significantly change the staffing level of a field office except where the staffing change constitutes a consolidation or automation or where there is an unplanned decrease in staff.

Close (or closure) means to remove all weather services, equipment, and personnel from a filed office. It does not include a consolidation, automation, or relocation or a move of a field office to another location within the current local commuting and service area.

Commission means to officially charge a new observational technology (e.g, NEXRAD and ASOS) with responsibility for providing weather data within a defined service area or to charge a new weather office support system (e.g, AWIPS) with responsibility for supporting office operations.

Committee means the Modernization Transition Committee established by sec. 707 of Pub. L. 102-567.

Consolidate (or consolidation) means to remove some positions from a field office (without closing that office) after those responsibilities have been reduced or eliminated by the commissioning of one or more NEXRADS, the decommissioning of the radar operated by that office, if any, and the combination of that office's responsibilities with those of another field office. Consolidate does not include temporarily reducing the hours during which a field office is responsible for operating a radar when such reduction results from an unplanned decrease in staff.

Decommission (or permanently decommission) means to permanently withdraw existing official responsibility for providing weather data or weather office support from an existing technology which includes turning off the technology. It does not include temporarily withdrawing responsibility for providing radar data where this action results from:

(1) System failure;

(2) The need to dismantle a Category 1 radar to allow the construction of or the operational demonstration and commissioning of a replacement NEX-RAD; or

(3) The need to turn off a Category 1 radar to allow the operational demonstration and commissioning of a replacement NEX-RAD.

Field office means a National Weather Service Office (WSO) or a National Weather Service Forecast Office (WSFO).

Inventory of services means all of those weather services from those listed on the menu of services that are provided to the public by a field office in its service area prior to a transition action.

Local Commuting Area means the population center (or two or more neighboring ones) served by an existing field office and includes those surrounding localities that can reasonably be considered part of this single area for transportation purposes. The Local Commuting Area for any field office located in a Metropolitan Area defined by the Office of Management and Budget for statistical purposes shall be the Metropolitan Statistical Area or Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Menu of services means the basic weather services provided by NWS field offices as listed in §946.4.

National Implementation Plan means the plan submitted to Congress as part of the budget justification documents for Fiscal Year 1994 and for each subsequent fiscal year until the modernization is complete.

Regional Director means the Director of one of the six geographical regions of the NWS.

Relocate (or relocation) means to move an entire field office, including all personnel positions, equipment and service responsibility to a location outside the current local commuting or service area of that field office.

Responsible Meteorologist means an employee of the NWS in charge of the office that will be responsible for providing weather services to the area affected by a closure, consolidation, automation, or relocation of a field office.

Restructure means to close, consolidate, automate, or relocate a field office.

Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce or his or her delegate.

Service area means the geographical area for which an existing field office provides weather services or conducts observations.

Strategic Plan means the 10 year strategic plan for the modernization of NWS which was submitted to the Congress by the Secretary on March 10, 1989.

Unplanned decrease in staff means a temporary reduction in the number of employees available for duty at a field office resulting from employee retirement, resignation, extended sick leave or emergency leave, or voluntary acceptance of training or of a position outside that field office.

Weather service means a service or product provided to a service area by a field office.

[58 FR 64091, Dec. 3, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 44314, Aug. 29, 1994]

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§946.3   Notification of changes in operations and restructuring.

(a) Beginning with the Fiscal Year 1994 budget submission to Congress and until the modernization is complete, the NWS will submit to Congress annually a National Implementation Plan. The NWS may amend a Plan prior to the submission of the next Plan to include modifications provided that notification of any additional proposed changes in operations or identification of any additional proposed restructuring actions shall be provided to Congress at least 90 days prior to the date of the action.

(b) The NWS will neither change operations at, nor restructure, any field office after September 30, 1993, pursuant to the implementation of the Strategic Plan unless it has provided notification of the relevant action in the most current edition of the National Implementation Plan, or an amendment thereof, and has complied with all requirements of these regulations.

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§946.4   Menu of services.

