NOAA/National Weather Service's Warning Decision Training BranchUnited States Department of Commerce
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FY19 WOC Severe Track Will Be Available Soon

The FY19 version of the WOC Severe Track will be released in May 2019.

Training Events Planning Calendar
Residence/Virtual Courses
Web-Based Training Release Dates

Warning Decision Training Division

Office of Chief Learning Officer

Warning Operations Course (WOC): Severe Track

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Course Description

The Warning Operations Course (WOC) Severe Track is a course that consists of approximately xx hours of training material on topics that are relevant to severe weather warning decision-making. The Severe Track consists of:

  • 5 curricula (convective fundamentals, tornado, hail, quasi-linear convective systems, & impact-based warning),
  • Forecast Challenge,
  • Instructor led webinars, and
  • WOC Severe WES-2 simulation.

The WOC Severe Track modules include a combination of learning technologies including teletraining, web-based training, and Weather Event Simulator 2 (WES-2) simulations. The course is designed to allow every NWS Forecaster (Meteorologist and Hydrologist) to participate with the assistance of an on-site facilitator (SOO, DOH, or locally appointed training officer). Each instructional component for NWS employees are tracked by the WOC on-site facilitator using the NOAA Learning Management System.

The WOC Severe Weather Track is designed to improve the performance of NOAA’s NWS offices in issuing severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

Important Instructions for Forecast Challenge Involving NWS Virtual Lab

We recommend you participate in the WDTD Severe Forecast Challenge forum on the NWS Virtual Lab to facilitate interaction with instructors and fellow students:

1. Go to the NWS Virtual Lab and "Sign In" using your NOAA LDAP ID (email address minus the "") and password.
2. Ask to "Join" the "Warning Decision Training Division (WDTD)" Community listed under the "All Available Communities" list.
3. You will receive a confirmation e-mail after we have approved your membership.
4. You may then access the "Warning Decision Training Division (WDTD)" community listed under "My Communities." The "Severe Forecast Challenge" forum is subcategory under the Advanced Warning Operations Course (AWOC).
5. Once in that forum you will be able to start and contribute to discussion topics with fellow students as well as to view forecast discussion feedback given to other students. The discussion feedback that is posted will be anonymous and will not be attributed to a student by name.

Course Outline

Click on the panels below to access the content for each topic of the course. For most lessons, there will be two ways to access the training materials:

  • Web Version - Lesson streams from the WDTD web server & doesn't require login; or
  • LMS Version - Links to NWS Learning Center (aka: LMS) so NWS employees can get completion credit, but login is required to access.

The lesson content is the same for each link. NWS employees enrolled in the WOC Severe Track should already have all of the WOC course content provided in a curriculum on their personal transcript. However, you can also use the LMS Version link to access the content and ensure you receive completion credit.

Convective Fundamentals Curriculum

Brief Description: The convective fundamentals curriculum is a series of lessons, webinars, and learning application activities designed to provide the forecaster a better understanding of the ingredients of severe weather and some of the principal job tasks associated with forecasting threats including: evaluating parameters and patterns (including model data), identifying lifting mechanisms, locating updrafts and determining their strength. The Forecast Challenge is an opportunity to apply what you've learned by forecasting the location where you expect severe weather to occur in the U.S. and writing a short discussion explaining your reasoning. One debrief is required for the Forecast Challenge.

Delivery Methods: Web modules and forecast challenge

Approximate Completion Time: 4 hours


Supporting Links: WOC Forecast Challenge Page

Tornado Curriculum

Brief Description: The tornado hazard curriculum focuses on the recognition and evaluation of tornado threats and storm scale interrogation of tornado-producing thunderstorms. These lessons emphasize conceptual models of supercell storms, the near-storm environment, and storm scale (radar) interpretation of signatures leading to tornado production.

Delivery Method: Web modules & videos

Approximate Completion Time: 5.5 hours


Hail Curriculum

Brief Description: The hail hazard curriculum is composed of only module with the following objectives: identification of the role of shear and CAPE in the hail growth zone, identification of favorable hail embryo sources, trajectories which maximize hailstone residence time in the hail growth zone, factors which influence the amount of melting a hailstone undergoes, and radar characteristics of HP supercells with a DCZ.

Delivery Method: Web module

Approximate Completion Time: 30 minutes


QLCS Curriculum

Brief Description:The QLCS curriculum focuses on identification of key features found in conceptual models of QLCS events including the types of QLCS events that produce the most intense impacts. There is one module that looks at parameters for evaluating the severity of QLCS events, discrimination capabilities of parameters used in forecasting QLCS events, patterns/parameters that affect longevity of a QLCS. and the motion of a QLCS (both forward propagating and backward).

Delivery Method: Web module

Approximate Completion Time:1.5 hours


  • Quasi-Linear Convective Systems: Mesovortex Recognition for Tornado Warnings Part 1: The Nature of the Beast: Web Version | LMS Version
  • Quasi-Linear Convective Systems: Mesovortex Recognition for Tornado Warnings Part 2: The 3 Ingredients Method and Warning Application: Web Version | LMS Version
  • Anticipating Severe Winds: Web Version | LMS Version
Impact Based Warning Curriculum

Brief Description: These exercises provide short, specific examples of how to apply the IBW templates operationally in a variety of situations. Participants in the course need to complete the exercise orientation and the 8 exercises.
Delivery Method: Asynchronous instructor-led web modules
Approximate Completion Time: 3-7 minutes for each exercise


Supporting Links:

Forecast Challenge Debriefs (Requirement: Attend 1)

Brief Description: These webinars provide an instructor-led debrief for the WOC Severe Forecast Challenge. The session will review the severe forecast process and student forecasts issued for that day and the current week using archived WDTD data such as model data and SPC mesoanalysis. Each student in WOC Severe is required to attend one of these sessions and have issued one of the their forecasts that day as part of their six forecast challenge minimum requirement. There are eight sessions scheduled from May 2nd to June 27th.

Delivery Methods: Teletraining

Approximate Completion Time: 1 hour


  • Instructor-Led Training Session (register via the CLC and GotoWebinar)

Supporting Links: WOC Forecast Challenge Page

WOC Severe Hazards Webinars (Requirement: Attend 1)

Brief Description: This is an instructor-led training webinar for students enrolled in the Warning Operations Course - Severe Curricula. The topic of each webinar varies based on different severe weather hazard applications.

Delivery Methods: Teletraining

Approximate Completion Time: 1 hour


  • Instructor-Led Training Session (register via the CLC and GotoWebinar)
WOC Severe WES-2 Simulations (Requirement: Complete 1)

Brief Description: Students will apply WOC Severe learning objectives in a warning decision making simulation which focuses on severe storm threat assessment, WSR-88D base data analysis, and storm-based warning creation. The simulation contains three phases for personalized use and includes a section on warning messaging and decision support.

Delivery Methods: Weather Event Simulator 2 (WES-2) data with supporting simulation guide, answer form and post-brief materials.

Approximate Completion Time: Up to 4 hours

WES-2 Simulation (Severe Simulation #1 - OUN):

WES-2 Simulation (Severe Simulation #2 - GSP):

Other Documentation