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Communicating Risk – A Media Perspective. Troy M. Kimmel, Jr. Senior Lecturer, Studies in Weather and Climate Department of Geography and the Environment University of Texas at Austin Chief Meteorologist, Clear Channel Radio, Austin (KVET, KASE, KFMK Radio)

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communicating risk a media perspective

Communicating Risk –A Media Perspective

Troy M. Kimmel, Jr.

Senior Lecturer, Studies in Weather and Climate

Department of Geography and the Environment

University of Texas at Austin

Chief Meteorologist, Clear Channel Radio, Austin (KVET, KASE, KFMK Radio)

Freelance Meteorologist, KEYE-TV (CBS), Austin

where we are in 2009
Where We Are in 2009
  • The Current State of Affairs – The National Weather Service as part of our Federal Government
  • The Warning Coordination Meteorologist in the overall scheme of NWS things
  • An apology/thought…
what is risk
What is Risk?
  • Risk Perception - What do we hang our hats on?
  • Lightning and our brains – A thoughtful little story
text text text
Text… Text… Text
  • “Point and Click” to your delight.. but NOT AT THE EXPENSE of your text products (ZFPs, AFDs etc…)
  • A tribute to the wonderful AWIPs text editor… (READ: scan over products before hitting the send button)…
  • The most important text products…. SVRs, TORs, FFWs, SVSs, LSRs
the warning text
The Warning Text
  • Are these bulletins drawing the desired response?

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...

WESTERN HAMILTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL IOWA...

CENTRAL WEBSTER COUNTY IN CENTRAL IOWA...

UNTIL 745 AM CDT

AT 711 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 5 MILES SOUTH OF OTHO...OR 11 MILES SOUTH OF FORT DODGE...AND WAS MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

the warning text1
The Warning Text

What about this?

TTHE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR... JONES COUNTY... UNTIL NOON CDT.

AT 901 AM CDT...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DETERMINED THAT RAINFALL ESTIMATES FROM DOPPLER RADAR INDICATE FLASH FLOODING FROM THUNDERSTORMS AROUND THE HANNIBAL AREA...THESE STORMS ARE SLOWLY MOVING NORTH.

the warning text2
The Warning Text

What about this?

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...

HETTINGER COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST NORTH DAKOTA... SOUTHEASTERN SLOPE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST NORTH DAKOTA...

UNTIL 815 AM MDT

AT 711 AM MDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL 15 SOUTHEAST OF AMIDON IN SOUTHEAST SOPE COUNTY. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 12 MILES SOUTHWEST OF NEW ENGLAND...OR 23 MILES NORTHEAST OF BOWMAN...AND MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH. .

the warning text3
The Warning Text

What about this?

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR... WESTERN KINNEY COUNTY... VAL VERDE COUNTY... UNTIL 530 AM CDT.

AT 450 AM CDT...NWS METEOROLOGISTS HAVE DETECTED A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 6 MILES SOUTH OF COMSTOCK TO DEL RIO TO 16 MILES SOUTH OF LAUGHLIN AFB.

the warning text4
The Warning Text

Right now…..

Most current SVRs…

Most current TORs…

the warning text5
The Warning Text
  • Give the public something to hang their hats on!! Get their attention.. make them react!! (Don’t panic them, though)
  • Use storm reports (as far up in TOR, SVR, FFW, SVS as possible). Always remember TV crawl systems when issuing these. Avoid duplicate locations.. small unknown towns..
  • Use data from NWSChat (thank you!!!) and other trusted alternative data sources…
  • Get rid of canned “Doppler Weather Radar indicates…” statements in WarnGen…
  • Warnings are not forecasts (think here…) Avoid over warning…
  • Issue summary LSRs (Disclaimer: Troy wants this…)
nws all hazards weather radio
NWS All Hazards Weather Radio
  • Another important source of getting information out. Why do you think everyone else in the federal government wants a piece of NWR?
  • Underutilized (across the board)… the NWS doesn’t market this as well as it should..
  • Thoughts from yesterday reference NWR...
  • Use it to market yourself and the National Weather Service!!
  • Localize your station IDs (so easy to do)…
  • Don’t be afraid to be creative in programming…
educating the public
Educating the Public
  • You, as WCMs, do this so well!!! SkyWarn.. NWS Operations. CoCoRaHS.. etc…
  • Offer operational shift NWS visitation for media/EM partners. Let us see what you do!!
  • It’s OK to admit.. yes, the public will act stupid at times (particularly in flash flood events). All we, as partners, can do is try to educate and try to bring the risk home to our customers
contact information
Contact Information

Troy Kimmel

Senior Lecturer, Studies in Weather and Climate

Department of Geography and the Environment

University of Texas at Austin

Chief Meteorologist

Clear Channel Radio (KVET/KASE/KFMK), Austin

Freelance Meteorologist, KEYE-TV (CBS), Austin

Email: tkimmel@mail.utexas.edu

Phone: (512) 335-6472