Impact Based Warnings Enhancing the message to save lives NWS Central Region Mike Hudson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (816) 268-3132
Impact Based Warnings Why change? • Key findings of 2011 service assessments: • Majority of people sought confirmation from additional sources before seeking shelter. • Credible, extraordinary risk signals prompt people to take protective actions. • Perceptions exist amongst the public that “sirens go off all the time and nothing happens”. • Existing weather enterprise dissemination system is not fully compatible with storm-based warning polygons. • Majority of people identified local siren systems as first source of warning. • Lack of enhanced wording in warnings during known significant events. • There was inconsistent use of the “Tornado Emergency” products
Impact Based Warnings Why change? • NWS issues watches and warnings with information • The rest is up to the individual: personal responsibility • How can we help the individual make up their mind sooner? • How can we help you as an emergency manager do that?
Impact Based Warnings What’s it about? • Goal: • To provide more information to the media and Emergency Managers, to facilitate improved public response and decision making; and to better meet societal needs in the most • life-threatening weather events.
Impact Based Warnings Main focus • What is this demonstration all about? • Improved communication of risk • Clearly identifying potential impacts • Use of “tags” to make important information easier to find • “Tags” also enhance Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) messages (think Wireless Emergency Alerts)
Impact Based Warnings Main focus • What was this demonstration not about? • Predicting tornado intensity (EF-scale) prior to tornado development • Tasking forecasters to go beyond the “state of the science” in terms of predicting specific magnitude of severe weather events It’s all about telling people what we know, and enabling them to take action to save lives!
Impact Based Warnings Objectives • Improve/aid decision-making process for EMs and media during severe weather • Assess forecaster skill in distinguishing high-impact severe weather events from less significant events • Evaluate experimental method of visual areal-threat graphic depicting highest risk areas within a warning polygon • Study how IBW is being implemented by warning forecasters and how/if it impacts decision-making process for EM and media
Risk Paradigm Gap Risk Paradigm (adapted from NRC Report: Science and Decisions, 2009)
Message Partnering Emergency Management Public ESF #15: Public Affairs Media Partners
Impact Based Warnings Tags and text
Impact Based Warnings Warning plumes NWS is also experimenting internally with ways to better highlight which areas within the warnings are under the greatest relative threat IBW WITH PLUME CURRENT IBW Available from WFO St. Louis only
Impact Based Warnings • What I would like to ask you today
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • What is the primary reason you need to receive a weather warning? • Alert other agencies of impending weather • Activate sirens • Deploy resources • Initiate standard operating safety actions • Personal/family safety • Just to be informed
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • How effective is an NWS warning message in conveying urgency to you? • Very Ineffective • Ineffective • Neither Effective nor Ineffective • Effective • Very Effective
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • How useful is this warning to you when making an operational decision? • It doesn't tell me what I need to know • It tells me some of what I need to know, but not enough • It tells me much of what I need to know but not everything • It tells me exactly what I need to know
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • How many minutes in the future would you like to see a forecasted tornado track (“pathcast”)? • 5 min • 10 min • 15 min • 20 min • 25 min • 30 min or more
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • What is the lowest level of forecaster confidence at which you’d like to see a forecasted tornado track (“pathcast”)? • Above 70% • 60-70% • 50-60% • 40-50% • 30-40% • 20-30% • 20% or lower • Any confidence, it doesn't matter how low, I can use it
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • Tell us what you think it means when you hear or read “Tornado…Possible” in a severe thunderstorm warning. • It is useful information because that means NWS thinks a tornado may form. • It is not useful information because nothing is indicated on radar and nothing has been spotted – why is NWS telling me? • NWS uses the phrase to cover all their bases. • I have to set my sirens off even though it’s a severe thunderstorm warning just because the word “tornado” is mentioned. • It’s not necessary because a tornado is always assumed to be possible in a severe storm. • Other (please specify) ____________________
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion Based on discussions with other EMs, we have heard that certain elements are critical to decision making during severe weather. What do you consider to be critical elements of an effective warning?
Impact Based Warnings Questions for discussion • These are some of the most common critical elements of information we’ve heard from other audiences. Do you agree with these? Do they match what we just talked about? • Timing (when the storm will hit my area) • Location (where the storm will hit) • What damage or impacts has the storm had so far) • Duration (how long the storm will last) • Confidence (how confident is the NWS forecaster) • Potential impacts • Potential size
Impact Based Warnings • So, what have we learned?