The following are the basic weather services provided by NWS field offices:

(a) Surface Observations

(b) Upper Air Observations

(c) Radar Observations

(d) Public Forecasts, Statements, and Warnings

(e) Aviation Forecasts, Statements, and Warnings

(f) Marine Forecasts, Statements, and Warnings

(g) Hydrologic Forecasts and Warnings

(h) Fire Weather Forecasts and Warnings

(i) Agricultural Forecasts and Advisories

(j) NOAA Weather Radio Broadcasts

(k) Climatological Services

(l) Emergency Management Support

(m) Special Products and Service Programs

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§946.5   Change in operations—commissioning and decommissioning.

(a) Before commissioning any new NEXRAD or ASOS weather observation system, the NWS shall prepare a Commissioning Report documenting that the system involved will perform to the Government's specifications; the system has been tested on site and performs reliably; satisfactory maintenance support is in place; sufficient staff with adequate training are available to operate the system; technical coordination with weather service users has been completed; and the system satisfactorily supports field office operations.

(b) The Report required by paragraph (a) of this section shall be based on the scientific and technical criteria set forth in the NWS' NEXRAD and ASOS Commissioning Plans, as appropriate, which criteria shall be published in the Federal Register as the final commissioning criteria in accordance with sec. 704(b)(1) of the Act. In the case of an ASOS commissioning, the Report shall also document that the NWS has consulted with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and has determined that the weather services provided after commissioning will continue to be in full compliance with the applicable FAA flight aviation rules.

(c) Before decommissioning any NWS radar, the NWS shall prepare a Decommissioning Report documenting that all replacement radars needed to provide equal coverage have been commissioned; confirmation of services with users has been completed; and that the radar being decommissioned is no longer needed to support field office operations. The Decommissioning Report shall be based on the scientific and technical criteria contained in the NWS' Radar Decommissioning Plan, which criteria shall be published in the Federal Register as the final decommissioning criteria in accordance with the requirements of sec. 704(b)(1) of the Act.

(d) If the final commissioning criteria significantly modify the criteria upon which the previous commissioning of a NEXRAD and/or ASOS were based, the NWS shall confirm that the relevant system conforms with the final criteria adopted. The NWS shall not decommission any NWS radar until the final criteria have been adopted.

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§946.6   Change in operations—transferring responsibility and moving field offices.

(a) After providing any notification required by §946.3(b), NWS may change operations at a field office to implement the Strategic Plan, including:

(1) Transferring official responsibility for taking radar observations to a NEXRAD Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) or a NEXRAD Weather Service Office (NWSO) that is being established as a future Weather Forecast Office following commissioning of the NEXRAD at the new office;

(2) Transferring official responsibility for taking observations from a Category 1 radar to a backup radar or radars prior to constructing and/or operating a replacement NEXRAD. Before transferring responsibility, the Responsible Meteorologist shall document that technical coordination with users has been completed and that the transition to the replacement NEXRAD can be completed expeditiously;

(3) Transferring its service responsibility for issuing watches, warnings, forecasts and other products to a NWSFO or NWSO;

(4) Significantly reducing its staffing level by transferring or reassigning personnel to support the service responsibilities transferred under paragraph (a)(3) of this section provided that the field office continues to assign the appropriate number of positions established by the NWS Operations Manual to carry out its observation responsibilities; and

(5) Moving an entire field office to a location within the local commuting and service area of that office.

(b) A field office may not significantly reduce its staffing level assigned to support any observation responsibility, including those responsibilities transferred under paragraph (a)(2) of this section and those retained under paragraph (a)(4) of this section, until the Secretary has certified that the automation and/or consolidation will not degrade service in accordance with §946.7.

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§946.7   Preparation of proposed certification for restructuring.

(a) Whenever it becomes appropriate to restructure a field office identified in the National Implementation Plan, but prior to taking such action, the Responsible Meteorologist shall make a determination that there will be no degradation of service based on the final criteria published in the Federal Register in accordance with sec. 704 of the Act and recommend a proposed certification. The proposed certification may address all related restructuring actions that occur as part of a coordinated step described in the National Implementation Plan.

