NOAA/NWS Western Region Heat Impact Level (HIL) Project

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 8:45 AM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Michael J. Staudenmaier Jr., NOAA/NWS, Salt Lake City, UT; and B. Rasch, P. Iniguez, and D. Van Cleave

Heat kills more people than any other weather phenomenon across the nation. In the NOAA/National Weather Service's (NWS) Western Region (WR), heat kills more people annually than floods, lightning, and tornadoes combined. However, unlike these phenomenon, criteria for issuing a heat-related watch, warning, or advisory, along with issuance philosophy, differ significantly between NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). This has led to a patchwork of products and services during past excessive heat events. To address these issues and provide the increasing level of Decision Support Services demanded of the NOAA/NWS by its partners and customers, a multi-tiered framework was created that provides a consistent methodology, incorporates high-resolution local climatology, and puts heat in a climatological context. This presentation will introduce the WR Heat Impact Level (HIL) Project. A high-level overview of the approach and the science used will be provided, along with initial feedback from a targeted group of heat health partners on the HIL approach. We will conclude with some examples from outside WR and a brief discussion on how this approach could be expanded across the continental United States.