National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

In the early stages of Haz Simp social science research and engagement, we received consistent positive feedback for reducing the number of products (consolidation) and simplifying the product text (reformatting). As a result, NWS has made and continues to make important improvements to the current Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) messaging system.

Winter Weather Example

On Oct. 2, 2017, NWS reformatted all Winter products into a new bulleted format (What, Where, When in red text below) and consolidated Winter Watch and Advisory headlines (as shown below).

Recent and Upcoming Efforts

NWS is in the process of extending the above concept to other hazards. Below is a summary of upcoming changes.

Consolidation

NWS will also be consolidating other hazards beyond winter. Changes are upcoming for specific marine, temperature, and flood products (see graphics below). For more information on the Flood consolidation efforts, see the fact sheet. The dates for the following changes will be publicized by NWS in the months ahead. 

 

   

   

 

Reformatting

Most NWS long-duration products (temperature, visibility, wind, and marine hazards) have now joined the winter weather suite and adopted the “What, Where, When, Impacts” bulleted format. For more information, see the Non-Precipitation Weather hazards fact sheet (English, Spanish) and Marine hazard fact sheet (English, Spanish). Our flood products will also soon transition to this bulleted format; stay tuned for updates! 


While short-duration products (Severe Thunderstorm Warning, Tornado Warning) also use a bulleted format, the language is different - they are in an Impact-Based Warning (IBW) format with “Hazard, Source, Location” bullets. Aligning with this, NWS implemented this same format for Flash Flood Warnings.

 

 

 

 

 

Calling out the most extreme events

NWS is also exploring ways to highlight particularly extreme or severe events. For instance, the above change to IBW format for Flash Flood Warnings also includes machine-readable tags that allow NWS to issue Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for those warnings with "Considerable" or "Catastrophic" tags. An example is shown to the right. For more information on this change, please take a look at the IBW fact sheet

A similar process is underway for severe thunderstorms. Starting July 28, 2021, NWS will better convey the severity and potential impacts from thunderstorm winds and hail by adding a “damage threat” tag to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. The three categories used, in order of highest to lowest damage threat, are destructive, considerable, and base." An example can be found to the right. For more information, you can view this service change notice.

 

 

 

 

 

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