5.2 NWS Hazard Simplification: Comparing Protective Action Decisions Made to the Reformatted versus Legacy Warnings

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 1:45 PM
North 226AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Mark A. Casteel, The Pennsylvania State University York, York, PA

The National Weather Service’s (NWS) hazard simplification project (Haz Simp) is designed to both simplify and make more effective the warning messages distributed by the NWS. Much of the impetus for change was based on feedback from meteorologists and emergency managers about confusing aspects of the warnings. Therefore, beginning in fall 2017, the NWS implemented a simplified reformatting process such that all messages use a consistent format of “What”, “Where”, “When”, “Additional Details” and “Precautionary/Preparedness Actions.” Preliminary research I reported at the 2018 AMS annual meeting found few differences in protective action decisions between the newly reformatted Haz Simp warnings and the legacy warnings. A preference question also revealed surprising results – the reformatted Haz Simp flood warnings were preferred over the legacy flood warnings but the legacy blizzard warnings were preferred over the reformatted Haz Simp warnings.

The research reported here is an extension of last year’s research. Last year’s research was limited by the fact that participants read only one legacy warning and one reformatted warning, for both the blizzard and flood hazards. In the current study, participants read only blizzard warnings. Additionally, the participants read two legacy warnings and two reformatted Haz Simp warnings, doubling the number of warning stimuli used last year. After reading the warnings, participants rated their likelihood of engaging in a series of protective actions as well as stated their preference between the two warning types. If accepted, I will report the results of the study and discuss how they can help inform the overall effort to simplify and enhance the weather hazard warning process.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner