View proposal to unify flood products under one communications identifier

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...COMMENT REQUEST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC

COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED UNTIL DECEMBER 8

TO:       SUBSCRIBERS:
          -FAMILY OF SERVICES 
          -NOAA WEATHER WIRE SERVICE
          -EMERGENCY MANAGERS WEATHER INFORMATION NETWORK
          OTHER NWS PARTNERS...USERS AND EMPLOYEES

FROM      THOMAS GRAZIANO
          CHIEF...HYDROLOGIC SERVICES BRANCH

SUBJECT   COMMENTS SOUGHT BY DECEMBER 8 2008 ON POSSIBLE
          UNIFICATION OF EVENT-BASED FLOOD PRODUCTS UNDER THE
          FLOOD WARNING /FLW/ IDENTIFIER

NWS IS SEEKING COMMENTS BY DECEMBER 8 2008 ON A PROPOSAL TO
UNIFY ALL EVENT-BASED HYDROLOGIC PRODUCTS UNDER THE FLOOD
WARNING /FLW/ IDENTIFIER. IF IMPLEMENTED THE CHANGE WOULD NOT
OCCUR FOR THREE OR MORE YEARS. ADVANTAGES TO UNIFYING EVENT-
BASED HYDROLOGIC PRODUCTS UNDER A SINGLE IDENTIFIER INCLUDE:

O SIMPLER CONFIGURATION - FOLLOWS THE APPROACH USED IN NWS
  WINTER STORM /WSW/ AND NON-PRECIPITATION /NPW/ PRODUCTS AND
  ELIMINATES THE CONFUSION CAUSED BY THE MULTIPLE IDENTIFIERS
  USED IN CURRENT FLOOD PRODUCTS.

O PROVIDES A NEW TRANSITION CAPABILITY. FOR EXAMPLE...IT WOULD 
  BE POSSIBLE TO ISSUE A PRODUCT ANNOUNCING THE TRANSITION FROM
  A FLASH FLOOD WARNING TO A LONGER DURATION FLOOD WARNING.

O PROVIDES UPGRADE AND DOWNGRADE CAPABILITIES. FOR EXAMPLE...IT
  WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO ISSUE A PRODUCT ANNOUNCING THE UPGRADE OF
  A FLOOD WATCH TO A FLOOD WARNING.

O PROVIDES MAXIMUM ABILITY TO ISSUE PRODUCTS COMBINING DIFFERENT
  TYPES OF WATCHES...WARNINGS AND/OR ADVISORIES FOR EXAMPLE...
  IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO ISSUE A SINGLE PRODUCT WITH MULTIPLE
  SEGMENTS FOR A POINT-BASED FLOOD WARNING FOR ONE OR MORE
  RIVER LOCATIONS...A POINT-BASED FLOOD ADVISORY FOR ONE OR
  MORE LOCATIONS...A POINT-BASED FLOOD WATCH FOR ONE OR MORE
  LOCATIONS ...AND AN AREAL FLOOD WARNING FOR ALL OR PART OF THE 
  RIVER BASIN AFFECTED BY WIDESPREAD SMALL STREAM FLOODING.


O PLACES EMPHASIS ON THE VERSITLE INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN
  VALID TIME EVENT CODE /VTEC/ RATHER THAN PRODUCT IDENTIFIERS.

POSSIBLE FUTURE PRODUCTS SHOWING BENEFITS OF UNIFYING EVENT-
BASED HYDROLOGIC PRODUCTS UNDER THE FLW IDENTIFIER CAN BE FOUND
ON THE HYDROLOGIC VTEC WEB PAGE AT /USE LOWER CASE/:

  HTTP://WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/OS/VTEC/HYDRO_VTEC.SHTML

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE EVENT-BASED PRODUCTS THAT WOULD BE UNIFIED
UNDER THE FLOOD WARNING /FLW/ IDENTIFIER:

