769 Considerations for Phased-Array Radar Data Use within the National Weather Service

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Katie A. Wilson, CIMMS/Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and P. L. Heinselman and C. M. Kuster

Thirty National Weather Service forecasters participated in the 2015 Phased Array Radar Innovative Sensing Experiment. Each worked with 1-min, 2-min, and 5-min phased-array radar (PAR) volumetric updates for a set of weather events in simulated real time. As a result, these forecasters were well-positioned to provide valuable feedback on how rapidly-updating PAR data impacted their warning decision processes. This feedback was collected during six focus groups, each of which consisted of five forecasters and lasted approximately 1.5 hours. Since forecasters participating in the same focus group had spent the week together in the Hazardous Weather Testbed, rapport between forecasters had been established and discussions were therefore fluent and productive.

A set of pre-determined open-ended questions were asked to guide focus group discussions, and these discussions were both video recorded and transcribed in real time. Transcriptions from each of the six focus groups were thematically analyzed, and a list of codes were developed to identify themes. These themes belonged to one of two groups: 1) forecasters’ use of rapidly-updating PAR data during the experiment, and 2) how forecasters envision rapidly-updating PAR data being integrated into warning operations. In this presentation, findings from this thematic analysis will be shared, and dialogue that captures the essence of forecasters’ thoughts will be used to illustrate findings from their perspectives. Discussions will focus on forecasters’ reactions to the faster radar updates, how they adapted to counteract the increase in data availability, and the storm trends that these faster radar updates allowed them to observe. Forecasters’ suggestions of ways to visualize faster radar updates, the necessary training that will be required, and concerns of fatigue and staffing will also be included in this presentation.

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