Design and Implementation of an Automated Statewide Weather Threat Matrix for Emergency Management Decision Support

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Joshua W. Scheck, NOAA/NWS, Bismarck, ND; and C. King, A. L. Merriman, J. Savadel, J. P. Martin, T. J. Grafenauer, R. Hozak, and M. Frazier

Handout (2.1 MB)

The Weather Threat Matrix was developed through a strong partnership between the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) and National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Bismarck and Grand Forks that serve North Dakota. It is intended to be used as a decision support planning tool for North Dakota emergency managers. This tool defines daily threat levels of various weather-related hazards, which assists emergency managers with impact mitigation.

The matrix began as a manually composed, weekly weather intelligence briefing designed to assist NDDES with planning. Using the Electronic Hazardous Weather Outlook accomplishments of NWS Springfield, Missouri as a starting point, the logic was altered to: 1) Account for different NWS offices' gridded forecast population techniques and philosophies; 2) Allow for simplification of the matrix categories; 3) Ensure consistency among all NWS official forecasts and outlooks; and 4) Expand the domain to include an entire state, rather than one NWS forecast office's forecast area.

Weather Threat Matrix logic, challenges associated with the design and implementation, information technology resource limitations, and varying NWS office forecast philosophies will be discussed as resolution of these challenges outlines the NWS commitment to decision support services (DSS). Finally, a possible matrix application to Federal Emergency Management Agency decision support will be introduced.