Tuesday, 13 January 2004: 1:45 PM
High Impact Sub-Advisory Snow Events: The Need to Effectively Communicate the Threat of Short Duration High Intensity Snowfall
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) employs a multi-tiered approach to inform its customers of the likelihood, potential severity and impact of impending weather events. When the weather becomes hazardous, routine forecast products are supplemented with specific event-driven Watches, Warnings, Advisories and Special Weather Statements to inform about particular hazards. To fulfill its mission of protecting life and property, supplemental information provided by event driven forecast products are provided with as much lead time as possible for preventative actions to be taken by the general public, media, and local, state and federal Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs).
While this approach works well in most cases, a number of weather events occur each year when the event (e.g., total snow accumulation) falls short of meeting Advisory and Warning criteria, yet still poses a substantial hazard to the public. Many of these occur during the winter season, where a combination of precipitation intensity, duration and type, along with fluctuations in wind and temperature present a multitude of hazards.
This paper focuses on the impact of high intensity, sub-advisory snowfall on the public and the need for the NWS to find better methods of informing the public, media and emergency management communities of the hazard. Suggestions on how this may be accomplished internally and through public-private partnerships are discussed.