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Warning Decision Training Division
Professional Development Series

Severe Convection Forecasting and Warnings

PCU 1: Optimizing Office Strategies for Convective Operations

Producer: Steven Martinaitis, WDTD

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Click here first for an Introduction

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Specific Job Task Skills and Knowledge:

Task 1.1: Review and update your office's Station Duty Manual and/or Severe Weather Operations Plan (SWOP).

Instructional Components:

IC 1.1: The sections below provide a brief description of the different aspects of severe weather operations in a Weather Forecast Office (WFO). Each aspect listed below contain link(s) to pages and presentations related to the material.

Staffing Strategies

Adequate staffing during a severe weather event allows for all on-duty to work in a high situational awareness, low workload environment. It is important to analyze and determine your staffing needs and have insight into staffing levels and workload management. Use the page listed below to review the general duties of each staffing position during a severe weather event.

Other Related Material:

Communications

Communicating with our partners, such as emergency managers and the local media, is a critical step to our operations in order to provide a clear message to the public prior to and during a severe weather event. New communications technology, including NWSChat, and communication practices are changing the way we receive and distribute information to/from our partners.

Other Related Material:

  • Communicating Risks in High-Impact Events
  • NWSChat
Office Setups

There are a number of factors that are involved in creating an effective office setup. The efficiency of a forecast office is based on the functionality of its setup. Key components in developing an efficient setup include an open communication and information flow, flexibility, and manageabliltiy during severe weather operations.

Office Strategies

Office strategies can be broken down into three parts. The first part focuses on operations prior to the severe weather event, which includes pre-event checklists and backup plans. The second part focuses on strategies during a severe weather event. This includes a look at sectorization, the use of warning teams, warning forecasting, and local storm reports. The final part occurs after the event, where one would perform a post-mortem on the operations of the office prior to and during the event. See PCU 8 - Post-Event Assessment for more information.

Other Related Material:

References:

References

Warning Operations and Workload Mitigation Module

The NWS WDTD Warning Operations Course (WOC) Core Track

Effective Use of Various Communication Methods During a Severe Convective Outbreak by Albert E. Pietrycha and Mark A. Fox (WFO Amarillo)

NWS Directive 10-511: WFO Severe Weather Products Specification

Acknowledgements:

We would like to thank all of the following personnel from the following offices for providing information and input into this section of the Professional Development Series:

  • WFO - Baltimore/DC: Christopher Strong and Steven Zubrick
  • WFO - Blacksburg: Stephen Keighton and Phil Hysell
  • WFO - Des Moines: Karl Jungbluth and Jeff Johnson
  • WFO - Glasgow: Tanja Fransen and Bill Martin
  • WFO - Goodland: David Floyd and Albert Pietrycha
  • WFO - Grand Forks: Brad Bramer and Gregory Gust
  • WFO - Jackson: Chad Entremont, Eric Carpenter, Edward Agre, and Greg Garrett
  • WFO - Memphis: Thomas Salem Jr. and Richard Okulski
  • WFO - Minneapolis: Tom Hultquist
  • WFO - Norman: David Andra
  • WFO - North Platte: John Stoppkotte and Debra Blondin
  • WFO - Peachtree City: Steven Nelson
  • WFO - Springfield: Steve Runnels and David Gaede
  • WFO - Tallahassee: Irv Watson, Bob Goree, Paul Duval, and Kelly Godsey
  • WFO - Tulsa: Steve Amburn, Ed Calianese, and Steven Piltz
  • WFO - Wichita: Richard Elder, Kenneth Cook, and Chance Hayes

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If you have any questions or comments concerning this page, please email Steven Martinaitis.

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