National Weather Service seeks opinions on potential elimination of the term ‘advisory'

Under the proposal, advisories would be replaced with easy to understand, plain language

National Weather Service seeks opinions on potential elimination of the term ‘advisory'

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The National Weather Service (NWS) wants your opinion on the potential elimination of weather “advisories”.

This proposal is part of an ongoing effort by the NWS to simplify their hazardous weather products (known as “Haz Simp” for short). In their current system, the NWS believes there are too many different types of watches, warnings, and advisories, which creates confusion.

The National Weather Service believes there are currently too many types of watches and warnings, and there is often confusion about the meaning of a watch, warning, and advisory.
The National Weather Service believes there are currently too many types of watches and warnings, and there is often confusion about the meaning of a watch, warning, and advisory. (Source: WWBT)

In the current format, the National Weather Service issues a watch (such as a Winter Storm Watch or Flood Watch) when significant weather is possible, but details and/or timing of the impacts is still uncertain.

A watch could then be converted to a warning if confidence in life threatening weather increases, or an advisory if the threat is more likely to only be an inconvenience. A warning or advisory can also be issued without a watch beforehand.

In the current format, a watch is issued for possible significant weather, and can be converted to an advisory or a warning as confidence increases on the incoming weather event.
In the current format, a watch is issued for possible significant weather, and can be converted to an advisory or a warning as confidence increases on the incoming weather event. (Source: WWBT)

Based on focus groups the NWS has conducted alongside social scientists, the NWS has found the term “advisory” to be widely misunderstood.

The proposal which is under consideration in their latest survey eliminates the term “advisory” from the equation.

The proposed change eliminates the term "advisory" from National Weather Service messages.
The proposed change eliminates the term "advisory" from National Weather Service messages. (Source: WWBT)

However, the information that is currently relayed in an advisory would NOT go away under this proposal.

The NWS would still issue a message highlighting the threats in a plain language, easy to understand, “what, where, when, and impacts” format.

For example, instead of issuing a “Winter Weather Advisory”, the National Weather Service would highlight “Light snow expected today".

In this proposal, the NWS would use easy to understand plain language to highlight significant weather without using the term "advisory".
In this proposal, the NWS would use easy to understand plain language to highlight significant weather without using the term "advisory". (Source: WWBT)

Be advised, if the NWS decides to move forward with these changes, the changes would not likely be implemented for roughly 2 years. It will take time to train staff and update policies/procedures for the new system.

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