National Weather Service Releases New Hazard Maps

NOAA's National Weather Service Releases New Hazard Maps

On Oct. 4th NWS released new interactive maps that display active watch, warnings and advisories issued by NWS Weather Forecast Offices.

Regular users of NWS websites will no doubt notice the change of colors on the new maps. New technology has allowed an increase in the number of colors that can be displayed on the maps, providing for more information to be conveyed to the user in a single glance.

Additionally, World Wide Web usability experts from the National Institutes of Health were consulted and provided advice to the tone and hue of the colors used in relation to the type and urgency of the specific type of event. Additional testing was done to better ensure information is not lost when the maps are viewed by users with color deficiencies.
Source:http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_story.php?wfo=crh&sid=206
Mike
 
Nice... but I wonder how much of our tax money was spent on "color-correctness."

Not that I'm against NWS spending money. I would like to see that money though, say, put into more upper air releases?

mp
 
I can't argue with Morgan's arguement. I'm all for NWS getting and spending more money, but let's put it into more reliable technology and getting out their products faster and more accurately.

NWS seems to be investing in Internet Technology a lot lately and it makes sense, but let's put the money where it's needed most. More stable programming and stable delivery of the products.

There's a surprising number of Emergency Operations Centers that are starting to move over to the Internet for their information. The older connections and dedicated stuff is simply to slow in getting updates. More and more (at least in this area) are starting to look at Television rahter than NOAA for their updated radar. I know of at least two occasions where NOAA servers were either down, or inaccessable for some reason or updates were coming out late and local EOC's turned to OKC Television for their information. NOAA is supposed to be the premier agency for this.

Making up 'friendly' web colors does not fall into my list of priority projects.
 
Same thing with the digital NDFD forecast database... Clearly something developed strictly to compete with the private sector - spending BOATLOADS of money that could have gone to better things operationally!
 
Ryan asks:
Does anyone have a list of the new colors used for each product?
Not off hand, but if you visit the home pages of the various NWS offices or their main NWS web page, you will find the hazard maps on the web sites. By checking it out on a regular basis, you should get to know the color schemes associated with the various warnings, watches and advisories.

Hazard Maps can be found here:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/

Mike
 
Originally posted by Chris Geelhart+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Chris Geelhart)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Ryan Szekeres
Does anyone have a list of the new colors used for each product?

The color list is at the following:

http://webdev1.weather.gov/wwa_colors/colors.htm</url> Chris G. [/b]

Some of those headlines sure are a hoot...

What's a Law Enforcement warning? Does that mean that law enforcement is imminent?! LOL

What's a hazardous materials warnings? Yes, I know that could be for chemical spills, etc... However, I've NEVER seen a "hazardous materials" warning issued for any chemical spill. I remember chemical releases that have caused the evacuation of severam neighborhoods and still have never seen a 'hazardous materials' warning. It seem that some of those warnings are there just to be there... Of course, there's probably a lot of politics at play, too...
 
Some of those headlines sure are a hoot...

What's a Law Enforcement warning? Does that mean that law enforcement is imminent?! LOL

What's a hazardous materials warnings? Yes, I know that could be for chemical spills, etc... However, I've NEVER seen a "hazardous materials" warning issued for any chemical spill. I remember chemical releases that have caused the evacuation of severam neighborhoods and still have never seen a 'hazardous materials' warning. It seem that some of those warnings are there just to be there... Of course, there's probably a lot of politics at play, too...

Some more specifics on these "non-weather" warning messages can be found in the NWS Directive 10-518:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/directives/010/pd01005018c.pdf

Specifically, appendix C of this directive. These are fairly recent (took effect September 8, if I remember correctly). Before this, if such messages were transmitted, it would be as a "Civil Emergency Message" (which remains a valid product).

Chris G.
 
Re: Hazard maps and NDFD

I don't mean to be especially critical but the sentiments of some posts on this thread seem to be misguided. No poster has actually commented on the perceived need or appropriateness of the new colors, but instead are somehow comparing the effort to "improve" the maps to other unrelated functions of the NWS. Hopefully, no-one really believes that the time and/or money spent on changing a color scheme is even remotely comparable to that spent on observational platforms. Everybody is aware that websites are often changing their schemes and layout. The amount of development and programmer time required is a drop in the proverbial budgetary bucket.

