NWS winter hazard consolidation plans?

Discussion in 'Winter weather' started by DWest, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. DWest

    DWest Noob

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    Anybody else think this is an awful idea? They've been putting up various surveys trying to consolidate headlines lately but my opinion is that these goals hurt the clarity of bulletin products. Right now they have one up at my local forecast office here in Bismarck. There's a world of difference between driving in freezing rain and simply an inch or two of snow, which they would be consolidating both of these into a winter weather advisory and expecting people to read into the actual bulletin details to discern the difference. Same thing for winter storm and blizzard watches - I think these products need to have separate titles as they represent distinctly different threats with impacts that can be hugely different. Living in ND, I might hazard a trip through a low criteria winter storm but if they're forecasting strong winds with it and put out a blizzard watch I would definitely think twice even with a couple of inches of snow.
     
  2. rdale

    rdale Member

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    No, it's a great idea. Winter Weather Advisory means there will be impact on travel. If it's a big event - a warning covers it. First thing to realize is that NOBODY reads the full text of a WSW product. Nobody. Certainly not the public. But we have 122 different colors on the NWS national map for 122 different products. A .01" freezing rain event and a 2" snow have the same impact - so don't get the public worried about what meteorological cause is behind it. If there's a Winter Storm Warning - you shouldn't be traveling no matter what. If you're the type that wants to risk it, then read the full text. If 14" of snow doesn't bother you - then go for it!
     
  3. DWest

    DWest Noob

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    Hey rdale. I completely agree that nobody reads the full product, which is one of the reasons I'm so against consolidating the Blizzard Watch into the Winter Storm Watch. Maybe the Winter Weather Advisory I could live with, but don't you agree the public should have the stronger "Blizzard Watch" headline available so that they can have more lead time to prepare for the storm? Your typical 6-12" winter storm, which the public is largely desensitized to in cold regions, isn't going to knock power out or cause long term travel cancellation, mostly inconvenience. But in rural areas especially on the plains, a blizzard certainly will and can do so for a significant period of time. Like you said, nobody reads the full text and as many winter storms as many in the north get, they may not be aware that a more severe storm is forecast until a warning is issued maybe 24 hours in advance.

    I just don't see the upside in that tradeoff, just less lead time.
     
    #3 DWest, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  4. rdale

    rdale Member

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    I see what you're saying - but again the number of people who get data from weather.gov is insanely small. TV meteorologists and TWC will make clear there's a blizzard in their coverage :) NWS social media graphics will say blizzard, and the point-n-click interface will show blizzard.
     

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