Assessment of Efforts to Communicate and Warn for Extreme Heat Events

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 9:30 AM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Michelle D. Hawkins, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and V. Brown, J. G. Ferrell, P. Stokols, and J. Trtanj

Recent climate studies have predicted a future with longer, stronger and more frequent heat events. Evolving challenges presented by this reality necessitate an assessment of current efforts to communicate and warn for extreme heat events. NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) conducted an internal study with the intent to (1) document variations in the usage of heat-based watch, warning and advisory products across the country, (2) learn of the degree to which locally developed criteria are applied to forecaster decision-making processes in issuing these products, and (3) to gather ideas for enhancing communication of expected excessive heat events in general. NWS is working to build a Weather-Ready Nation to improve the nation's readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against extreme weather, water, and climate events. A Weather-Ready Nation requires the collective strengths, capabilities and expertise of multiple partners and stakeholders. Following the NWS study, NOAA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked together to organize a Heat Health Summit. The Summit brought together weather, health and social science experts to discuss heat-related public health priorities, effective federal and state partnerships on heat preparedness and response, and best practices for communicating and warning for extreme heat. This presentation will summarize results of the NWS internal study and outcomes of the Heat Health Summit.