The NWS Taunton Weather Forecast Office (WFO) has begun efforts to enhance integrated decision support services (IDSS) for its County Warning Area which encompasses Rhode Island, most of Massachusetts, parts of southern New Hampshire and northern Connecticut and includes the three state capitals. The office is staffed with a core of ten meteorologists and covers a diverse climatological area for a population of around five million people. There are several active programs including aviation forecasts for ten airports in the congested Northeast Corridor and marine forecasts in support of year-round commercial ports and ferry services. In addition, the office has hydrologic warning and forecast responsibility for over three dozen forecast points, which include several highly urbanized watersheds, and fire weather forecasts for one of the most significant urban-wildland interfaces in the country (Myles Standish State Forest).
IDSS efforts at WFO Taunton have been centered upon three initiatives: the ability to provide on-site support for large-scale events, development of probabilistic forecast graphics, and digital aviation services. Each of these initiatives ties into the WRN program on a local level and provides IDSS for a wide range of stakeholders such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Coast Guard, and Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
In order to more efficiently meet new demands for enhanced services and products, changes were made to internal operations at WFO Taunton. This included the implementation of Enhanced Short Term Forecasting which promotes the use of hourly forecast grid resolution and integrates scientifically-based tools into the forecast process. A dedicated IDSS shift is being established to proactively coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies and utilize new technologies such as chat software, social media platforms, and video briefings to more effectively deliver information.