National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce



Near Storm Environment Awareness Evaluation

In May and June of 2017, the OPG hosted Operational Readiness Evaluations for a collection of AWIPS-based tools designed to enhance a forecaster’s Near Storm Environmental Awareness (NSEA) during convective warning events. The NSEA toolset, comprised of a GUI application and a Cursor Readout, was developed as a collaborative National SOO Project to provide NWS mesoanalysts and warning forecasters with a flexible, locally configurable, and user-friendly way to monitor a variety of relevant parameters in rapidly evolving convective storm environments.


During four week-long evaluations, twelve forecasters from around the country used the NSEA tools as they simulated WFO operations in a variety of warning and forecasting scenarios. Participants were placed into various roles, ranging from serving as individual warning forecasters at neighboring offices, to simulating the process of collaborating as a team within a single WFO.  Sessions included a combination of historical cases and real-time weather. Feedback was then gathered from all participants, in the form of decision logs, anonymous on-line surveys, and informal group discussions.


Recognizing the fact that new tools are seldom introduced into operations as standalone items, the team decided it was important to assess how these proposed additions to forecaster workflow would be integrated with related data sets and decision aids. With that in mind, during the real-time weather days forecasters were challenged to integrate the NSEA tools into their normal workstream, along with GOES-16 cloud and moisture imagery, GLM data, ProbSevere Model cursor readout information, surface observations, and high-resolution model output.  


Forecasters who participated in these OREs provided numerous valuable insights regarding how the tools might be used in operations, what modifications would maximize the likelihood of buy-in from the field, workload impacts that need to be considered, and recommendations for training upon roll-out.   


Initial findings and recommendations are being forwarded to NWS leadership for action. A comprehensive report will be published and posted on this site once the review process is complete.

Full Evaluation Report