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RIP Advisories


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Back in the day they didn't have winter weather advisories, instead it was called a traveler's advisory (which I think made more sense).    Most advisories are issued as a result of the effect on travel anyways.   If you're not really going anywhere, 1-3 or 2-4 inches of snow isn't going to make much of a difference in your life.

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Well, if it is based on "extensive social science research with partners and the public", then I'll wait to pass judgment. 

People like us are a very small slice of the public.  If the changes help with the messaging for the masses, then that is a good thing.

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I miss the way it used to be back in the day.  Snow advisories for a pure snow event, travelers advisories for moderate mixed events.  Used to be heavy snow warning for a heavy snow event with little wind, and no mixing.  I think they saved WS warnings for heavy snow with moderate/sub blizzard winds, and also for mixed precip and heavy snow.  

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1 hour ago, Hoosier said:

Well, if it is based on "extensive social science research with partners and the public", then I'll wait to pass judgment. 

People like us are a very small slice of the public.  If the changes help with the messaging for the masses, then that is a good thing.

This.

Ignoring what weather weenies like us want in favor of what is simpler for the public to understand is the whole purpose of working with social scientists. I don't see any need to trash this decision until we see actual results from the change.

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8 minutes ago, andyhb said:

This.

Ignoring what weather weenies like us want in favor of what is simpler for the public to understand is the whole purpose of working with social scientists. I don't see any need to trash this decision until we see actual results from the change.

I agree.  The public at large needs straightforward messaging that helps them best understand what the hazard(s) are.  The government does not (and should not) expect everyone to understand the technical terminology used in severe weather warnings, watches, or advisories.

I'm a weather hobbyist who understands some of this terminology, but my formal college education is in the social sciences.  So much focus is on the difference between a watch (be prepared for the hazard) and a warning (take appropriate action).  My understanding is that advisories refer to hazards that are below "severe" criteria (eg. winter, thunderstorm, flood, etc.).  If there is a more effective way to communicate that to the public, then that is what should be done.

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As an NWS employee, I haven't come across many colleagues who are in favor of this change. Also, like with the radar page, it's unfortunate that we all give feedback on this stuff and they move forward with the changes anyway. Why pay lip service to getting feedback if the outcome is predetermined? Maybe our negativity is misplaced on it, we'll see.

 

The change I think l dislike the most is changing Small Craft Advisories into Small Craft Warnings. We already have Gale Warnings for more impactful conditions. Also, are they expecting us to issue Small Craft Watches? Confident in saying that we'll be raising our criteria for Small Craft issuances and probably mostly designating them for hazardous waves. The service change announcement says that they need to be called warnings because they're life threatening situations. Funny thing is, I'm not aware of conditions hazardous to small craft causing any fatalities in my time here. If we're going down this route, we need to issue Beach Hazards/Rip Current Warnings, because we know dangerous swimming conditions cause a bunch of drownings each year.

 

 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, RCNYILWX said:

As an NWS employee, I haven't come across many colleagues who are in favor of this change. Also, like with the radar page, it's unfortunate that we all give feedback on this stuff and they move forward with the changes anyway. Why pay lip service to getting feedback if the outcome is predetermined? Maybe our negativity is misplaced on it, we'll see.

 

The change I think l dislike the most is changing Small Craft Advisories into Small Craft Warnings. We already have Gale Warnings for more impactful conditions. Also, are they expecting us to issue Small Craft Watches? Confident in saying that we'll be raising our criteria for Small Craft issuances and probably mostly designating them for hazardous waves. The service change announcement says that they need to be called warnings because they're life threatening situations. Funny thing is, I'm not aware of conditions hazardous to small craft causing any fatalities in my time here. If we're going down this route, we need to issue Beach Hazards/Rip Current Warnings, because we know dangerous swimming conditions cause a bunch of drownings each year.

The new NWS radar output is horrible. I never use it for that simple reason.

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2 hours ago, andyhb said:

This.

Ignoring what weather weenies like us want in favor of what is simpler for the public to understand is the whole purpose of working with social scientists. I don't see any need to trash this decision until we see actual results from the change.

