Harvey Success Story: Utilizing NWS Partnerships to Maximize an Effective Public Response (146)

Andrew Patrick, National Weather Service, Lake Charles, LA

Roger Erickson, National Weather Service

Dick Gremillion, Calcasieu Parish Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness



Weather information acquisition and distribution during significant weather events can be very daunting. Decision makers receive a vast amount of weather information, at times from many sources, during these events. Moreover, many are tasked with providing concise and actionable weather information that indicates timing and threats. At the request of key partners and stakeholders, the National Weather Service (NWS) has been evolving toward an Impact-based Decision Support Service (IDSS) paradigm to address this need. Emergency managers and the media are routinely relaying NWS forecast information to a wide array of customers. However, during extreme weather events, partners may need NWS spokespersons to assist in communicating threat information to the public. In order to convey urgency, some emergency managers may wish that NWS partner briefings be available for public access. Also, through amendments of the Stafford Act after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, this information needs to be available for special needs populations. While the NWS is working on addressing these issues, NWS partners can provide necessary resources to meet these needs.

During Tropical Storm Harvey, NWS Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish EOC, and KPLC TV collaborated to provide comprehensive IDSS briefings that reached a wide audience across southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. These briefings were conducted via video streaming and regular TV programming. Moreover, press conferences with NWS spokespersons, elected officials and key first responders were conducted afterward to provide enhanced preparedness information and answer questions. This presentation will provide details on: How this was accomplished during Harvey and how this can be expanded for future significant weather events?