NWS Proposes Simplified Winter Hazard Terms

The National Weather Service is conducting a demonstration of alternative terms for Winter Weather Watches, Warnings, and Advisories through March 31, 2013. The terms "Potential" and "Advise Caution" will be used in place of the current "Watch" and "Advisory" terms, respectively. The "Warning" term will continue to be used for dangerous winter storms.

Official NWS winter weather hazard products will not be changed during this demonstration. Instead, examples of hazard products using the proposed terms will be available on a web page. Software will "translate" the official bulletins to create bulletins with the proposed terms and display the two versions side-by-side. Daily comparisons of products from the Rapid City NWS Office will also be accessible via "Top News of the Day" on our home page.

The web page also includes a map of the 26 Weather Forecast Offices participating in the demonstration, details on the proposed terms, and information on how to access the messages and provide comments.

This demonstration is driven by feedback from surveys, service assessments, and user interactions indicating people are confused by the meaning and intent of NWS hazard headlines. The NWS’ goal is to ensure all hazard messages are clear and understandable. The proposed terms in this demonstration is one possible approach to simplifying and clarifying winter weather hazard messages.

A Product Description Document (PDD) provides additional information about this demonstration.

Comments on whether the current hazard products should be changed and if this approach should be considered may be submitted via an online survey. People may also provide comments on message comparisons for specific dates or ask questions about this demonstration via email to hazsimp@noaa.gov Other comments and questions may be directed to the Rapid City National Weather Service. The comment period will remain open through March 31, 2013, after which time the NWS will analyze comments to determine the next steps.


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