4.4 Making the Case for Watches, Warnings, and Advisories: Results from a Case Study Analysis of NWS Forecasters and Partners

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 2:15 PM
613 (Washington State Convention Center )
Gina M Eosco, Eastern Research Group, Arlington, VA; and L. Girardi, E. Jacks, M. Bilder, and J. Sprague-Hilderbrand

NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts hazardous weather situations and issues watches, warnings, advisories (WWA), and other information products to convey the threats posed by these events. These products are intended to help communities prepare for and respond to hazardous weather to protect people’s lives and property. To better understand how the NWS and its stakeholders perceive and use the current system, Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) worked with the NWS to develop a Web-based, case study survey instrument (using Qualtrics software) that asked participants (including NWS forecasters, emergency managers and broadcast meteorologists) to respond to a series of open-ended questions about a particular hazardous weather event where the messaging did (or did not) work well from their viewpoint or from the viewpoint of their community or audience. This survey resulted in a set of case studies that provided insights into:
  • The strengths of the current WWA system from a hazard messaging standpoint.
  • The weaknesses surrounding the WWA system from a hazard messaging standpoint and how these weaknesses relate to potential solutions.
  • Whether changing the current WWA language is desired by stakeholders.

A total of 706 case studies were analyzed. ERG used a mix of inductive and deductive approaches to analyze these data. For the first phase of the work, ERG conducted an inductive, bottom-up analysis to detect theoretical patterns in a subset of the data with no preconceived notions of particular findings. In the second phase of the analysis, the theoretical patterns were analyzed to develop emerging themes and associated keywords. These keywords were then used to employ a deductive, top-down approach to identify and summarize the recurring themes in all of the remaining case studies. The major findings from this study will be presented and discussed.

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