NWS Hazard Simplification Project: A Roadmap for Change
Eli Jacks, NWS Analyze Forecast and Support Office, Silver Spring, MD
Mike Bilder, NWS
Andy Horvitz, NWS
Andrew Pirring, NWS
David Soroka, NWS

The National Weather Service (NWS) is continuing its work on the national “Hazards Simplification” (HazSimp) project, the goal of which is to examine possible alternatives to the current Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system. The motivation for this project is based on the premise that the WWA terms and the individual hazard messages that comprise it can be confusing to some users. In this session, we will focus on reviewing the hazard messaging prototypes that were developed at a 2015 Workshop, provide results for studies that were undertaken based on Workshop recommendations, and describe next steps for the project.

Following a stakeholder workshop in October 2015, where specific ideas for alternative language to WWA were formulated, the NWS is collecting public comments on three prototypes in a series of hazard-specific demonstrations. NWS, through the efforts of the Eastern Research Group (ERG), also conducted a survey which was aimed at determining the level of “institutionalization” of WWA terms and messages within the decision-making processes of various federal stakeholders (via policy, protocol, or law). Finally, a survey is underway by ERG to test the level of understanding and usability of our current WWA terms by the US public, along with possible replacement words.

All of the feedback collected from these efforts will be compiled to offer potential modifications to the WWA system. Ultimately, after operational viability is addressed, a single prototype can be tested against the current WWA system with a large sample of the US population. At this point the NWS will decide what, if any, major structural changes should be made to the WWA system.