S216 Analysis of Frequency and Impacts of Storm Events and Service Assessments to Inform the National Weather Service (NWS) Operations and Workforce Analysis (OWA)

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Jala M. Morrow, NOAA/NWS, Vicksburg, MS; and J. E. Ten Hoeve III

To support the Department of Commerce's strategic objective to evolve the National Weather Service (NWS), there is a need to analyze the current operational and workforce models, which have largely remained unchanged since the NWS Modernization in the 1990s. As a part of this evolution, the Office of Organizational Excellence (OOE) is performing an Operations and Workforce Analysis (OWA). One of the components of this analysis is to study the extreme weather burden on NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). This study utilizes archived Storm Events data from 1999-2014. The study analyzed the number of events by event category (e.g. severe, hydrologic, fire, winter, marine, non-precipitation), the number of events by event category and by Weather Forecast Office (WFO), and the fatalities, injuries, property damage, and crop damage by event category. These analyzed datasets show the type and number of events that impact specific WFOs over the 16 year study period.

These analyses provide results that help drive efforts of improvement related to the achievement of a Weather-Ready Nation. Analyzing the frequency of storm events by WFO can help the NWS in terms of preparing more cautionary information to the public. Knowing which category of events causes the most fatalities and injuries, and where these events occur, also provides the NWS with knowledge about when and where the Nation needs to be even more resilient. Also, with awareness that certain WFOs are more prone to events, results lead to an optimized staffing profile to accommodate a heavy workload during periods of frequent and major weather events.

To gain insight into the performance of the NWS and where improvements could occur, NWS Service Assessments were also reviewed. By reading through these Assessments conducted within the last five years, facts, best practices, findings, and recommendations related to several recurring themes were recognized. This analysis evaluated some of the strongest and weakest areas of service. Comparing performances in regards to theme (social media messaging, warning lead-time, trainings, etc.) provided an indication of what areas require the most improvement. Overall, these new results are used to inform the NWS OWA project as it works to better align their operations and workforce to accomplish the NWS primary mission: protecting life and property from extreme weather, water, and climate events.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner