7.4 VORTEX-SE Social Science Activities with the National Weather Service in Huntsville, AL

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 11:15 AM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Lauren Nash, NWS, Tallahassee, FL; and C. B. Darden and J. R. Friedman

The Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment-Southeast (VORTEX-SE) field campaigns occurred during the Spring of both 2016 and 2017. Unlike past VORTEX studies, VORTEX-SE included research on the social science aspects of severe weather in tandem with the traditional focus on physical science.

As part of each Intensive Observation Period (IOP), social scientists conducted in situ research with both the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Huntsville, and select emergency management offices to observe interactions, workflow, communications, and overall challenges faced during severe weather. As such, the IOPs allowed for a uniquely close collaborative environment between NWS operational forecasters and social scientists. The discussions that occurred during and after severe weather events helped the forecaster gain a better understanding of his/her forecast, how it played out, the uncertainties through the event, and how the forecast was communicated across the spectrum of stakeholders.

This presentation will describe how a specific group of social scientists interacted with the forecasters and core partners, the benefits of these interactions, as well as a few examples of communication processes through the events. The end goal of this presentation is to show how social sciences can help the NWS understand critical end-user decisions at various points in the communication pipeline, and where local knowledge and expertise can enhance it.

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