Heavy rain, mountain snow and strong winds in the western U.S. this week
The western U.S. will experience active weather yet again this week as significant Pacific moisture brings rain and mountain snow to the region. This heavy rain will bring flood concerns to parts of WA, OR and CA. Very heavy snow is possible in the Sierra, Cascades, Great Basin and parts of the northern Rockies.
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Welcome to the web site for the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Hazards Simplification ("Haz Simp") Project! We are glad you are interested and hope you will take the opportunity to provide your feedback on how we might simplify and clarify the messages we provide when hazardous conditions occur.
The NWS is striving to support a “Weather-Ready Nation” by ensuring you are aware of and prepared for the variety of weather- and water-based hazards we experience across the country every day. One factor in supporting this awareness and preparedness is to make sure our messaging is as clear and focused as possible.
For decades, the NWS has used the Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system to alert users of forecasted hazards. In many ways, the WWA system has been highly effective in protecting life and property. With that said, as we have collected feedback during the course of this project, we have learned that some users find the WWA terms confusing. Also, users are sometimes confused about how to interpret and distinguish among the large number of individual WWA “products” (e.g., Wind Advisory, Flood Watch, Winter Storm Warning).
Based on this initial feedback, and with support from social and behavioral scientists, NWS is exploring alternatives for more effectively communicating our hazard messages. The NWS is not making any changes to the operational system at this time but we are carefully considering a number of options, as follows:
Keep the current WWA system as is;
Make small to moderate changes; or
Make a transformational change to the WWA system.
Given that the WWA system has been in place for a very long time, it will be important to weigh any and all new ideas carefully, and to consider making initial small improvements while we continue to investigate the possibility of larger change. To support both efforts, we are collecting public comments on these options as we move forward.
What is a “Repair”?
We are defining a WWA “Repair” as a relatively small change that could be implemented by altering our policy and/or making minor adjustments to our current weather and water hazard messaging system.
What is a “Revamp”?
We are defining a WWA “Revamp” as a larger change that would require significant policy revision, could result in an overhaul and/or revisualization of the current hazard messaging paradigm and could require major software adjustments. A Revamp would need to be widely advertised in advance, and would also require extensive education and outreach to facilitate any transition.
Other Data Collection Efforts
As we carry out our Repair and Revamp comment collection process, we will also collect other information that is critical to the project.
First, we will be conducting a survey to be completed by federal, state, and local government partners, and private organizations to assess the level at which the WWA system is “institutionalized” into operational policies and law. We are calling this survey the “WWA Decision-maker Survey.”
Second, based on recurring feedback, we will also conduct a generalizable public survey for all demographic groups to better understand whether or not we should strongly consider permanent changes to the WWA system. Such changes could include modifications to our current WWA headlines, new approaches to communicate the transition from one hazard type to another, and the use of color to delineate differences in the impact and/or certainty of various hazards.
How You Can Participate
We will be asking for public comment on a variety of proposed Repair and Revamp ideas. We will be advertising the opportunities for comment on this website, social media and via a variety of mailing lists. This page will be updated to include links to new comment opportunities as they become available.
If you are interested in viewing or commenting on our ideas for Repair or Revamp, please click on the appropriately named tabs at the top of this page. You may also click on the “Project History” tab to learn more about the feedback we have collected to date.