Lions club.jpg

Meteorologist Jason Hansford taught Lion Dudley Swofford and other Lions Club members all about weather forecasting at their recent meeting.

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room at 410 E. Houston. A luncheon of beef and cheese enchiladas was served by Jose Tequila Catering. Vice President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions.

Lion Robert asked Lion Kent Reeves to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Ted Beauchamp. ”Marine Corp Hymn” and “America” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Alan Grantham — a capella in the absence of piano player Lion Stacy Bowen.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed all to the meeting. Guests included Donna Lane, spouse of Lion Stephen Lane; Angela Parker, spouse of Lion Heath Parker; and prospective member Robert Coleman, guest of Lion Ken Poindexter. Donna thanked Lions for their prayers about her knee replacement; She said, “They helped!” The count for the day in the Den was 26. The Thought for the Day is: “One kind word can warm three winter months!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied several fines, one to Lion Paul Martin for being late, as usual. He announced that Lion Bob King celebrated his birthday last week, but since he wasn’t at the meeting he didn’t hear us singing to him — we will repeat the singing! Lion Dudley Swofford will celebrate his birthday this week. Lion Chris assigned Lion Ed Hoffman to lead the club in our “Happy Song” for Lion birthdays!

Wood called on Lion Dudley Swofford to introduce the speaker, Jason Hansford, a senior meteorologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Shreveport. That is the local weather forecast office responsible for monitoring weather conditions for counties in South Central and Southwestern Arkansas, North Central and Northwestern Louisiana Parishes, McCurtain County in Southeastern Oklahoma, and Eastern and Northeastern Texas Counties (Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur and Wood). The current office in Shreveport maintains a WSR-88D radar system and Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System that greatly improve forecasting in the region. Shreveport is in charge of weather forecasts, warnings and local statements, as well as aviation weather.

Jason has a degree in meteorology from Louisiana State University at Monroe and has many years of experience in predicting how weather trends will develop. He uses local volunteers with rain gauges and thermometers placed around the ArkLaTex to plot the weather as it develops. He said that this takes about five minutes a day to collect. Jason said the temperatures are lower due to the rainfall we have been having. He also revealed that this past summer was the 11th wettest and that October was 1.22 inches above normal.

The ArkLaTex region has experienced drought conditions for the past several years, according to Hansford. However, with a wet October that had above average rainfall, those drought conditions have eased somewhat.

Jason talked some about the National Weather Service collecting data on the water temperatures at the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There is a system of buoys that measure the surface and lower temperatures, and experts are able to predict if there will be a La Niña or El Niño year. Each brings weather patterns that give information to deal with odd weather patterns. He recalled 2010-11 being a La Niña year, citing the drought conditions all over the area, with several wildfires destroying many forests. He advised that there were 63 days of 100-plus temperatures, and he also said that there has been an increase in temperatures since 1989.

Jason also informed the club about the Arctic Oscillation, a circular pattern in the north and mid- and high-latitudes in the Arctic that can generate strong shifts in climate patterns for us. He recounted the winter is predicted to be warmer and drier.

Lion Wood thanked Jason for his very interesting and informative program and presented him with a Lions writing pen. He adjourned the meeting.