I get that aspect of it, but how do you handle the situations I presented? 5" of snow in 24 hours is impactful here but not warning criteria, and unless warning criteria gets lowered having no advisory makes things more difficult.

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If anything advisories need more clear wording. A 3" wet snow with temps in low 30s gets an advisory with minimal impacts of a bit of slush on roads...a 5.5" powder snow with temps in the teens and strong winds also gets an advisory with drift rutted streets and crawling traffic. The impact to the public is tremendously different but the message is the same.

 

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6 hours ago, michsnowfreak said:

If anything advisories need more clear wording. A 3" wet snow with temps in low 30s gets an advisory with minimal impacts of a bit of slush on roads...a 5.5" powder snow with temps in the teens and strong winds also gets an advisory with drift rutted streets and crawling traffic. The impact to the public is tremendously different but the message is the same.

 

This is why I think it made more sense to keep the different advisories for various weather conditions. Some people just look or hear what the advisory is then assume it’s for the same type of weather that occurred the last time the advisory was issued. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me it’s going to snow when there’s a winter weather advisory even if the advisory is for freezing drizzle. They just remember the 5 inches of snow that fell the last time a winter weather advisory was issued. I think less confusion would have been not consolidating most winter weather events into a winter weather advisory. 

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Being in emergency management and involved in some of the discussions on this topic, I'm seeing both sides here. Like Ricky, a lot of forecast mets do not like the change. However, I also know from first-hand experience that the public is woefully uneducated about NWS products and are easily confused about all of the products issued.

Therefore, the decision was made to change to issuing only statements that describe public impact.  And yes, they have researched this for quite some time and with implementation not occurring until 2024 "at the earliest", they are still proceeding very slowly with this change.

An anecdote from one of the online discussions I was a part of was someone from NWS trying use some kind of term for the advisory replacement products. He kept wanting to say "statement", but also hesitated because that would imply a "special weather statement."  By the end of the discussion, they were just referring it as the new product.

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I do agree that the general (non-wxweenie) public is clueless with pretty much all watches, advisories, warnings and their meaning, so anything that simplifies is probably best.   I can't count the number of times I've heard media wx personalities, (much less general public), say things like "winter storm advisory" or "winter weather watch".

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I would argue that understanding the difference between a watch, warning, and advisory is a much more basic level of understanding meteorology than knowing the meaning of terms frequently used in area forecast discussions or being able to read maps generated by a weather model, and that in general, it’s probably necessary and not hard at all for any member of the general public to understand the difference between the three. Instead of dumbing the message down to suit the public, maybe expect that people educate themselves on what three very basic terms mean.

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11 hours ago, Stebo said:

I get that aspect of it, but how do you handle the situations I presented? 5" of snow in 24 hours is impactful here but not warning criteria, and unless warning criteria gets lowered having no advisory makes things more difficult.

Instead of blanket advisories handling the warning events for GRR, it will be bare map all the time. Good luck public, check the conditions yourselves on our state of the art radar page. 

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Nothing really wrong with it. It would just be statements issued with no label. Significant weather advisories are not really needed when a simple statement such as "thunderstorms with gusty winds to 40mph, pea size hail, and frequent lightning will move across such and such counties between 215pm CDT and 345pm cdt. Move indoors until the storms pass. Heavy rain may cause ponding of water on roads." 

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1 hour ago, buckeye said:

I do agree that the general (non-wxweenie) public is clueless with pretty much all watches, advisories, warnings and their meaning, so anything that simplifies is probably best.   I can't count the number of times I've heard media wx personalities, (much less general public), say things like "winter storm advisory" or "winter weather watch".

There are even some weather-savvy people I work with who don't understand the differences. Some of this comes down to communication failures, but I also think simplifying things will do wonders as long as it is well-planned and executed.

In some ways I liken all of this to the private industry starting to name winter storms. There is a ton of pushback in the meteorological community, but I've seen firsthand how it actually makes it easier to communicate risks in the age of social media. 