(b) The proposed certification shall include:

(1) A description of local weather characteristics and weather-related concerns which affect the weather services provided within the service area;

(2) A detailed comparison of the inventory of services provided within the service area prior to such action and the services to be provided after such action;

(3) Any recent or expected modernization of NWS operations which will enhance services to the affected area;

(4) An identification of any area within any state which will not receive NEXRAD coverage at an elevation of 10,000 feet;

(5) Evidence based upon operational demonstration of modernized NWS operations which support a determination that no degradation in service will result;

(6) Any report of the Committee issued under sec. 707(c) of the Act; and

(7) The Responsible Meteorologist's determination that there will be no degradation of service.

(c) If the restructuring proposed to be certified involves the commissioning of a NEXRAD, the Responsible Meteorologist shall also consider the following evidence from operational demonstration of modernized operations in reaching the conclusion that no degradation of service will result:

(1) The Commissioning Report containing the elements described in §946.5(a);

(2) The Decommissioning Report containing the elements described in §946.5(c); and

(3) The Confirmation of Services Report prepared by the NWS in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.

(d) If the restructuring proposed to be certified involves the commissioning of an ASOS unit, the Responsible Meteorologist shall also consider the following evidence from operational demonstration of modernized operations in reaching the conclusion that no degradation of service will result:

(1) The Commissioning Report containing the elements described in §946.5(a);

(2) The NWS Surface Observation Modernization Report documenting that manual observations being discontinued are no longer needed to provide mission field services; based on the final scientific and technical criteria (including all requirements and procedures) published in the Federal Register in accordance with section 704(b)(2) of the act; and

(3) The Confirmation of Services Report prepared by the NWS in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.

(e) The Confirmation of Services Report required by paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section shall include a list of those users who have been contacted during the confirmation process, to document that services have not been degraded. These users shall include the appropriate media and emergency managers in the service area and the appropriate federal and state agencies including specifically the FAA if the restructuring involves a field office located at an airport and consultation with the FAA has not been conducted in accordance with §946.5(b). This Report shall be based on the scientific and technical criteria set forth in the Internal and External Communication and Coordination Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring of the National Weather Service, which criteria shall be included in the final certification criteria published in the Federal Register in accordance with sec. 704(b)(2) of the Act.

(f) If the restructuring proposed to be certified involves the relocation of a field office, the Responsible Meteorologist shall also consider the following evidence in reaching the conclusion that no degradation of service will result:

(1) Evidence based upon operational demonstration during earlier modernization actions in which an entire field office was moved from one location to another including specifically the impact of such moves on services;

(2) A checklist of all operational tests and inspections that will be performed at the new location to ensure that the relocated equipment is fully operational;

(3) A list of all users notified prior to the relocation, and a list of the contacts that will be made with the relevant users to confirm operational status after the relocation; and

(4) Comments received from notified users and those received during the public comment period.

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§946.8   Review of proposed certification for restructuring.

The Responsible Meteorologist shall transmit the proposed certification and the accompanying documentation to the Regional Director for review. The Regional Director may amend or supplement the documentation provided subsequent readers can easily identify his or her amendments or supplements. If the Regional Director agrees with the proposed certification, he or she shall endorse the proposed certification, and transmit it along with all the accompanying documentation to the Secretary. A copy of any proposed certification shall be provided to the Committee upon request of the Committee.

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§946.9   Certification of restructuring.

(a) The Secretary shall publish each proposed certification in the Federal Register at least 60 days prior to certification. If, after consideration of the public comments received, the Secretary agrees that the proposed restructuring will not result in any degradation of service to the service area, he or she shall so certify by submitting a certification report to Congress. Upon transmittal of the certification by the secretary, NWS shall promptly publish the certification in the Federal Register stating where copies of the certification and the accompanying documents may be obtained.

(b) The Responsible Meteorologist may restructure only after the certification has been submitted to Congress.

(c) Any field office for which restructuring has been certified under this section shall also be subject to additional certification if that office is closed during stage 2 of the modernization. No field office will close before January 1, 1996.

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§946.10   Liaison officer.

Prior to restructuring a field office, the Responsible Meteorologist shall designate at least one person in the affected service area to act as a liaison officer for at least a 2-year period whose duties shall be:

(a) Provide timely information regarding the activities of the NWS which may affect service to the community including specifically modernization and restructuring activities; and

(b) Work with area users, including persons associated with general aviation, civil defense, emergency preparedness, and the news media, with respect to the provision of timely weather warnings and forecasts.

