The NWS bases verification or warning/forecast “success” on whether a warning is issued as well as the timing and duration of the warning. A warning is “verified” if the event occurs in that county during the time period in effect for the warning. If the event occurs in an adjacent county or in a different time period, the event is not verified. In contrast, social verification goes beyond the technical merits of the warning and provides information on the utility of forecasts and hazard warnings from users' perspectives. Warnings that are slightly inaccurate in terms of space or time may still be useful if they improve the well-being of society by inducing individuals to prepare for, avoid, or otherwise respond to hazard events that may have an impact .
We report the results of a pilot study to assess social verification of NWS forecasts. A cross-section of weather users representing casual users to emergency managers will enter their perceptions of the utility of forecast and null-event forecasts into a web-based log to during the Fall of 2006. Assessed products include hazard warnings, 2-14 day forecasts , and seasonal outlooks, with emphasis on hazard warnings. The results will be summarized using quantitative and qualitative assessment techniques and compared with official NWS verification results.