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Hazard Services: An early look at the NOAA/NWS next generation warning tool in an operational environment

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Monday, 3 November 2014
Capitol Ballroom AB (Madison Concourse Hotel)
Daniel Nietfeld, NOAA/NWS, Valley, NE

The National Weather Service's (NWS) primary mission includes issuing warnings, watches, and advisories for hazardous weather. In the modernization era of the NWS, three unique software programs have traditionally been used to issue the various hazard-related products: WarnGen for issuing short-fused, convective products, RiverPro for river-related products, and the Graphical Headline Generator (GHG) for issuing long-fused products and convective watch products. A new program called Hazard Services is currently under development, and is designed to provide all of the NWS warning, watch, and advisory related services in one integrated program.

Hazard Services will be one common interface and process, and will preserve the efficiency of existing applications while leveraging advanced methods for more robust capabilities. This includes a “recommender framework” that greatly extends the flexibility of the logic that can be used for determining hazard message content and character. Output from various sources such as radar, satellite, NWP, etc. can be incorporated into the logic. In addition, extensive flexibility will be built into the format options of the products or messages that are transmitted or delivered (e.g., XML, CAP, graphical, Twitter feed, etc.). A foundational goal of the project is for Hazards Services to be information-centric vs. product-centric.

The Hazard Services program is a joint effort between the Global Systems Division (GSD) of the NOAA/OAR/ESRL, Raytheon Omaha, and the NWS AWIPSII Program. The National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL) will also provide significant contributions to future capabilities designed to create probabilistic hazard information for severe convective phenomenon.

WFO Omaha has been in a unique position to provide guidance, feedback, and evaluations of the Hazard Services program to the GSD and Raytheon developers. Through the utilization of a “Testbed AWIPS2” platform at OAX (known as TOAX), Forecasters at the OAX WFO can interact with the Hazard Services program, working with live and archived data. These beneficial experiences can be shared with the developers in a collaborative effort to develop the most efficient, robust, and agile program possible.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Hazard Services program, a summary of forecasters' experiences to date, and a vision for future warning services.