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Appendix A to Part 946—National Weather Service Modernization Criteria

I. Modernization Criteria for Actions Not Requiring Certification

(A) Commissioning of New Weather Observation Systems

(1) Automated Surface Observation Systems (ASOS)

Purpose: Successful commissioning for full operational use requires a demonstration, by tests and other means, that the ASOS equipment, as installed in the field office, meets its technical requirements; that the prescribed operating, maintenance, and logistic support elements are in place; that operations have been properly staffed with trained personnel and that the equipment can be operated with all other installed mating elements of the modernized NWS system.

Note: It may be necessary to incorporate work-arounds to complete some of the items listed below in a timely and cost-effective manner. A work-around provides for an alternative method of meeting a commissioning criteria through the application of a pre-approved operational procedure implemented on a temporary basis, for example, by human augmentation of the observation for the occurrence of freezing rain, until such time as a freezing rain sensor has been accepted for operational use with ASOS. The ASOS Plan referenced below includes a process for recommending, approving, and documenting work arounds and requires that they be tracked as open items until they can be eliminated by implementation of the originally intended capability.

References: The criteria and evaluation elements for commissioning are set forth and further detailed in the NWS-Sponsored Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) Site Component Commissioning Plan (the ASOS Plan), more specifically in Addendum I, Appendix D of the ASOS Site Component Commissioning Evaluation Package (the ASOS Package).

Criteria: a. ASOS Acceptance Test: The site component acceptance test, which includes objective tests to demonstrate that the ASOS, as installed at the given site, meets its technical specifications, has been successfully completed in accordance with item 1a, p. D-2 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

b. Sensor Siting: Sensor sitings provide representative observations in accordance with Appendix C of the ASOS Package, Guidance for Evaluating Representativeness of ASOS Observations and item 1b, p. D-2 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

c. Initialization Parameters: Initialization parameters are in agreement with source information provided by the ASOS Program Office, in accordance with item 1c, pp. D-2 & D-3 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

d. Sensor Performance Verification: Sensor performance has been verified in accordance with the requirements stated in the ASOS Site Technical Manual and item 1d, p. D-3 of the ASOS Package.

e. Field Modification Kits/Firmware Installed: All critical field modification kits and firmware for the site as required by attachments 3a & b (pp. D-45 & D-46) or memorandum issued to the regions, have been installed on the ASOS in accordance with item 1e, p. D-4 of Appendix of the ASOS Package.

f. Operations and Maintenance Documentation: A full set of operations and maintenance documentation is available in accordance with items 2a-h, pp. D-5 & D-6 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

g. Notification of and Technical Coordination with Users: All affected users have been notified of the initial date for ASOS operations and have received a technical coordination package in accordance with item 2i, pp. D-6 & D-7 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

h. Availability of Trained Operations Personnel: Adequate operations staff are available, training materials are available, and required training has been completed, per section 3.2.3.1 of the ASOS Plan, in accordance with items 3a-c, p. D-8 of Appendix D of the ASOS package.

i. Maintenance Capability: Proper maintenance personnel and support systems and arrangements are available in accordance with items 4a-e, pp. D-9 & D-10 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

j. Performance of Site Interfaces: The equipment can be operated in all of its required modes and in conjunction with all of its interfacing equipment per the detailed checklists of items 5a-b, pp. D-11 & D-19 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

k. Support of Associated NWS Forecasting and Warning Services: The equipment provides proper support of NWS forecasting and warning services and archiving, including operation of all specified automatic and manually augmented modes per the checklist, items 6a-e, pp. D-20 to D-29, of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

l. Service Backup Capabilities: Personnel, equipment, and supporting services are available and capable of providing required backup readings and services in support of operations when primary equipment is inoperable in accordance with items 7a-g, pp. D-30 to D-32, of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

m. Augmentation Capabilities: Personnel are available and trained to provide augmentation of ASOS observations in accordance with augmentation procedures, items 8a-c, p. D-33 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

n. Representativeness of Observations: Observations are representative of the hydrometeorological conditions of the observing location as determined by a period of observation of at least 60 days prior to commissioning in accordance with Appendix C and item 6e, pp. D-27 to D-29 of Appendix D of the ASOS Package.