CURRENT     PRODUCT
IDENTIFIER  NAME

   FFA      FLOOD WATCH /AREAL/
   FFA      FLASH FLOOD WATCH /AREAL/
   FFA      FLOOD WATCH FOR FORECAST POINTS
   FFW      FLASH FLOOD WARNING
   FFS      FLASH FLOOD STATEMENT
   FLW      FLOOD WARNING FOR FORECAST POINTS
   FLS      FLOOD STATEMENT - FOLLOW-UP TO FLOOD WARNING FOR
            FORECAST POINTS
   FLW      AREAL FLOOD WARNING
   FLS      FLOOD STATEMENT - FOLLOW-UP TO AREAL FLOOD WARNING
   FLS      FLOOD STATEMENT - AREAL ADVISORIES
   FLS      FLOOD STATEMENT - FLOOD ADVISORY FOR FORECAST POINTS

EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO INCLUDE MULTIPLE SEGMENTS IN
A FLW PRODUCT...WARNINGS OF HIGH URGENCY SUCH AS FLASH FLOODS
WOULD CONTINUE TO BE ISSUED AS STAND-ALONE PRODUCTS TO ENSURE
THEY ARE NOT LOST AMONG OTHER SEGMENTS.

THE CHANGE...IF IMPLEMENTED...WOULD MAINLY AFFECT USERS WHO
AUTOMATICALLY PROCESS AND DISTRIBUTE NWS PRODUCTS TO THEIR
CUSTOMERS SUCH AS RADIO AND TV STATIONS. THE CHANGE WOULD BE
COORDINATED WELL IN ADVANCE WITH THESE DISTRIBUTORS AND WOULD
OCCUR ON A WELL PUBLICIZED DATE. THEREFORE IT WOULD NOT AFFECT
HOW THE GENERAL PUBLIC RECEIVES PRODUCTS FROM THE INTERNET...
NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS...OR MEDIA SUCH AS TELEVISION OR
RADIO. ALL CURRENT WATCHES... WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES WOULD
CONTINUE TO BE ISSUED AND EACH TYPE OF ISSUANCE WOULD BE CLEARLY
IDENTIFIED WITHIN EACH FLW PRODUCT.

IF EVENT-BASED HYDROLOGIC PRODUCTS ARE UNIFIED UNDER THE FLW
IDENTIFIER...AUTOMATED PROCESSING OF FLW PRODUCTS WOULD REQUIRE
PARSING OF VTEC ACTION...PHENOMENON AND SIGNIFICANCE CODES
CONTAINED IN EACH SEGMENT. THIS PARSING OF VTEC WOULD REVEAL THE
CURRENT STATUS OF EACH WATCH...WARNING AND/OR ADVISORY CONTAINED
IN THE PRODUCT AND WHETHER IT IS A NEW ISSUANCE... CONTINUATION
...EXTENSION...CANCELLATION...ETC.

A ONE-PAGE SUMMARY OF VTEC IS AVAILABLE AT /USE LOWER CASE/:

  HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OS/VTEC/PDFS/VTEC_EXPLANATION6.PDF

COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS ON OTHER WAYS THE NWS CAN IMPROVE FLOOD
PRODUCTS AND THE COMMUNICATION OF FLOOD RISK ALSO ARE WELCOME.
IF A DECISION IS MADE TO PROCEED WITH THE PROPOSAL... ADDITIONAL
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS WILL BE ISSUED OVER THE NEXT FEW
YEARS TO PROVIDE UPDATES ON PLANS FOR FUTURE IMPLEMENTATION. THE
NWS ALSO WILL ESTABLISH AN ONGOING DIALOG WITH PARTNERS AND
OTHER USERS ON ANY CHANGES THROUGH THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS.

IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS...PLEASE CONTACT:

  TIM HELBLE
  NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
  1325 EAST-WEST HIGHWAY
  SSMC2 13434
  SILVER SPRING MD  20910
  TIMOTHY.HELBLE@NOAA.GOV

NWS PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS ARE ONLINE AT /USE LOWER CASE/

  HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OS/NOTIF.HTM

$$
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