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Forecasters test technologies to allow warnings to follow storms continuously

February 12, 2020

The Global Systems Divsion (GSD) and NSSL are leading a “collaboration” experiment in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) February 10-14 and February 24-28. Participating teams of forecasters will test software called “Threats in Motion” (TiM) that helps them collaborate across NWS County Warning Area (CWA) boundaries. The implementation of TiM is aimed at guiding future products in the FACETs concept.

TiM is part of a broader framework known as Probabilistic-Hazard Information (PHI) and FACETs, or Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats. FACETs is a paradigm shift to provide more information between the watch and warning system currently in place. PHI will be the mechanism to implement FACETs in the forecast office workflow.

When a forecaster issues a weather warning for a threat in their area of responsibility (CWA), the warning ends at their border. As that threat moves into a different CWA, a new office must issue a new warning, rather than continue the existing warning. This workflow creates unequal lead-times for the hazard as it moves downstream. During the tests, storms will cross a CWA border. TiM will allow the teams to either request to take over an existing warning or request to draw a warning in their neighboring CWA (usually for a storm that is about to enter their own CWA). They will collaborate by phone from their workstations in different rooms in the HWT.

“Implementing FACETs on the storm scale will revolutionize the way the NWS does business and TiM is a first step in that process,” said Kevin Manross Chief of the Hazard Services for Probabilistic Hazard Information program.

GSD Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), GSD Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and NSSL Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies researchers will work with the forecasters to evaluate how this change in culture impacts the workflow and developers will identify areas that need improvement.

For more information contact: Susan Cobb 303-497-5093