SILVER SPRING, Md. - NOAA's National Weather Service will begin issuing more geographically specific warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods, and marine hazards starting October 1. The new "storm-based warnings" will allow forecasters to pinpoint the specific area where the threats are highest, reducing the area warned by as much as 70 percent when compared to today's county-by-county system.
"These are potentially deadly, short duration events that can develop very rapidly," said Vickie Nadolski, acting deputy director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Our technology has evolved to support better warnings, and we are adapting to meet public expectation to receive weather information on demand."
"By focusing the threat, we can reduce the warned area by as much as 70 percent, which equates to more than $100 million in savings to the public," said Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "The real bottom line is that this will potentially save more lives. Eliminating areas needlessly warned builds confidence that you do indeed need to take action when a warning is issued."
Storm-based warnings are displayed graphically and are extremely adaptable to cell phones, PDAs, and the Web. The Emergency Alert System is geared toward counties and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards will still alarm if there is a warning anywhere in the county. However, text and audio messages will provide more specific information about where in the county the storm is, and the direction the storm is moving. Storm-based warnings will reference landmarks such as highways, shopping centers, and parks, and will use directional delimiters to indicate county location.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.