(2) WSR-88D Radar System

Purpose: Successful commissioning for full operational use requires a demonstration, by tests and other means, that the WSR-88D radar system, as installed in the field office, meets its technical requirements; that the prescribed operating, maintenance, and logistic support elements are in place; that operations have been properly staffed with trained personnel; and that the equipment can be operated with all other installed mating elements of the modernized NWS system.

Note: It may be necessary to incorporate work-arounds to complete some of the items listed below in a timely and cost-effective manner. A work-around provides for an alternative method of meeting a commissioning criteria through the application for a pre-approved operational procedure implemented on a temporary basis. The WSR-88D Plan referenced below includes a process for recommending, approving, and documenting work arounds and requires that they be tracked as open items until they can be eliminated by implementation of the originally intended capability.

Reference: The criteria and evaluation elements for commissioning are set forth and further detailed in the NWS-Sponsored WSR-88D Site Component Commissioning Plan (the 88D Plan) and an Attachment to that Plan, called the WSR-88D Site Component Commissioning Evaluation Package (the WSR-88D Package).

Criteria: a. WSR-88D Radar Acceptance Test: The site component acceptance test, which includes objective tests to demonstrate that the WSR-88D radar, as installed at the given site, meets its technical specifications, has been successfully completed in accordance with items 1a-f, p. A-2 of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

b. Availability of Trained Operations and Maintenance Personnel: Adequate operations and maintenance staffs are available, training materials are available, and required training has been completed in accordance with items 2a-h, pp. A-3 & A-4 of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

c. Satisfactory Operation of System Interfaces: The system can be operated in all of its required modes and in conjunction with all of its interfacing equipment in accordance with items 3a-e, p. A-5 of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

d. Satisfactory Support of Associated NWS Forecasting and Warning Services: The system provides proper support of NWS forecasting and warning services, including at least 96 percent availability of the radar coded message for a period of 30 consecutive days prior to commissioning in accordance with items 4a-kk, pp. A-6 to A-17 of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

e. Service Backup Capabilities: Service backup capabilities function properly when the primary system is inoperable in accordance with items 5a-e, p. A-18 of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

f. Documentation for Operations and Maintenance: A full set of operations and maintenance documentation is available in accordance with items 6a-n, pp. A-19 to A-25 of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

g. Spare Parts and Test Equipment: A full complement of spare parts and test equipment is available on site in accordance with items 7a-e, p. A-26, of Appendix A of the WSR-88D Package.

(B) Decommissioning an Outdated NWS Radar

Purpose: Successful decommissioning of an old radar requires assurance that the existing radar is no longer needed to support delivery of services and products and local office operations.

References: The criteria and evaluation elements for decommissioning are set forth and further detailed in the NWS-Sponsored Network and Local Warning Radars (Including Adjunct Equipment) Site Component Decommissioning Plan (the Plan), more specifically in Appendix B to that Plan, called the Site Component Decommissioning Evaluating Package, and in Section 3.3 of the Internal and External Communication and Coordination Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring of the Weather Service.

Criteria: a. Replacing WSR-88D(s) Commissioning/User Service Confirmation: The replacing WSR-88D(s) have been commissioned and user confirmation of services has been successfully completed, i.e., all valid user complaints related to actual system performance have been satisfactorily resolved, in accordance with items 1a-c, p. B-10 of Appendix B of the Plan.

b. Operation Not Dependent on Existing Radar: The outdated radar is not required for service coverage, in accordance with items 2a-c, p. B-11 of Appendix B of the Plan.

c. Notification of Users: Adequate notification of users has been provided, in accordance with items 3a-f, pp. B-12 & B-13 of Appendix B of the Plan.

d. Disposal of Existing Radar: Preparations for disposal of the old existing radar have been completed, in accordance with items 4a-d, pp. B-14 & B-15 of Appendix B of the Plan.

(C) Evaluating Staffing Needs for Field Offices in Affected Areas

References: The criteria and evaluation elements are set forth and further detailed in the ASOS and WSR-88D Evaluation Packages and in the Human Resources and Position Management Plan for the National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring (the Human Resources Plan).