Impact Based Warnings Measuring effectiveness • How do we quantify whether IBW has made a difference? • Assess forecaster skill in distinguishing high-impact severe weather events from less significant events • Evaluate experimental method of visual areal-threat graphic depicting highest risk areas within a warning polygon (warning threat-level plumes) • Study how IBW is being implemented by warning forecasters and how/if it impacts decision-making process
Impact Based Warning Demo Tools to empower impacts interpretation From Smith et. al. (2012)
Impact Based Warning Demo Tools to empower impacts interpretation An example from 2 different supercells as observed from KICT 14 April 2012
Impact Based Warning Demo Tools to empower impacts interpretation Tornado watch probabilities from 14 April 2012
Evaluating IBW Damage threat tags • 360 total IBW TORs issued • 136 total IBW tornado events • 333 Base Threat IBW TORs • 100 Base Threat IBW TORs with EF0-EF1 tornadoes • 179 total EF0-EF1 tornadoes • 27 Enhanced Threat IBW TORs • 15 Enhanced Threat IBW TORs with EF2-EF5 tornadoes • 33 total EF2-EF5 tornadoes
Evaluating IBW Examples of tornado plumes • Do you see any utility in this?
Evaluating IBW Tornado plumes • 21 IBW TORs verified and contained a plume • 9 IBW TORs verified with a significant (EF2-EF5) tornado • 19 times out of 21, a tornado tracked into the plume of a verified IBW TOR • 9 times out of 9, a significant tornado tracked into the plume • Plume categories are not necessarily very reliable… • …BUT the plume as a whole serves to highlight an area of enhanced tornado risk
Evaluating IBW Four-step iterative process • Baseline: Characterize the IWT priority decisions, processes, knowledge requirements, and influences. • Current Practices: Understand how knowledge is developed by Ems and media, and delivered by NWS. Identify gaps and needs • Iterative Prototyping: Develop multiple approaches, verify usability in EM and media processes (meets requirements) • Validate Utility: Test and evaluate in IWT operations
Risk Management Evaluation Outcome 1 Risk Characterization Outcome 2 Risk Communications Outcome 3 Risk Management • Outcome 1 – Risk Characterization: Developing and encapsulating the knowledge about the severe weather hazard, its potential impact, and its risk to life and property. • Outcome 2 – Risk Communications • Outcome 3 – Risk Management
Risk Management Evaluation Outcome 1 Risk Characterization Outcome 2 Risk Communications Outcome 3 Risk Management • Outcome 1 – Risk Characterization • Outcome 2 – Risk Communications: Packaging and delivering storm warnings (communicating) to convey the understanding of risk. • Outcome 3 – Risk Management
Risk Management Evaluation Outcome 1 Risk Characterization Outcome 2 Risk Communications Outcome 3 Risk Management • Outcome 1 – Risk Characterization • Outcome 2 – Risk Communications • Outcome 3 – Risk Management: What knowledge of risk influences decisions yielding desired actions (societal response).
Evaluating IBW Who have we talked to? • Understand processes beyond county EM director • 15 DHS Emergency Support Functions • Only one is “Emergency Management” • EMs manage risk, not hazards or impacts
Evaluating IBW Iterations - 2012
Evaluating IBW Iterations - 2013
Evaluating IBW Focus groups: common themes • Elements identified as critical for operational decision-making • Threat and its magnitude • Timing • Location • Duration • History • Confidence • How does this match what you think?
Evaluating IBW Matrix approach • Effectiveness of IBW expressing 6 critical elements against the risk paradigm
Evaluating IBW Matrix scoring Lower scores determine priority issues to be addressed
Matrix evaluation Risk characterization • Hazard description (NWS), impact (NWS) and vulnerability assessment (NWS & EM)
Matrix evaluation Risk management • Risk Perception • Decision-Making • Safety Actions
Matrix evaluation Risk communication - gap • Message packaging/receiving • Message delivery • Operational considerations • Confidence/competence/comfort
Impact Based Warnings Summary • NWS needs to address communication of 6 critical elements • NWS & EM : work towards vulnerability assessment risk • Informal cues importance to EM • IBW has potential, should be further explored • Consider graphical tornado warning
Impact Based Warning Demo Questions?