National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Harold Brooks, Senior Research Scientist

NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

The People of Weather-Ready Nation is an interview series that sits down with some of the people responsible for building a Weather-Ready Nation.

We recently talked to Harold Brooks, a Senior Research Scientist at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory

1. What does a Weather-Ready Nation mean to you?

People and systems that understand the hazards they face and work to mitigate and respond to those hazards

2. How are you helping to build a Weather-Ready Nation?

I’m working on improving how information about hazards moves through the system between observations, computer models, human forecasters, risk communicators, and the public. I’m currently working on projects to estimate the true nature of severe thunderstorm threats better, evaluate forecasts, study how social media moves messages, and to communicate how to find best refuge areas in structures for tornado protection.

3. What is the biggest challenge you see in making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events.

The biggest challenge to making the nation “weather-ready" is that it’s a low priority for almost everyone. There are competing priorities both on the national and personal level. And because extreme events are rare, we quickly forget the devastation they cause.

About: I’m a Senior Research Scientist at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory where I’ve worked for over 20 years on the climatology of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, forecast evaluation, and the interface between social science and weather.