During 2005, several NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) participated in a test to expand the use of these smaller-than-county areas for convective warnings. These offices were asked to put less emphasis on county boundaries and greater emphasis on the storm location and movement. The test demonstrated several positive outcomes of storm-based warnings, including reduction in the number of people required to take cover. It also allowed emergency management and other disaster response agencies served by these WFOs to focus their limited resources on smaller areas. In view of these benefits, NWS plans to move steadily towards the full implementation of storm-based warnings over the next two years.
Several challenges in the implementation of storm-based warnings require feedback from the broadcast media. For instance, storm-based warnings have greatest value for those that have access to graphics such as television, internet, and cell phone technology. For the radio listening audience, the benefit is limited by the ability to describe the storm location and movement in a text format. The authors will present several possible text solutions, and request feedback from broadcast meteorologist.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently rolling out the new Digital Emergency Activation Systems (DEAS). The authors will discuss outcomes of recent meetings on DEAS between NOAA's NWS, FEMA, cable television operators, cell phone companies and meteorological software vendors on the implementation of storm-based warnings.