11.3 New Approaches to Local NWS Decision Support—Super Bowl 53, Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday, 16 January 2020: 1:45 PM
153C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
David J. Nadler, NOAA/NWSFO, Peachtree City, GA; and P. A. Atwell, A. K. Baker, L. G. Belanger, and J. T. Deese

The principles of Impact-based Decision Support Services (IDSS) are evolving into key operational components within the National Weather Service (NWS), especially at the local forecast office level. NWS Peachtree City played a critical role providing weather support during a 10-day deployment at the City of Atlanta, Joint Operations Center. Initial planning and coordination meetings that involved NWS Peachtree City began nearly 18 months prior to this top-level “Special Event Assessment Rating” (SEAR 1) event.

Core partners were able to make timely decisions due to local implementation of unique Geospatial Dashboard Technologies for situational awareness, daily briefing strategies and real-time weather analysis. An example of how these strategies worked occurred nearly a week before the actual event, models were predicting a potential winter storm impacting parts of north Georgia, including the Atlanta metro area. Impacts from the event ended up being minor, but coordination (proactive involvement) from the IDSS team was critical in providing consistency along with uncertainty, especially as some models increased snow amounts less than 24 hours before the weather event.

Numerous decision makers over multiple agencies were tied to this support, led by 24/7 aviation operations within the Hampton Air Route Traffic Control Center, which included Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport.

All facets of successful IDSS (e.g., strong partnerships and trust built over time, accurate and consistent forecasts, effective messaging and delivery, daily on-site support and in-person briefings) were utilized, beginning months prior to the event. Helpful best-practices from previous host city / NWS offices (Houston and Minneapolis) were incorporated into NWS Peachtree City’s Super Bowl 53 Operating Plan.

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