I am also confused by Diel's post. My take is that he is "unhappy" that the NWS is investing in Internet Tech., but then he sites that techn. as the method of choice for the EOCs to get information. As for TV radar, woe be it to any entity that relies on that for critical info. Those radars have so many problems to make them unusable except for eye-candy on the 6 o'clock news.

Rdale's comment on the NDFD database is not only irrelevant to this thead, it is clearly incorrect.
 
"Everybody is aware that websites are often changing their schemes and layout. The amount of development and programmer time required is a drop in the proverbial budgetary bucket."

You've clearly never looked at the budget ;>

"Those radars have so many problems to make them unusable except for eye-candy on the 6 o'clock news."

I missed the smiley face in that joke... Live local radars offer a big advantage, especially when used in conjunction with NEXRAD sites. 1) Cover areas not served well at low levels by NWS 2) Rapid updates (RHI's or sector scans for new imagery every 15 seconds instead of 4-6 minutes) 3) Better resolution 4) Mini-volume scans and so on. We're talking real TV radars anyways (Barons or RadTech)

"Rdale's comment on the NDFD database is not only irrelevant to this thead, it is clearly incorrect."

Set me straight then! Is the NDFD something provided by private sector? Yep. Has the development cost a LOT of money, MUCH more than budgeted at the onset? Yep. Could that money be better spent adding more raob sites or keeping profilers alive? I think so... When's the last time you as Joe Public went to a NDFD gridded site for your forecast vs. TWC or AccuWeather.com or your local radio / TV station?

- Rob
 
Same thing with the digital NDFD forecast database... Clearly something developed strictly to compete with the private sector - spending BOATLOADS of money that could have gone to better things operationally!

I missed the smiley face after your joke Rob - If the NWS wanted to use that product to compete with the private sector, don't you think they would have at least made it better? I personally don't like the NDFD products, and I am sure most folks would rather watch the news or TWC for the "latest forecast" anyway... :eek:

As for the radar deal, I don't understand why Mr. Conder thinks that they are useless? Please explain further...
 
I just want to add that in no way am I trying to bash the NWS. I use just about everyone of their products, and without them, forecasting would be impossible (we wouldn't have the NCEP models, nexrad network, satellite, etc.), so in essence, the NWS/NOAA is one of the best advancements going for meteorology...
 
"If the NWS wanted to use that product to compete with the private sector, don't you think they would have at least made it better?"

I'm not talking Joe Public as an NDFD user - but Joe Lawnmower man who wants to know when the rain will start and when it'll end to the hour, with QPF's in as well. Or Joe Cement layer who wants to know when the humidity is 50-80%. Or Joe Farmerchemicalsprayer who wants to know wind directions and speeds by the hour. That's been provided by private sector for decades - and now NWS decides to sink a boatload of $$$ into NDFD to do the same. That's where my beef is...

"As for the radar deal, I don't understand why Mr. Conder thinks that they are useless? Please explain further..."

My guess is that he's not in the meteorology field - just rehashing something he heard from a friend of a friend ;>

"I just want to add that in no way am I trying to bash the NWS."

I don't think questioning their priorities is bashing... NDFD rocks on - but try to get NIDS data from the FTP server on a busy storm day. Recall that not too long ago they were going to drop the twice-daily raob soundings and just do them on-demand. Profilers are still expected to be dropped, even though they were specifically mentioned as life-savers in the Okie outbreak. Yet more and more money is still being poured into NDFD and web while the raw data suffers.

