Diverse Approaches to Inquiry: Evaluating 10 Years of National Service Assessments for Significant Weather-Related Events (285)

Leticia Williams, NOAA Center for Atmospheric Science and Meteorology (NCAS), Silver Spring, MD

Vankita Brown, NOAA/National Weather Service



The National Weather Service (NWS) has conducted Service Assessments for more than 60 years. The earliest one on record is Tornadoes at Dallas, 1957. Traditionally, this process – which serves as an evaluative mechanism to assess activities before, during, and after events to determine the usefulness of NWS products and services – has been composed of assessment teams that have been predominantly meteorologists.

Since 2008, the NWS has implemented a nuanced approach for conducting Service Assessments that includes enlisting social scientists as team members as a part of this investigative process. The inclusion of social and behavioral scientists has resulted in a more robust process that has benefited greatly from the diverse perspectives offered.

This qualitative analysis of 12 Service Assessments - all since the inclusion of social and behavioral science participation - reveals how this approach has resulted in a more holistic understanding of societal impacts, and in turn, informed the assessment team in ways that equal more meaningful recommendations and best practices to improve product and service delivery.

This presentation will highlight the common social science related themes from tornado, hurricane, and flood assessments from the last decade. It will also discuss some challenges that still persist, and recommendations for improvements to the Service Assessment process.