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Winter Forecasting Tools: Here’s What’s New at NOAA this Year
This winter, NOAA will implement a series of upgrades and improvements. In November, the experimental Probabilistic Winter Storm Severity Index (PWSSI) will become operational. The product will enhance communication with external partners, media, and the general public by graphically depicting the likelihood of potential societal impacts due to expected winter hazards over a 7-day period. This is complemented by a version of the Winter Storm Severity Index (WSSI) based on the official National Weather Service forecast of the most likely conditions over the next three days.
NOAA’s Weather Prediction and Climate Prediction Centers will continue to use Winter Key Messages, which highlight the agency’s most essential information for upcoming winter weather, including extreme cold and heavy snow potential. These can be found under “Top Stories” on the Weather Prediction Center’s and Climate Prediction Center’s websites.
This winter, NOAA will complete its implementation of Impact-Based Warning Tags for Snow Squall Warnings. Snow Squall Warnings are warnings issued for short duration intense bursts of snow and wind leading to whiteout visibility and possible flash freezes on roads. To distinguish high-impact snow squalls, the National Weather Service will issue impact-based Snow Squall Warnings using the “Significant” tag for events that pose a substantial threat to safe travel. Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through wireless carriers, will be limited to only high-impact Snow Squall Warnings with the Snow Squall Impact Tag of “Significant.”