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POLYGON WEATHER WARNINGS – A NEW APPROACH FOR THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE . Ken Waters National Weather Service, Honolulu HI May 17, 2005 Public Service Meeting – Park City, UT. Background. National Weather Service issues four types of short-fused warnings: Tornado Warnings (TOR)

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Polygon weather warnings a new approach for the national weather service l.jpg

POLYGON WEATHER WARNINGS – A NEW APPROACH FOR THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

Ken Waters

National Weather Service, Honolulu HI

May 17, 2005

Public Service Meeting – Park City, UT


Background l.jpg
Background

  • National Weather Service issues four types of short-fused warnings:

    • Tornado Warnings (TOR)

    • Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (SVR)

    • Flash Flood Warnings (FFW)

    • Special Marine Warnings (SMW)

  • Issued normally for one county at a time

    • Can lead to a large false-alarm area, especially in the case of large or irregular-sized counties

  • Verification has been strictly county-based

  • Legacy dissemination methods all tied to counties:

    • NOAA All-Hazards/Weather Radio

      • Uses SAME alert code based on counties

    • Internet displays – again, based on counties

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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WARNGEN

  • Allows forecaster to graphically highlight the area of greatest threat

  • Creates a template text product for the warning, including proper headers, issue/expiration times, county UGC codes

  • ALSO: includes latitude/longitude vertex points for the pathcast, or polygon warning --- LITTLE USED by NWS, partners, and public

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Using GIS with Polygon Warnings

  • Polygon vertices well-suited to include in GIS

  • Mechanism was established to strip off the lat-long polygon information, database the polygons, and create real-time GIS shapefiles

  • Using only open source (“freeware”) software

    • Code written in Perl

    • Polygon values formatted in ESRI “gen” format

    • Use “gen2shp” and “txt2dbf” packages

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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County vs. Polygon

  • Latitude/Longitude points at the bottom of all TORs, SVRs, FFWs, and SMWs.

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Polygon Advantages

  • Shows specifically where the threat is

  • More accurately shows warning area on systems displaying warnings graphically

  • Reduction of risk area to public

  • Better graphical description capabilities

  • Wider local distribution via cell phones, PDAs, etc.

  • Increase NWS role in the confirmation part of the warning process

  • Private sector starting to turn to polygons

  • Allows NWS to refine warnings to true threat area

  • Allows us to track and set goals for false alarm area

  • Better warning quality

  • Keeps NWS in technological step

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Polygon Advantages

Polygon Eliminates

Area False

Alarmed

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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NWS Identifies a Need

  • Feb. 2004: Regions meet to study this issue

  • Mar. 2004: Meeting Information presented to MSD Chiefs

  • Apr. 2004: Gen. Johnson asks PR Regional Director Jeff LaDouce to commission a polygon warning team

  • June 2004: Meeting information presented to Ops Committee

  • June 2004: Polygon Team Chartered

  • Aug. 2004: First formal Polygon Team Meeting

  • Sept. 2004: Verification Scoring Sub-team Launched

  • Jan. 2005: AMS Presentation

  • Mar. 2005: Prototype Test Started

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Team Members

  • Mike Looney, CRH (facilitator)

  • Mike Coyne, SRH

  • Steve Naglic, WCM WFO Columbia SC (ER)

  • Pete Wolf, SOO WFO Wichita, KS (CR)

  • Jeff Lorens, WRH

  • Brent McAloney (OCWWS)

  • Rich Okulski (OCWWS)

  • Noreen Schwein, CRH (Hydrology)

  • Joe Shaffer, SPC

  • Ken Waters, PRH

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Prototype Test

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Jackson MS Apr 5-7“Trial by fire”

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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And now, some examples, using 2004 warnings

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Tornado Warnings -- 2004

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Tornado WarningsFlorida 2004

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region



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Flash Flood Warnings 2004

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Special Marine Warnings 2004

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Flash Flood Warnings 2004still very “county-based”

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Applications For Viewing Polygon Warnings 2004

  • CONUS map showing warnings, updated each minute: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/regsci/gis/

  • ArcIMS map service for historical viewing: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/regsci/gis/

  • Texas A&M Site (warnings + radar): http://www.prh.noaa.gov/regsci/gis/warn.html

  • Iowa Mesonet: http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/GIS/apps/rview/warnings.phtml

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


Display of warnings only http www prh noaa gov regsci gis l.jpg
Display of warnings only 2004http://www.prh.noaa.gov/regsci/gis/

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Busy Day….! 2004

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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ArcIMS Map Service 2004http://www.prh.noaa.gov/regsci/gis/warn.html

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Includes LSR data from SPC 2004

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Texas A&M Mesonet Site 2004http://mesonet.tamu.edu/PolygonTest/

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


Iowa environmental mesonet http mesonet agron iastate edu gis apps rview warnings phtml l.jpg
Iowa Environmental Mesonet 2004http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/GIS/apps/rview/warnings.phtml

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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The Challenges 2004

  • Internal to NWS

    • Forecaster paradigm shift to focus on weather threat

    • Workload issues keeping track of warnings

      • Ensuring events don’t slip between nearly adjacent warnings

    • Verification measures

      • Changes to GPRA baselines

      • Special verification issues (e.g., multiple warnings for same county)

    • Software

      • WARNGEN error -- periodically issues 2-point polygons well out of CWA

  • External to NWS

    • Dissemination!

      • Many TV Stations not prepared to display polygons

        • Niche market for private sector (e.g., WeatherData)

      • NOAA All-Hazards Radio

        • Technical limitation: location is based only on county

        • New generation of NWR needs to allow users to input either lat/long or nearest city to take advantage of polygon technology

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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Questions? 2004

  • Updated every minute for TOR, SVR, FFW, SMW, as well as SPC watches

  • Available at:

    • http://www.srh.noaa.gov/hq/regsci/gis

Ken Waters

Regional Scientist

NWS Pacific Region

Honolulu, Hawaii

[email protected]

(808) 532-6413

Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region


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