Forecasters test app that moves away from yes/no severe weather warnings

Image of forecasters working with weather models

March 23, 2017

Forecasters will use an experimental version of the Hazard Services - Probabilistic Hazard Information (HS-PHI) application to generate information about ongoing threats from severe thunderstorms in the 2017 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed from March 20 - April 21. This work is funded by the U.S. Weather Research Program’s Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) to modernize high-impact weather forecasting and communication processes.

Current severe weather watches and warnings are made from pre-determined thresholds applied to binary decision-making. The new HS-PHI application produces rapidly-updating probabilistic hazard grids so forecasters can track areas, probabilities, and limits of predictability of threats such as hail, wind, and tornadoes. This opens the door for new products and services that could include low-probability, and longer lead-time warnings for high-risk users who can set their own threat threshold based on their specific needs.

GSD integrated HS-PHI concepts into the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS II) meteorological display and analysis package used by all National Weather Service (NWS) forecast offices. In this third year of testing, forecasters will evaluate HS-PHI components and performance so researchers can improve the software before it is implemented operationally.

Researchers will also assess how forecasters adopt their legacy warning methodology into the HS-PHI environment as they screen, rank, analyze, and decide to create, issue, and update probabilistic feature-following objects. Forecasters will share their thoughts on the paradigm change from deterministic warning and watch products to probabilistic threat forecast information.

The HS-PHI application is expected to transition to NWS operations sometime in the future.

FACETs work is a collaboration between ESRL/GSD, National Weather Service’s (NWS) Meteorological Development Lab, and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). In the future, this work will provide information and services to help the NWS save lives and property.

For more information contact: Susan Cobb 303-497-5093