Allison Allen, Wayne Presnell, Darren Wright, Eli Jacks, Andrew Pirring, Kim Klockow, NWS Analyze Forecast and Support Office
The National Weather Service (NWS) is making steady progress on its efforts to simplify the current Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) framework. The most recent component of this broader effort is a proposed consolidation and reformatting of marine and coastal hazard messages. This proposed consolidation is envisioned to provide a more streamlined, clear, and impact-based suite of warnings for a range of mariners, as well as for those who live, work, or recreate at and near the coast.
The existing NWS policies and procedures for generating marine and coastal products frequently lead to situations in which multiple layers of WWA messages are in place for a single area, or there are inconsistent issuance criteria among the messages issued. In many cases, wind and wave hazards are separately presented, as are coastal hazards, such as heavy surf and rip currents.
Additionally, there are four different types of small craft advisories, which are inconsistent both in their definition and their issuance criteria. With the majority of weather events impacting coastal and marine zones historically triggering multiple watches, warnings, or advisories, significant confusion can be a result. One of the primary goals of the Hazard Simplification project is to support a transition towards clarified, concise messaging focused on impacts of weather events, rather than the individual meteorological phenomena behind them. Consideration is being given to ensure common approaches are used for land-based and marine-based products.
At this time, the proposed simplification of marine messaging is focused on domestic coastal and nearshore waters. This presentation will summarize the future vision for consolidated products and simplified messaging and outline steps that will be followed to assess whether and how they would be operationally implemented. Examples will be shown of the old and new formats to illustrate this impact based approach to marine and coastal warnings.