May 2020 President’s Message

EDITOR'S NOTE: Read the full May 2020 Newsletter here.

Transcript: Hello, and welcome to the May president's message. We are three months into our worldwide health crisis, and I hope that you and your families continue to be well. I know many of you were anxious to get back to some sense of normalcy and it looks like the numbers on this virus are actually starting to turn, which is an encouraging sign. So I hope we get there soon.

One of the more encouraging observations I've made over the last three months to see the way that the NWA membership has responded to this crisis, it is impressive how you are all doing your jobs under pretty austere conditions, whether that's government and private entities surging in to provide support to emergency management for COVID response or whether all sectors of our career field are surging into respond to severe weather events in the Southeast, Northeast, and West, and really all over the world.

It is really impressive to see how we've responded. And it's a testament to how professional you are. I have also been encouraged about how our membership has stayed connected through this crisis, whether that's attending NWA Distant Socials, attending our webinar series, or just opening up a video or a text chat with our colleagues, all of these methods are really good ways for us to stay connected.

For those of you that have taken advantage of these, I encourage you to continue to do so. For those that have not, I invite you to give it a try. I wanted also to provide you an update on the annual meeting. This is a subject that I'm sure is on many of your minds. While it is encouraging that the coronavirus numbers are starting to turn, a lot more goes into whether or not an in-person meeting in the fall will be successful.
And to that end, we just don't know, but eventualities will present themselves.

But that doesn't mean that we're not contingency planning for the eventual realities that we may have to face. Right now, our normal annual steering committee, headed by Matt Alto and Cindy Elsenheimer, will continue to do their work evaluating abstracts as normal. But NWA headquarters and myself have taken the additional step of forming an ad hoc team led by Rebecca Mazur, our vice president.

This team will look at contingencies for the annual meeting in the fall. These contingencies will span everything from a fully virtual conference to a fully in-person conference and everything in between. Their job will be to evaluate requirements and to sketch out what a conference like that may look like under those conditions. We're doing this to prepare for the eventuality that we may have to make a decision sometime in June. When we make that decision, you will know, but for now the annual meeting is still on as normal.

I wanted to close by making a few comments about crises. Any particular crisis that humans go through tends to make some sort of permanent change. This will be the case with the coronavirus as well. There is going be a new normal. And what will that new normal look like in operational meteorology?
Many of you out there are providing services that you provide under very unique circumstances, oftentimes leveraging technology and creating different methodologies, to deliver life-saving weather information.

What can we learn moving forward from this crisis? What can we incorporate into the new normal after this is all done? These are very good questions. And in some way related to the theme of moving "Forward Together." In other words, a lot of what we're doing now, may be the future of how we provide our services. We just don't know, but this is going to be an excellent conversation for our association to have moving forward over the next year or two. And so I would encourage everybody to ponder this and think about how we may come out of this crisis better than how we entered it. Thanks for listening. I look forward to speaking with you next month with hopefully better conditions.

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