- Rob
 
I agree partially... I think the money would have been better spend on adding more upper air RAOB sites. I think part of the beef many private-sector mets have (RDale included) deals with the increased competition provided by the NWS. Yes, joe blow will still likely go to TWC or Accuweather, but the "business entities" (where the private sector makes a large amount of their money) may move over to the "free" data provided by the NWS, meaning decreased business for the private sector firms. Now, I'm not entirely bashing this, since I may end up one day working in the private sector. However, I don't entirely see how its bad to have a "modern" database for the data that we are all paying for via taxes. Back in the mid-90s, every NWSFO's website was different than each other, and getting forecasts was not user-friendly for the average person. Yes, there was the text-based 'zones forecast', but people like graphics. So, since it is public money, why not make it easier for the actual public to obtain the forecasts? That said, I do think NOAA needs money from somewhere to expand the RAOB network, as the spatial density currently leaves me no wonder as to why model forecasts aren't always too good...

M Conder, are you a NWS met? I see that you're a meteorologist in Lubbock, so I was wondering if you were out of the LBB office.
 
Boy, there's a lot of different issues going on here.

Regarding Hazard Maps...
You've clearly never looked at the budget ;>

I've only seen NOAA's Budget Narrative (Including the NWS). I haven't seen any evidence that the internet-based product delivery budget is anything but a extremely small fraction of systems like AWIPS/NEXRAD or Radsiosondes.

Regarding NDFD...
Set me straight then! Is the NDFD something provided by private sector? Yep. Has the development cost a LOT of money, MUCH more than budgeted at the onset? Yep. Could that money be better spent adding more raob sites or keeping profilers alive? I think so... When's the last time you as Joe Public went to a NDFD gridded site for your forecast vs. TWC or AccuWeather.com or your local radio / TV station?

I've been looking at TWC/Accuweather/IPS-Meteostar/Wx-Underground/other private sector sites and I haven't seen anything that looks like a gridded database that I can look at. A lot of sites do have some cool and interesting stuff, I especially like IPS-M, but I haven't seen anything that remotely has the look of NDFD. I seems to be all zip code/ICAO based. Am I missing something significant here? I think John Q is increasingly going to NDFD as its clunky (see below) interface improves.

If the NWS wanted to use that product to compete with the private sector, don't you think they would have at least made it better? I personally don't like the NDFD products, and I am sure most folks would rather watch the news or TWC for the "latest forecast"

I agree. I was having that discussion with some others recently about how "unintuitive" and "imposing" the interface is for the casual user. But I think its improving, and the public is increasingly able to tap into the wealth of info (or sometimes dis-info) there.

I'm not talking Joe Public as an NDFD user - but Joe Lawnmower man who wants to know when the rain will start and when it'll end to the hour, with QPF's in as well. Or Joe Cement layer who wants to know when the humidity is 50-80%. Or Joe Farmerchemicalsprayer who wants to know wind directions and speeds by the hour. That's been provided by private sector for decades - and now NWS decides to sink a boatload of $$$ into NDFD to do the same. That's where my beef is...

Finally, Rdales real issue. I agree that this can have a negative impact and is an important issue for the private sector. But I think the root of the problem is technology driven and not policy driven. The NWS must deliver all the data to the public and doing this digitally is obviously the way it will be done for the foreseeable future. A NDFD of some sort is not designed to directly compete with the private sector, it is designed to systematically accomplish this delivery, so its development is in some ways inevitable. Fo a good analogy, just look at model output. As computing power and bandwidth increase, you can now get model output of any met. field you can possibly think of at any time and any point you want (or at least it will be this way very soon). And you don't need the resources of a company to do this, Joe Linux user can do this easily. The only limitation is the freedom of data movement. (okay, I've rambled on enough)

As for the radar deal, I don't understand why Mr. Conder thinks that they are useless? Please explain further...
My guess is that he's not in the meteorology field - just rehashing something he heard from a friend of a friend ;>

