NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. The National Ocean Service plays an important role in advancing these efforts.
The National Weather Service recently released an online report of accomplishments supporting the Weather-Ready Nation initiative. Here are some examples of NOS successes from the report:
Improved, Consistent Messaging for Storm Surge Information
In 2013, the National Ocean Service Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) made several enhancements to its existing products to be consistent with messages from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on storm surge risks and impacts. The result is more consistent and effective communication regarding storm surge and inundation. NOAA’s Storm QuickLook product, which highlights real-time storm tide information at locations where a tropical cyclone is impacting the U.S. coast, has been upgraded to provide more datum options within the product, allowing users to further customize their storm tide and tidal predictions.
Harmful Algal Bloom Alerts Added to Beach Hazard Statements
In 2013, NOS and the National Weather Service (NWS) partnered to issue alerts of potential respiratory impacts from harmful algal blooms (HAB). These HAB alerts are part of a broader experimental initiative that NWS is testing to expand use of their Beach Hazards Statement, which alerts the public about coastal hazards such as rip currents. NOS issues HAB forecasts for the public and coastal managers to protect public safety through the HAB Operational Forecast System. The addition of HAB alerts to Beach Hazards Statements will help this same public safety information reach a greater audience.
Hurricane Local Statement and Hazard Simplification
The NOAA Coastal Services Center is leading the current social science component of two projects geared towards improving National Weather Service forecast communications. Social science methods are being used on the Hurricane Local Statement (HLS) product and the Hazard Simplification project to clear up miscommunication and increase understanding of expected impacts in dangerous weather situations with the hope that the forecast information will be perceived as intended and lead to desirable actions by the reader.
NOS will continue to support these important efforts.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service