8.7 NWSChat as a Decision Support Tool: Evolution and Severe Weather Applications

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 3:00 PM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Richard Smith, NOAA/NWS, Norman, OK; and R. MacDonald

NWSChat is an instant messaging tool used in National Weather Service (NWS) forecast and warning operations to share critical impact-based decision support intelligence, warning decision expertise and a wide variety of weather, water and climate information to support the mission of saving lives and property. Through individual chat rooms designated for each NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) NWSChat also allows for two-way interaction with NWS core local partners in the media, emergency management and public safety communities, creating a collaborative environment for information exchange among all the members of the Integrated Warning Team (IWT).

WFO Norman began using NWSChat in 2008. Since then, it has become more integrated into operations, and is viewed as an integral tool for forecasters to share and gather information on any type of significant weather event, and that has led to a marked increase in usage among our IWT partners. The total number of users registered with WFO Norman increased by nearly 400% since 2013, and that number has more than doubled since 2015. WFO Norman now has the second highest number of registered users of any NWS Forecast Office. Part of this increase can likely be attributed to a concerted effort by the staff at WFO Norman to increase the volume of information provided to partners via NWSChat.

This presentation will present NWSChat message timelines for significant severe weather events from both 16 May, 2017 and 18 May, 2017 to illustrate innovative ways in which WFO Norman staff supplemented the more traditional NWS products to help create a continuous flow of actionable decision support information. We also analyze specific chat message trends over time, and use that analysis to examine how different types of core partners participate in NWSChat over the course of a significant severe weather event.

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