I'm kind of surprised at the backlash on this topic. I was of course guilty of hyperbole, a painfully accurate statement of my sentiments would be...
I have never used TV radar to chase or nowcast, and a quick poll of chasing friends yields almost no interest from any of them. I haven't been able to find any of these great TV radars you guys speak of. A cursory examination of those in TX (from http://www.gowally.com/wx/state/tx.htm)
show that they a) do not update significantly (3-4 min instead of 5-6) quicker than NEXRAD. B) they clutter their display with color topography/ large fonts, roads, logos, etc. c) Are limited to a base or composite reflectivity (or sometimes VIL) d) often are unavailable or not updating e) located in cities and have serious obstructions and/or increased resolution at short range is canceled out by the fact its over a city - where I will not be chasing. I do see a few that are updating live - thats kind of cool, but I fail to see how that offers a big advantange or cancels out disadvantages. I don't know about you guys, but I don't want my radar cluttered with erroneous shear markers, storm tracks, etc. I can see where sectorization and RHIs could be useful if it's on the storm you want - but can you rely on that being available for your storm? And I can't find any of those available on TV radars.

Regarding the radiosondes, my personal opinion is that the RAOB network is already dead - its just a matter of time. Advancements in remote sensing are coming so quickly now. You look at data assimilation schemes now and the RAOB contributions are getting less and less by the year/month/day!?
 
Boy, there's a lot of different issues going on here.

Regarding Hazard Maps...
You've clearly never looked at the budget ;>

I've only seen NOAA's Budget Narrative (Including the NWS). I haven't seen any evidence that the internet-based product delivery budget is anything but a extremely small fraction of systems like AWIPS/NEXRAD or Radsiosondes.

Regarding NDFD...
Set me straight then! Is the NDFD something provided by private sector? Yep. Has the development cost a LOT of money, MUCH more than budgeted at the onset? Yep. Could that money be better spent adding more raob sites or keeping profilers alive? I think so... When's the last time you as Joe Public went to a NDFD gridded site for your forecast vs. TWC or AccuWeather.com or your local radio / TV station?

I've been looking at TWC/Accuweather/IPS-Meteostar/Wx-Underground/other private sector sites and I haven't seen anything that looks like a gridded database that I can look at. A lot of sites do have some cool and interesting stuff, I especially like IPS-M, but I haven't seen anything that remotely has the look of NDFD. I seems to be all zip code/ICAO based. Am I missing something significant here? I think John Q is increasingly going to NDFD as its clunky (see below) interface improves.

If the NWS wanted to use that product to compete with the private sector, don't you think they would have at least made it better? I personally don't like the NDFD products, and I am sure most folks would rather watch the news or TWC for the "latest forecast"

I agree. I was having that discussion with some others recently about how "unintuitive" and "imposing" the interface is for the casual user. But I think its improving, and the public is increasingly able to tap into the wealth of info (or sometimes dis-info) there.

I'm not talking Joe Public as an NDFD user - but Joe Lawnmower man who wants to know when the rain will start and when it'll end to the hour, with QPF's in as well. Or Joe Cement layer who wants to know when the humidity is 50-80%. Or Joe Farmerchemicalsprayer who wants to know wind directions and speeds by the hour. That's been provided by private sector for decades - and now NWS decides to sink a boatload of $$$ into NDFD to do the same. That's where my beef is...

Finally, Rdales real issue. I agree that this can have a negative impact and is an important issue for the private sector. But I think the root of the problem is technology driven and not policy driven. The NWS must deliver all the data to the public and doing this digitally is obviously the way it will be done for the foreseeable future. A NDFD of some sort is not designed to directly compete with the private sector, it is designed to systematically accomplish this delivery, so its development is in some ways inevitable. Fo a good analogy, just look at model output. As computing power and bandwidth increase, you can now get model output of any met. field you can possibly think of at any time and any point you want (or at least it will be this way very soon). And you don't need the resources of a company to do this, Joe Linux user can do this easily. The only limitation is the freedom of data movement. (okay, I've rambled on enough)

As for the radar deal, I don't understand why Mr. Conder thinks that they are useless? Please explain further...
My guess is that he's not in the meteorology field - just rehashing something he heard from a friend of a friend ;>

