Innovating a Regional, Operational, and Multi-Partnered Response to an Extreme Event: Building a Weather-Ready Nation During the Southern Plains Drought

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 4:45 PM
Georgia Ballroom 2 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
David P. Brown, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Fort Worth, TX; and M. Borgia, M. J. Brewer, M. Coyne, B. Hoeth, J. McNatt, C. McNutt, V. Murphy, A. Parham, K. Pirtle, M. Shafer, K. Vanspeybroeck, and M. Wiley

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners have been responding to the historic Southern Plains drought since its onset in late 2010. This partnership has included cooperation with federal and state agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Interior, the Texas Water Development Board, and the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, to coordinate the flow of information and services to a wide range of constituents ranging from cattle producers to water managers. This extreme event has also required NOAA to be particularly active in communicating information about the drought to high-level audiences, such as media, legislative constituents, and public and private sector leaders. The demand for information about the drought's historical context, its economic and environmental impacts, and short- and medium-range forecasts and outlooks necessitated an integrated, regional-scale approach to deliver that information in both a timely and efficient manner. In this paper, an overview of a unique operational and regional-scale Southern Plains Drought Outlook product is presented, with a focus on the elements of its production, distribution, and utility to a broad and diverse customer base. The specific roles of the National Weather Service (NWS) regional emergency response meteorologists, as well as NOAA's regional climate services program, are highlighted, along with opportunities for expansion of the model to other regions and extreme events. The Southern Plains Drought Outlook represents a regional climate service that utilizes expertise and capacity from across the agency and beyond to support NOAA's and NWS's goal of building a Weather-Ready Nation.