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Interesting that NWS is doing that while Environment Canada in the last year or two has just implemented Winter Weather Travel Advisories instead of the old Special Weather Statements. I find its helped with the general public (family and friends are my data haha) Before a special weather statement for a quick 2" of snow at rush hour didnt get anyones attention. Now a Winter weather travel advisory has them talking about a winter storm (equally annoying haha) but they at least now realize they need to prepare for winter conditions. 

Heres an example of EC 

2:16 PM EST Tuesday 02 March 2021
Weather advisory in effect for:

Timmins – Cochrane – Iroquois Falls
Winter Weather Travel Advisory in effect for this afternoon

A band of heavier snow is moving through the area this afternoon. Snowfall rates of 2-3 cm per hour are possible under this band. Travel will be impacted, especially along Highway 11 between Hearst and Kirkland Lake.

Motorists are advised to exercise caution, as visibility may be suddenly reduced in heavy snow.

The snow will taper off later this afternoon.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to [email protected] or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/4/2021 at 9:32 PM, Jonger said:

The new NWS radar output is horrible. I never use it for that simple reason.

I just checked it out after a long hiatus and wow jeez its terrible now, I've been dreading this. I may have missed the topic where this is discussed but I'll state that they destroyed it like most things are eventually. It's just another lame interactive radar now with cutoff graphic panels and a mess of an overlay. I don't have active GRLevel and national view so I really don't have a main US radar anymore; a part of the fun of following active severe is now gone.

I was going to joke about the message on their redirect page referring to the degraded web application and not to look into the color table, but I don't think the NWS would like that :damage:

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
On 3/4/2021 at 5:13 PM, buckeye said:

Back in the day they didn't have winter weather advisories, instead it was called a traveler's advisory (which I think made more sense).    Most advisories are issued as a result of the effect on travel anyways.   If you're not really going anywhere, 1-3 or 2-4 inches of snow isn't going to make much of a difference in your life.

And that's a thread right there. Weather warnings should be for conditions that could impact life when not in a vehicle. Fog.....has anyone ever died from fog when not in a vehicle?

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6 hours ago, Jonger said:

And that's a thread right there. Weather warnings should be for conditions that could impact life when not in a vehicle. Fog.....has anyone ever died from fog when not in a vehicle?

A fog advisory is still a necessary thing because of travel though. Making it a generic traveler's advisory or no advisory at all is a bad move.

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2 minutes ago, Stebo said:

A fog advisory is still a necessary thing because of travel though. Making it a generic traveler's advisory or no advisory at all is a bad move.

I'm in favor of bringing back the Travel Advisory. Fog is definitely worthy of an advisory. The advisory system was fine in my opinion, but a travel advisory seems to be a good compromise.

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1 minute ago, Jonger said:

I'm in favor of bringing back the Travel Advisory. Fog is definitely worthy of an advisory. The advisory system was fine in my opinion, but a travel advisory seems to be a good compromise.

If it was used for multiple things though it could lead to confusion.

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I took the survey for this, and I'm ok with no advisories. People are pretty used to the weather for their area. 2-3 of snow is just normal around here, but not down south. Use the word "Warning" to get their attention to something very impactful for the region, like dense fog, ice/ice storm, wind/high wind, small craft/gale/storm, winter storm, frost/freeze, flood/flash flood. If advisories are gone, then tweek the triggers for warning down slightly, if necessary. 

The one advisory or alert I would like to see used is the travel one. Alerting those who are on the road or going to be on the road to road conditions is a good idea. So travel alerts are ok in my book.

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Some new changes I'd like to see is...

Snow/ Winter stm W

Ice/ Ice stm W

Wind chill/ Svr wind chill W

Heat/Svr heat W

Travel alert and warning for the more dangerous conditions.

Basically just change from advisory to warning for some, drop others, and tweek triggers.

Advisory is a softball term for much of what is really just ordinary weather for a region. Besides, travel alerts are really just shifting from the advisories to that anyway, if they would do that again. And when a warning is issued, people will really take notice. Things getting serious.

 

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