The Supplemental Assistance Volunteer Initiative (SAVI) Team: Advanced Social Media Strategy within the NWS
Trevor Boucher, National Weather Service, WFO Austin/San Antonio, TX, New Braunfels, TX
Corey Pieper, National Weather Service Headquarters
Morgan Barry, National Weather Service, WFO Mobile, AL
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Abstract
The Virtual Operations Support (VOS) concept provides aid through social media and other communication technologies to support NWS operations that may otherwise be inundated by a high volume of data generated in a disaster. When faced with major impacts, it becomes extremely challenging for a Weather Forecast Office (WFO) to efficiently extract information needed to verify warnings and simultaneously handle clear, consistent messaging, disseminate short-fuse products, and address EM, media, and public concerns.

Beginning April 2015, the National Weather Service Southern Region offices launched an experimental program called the Supplemental Assistance Volunteer Initiative (SAVI). The program utilizes social media savvy meteorologists from offices across the region during high-impact weather events. Offices anticipating major impacts and thus significant social media traffic can activate these individuals to lend virtual assistance during a high-impact event, greatly increasing the effectiveness of social media data-mining.

Over the 2 year span of the program, the SAVI team has been activated for notable events such as Tropical Storm Bill, Hurricane Matthew and many other severe thunderstorm and flash flooding events across the region.  The purpose of this presentation is to share the benefits of using such a program within the framework of the National Weather Service operating structure.