Enhanced Impact-Based Decision Support Services at WFO Corpus Christi: Hurricane Harvey and Beyond (65)

Todd Beal, National Weather Service, Corpus Christi, TX

Thomas Johnstone, National Weather Service

John Metz, National Weather Service

Michael Buchanan, National Weather Service

Penny Zabel, National Weather Service



On the evening of August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Middle Texas Coast. This was the first major hurricane to strike the region in nearly a half century. The cities of Rockport and Fulton were the hardest hit areas where wind gusts between 140 and 150 miles per hour occurred. Traditional means of communication began to fail as the destructive hurricane winds moved onshore. Despite these challenges, critical, life-saving information was relayed to local emergency management officials before, during, and after eyewall passage through text messaging. As a result, emergency officials were able to coordinate multiple rescues inside Harvey's eye.

In the months following Hurricane Harvey, it was discovered that many of our core partners preferred text message notification for weather information. Due to this revelation, NWS Corpus Christi has evolved its decision support services to include text messaging. A smartphone now resides in the operations area, and forecasters will engage core partners via text messaging when necessary. Furthermore, in an effort to enhance IDSS, NWS Corpus Christi has locally developed a notification system that can deliver user-defined weather information directly to an emergency manager's smartphone.

This presentation will highlight the success stories of Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent shift in traditional IDSS, including testimonials from local emergency management officials. In addition, examples of the newly developed notification system will be presented.