The Impact of the Storm Prediction Center's Convective Outlooks on Emergency Management Operational Planning (349)

Heather Cross, NOAA/NWS WFO Little Rock, North Little Rock, AR

Amy Hyman, Arkansas State University

Dennis Cavanaugh, NOAA/NWS WFO Little Rock

Christopher Buonanno, NOAA/NWS Little Rock

 

Abstract:

Convective outlooks are routinely issued several times a day by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). These outlooks highlight areas across the country where both severe and non-severe thunderstorms are anticipated. SPC Convective Outlooks have grown in popularity since their origins in the early 1950s, which in part can be attributed to the historical severe weather outbreaks which have often been featured in the forecast product.

For many emergency managers and National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters, this product influences preparation for near term severe weather events. However, investigations into how and when emergency managers utilize that information, and how it influences their emergency operations plan, has been limited. We conducted a survey of NWS core partners in the emergency management sector to better understand how and when the emergency management community plans for severe weather. We used these surveys to analyze how the issuance of a convective outlook impacts emergency management preparedness, compared to preparations conducted at the issuance of a convective watch.

The results of our surveys show that emergency managers are using the SPC Outlook and convective watch products in a surprising variety of ways. These results provide a new insight into how the emergency management community uses NWS convective outlook and watch products to better prepare their communities for future severe weather events. When the NWS better understands the decision points of their emergency management partners, we can provide more effective forecasts that target thresholds in their emergency operations plans, helping us all work together to better improve community resilience