6A.3A Local high impact weather events and their relationship to forecast performance

Wednesday, 27 June 2007: 10:45 AM
Summit A (The Yarrow Resort Hotel and Conference Center)
Paul A. Hirschberg, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and D. Hilderbrand, I. Leveson, and C. Woods

Studies of impacts of weather events on society and the economy typically have dealt either with particular types of weather or addressed weather impacts at the national level. With many decisions occurring locally, there is a need for more systematic efforts to determine community and regional impacts and ways of improving outcomes for these areas. Moreover, if studies can be done on a comparable basis for many localities, there are likely to be increased opportunities for one community to learn from the experience of others. Such efforts would document the contribution of improved weather forecasts to reducing adverse impacts and help assess the kinds of improvements in forecasts and their dissemination that would be most beneficial.

This presentation outlines a study the National Weather Service is conducting to assess societal impacts of local high impact weather events and their relationship to forecast performance. The study is focused first on the approximately 50-county Sterling, VA County Warning Area that includes the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore metro area. A survey of first responders and participants in the local warning network will be used to elicit their knowledge and perspectives relating to significant weather events over the five-year period 2002-2006. Opportunities for improving forecasts and warnings will be identified based on responses gathered and analyzed along with data on forecast and warning accuracy. Where possible, the economic value of societal losses will be estimated and the potential benefit of improvement in forecasts or warnings will be considered.

This is a “zero analysis,” providing an exploratory first step that lays the groundwork for a possible basic set of studies in the other regions and localities. It seeks to use techniques that can be easily and economically replicated.

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