Winter weather warning and advisory products will be restructured effective this winter

SERVICE CHANGE NOTICE 08-40
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC


FROM:     ELI JACKS
          CHIEF...FIRE AND PUBLIC WEATHER SERVICES BRANCH

SUBJECT:  RESTRUCTURING OF SOME NWS WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
          AND WARNING PRODUCTS: EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 9 2008

EFFECTIVE TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 9 2008 AT 0001 COORDINATED UNIVERSAL
TIME /UTC/ THE NWS MADE SOME CHANGES TO THE SUITE OF PRODUCTS
USED TO ADVISE AND WARN PARTNERS AND THE PUBLIC OF SIGNIFICANT
WINTER WEATHER. THE PURPOSE OF THESE CHANGES IS TO SIMPLIFY AND
CLARIFY THE COMMUNICATION AND DISSEMINATION OF EXPECTED WINTER
WEATHER HAZARDS.

A PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT /PNS/ SOLICITING COMMENTS ON THESE
PROPOSED CHANGES WAS ISSUED IN FEBRUARY 2008.  THIS PNS IS
AVAILABLE AT /USE LOWER CASE/:

  WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OS/NOTIFICATION/OLD/PNS08CCA_WINTER_WEATHER.TXT

OVER 100 COMMENTS WERE RECEIVED...A SIGNIFICANT MAJORITY OF WHICH
STRONGLY SUPPORTED MOVING FORWARD WITH THESE CHANGES. THESE
COMMENTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH FEEDBACK RECEIVED FROM MANY OF OUR
PARTNERS AND PUBLIC USERS AS WELL AS WITH FEEDBACK RECEIVED FROM
NWS FIELD MANAGERS AND FORECASTERS OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS.  A FEW
EXAMPLES OF THE COMMENTS RECEIVED...AS WELL AS AN ANALYSIS OF ALL
THE COMMENTS...IS AVAILABLE AT /USE LOWER CASE/:

  HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OS/WINTER/RESOURCES/ANALYSIS.PDF

NWS WILL RESTRUCTURE ITS WINTER WEATHER PRODUCTS BY COMBINING A
NUMBER OF CURRENT ADVISORY AND WARNING PRODUCTS INTO CATEGORIES
ASSOCIATED WITH SIMILAR IMPACTS.  FOR EXAMPLE CONDITIONS THAT
CURRENTLY PROMPT THE ISSUANCE OF SEPARATE WINTER WEATHER...
SNOW...SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW... SLEET...AND/OR BLOWING SNOW
ADVISORIES WILL BE ISSUED...AND VTEC-CODED...AS WINTER WEATHER
ADVISORIES.  SIMILARLY CONDITIONS THAT CURRENTLY PROMPT THE
ISSUANCE OF WINTER STORM...HEAVY SNOW...AND/OR SLEET WARNINGS
WILL BE ISSUED...AND VTEC-CODED...AS WINTER STORM WARNINGS. IN
ADDITION CONDITIONS THAT CURRENTLY PROMPT THE ISSUANCE OF
SEPARATE LAKE EFFECT SNOW AND LAKE EFFECT SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW
ADVISORIES BY SOME CENTRAL REGION WFOS WILL BE ISSUED...AND VTEC-
CODED...AS LAKE EFFECT SNOW ADVISORIES BY THOSE WFOS. NWS WILL NO
LONGER USE OF THE VTEC CODES ASSOCIATED WITH THE DISCONTINUED
ADVISORY AND WARNING PRODUCTS.

FREEZING RAIN...LAKE EFFECT SNOW...AND WIND CHILL ADVISORIES WILL
STILL BE ISSUED AS SEPARATE PRODUCTS AND WILL RETAIN THEIR CURRENT
VTEC CODES DUE TO THE UNIQUENESS OF THEIR IMPACTS. SIMILARLY
BLIZZARD...ICE STORM...LAKE EFFECT SNOW...AND WIND CHILL WARNINGS
WILL CONTINUE TO BE ISSUED AS SEPARATE PRODUCTS WITH THEIR CURRENT
VTEC CODES.