Criteria: 1. Availability of Trained Operations and Maintenance Personnel at a NEXRAD Weather Service Forecast Office or NEXRAD Weather Service Office: Adequate operations and maintenance staffs are available to commission a WSR-88D, specifically criterion b. set forth in section I.A.2. of this Appendix which includes meeting the Stage 1 staffing levels set forth in chapter 3 of the Human Resources Plan.

2. Availability of Trained Operations and Maintenance Personnel at any field office receiving an ASOS: Adequate operations and maintenance staff are available to meet the requirements for commissioning an ASOS, specifically criteria h and i set forth in section I.A.1 of this Appendix.

II. Criteria for Modernization Actions Requiring Certification

(A) Modernization Criteria Common to all Types of Certifications (Except as Noted)

1. Notification: Advanced notification and the expected date of the proposed certification have been provided in the National Implementation Plan.

2. Local Weather Characteristics and Weather Related Concerns: A description of local weather characteristics and weather related concerns which affect the weather services provided to the affected service area is provided.

3. Comparison of Services: A comparison of services before and after the proposed action demonstrates that all services currently provided to the affected service area will continue to be provided with no degradation of services.

4. Recent or Excepted Modernization of NWS Operations in the Affected Service Area: A description of recent or expected modernization of NWS operations in the affected service area is provided.

5. NEXRAD Network Coverage: NEXRAD network coverage or gaps in coverage at 10,000 feet over the affected service area are identified.

6. Air Safety Appraisal (applies only to relocation and closure of field offices at an airport): Verification that there will be no degradation of service that affects aircraft safety has been made by conducting an air safety appraisal in consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration.

7. Evaluation of Services to In-state Users (applies only to relocation and closure of the only field office in a state): Verification that there will be no degradation of weather services provided to the state has been made by evaluating the effect on weather services provided to in-State users.

8. Liaison Officer: Arrangements have been made to retain a Liaison Officer in the affected service area for at least two years to provide timely information regarding the activities of the NWS which may affect service to the community, including modernization and restructuring; and to work with area weather service users, including persons associated with general aviation, civil defense, emergency preparedness, and the news media, with respect to the provision of timely weather warnings and forecasts.

9. Meteorologist-In-Charge's (MIC) Recommendation to Certify: The MIC of the future WFO that will have responsibility for the affected service area has recommended certification in accordance with 15 CFR 946.7(a).

10. Regional Director's Certification: The cognizant Regional Director has approved the MIC's recommended certification of no degradation of service to the affected service area in accordance with 15 CFR 946.8.

(B) Modernization Criteria Unique to Consolidation Certifications

1. WSR-88D Commissioning: All necessary WSR-88D radars have been successfully commissioned in accordance with the criteria set forth in section I.A.2. of this Appendix.

2. User Confirmation of Services: All valid user complaints related to actual system performance have been satisfactorily resolved in accordance with section 3.3 of the Internal and External Communication and Coordination Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring of the National Weather Service.

3. Decommissioning of Existing Radar: The existing radar, if any, has been successfully decommissioned in accordance with the criteria set forth in section I.B. of this Appendix.

(C) Modernization Criteria Unique to Relocation Certifications

1. Approval of Proposed Relocation Checklist: The cognizant regional director has approved a proposed relocation checklist setting forth the necessary elements in the relocation process to assure that all affected users will be given advanced notification of the relocation, that delivery of NWS services and products will not be interrupted during the office relocation, and that the office to be relocated will resume full operation at the new facility expeditiously so as to minimize the service backup period.

Specific Elements: a. Notification of and Technical Coordination with Users: The proposed relocation checklist provides for the notification of and technical coordination with all affected users.

b. Identification and Preparation of Backup Sites: The proposed relocation checklist identifies the necessary backup sites and the steps necessary to prepare to use backup sites to ensure service coverage during the move and checkout period.

c. Start of Service Backup: The proposed relocation checklist provides for invocation of service backup by designated sites prior to office relocation.

d. Systems, Furniture and Communications: The proposed relocation checklist identifies the steps necessary to move all systems and furniture to the new facility and to install communications at the new facility.

e. Installation and Checkout: The proposed relocation checklist identifies all steps to install and checkout systems and furniture and to connect to communications at the new facility.

f. Validation of Systems Operability and Service Delivery: The proposed relocation checklist provides for validation of system operability and service delivery from the new facility.

