J7.6 Use of Storm Prediction Center's Day 1 Convective Outlook among Emergency Managers and Broadcasters

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 11:45 AM
615 (Washington State Convention Center )
Mark Lorie, Abt Associates, Boulder, CO; and C. Donovan

The National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center (SPC) produces the Day 1 Convective Outlook, which provides forecast and risk information for convective storms for the day ahead. SPC is considering enhancing the Day 1 Outlook with additional detail on storm timing within the day and additional spatial detail.  Consistent with NWS goals to ensure that forecast products are tailored to customer needs, SPC initiated a study to investigate how core customers access, interpret and use the Day 1 Outlook and how potential changes to the Outlook would affect their interpretation and use.  For this study we conducted focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 42 local emergency management (EM) personnel, 9 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel and 26 broadcast meteorologists. Results show a high level of trust in the Outlook among these communities and widespread use for a range of purposes. Many local EMs use the Day 1 Outlook as a screening tool to signal days on which they will need to monitor conditions more closely. In addition, the Outlook will often lead EMs to initiate communications that support preparedness activities.  However, information from NWS local Weather Forecast Offices is as important to EMs as information from the Outlook. FEMA staff tend to rely more heavily on the Outlook and use it to support communications, increase staff and initiate other preparedness actions. All broadcasters reported using the Outlook; many described a similar screening approach, with the Outlook leading them to seek additional detail to support their on-air forecasts. Others report using the Outlook as a validation check on their own forecast. Users across these groups expect that they would use additional within-day timing information to refine their decision-making processes.  However, there were some concerns about additional detail on the Outlook confusing the general public. While it is not clear how much the general public relies on the Outlook, these issues are worth considering. Findings suggest ways that SPC can add timing and other details to enhance the varied uses of the Outlook.
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