National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy Rainfall and Flash Flood Threats From the Lower Mississippi Valley Into the Mid-Atlantic; Elevated to Critical Fire Concerns Out West

Heavy rainfall will continue through midweek from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Mid-Atlantic. Elevated to critical fire weather threat continues across the Central Great Basin and the Central Rockies; and there is an elevated fire risk from southwestern Oregon to northern California. Record river flooding will continue in portions of the Midwest and the Carolinas. Read More >

Overview

Welcome to 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 has explored alternatives for more effectively communicating our hazard messages. Some options include:

  • 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. This would include consolidation and reformatting our products as described in the above video.

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/or 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.

How You Can Participate

We will be asking for public comment on a variety of proposed Repair 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 - please view the “Repair” section of this website for more information and links to surveys.