In an effort to address some of the findings from the service assessments for the 27 April 2011 outbreak across the southeastern U.S. and the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, the NWS Central Region identified a group of five forecast offices to implement a suite of experimental impact-based warning (IBW) convective products to test how to better communicate threats and impacts to partners. This paper will address several aspects of the IBW project including:
IBW Background: This section will address the origin of the IBW project from two NWS services assessments conducted in 2011, and it will list out the objectives and goals of the project. History and context will be provided on how the original IBW messages were crafted and limitations in formatting and content that exist. This section will also provide background on how the EM community is connected to NWS through the risk paradigm, which is a known concept for assessing and managing risk that was developed by the National Research Council.
Evaluation of IBW Products: A thorough evaluation of IBWs was conducted from April-November, 2012 in collaboration with the Weather for Emergency Management Decision Support team from Arizona State University, the University of North Carolina, and East Carolina University. An evaluation was conducted to examine the effectiveness of 1) forecaster assessment of the potential impacts, 2) the packaging of the situational understanding about a storm event and its severity and urgency, 3) the transfer of this knowledge to NWS partners (primarily emergency management and the media), and 4) whether and how that knowledge affects critical decisions such that the partners alter their actions. This section will discuss the four-step iterative process employed during the evaluation, the various social science methods used to conduct the evaluation, and findings from the EM, media, and forecaster perspectives.
IBW Next Steps and Effect on the Big Picture: Based on the evaluation, this section will discuss the next steps for IBW products in 2013. It will also look at how the results and methods used in IBW can be applied within the Weather-Ready Nation initiative, such as in the pilot projects, as well as the broader meteorological community.