2. Publishing of the Proposed Relocation Checklist and Evidence form Completed Moves: The proposed relocation checklist and the evidence from other similar office moves that have been completed, have been published in the Federal Register for public comment. The evidence from the other office moves indicates that they have been successfully completed.

3. Resolution of Public Comments Received: All responsive public comments received from publication, in the Federal Register, of the checklists and of the evidence from completed moves are satisfactorily answered.

(D) Modernization Criteria Unique to Automation Certifications

1. Compliance with flight aviation rules (applies on airports only): Consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has verified that the weather services provided after the commissioning of the relevant ASOS unit(s) will be in full compliance with applicable Federal Aviation Regulations promulgated by the FAA.

2. ASOS Commissioning: The relevant ASOS unit(s) have been successfully commissioned in accordance with the criteria set forth in section I.A.1 of Appendix A to the Weather Service Modernization Regulations, 15 CFR part 946.

3. User Confirmation of Services: Any valid user complaints related to actual system performance received since commissioning of the ASOS have been satisfactorily resolved and the issues addressed in the MIC's recommendation for certification.

4. Aviation Observation Requirement: At sites subject to automation certification, all surface observations and reports required for aviation services can be generated by an ASOS augmented as necessary by non-NWS personnel.

a. The ASOS observation will be augmented/backed-up to the level specified in Appendix B as described in the Summary Chart of the FAA's Weather Observation Service Standards.

b. The transition checklist has been signed by the appropriate Region Systems Operations Division Chief (applies to service level A, B and C airports only).

c. Thunderstorm occurrence is reported in the ASOS observation through the use of a lightning sensor (applies to service level D airports only, excluding Homer, Alaska).

d. Freezing rain occurrence is reported in the ASOS observation through the use of a freezing rain sensor. Among service level D airports, this criterion is not applicable to Ely, Nevada and Lander, Wyoming.

5. Pilot Education and Outreach Completed: The Air Safety Foundation has conducted a pilot education and outreach effort to educate pilots on the use of automated observations and measure their understanding and acceptance of automated observing systems, and the MTC has had an opportunity to review the results of this effort (applies to service level D airports only).

6. General Surface Observation Requirement: The total observations available are adequate to support the required inventory of services to users in the affected area. All necessary hydrometeorological data and information are available through ASOS as augmented in accordance with this section, through those elements reported as supplementary data by the relevant Weather Forecast Office(s), or through other complementary sources. The adequacy of the total surface observation is addressed in the MTC's recommendation for certification.

eCFR graphic er21jy97.000.gif

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(E) Modernization Criteria Unique to Closure Certifications

1. Consolidation Certification: If the field office proposed for closure has or will be consolidated, as defined in §946.2 of the basic modernization regulations, this action has been completed as evidenced by the approved certification or can be completed as evidenced by all of the documentation that all of the requirements of sections II.A. and II.B of this Annex have been completed.

2. Automation Certification: If the field office proposed for closure has or will be automated, as defined in §946.2 of the basic modernization regulations, this action has been completed as evidenced by the approved certification or can be completed as evidenced by documentation that all of the requirements of sections II.A. and II.C. of this Annex has been completed.

3. Remaining Services and/or Observations: All remaining service and/or observational responsibilities, if applicable to the field office proposed for closure, have been transmitted as addressed in the MIC's recommendation for certification.

4. User Confirmation of Services: Any valid user complaints received related to provision of weather services have been satisfactorily resolved and the issues addressed in the MIC's recommendation for certification.

5. Warning and Forecast Verification: Warning and forecast verification statistics, produced in accordance with the Closure Certification Verification Plan, have been utilized in support of the MIC's recommendation for certification.

