History of COMET banner

Since 1992, several staff members at the National Weather Service in St. Louis have been actively participating in the COMET Partners and Cooperative projects with Dr. James Moore, Dr. Frank Lin and a host of graduate students from the Meteorology Department at Saint Louis University.  Our initial 'COMET Partners' project was initiated in 1992 and focused on the "Heavy Rainfall Forecasting Problem".  Lead Forecaster Fred Glass and Forecaster Dan Ferry (now a lead forecaster at WFO Davenport) worked with Dr. Moore and a number of graduate students.  In 1994, a "COMET Cooperative Project" was awarded to WFO St. Louis and Saint Louis University.  The applied research activities focused on two objectives:

1) the study of linear mesoscale convective systems (MCSs - bowing convective structures) that produce severe straight-line winds (downburst) and non-supercell tornadoes. Damaging Winds Group

2) the study of mechanisms responsible for the initiation and propagation of heavy convective rainfall events. Heavy Precipitation Group

Fred Glass (Lead Forecaster) and Dan Ferry (now a Lead Forecaster at WFO Davenport) teamed up with Dr. Jim Moore and his graduate students and focused their efforts on the heavy rainfall forecasting problem during the first Cooperative.

Ron Przybylinski (Science and Operations Officer / WFO St. Louis), Gary Schmocker (Forecaster), and Todd Shea (now WCM at WFO LaCrosse WI) teamed up with Dr. Frank Lin and focused their energies on the damaging downburst winds forecast and warning problem during the first Cooperative.

Some of the first testing of conceptual models/ideas (vortex evolution / Mid-Altitude Radial Convergence (MARC) ) started during the first Cooperative.  The study of severe convective storms producing swaths of damaging winds/non-supercell tornadoes and/or flash flooding are extremely important to the safety of the aviation industry and the general public.  In many cases, scores of injuries or even fatalities can occur during a severe event which produces damaging straight-line winds or flash flooding.  Our goals of the project focused on improving our warning capabilities for flash flooding, damaging winds, and non-supercell tornadoes.  We continue to test new and update current techniques in forecasting these severe weather events.  In some cases, we revise our current conceptual storm-scale models based on the new data sets collected over the Mid-Mississippi Valley region during the past fourteen years.   

Our close proximity between the campus of Saint Louis University and the NWS Forecast Office in St. Charles, Missouri makes it very ideal to frequently interact, share common ideas and understand more about storm structure and evolution across the Mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valley regions.

Since the initial COMET Cooperative, Ted Funk (SOO at WFO Louisville KY) and his team of forecasters joined us during the summer of 1995.

A new COMET Cooperative was awarded to us in January of 1997.  WFO Paducah KY (Pat Spoden and his group) and WFO Slidell Louisiana became active participants in the most recent COMET Cooperative.  The Louisville and Paducah teams are working with WFO St. Louis and Saint Louis University on both components of the COMET Cooperative.  In contrast, WFO Slidell Louisana is focusing their work on the heavy rainfall forecasting problem.

The second COMET Cooperative resulted in a greater degree of interaction between the forecast staff members at WFO St. Louis and professor /graduate students at Saint Louis University.  Ron Przybylinski and Gary Schmocker at WFO St. Louis worked with Dr. Frank Lin, Jim O'Sullivan, Merl Heinlein, and Jamie Kagol.  Fred Glass continued to work with Dr. Jim Moore and Steve Considine.  David Metze (now a Lead Forecaster at WFO Pueblo) from WFO St. Louis joined the group in the fall of 1997.  Jim O'Sullivan worked towards his PhD at SLU and was awarded a COMET Fellowship in the summer of 1996.

On the NWS side of the house, Tom Spriggs (Forecaster) and Mark Britt (Lead forecaster)  joined our team in 1998 and 1999 respectively.    

If you have any questions, free free to contact us.

Personnel who are actively participating in the COMET Cooperative Project (as of 08/25/06):

At WFO St. Louis:
Ron W. Przybylinski (Science and Operations Officer - Damaging Winds)
Fred Glass (Lead Forecaster - Heavy Rainfall)
Gary Schmocker (Forecaster - Damaging Winds)
Tom Spriggs (Forecaster - Damaging Winds) 
Mark Britt (Lead Forecaster - Damaging Winds)

At WFO Louisville:
Ted Funk (Science and Operations Officer)
Rob Cox (Forecaster - Heavy Rainfall)
Larry Dattilo (Forecaster - Heavy Rainfall)
Chad Swain (Forecaster - Heavy Rainfall)

At WFO Paducah:
Pat Spoden (Science and Operations Officer)
Jim Keysor (Forecaster - Damaging Winds)
Mike York (Forecaster - Heavy Rainfall)

At Saint Louis University:
Dr. Charles Graves (Professor - Heavy Rainfall and Winter Weather)
Stephen Rodriguez (Graduate Student - Heavy Rainfall)
Chad Gravelle (Graduate Student - Winter Weather)
Mike Paddock (Doctoral Student - Winter Weather)
Adam Pasch (Doctoral Student - Heavy Rainfall)
Emily Eisenacher (Doctoral Student - Winter Weather)
Erin Snavely (Graduate Student - Heavy Rainfall)

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