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Warning Decision Training Division
Professional Development Series

Severe Convection Forecasting and Warnings

PCU 6: The Warning Decision

Producer: TBD


Click here first for an Introduction



Specific Job Task Skills and Knowledge:

Task 6.1: Be cognitive of the following characteristics concerning severe weather operations and the warning process:

Situational Awareness
  • Identify the characteristics of situation awareness and their impact upon the warning decision.
  • Be able to incorporate principles of sound situation awareness into the decision on whether or not to warn.
  • Be able to configure workstations to aid in providing and maintainig a good situation awareness.
Warning Decision
  • Be familiar with and consequently apply the methodology of issuing warnings.
  • Identify decision making styles and their impact on proper decision making
  • Identify the characteristics of team decision making and coordination, and the impacts of associated breakdowns.
  • Using all available observational data, identify the severe weather threats (hail, wind, tornadoes, and flash flooding) and the locations where the threat is imminent.
  • Be able to acquire spotter reports, determine their value, and assimilate them into the decision-making process.
  • Provide the appropriate interaction with emergency maangers as well as law enforcement officials to determine or convey the severe weather threat.
  • Provide appropriate interactions with broadcast media outlets to determine and convey the severe weather threat.

Instructional Components:

IC 6.1: Review presentations and materials in regards to the following topics shown below:

Warning Methodologies

Review material related to PCU1, including:

Review Warning Methodologies presentation for an overview of the four components of an effective convective warning methodology.

Here are other courses that are related to the warning decision making process. Note that these courses are also found under PCU 7 - Composing and Disseminating the Convective Warning Products.

Warning Operations Course (WOC) Core Track

Warning Operations Course (WOC) Flash Flood Track

COMET Module on Anticipating Hazardous Weather and Community Risk

Spotter Reports

IC 6.2: Review meteorological threat assessment and storm interrogation techniques for the various hazards associated with severe convection. These lessons can be found under IC 5.2 in PCU 5 - Analyzing the Structure of Convective Storms.

IC 6.3: Complete two appropriate Weather Event Simulator (WES) simulations prior to the start of the convective weather season (in accordance with NWS Instruction 20-201).


Decision Making and Situational Awareness

"Warning decision making: The relative roles of conceptual models, technology, strategy, and forecaster expertise on 3 May 1999" by Andra, D. L., Jr., E. Quoetone, and W. F. Bunting

"Cognitive task analysis of the warning forecaster task: Final report" by Klien Associates Inc.

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klien (Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press 1998)

Decision Traps: The Ten Barriers to Brilliant Decision-Making and How to Overcome Them by J. Edward Russo and Paul J. H. Schoemaker (New York, Simon & Schuster 1989)

Severe Weather Hazards

QLCS References (Updated with new references used in FY13 courses)

Operational Operations of Extreme Reflectivity Values in Convective Cells by Gerard, A., 1998 (National Weather Digest, 22, 3-8)

"The Radar 'Three-Body Scatter Spike': An Operational Large-Hail Signature" by Lemon, Leslie R.

"The Use of Single-Doppler Radar for Estimating Maximum Hailstone Size" by Witt, A. and S. P. Nelson

"Microbursts: A Handbook for Visual Identification" by Caracena, Fernando, R. L. Holle, and C. A. Doswell III

You can also review the references found on the PCU 5 Reference Page



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