IN ALL CASES THE SPECIFIC HAZARD INFORMATION ASSOCIATED WITH THE
DISCONTINUED PRODUCTS WILL BE CLEARLY DEPICTED IN THE FIRST LINE OF
THE BODY OF THE ADVISORY OR WARNING PRODUCT IN A STANDARDIZED
FORMAT. A TABLE CONTAINING A LIBRARY OF THE STANDARDIZED WORDING
NWS FORECASTERS WILL BE DIRECTED TO USE...ALONG WITH AN EXAMPLE OF
HOW IT WILL BE UTILIZED IN THE SIMPLIFIED WARNINGS AND
ADVISORIES...CAN BE FOUND AT /USE LOWER CASE/:

  HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OS/WINTER/RESOURCES/WORDING.PDF

THESE CHANGES WILL REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SPECIFIC WINTER WEATHER
WARNING AND ADVISORY PRODUCTS AND ENHANCE THEIR CLARITY AND
CONSISTENCY AMONG ADJOINING NWS FORECAST OFFICES DURING WINTER
WEATHER EVENTS. ALSO THE GRAPHICAL DEPICTION OF FORECAST WINTER
WEATHER HAZARDS VIA THE NWS HOME PAGES WILL BE MORE UNDERSTANDABLE.

NO SOFTWARE CHANGES BY NWS PARTNERS OR USERS ARE ANTICIPATED AS A
RESULT OF THESE PROPOSED CHANGES.

THE FOLLOWING TABLES SHOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CURRENT AND FUTURE
ADVISORY AND WARNING CATEGORIES:

TABLE 1 - WINTER ADVISORIES

CURRENT WINTER ADVISORIES           FUTURE WINTER ADVISORIES

FREEZING RAIN --------------------- FREEZING RAIN
LAKE EFFECT SNOW ------------------ LAKE EFFECT SNOW
LAKE EFFECT SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW - LAKE EFFECT SNOW
WIND CHILL ------------------------ WIND CHILL
WINTER WEATHER -------------------- WINTER WEATHER
SNOW ------------------------------ WINTER WEATHER
SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW ------------- WINTER WEATHER
SLEET ----------------------------- WINTER WEATHER
BLOWING SNOW ---------------------- WINTER WEATHER

TABLE 2 - WINTER WARNINGS

CURRENT WINTER WARNINGS             FUTURE WINTER WARNINGS

BLIZZARD -------------------------- BLIZZARD
ICE STORM ------------------------- ICE STORM
LAKE EFFECT SNOW ------------------ LAKE EFFECT SNOW
WIND CHILL ------------------------ WIND CHILL
WINTER STORM ---------------------- WINTER STORM
HEAVY SNOW ------------------------ WINTER STORM
SLEET ----------------------------- WINTER STORM

A GRAPHICAL DEPICTION OF TABLES 1 AND 2 CAN BE FOUND AT 
/USE LOWER CASE/:

  HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OS/WINTER/RESOURCES/WSW_EX.PDF

NWS INSTRUCTION 10-513...WFO WINTER WEATHER PRODUCTS
SPECIFICATION...WILL BE UPDATED TO REFLECT THESE CHANGES.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THIS PROPOSED CHANGE IN THE
ISSUANCE AND DISSEMINATION OF WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES AND
WARNINGS...PLEASE CONTACT:

PAUL STOKOLS
FIRE AND PUBLIC WEATHER SERVICES BRANCH
1325 EAST WEST HIGHWAY
SILVER SPRING MD 20910
301-713-1867 EXT. 139
PAUL.STOKOLS@NOAA.GOV

OR THE WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST /WCM/ AT YOUR LOCAL
WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE.

NWS SERVICE CHANGE NOTICES ARE ONLINE AT /USE LOWER CASE/:

   HTTP://WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/OM/NOTIF.HTM



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