889 Making America's Most Visited National Park a Safer Place through Weather Awareness

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Robert, Sam Roberts II, NOAA, Morristown, TN; and A. Pritchett

Making America's Most Visited National Park a Safer Place through Weather Awareness

Sam Roberts and Andrew Pritchett, NWS Morristown Tennessee

The long-term goal of NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) is transforming its operations to help America respond to threatening weather.  The “Weather- Ready Nation” (WRN) initiative is part of the broader vision of building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

Educating government officials and the public is part of WRN which empowers them to make faster, smarter decisions to save lives and protect livelihoods. To advance the WRN mission, the NWS in Morristown Tennessee started an outreach project in conjunction with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).  The GSMNP is the most visited national park in the United States, receiving roughly 10 million visitors per year. In cooperation with the GSMNP, the NWS in Morristown is developing a series of weather safety videos to educate the public and park foresters on the varying weather and microclimates throughout the Park.  Visitors of the GSMNP typically do not understand the terrain effects on weather and climate.  The videos being developed follow these themes: “Microclimates of Great Smoky Mountain National Park”, “Mountain Waves and High Winds”, “Flash Floods: What, Where, and How you can protect yourself?”, “Lightning Safety”, and “Mountain Winter Storms: The Science Behind These Deceptive Killers.” Over the past several years, an average of 38 search and rescues are conducted each year on visitors that have been impacted by some form of weather. The goal of this video series is to prevent injuries and deaths from adverse weather.  

These videos will be displayed at the Park’s main visitor center, on the GSMNP website, and on NWS social media platforms. This presentation will show the evolution of the project and the video segments produced for the Park.

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