[59 FR 9923, Mar. 2, 1994, as amended at 61 FR 39865, July 31, 1996; 61 FR 53311, Oct. 11, 1996; 62 FR 38903, July 21, 1997]

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Appendix B to Part 946—Airport Tables

“A” Level Service Airports:
*Akron, OHCAK
*Albany, NYALB
*Atlanta, GAATL
*Baltimore, MDBWI
*Boston, MABOS
Charlotte, NCCLT
*Chicago-O'Hare (AV), ILORD
Cincinnati, OHCVG
Columbus, OHCMH
*Dayton, OHDAY
*Des Moines, IADSM
*Detroit, MIDTW
*Fairbanks, AKFAI
*Fresno, CAFAT
*Greensboro, NCGSO
*Hartford, CTBDL
Indianapolis, ININD
*Kansas City, MOMCI
*Lansing, MILAN
Las Vegas, NVLAS
Los Angeles (AV), CALAX
*Louisville, KYSDF
*Milwaukee, WIMKE
*Minneapolis, MNMSP
*Newark, NJEWR
*Oklahoma City, OKOKC
Phoenix, AZPHX
*Portland, ORPDX
*Providence, RIPVD
*Raleigh, NCRDU
*Richmoind, VARIC
*Rochester, NYROC
*Rockford, ILRFD
*San Antonio, TXSAT
San Diego, CASAN
*San Francisco, CASFO
*Spokane, WAGEG
*Syracuse, NYSYR
Tallahassee, FLTUL
Tulsa, OKTUL
“B” Level Service Airports:
*Baton Rouge, LABTR
*Billings, MTBIL
*Charleston, WVCRW
*Chattanooga, TNCHA
Colorado Springs, COCOS
Daytona Beach, FLDAB
El Paso, TXELP
Flint, MIFNT
Fort Wayne, INFWA
Honolulu, HIHNL
*Huntsville, ALHSV
*Knoxville, TNTYS
*Lincoln, NELNK
Lubbock, TXLBB
*Madison, WIMSN
*Moline, ILMLI
*Montgomery, ALMGM
*Muskegon, MIMKG
*Norfolk, VAORF
Peoria, ILPIA
*Savannah, GASAV
*South Bend, INSBN
Tucson, AZTUS
*West Palm Beach, FLPBI
*Youngstown, OHYNG
“C” Level Service Airports:
Abilene, TXABI
Allentown, PAABE
Asheville, NCAVL
Athens, GAAHN
Atlantic City, NJACY
Augusta, GAAGS
Austin, TXAUS
Bakersfield, CABFL
Bridgeport, CTBDR
Bristol, TNTRI
Casper, WYCPR
Columbia, MOCOU
Columbus, GACSG
Dubuque, IADBQ
Elkins, WVEKN
Erie, PAERI
Eugene, OREUG
Evansville, INEVV
Fargo, NDFAR
Fort Smith, ARFSM
Grand Island, NEGRI
Helena, MTHLN
Huntington, WVHTS
Huron, SDHON
Kahului, HIOGG
Key West, FLEYW
Lewiston, IDLWS
Lexington, KYLEX
Lynchburg, VALYH
Macon, GAMCN
Mansfield, OHMFD
Meridian, MSMEI
Olympia, WAOLM
Port Arthur, TXBPT
Portland, MEPWM
Rapid City, SDRAP
Redding, CARDD
Reno, NVRNO
Roanoke, VAROA
Rochester, MNRST
Salem, ORSLE
Santa Maria, CASMX
Sioux City, IASUX
Springfield, ILSPI
Stockton, CASCK
Toledo, OHTOL
Waco, TXACT
Waterloo, IAALO
Wilkes-Barre, PAAVP
Williamsport, PAIPT
Wilmington, DEILG
Worcester, MAORH
Yakima, WAYKM
“D” Level Service Airports:
Alamosa, COALS
Alpena, MIAPN
Astoria, ORAST
Beckley, WVBKW
Caribou, MECAR
Concordia, KSCNK
Concord, NHCON
Ely, NVELY
Havre, MTHVR
Homer, AKHOM
Houghton Lake, MIHTL
International Falls, MNINL
Kalispell, MTFCA
Lander, WYLND
Norfolk, NEOFK
Sault Ste. Marie, MISSM
Scottsbluff, NEBFF
Sheridan, WYSHR
St. Cloud, MNSTC
Tupelo, MSTUP
Valentine, NEVTN
Victoria, TXVCT
Wichita, Falls, TXSPS
Williston, NDISN
Winnemucca, NVWMC

*Long-line RVR designated site.

[62 FR 38905, July 21, 1997]

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