8.3 NWS Hazard Simplification: Effective Communication of Heat Hazards

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Michelle Hawkins, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and E. Jacks, J. G. Ferrell, A. Horvitz, A. T. Pirring, C. Williams, and G. M. Eosco

The National Weather Service (NWS) is working to build a Weather-Ready Nation to improve the nation’s readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against extreme weather, water, and climate events. A Weather-Ready Nation requires that users of NWS hazard information understand our hazard messages and immediately understand the actions they should take to protect themselves from weather hazards.

To address this requirement, the NWS Hazard Simplification (Haz Simp) project was established to examine the current NWS Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system and to provide recommendations for alternative messaging focused on impacts of weather events. Collaborating with social scientists, the NWS is developing alternative methods of conveying hazards with the goal of simplifying and clarifying messages for the general public and for those responsible for making key decisions to protect the public.

One component of the Haz Simp effort is an assessment of NWS Excessive Heat WWA products. A recent study revealed that NWS forecasters selectively use one or a combination of heat products, resulting in partner confusion due to inconsistent issuance criteria. This presentation will provide an overview of the current WWA system for heat, discuss efforts to collect feedback on potential changes to the WWA system, and share preliminary results and plans for using feedback to inform changes to the WWA system for heat hazards.

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