National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

NWS Advances Major Changes to Hazard Messaging Headlines

“Advisory” and “Special Weather Statement” headlines removed in 2024

Shown here is the timeline moving forward for major changes to NWS hazard messaging headlines.

Shown here is the timeline moving forward for major changes to NWS hazard messaging headlines.

NWS will replace its “Advisory” and “Special Weather Statement” headlines with plain language headlines that more clearly describe weather or water hazards. This change will take effect no earlier than 2024 to allow the time needed for public outreach, partner preparation, and policy and software development. NWS “Watch” and “Warning” headlines will remain unchanged.

NWS is streamlining the Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system after several years of social science research confirmed there is widespread confusion about NWS headline terms. Research showed that a large majority of the public and some partners misunderstand the meaning of “Advisory” and confuse it with “Watch”. The new paradigm will better support emergency managers, who need plain language headlines to support clear communication, along with messages in a bulleted, easy-to-read format.

These improvements will promote a better understanding of forecast impacts during or leading up to significant weather and water hazards — and in turn make way for a more Weather-Ready Nation.

Next Steps

These WWA System changes will support the National Weather Service’s ability to provide officials with Impact-based Decision Support Services and will better serve customers and the American public.

The National Weather Service will engage customers and partners in the weather industry to help design more effective headline language. In the coming months, we will issue public surveys to solicit feedback.

For more information about improvements to the WWA system, take a look at this Public Information Statement and the Hazard Simplification project website.