I'm kind of surprised at the backlash on this topic. I was of course guilty of hyperbole, a painfully accurate statement of my sentiments would be...
I have never used TV radar to chase or nowcast, and a quick poll of chasing friends yields almost no interest from any of them. I haven't been able to find any of these great TV radars you guys speak of. A cursory examination of those in TX (from http://www.gowally.com/wx/state/tx.htm)
show that they a) do not update significantly (3-4 min instead of 5-6) quicker than NEXRAD. B) they clutter their display with color topography/ large fonts, roads, logos, etc. c) Are limited to a base or composite reflectivity (or sometimes VIL) d) often are unavailable or not updating e) located in cities and have serious obstructions and/or increased resolution at short range is canceled out by the fact its over a city - where I will not be chasing. I do see a few that are updating live - thats kind of cool, but I fail to see how that offers a big advantange or cancels out disadvantages. I don't know about you guys, but I don't want my radar cluttered with erroneous shear markers, storm tracks, etc. I can see where sectorization and RHIs could be useful if it's on the storm you want - but can you rely on that being available for your storm? And I can't find any of those available on TV radars.

Regarding the radiosondes, my personal opinion is that the RAOB network is already dead - its just a matter of time. Advancements in remote sensing are coming so quickly now. You look at data assimilation schemes now and the RAOB contributions are getting less and less by the year/month/day!?

Some good points made, but of course I have to comment, :eek:

First... I like the hazards map - The color change doesn't bother me, etc, and I find it pretty useful to do a quick visualization when I am away from my workstation (rather than reading through bulletins and "guessing" the areas.

Second... We agree that the NDFD isn't as good as it could be for the average user (considering the average user wants things "right then and there", and if they have to surf through options or whatnot on a website, they are usually lost. As for it competing with the private sector, I can see where this comes in as well, and there will always be two different sides to the story, and nothing will change that. You made mention about getting the data from the NWS in the form of gridded data sets/etc. - That is what I do... I currently have the entire NOAAport data (and any data available to the research/educational community) streamed into my server using the LDM, on which I display it in different forms on a seperate Linux machine. This works for me, but for the "average Joe", I don't think he would even know what NOAAport is...

Third... About the TV station radars - I think you are basing your assumption on what's on the stations website. If you were to actually visit the station and their weather center, I'm sure you would find the radar alot more functional beyond what is shown on the homepage. Most "average Joes" don't know what VIL is or probably have never heard of "storm relative velocity", so these images are not displayed to the casual "Joe".

And finally... About the RAOBs - Why are they being considered dead, and what will replace them? Can you give me more information about that?
 
R Dewey wrote:
And finally... About the RAOBs - Why are they being considered dead, and what will replace them? Can you give me more information about that?
I started a thread about the Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS)
back on August 20, 2004, never got a replied to it and ask the
question: Any time frame on this, when this will be implemented??

Efforts are underway at NWS to replace the outdated upper-air ground tracking and
data processing systems with modern equipment.

Some links to look at:
Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS)
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rrs_overview.htm

Radiosonde Surface Observing Instrumentation System (RSOIS)
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rsoisphotos.htm

RRS Telemetry Receiving System and Signal Processing System
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/TRS-photos.htm

Sample Screen Displays from the New RS Computer
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rrsdisplays.htm

Photos of the new Sippican and Interment GPS Radiosonde under Development.
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/RRSsonde.htm

Comparison of MicroART and RRS upper-air levels
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rrscompare.htm

Mike
 
R Dewey wrote:
And finally... About the RAOBs - Why are they being considered dead, and what will replace them? Can you give me more information about that?
I started a thread about the Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS)
back on August 20, 2004, never got a replied to it and ask the
question: Any time frame on this, when this will be implemented??

Efforts are underway at NWS to replace the outdated upper-air ground tracking and
data processing systems with modern equipment.

Some links to look at:
Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS)
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rrs_overview.htm

Radiosonde Surface Observing Instrumentation System (RSOIS)
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rsoisphotos.htm

RRS Telemetry Receiving System and Signal Processing System
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/TRS-photos.htm

Sample Screen Displays from the New RS Computer
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rrsdisplays.htm

Photos of the new Sippican and Interment GPS Radiosonde under Development.
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/RRSsonde.htm

Comparison of MicroART and RRS upper-air levels
http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/rrscompare.htm

Mike

Thanks for the info!

That doesn't look like such a bad idea to me...
 
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