1.5A Delivering and Improving Impact-Based Seasonal Outlooks for South-Central Texas

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 9:45 AM
Salon K (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Larry J. Hopper Jr., NWS, New Braunfels, TX; and T. Dickinson and J. W. Zeitler
Manuscript (1.7 MB)

Improving forecasts and decision support for extreme weather and climate events is critical for South Central Texas which has experienced record floods ending a record drought along with the most catastrophic wildfire and costliest hailstorm in Texas history since 2010. The NWS Austin/San Antonio Weather Forecast Office (WFO EWX) began delivering seasonal outlooks in fall 2015 which utilize local research to provide context for CPC and NOAA seasonal outlooks. Briefings are first presented to emergency managers, broadcast media, and other core partners through an interactive webinar. Full recordings and specific content slides are then shared on social media and through targeted outreach and media interviews. Over 70 core partners have participated in the webinars, some of which have been watched 1000 times with specific posts reaching 100,000 views.

We will show best practices for delivering and disseminating localized impact-based seasonal outlooks along with partner surveys identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Progress towards evaluating a more objective approach to generate and verify seasonal forecasts of above normal, near normal, or below normal impacts (similar to CPC’s tercile-based approach) is also presented for severe weather, river and flash flooding, and fire weather. Verification of WFO EWX’s outlooks issued since fall 2015 based on 15-30 year climatologies are shown in addition to looking towards how a more objective forecast approach using climate teleconnections, antecedent conditions, and other predictors like CPC’s seasonal outlooks may improve verification. Challenges encountered are also discussed along with potential opportunities for future growth.

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