J9.4 Say What You Need to Say: How Unique Words Grab Attention and Save Lives

Monday, 13 January 2020: 12:00 AM
153C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Jason C. Elliott, NOAA/NWS, Sterling, VA

To speed the process by which the National Weather Service (NWS) issues warnings, templates have been created which allow warning meteorologists to make quick selections and issue warnings to the public in a matter of seconds, during situations where every second counts in the protection of life and property.

This “boilerplate” wording has certainly simplified the process, but it also leads to the text of most warnings being the same, which may dampen the intended message when something more extreme occurs. This presentation will use the Ellicott City, Maryland flash flood of 2018 as a specific case study, by discussing how enhancing and emphasizing wording in an extreme event captured the attention of the public and decision-makers in ways the “boilerplate” warning likely would not, while also considering some of the potential pitfalls that could occur from the use of enhanced wording.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting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