National Weather Service plans to change alert system to help save more lives

System will be less complicated to understand
Posted at 8:39 AM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 09:40:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A National Weather Service system first developed in the 1950s is in the process of getting an upgrade. NWS expects the upgrade to be lifesaving.

“Watch, Warning and Advisory” alerts are sent out during events like flash flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and severe thunderstorms. They're meant to let people know how intense a storm can be, but the term “advisory” is often misinterpreted. The National Weather Service is working to replace the headline.

The National Weather Service has looked at other options for the headline, like “hazard” or no headline at all.

“What we're doing right now is actually looking into three options for replacement wording first one being caution. So, caution leading that message so maybe this would say, instead of 'winter weather advisory, in effect,' you would say caution light snow accumulations this afternoon or something to that effect,” National Weather Service Hazard Simplification Project Senior Advisor Danielle Nagele said.

This change is a part of the “Hazard Simplification Project," which was created to better understand the social impact of weather and water events.

We’ve seen these alerts a lot recently during the flooding events in Waverly and recently this past week across the mid-state; due to all the rainfall causing issues.

“You shouldn't have to use a dictionary during a weather or water event to figure out what you need to do. With a more clear, concise simple system alerting system, our hope is that it allows people to take quick action to know immediately what they should be doing, what they're facing and ultimately result, and you know lives and property saved,” Nagele explained.

NWS recently collected answers from the public on what terms they best understood.

The new alert system is expected to be in place by 2024.