National Weather Service asks for input on possible changes

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 5:15 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The National Weather Service (NWS) looks to make changes to its messaging in an effort to simplify terms and make them easier to understand.

“If you provide information that’s not clear, people are unsure what to do,” said Phil Kurimski, a senior meteorologist at the NWS Green Bay office.

The Hazard Simplification Project focuses on the Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system.

“So, there is some confusion is it an advisory an upgrade? Is it a downgrade? So, people were confused about the different headlines that were in effect,” said Kurimski.

The proposed solution? Getting rid of the term “advisory” and some others altogether.

“These new statements are going to convey information that doesn’t meet watch or warning levels and use plain language like say “patchy dense fog expected” or “two to four inches of snow is expected this afternoon,” said Kurimski. “The format itself is going to change to what, where, when it impacts, so it’s going to be bulleted.”

The changes aim to make information more clear not just for the general public but also for agency partners.

“People are so used to their phones being flooded with messages that you want people to take those messages seriously,” said Lauri Maki III, Brown County Emergency Management Director.

NWS is looking for public input on the proposed changes by offering a survey through August 21. It is anonymous and includes examples of how the information could be presented differently.

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