Media Outreach


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Media Outreach

  1. 1. Public Outreach Day May 6, 2004 National Weather Service Grand Junction, Colorado
  2. 2. Objectives <ul><li>Who we are and what we do </li></ul><ul><li>Describe the various programs of the NWS </li></ul><ul><li>A brief outline of what weather products are produced for these programs </li></ul><ul><li>Give you an idea of what information is out there for you to use </li></ul>
  3. 3. NWS Offices Across the Nation
  4. 4. NWS History <ul><li>Congress organized the first “Weather Bureau” in 1870. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1970, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was created. </li></ul><ul><li>The Weather Bureau was then placed under NOAA, and had its name changed to the “National Weather Service”. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Grand Junction NWS History <ul><li>First weather observations taken in 1892 (upstairs doctor’s office at 520 Main Street). </li></ul><ul><li>First Weather Bureau office established in 1898, eventually moving into the old Grand Valley Bank Building at the corner of 4 th and Main. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Grand Junction NWS History <ul><li>The Weather Bureau office moved to the Federal Building at 4 th and Rood in 1918. </li></ul><ul><li>It remained there until 1946, the longest existence for a weather office in the same building in Grand Junction’s history. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Currently <ul><li>The NWS moved to its current location in 1995. </li></ul><ul><li>The office consists of a staff of 25 meteorologists, hydrologists, technicians, and support personnel. </li></ul>
  8. 8. NWS Grand Junction Area of Responsibility <ul><li>Area defined by Doppler Radar coverage </li></ul><ul><li>18 counties in western Colorado & 4 in eastern Utah </li></ul><ul><li>Covers 50,407 square miles </li></ul>
  9. 9. Major Programs <ul><li>Public Weather Forecasts </li></ul><ul><li>Severe Weather Watches and Warnings </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrology </li></ul><ul><li>Winter Weather </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Precipitation Events </li></ul><ul><li>Fire Weather </li></ul><ul><li>Climatology </li></ul><ul><li>NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Public Zone Forecasts <ul><li>The forecast area is divided into zones that have similar climatic and geographic similarities </li></ul><ul><li>Forecast parameters include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sky condition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>wind (first 48 hours) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>precipitation and/or obscurations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>maximum / minimum temperature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>snowfall amounts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forecasts extend out to 7 days </li></ul>
  11. 11. NWS Grand Junction Zones
  12. 12. Other Forecasts <ul><li>Short Term Forecasts (“nowcasts”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issued as needed during rapidly changing weather conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhances the zone forecast to describe a specific weather event expected over the next hour or two </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides forecast reasoning for the upcoming forecast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describes the current synoptic situation, model strengths and weaknesses in handling the forecast, and the forecaster’s thoughts on the situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issued around 3:00 pm and 4:00 am daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A brief AFD will be issued if the forecast is a non-routine update, discussing the reason for the update. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Other Forecasts <ul><li>Each morning, NWS Grand Junction will issue a “Hazardous Weather Outlook”. </li></ul><ul><li>This products offers a “heads-up” on what kind of adverse weather can be expected during the next 7 days. </li></ul><ul><li>Biggest focus is on the next 24 hours. </li></ul><ul><li>May be updated later in the day, if conditions change. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Click on any area on the map for a forecast This will be at the bottom of the forecast page Website
  15. 15. Digital Forecasts
  16. 16. Digital Forecasts
  17. 17. Sky Condition Less than 1/10 Clear Sunny 1/10 – 3/10 Mostly Clear Mostly Sunny 3/10 – 6/10 Partly Cloudy Partly Sunny 7/10 – 8/10 Mostly Cloudy or Considerable Cloudiness 9/10 – 10/10 Cloudy Cloud Coverage Sky Condition
  18. 18. Wind Very Windy 30 – 40 mph Strong, dangerous, or damaging 40 mph or greater Windy 20 – 30 mph Breezy 15 – 25 mph None 5 – 15 mph 10 – 20 mph Light, or Light and Variable 0 – 5 mph Descriptive Term Sustained Wind Speed
  19. 19. Probability of Precipitation (PoP) None Used None Used 80% to 100% Numerous Likely 60% to 70% Scattered Chance 30% to 50% Isolated Slight Chance 20% Isolated or Few Slight Chance 10 % Areal Equivalent Expression of Uncertainty PoP Percent
  20. 20. Severe Weather <ul><li>WATCH </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conditions are favorable for a severe weather event in or near the Watch Area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Watches are issued for Tornadoes, Severe Thunderstorms, and Floods </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WARNING </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A severe weather event is imminent or occurring in the Warned area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warnings are issued for Tornadoes, Severe Thunderstorms, Flash Floods, and Floods </li></ul></ul>Definitions and Terminology
  21. 21. Severe Weather <ul><li>Severe Thunderstorm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Winds > knots (58 mph) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hail > ¾ inch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tornadic Activity </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Severe Weather <ul><li>Watches / Warnings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Severe Weather Statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Additional / updated information on an ongoing warning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used to cancel a warning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used to extend an existing warning </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Severe Weather <ul><li>Local Storm Report </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issued after a severe weather event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Documents reports of severe weather and weather-related damage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides time, location, and type of severe weather and extent of damage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be issued well after the storm, depending on when the reports are received </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. NWS Grand Junction Website Any Watches, Warnings, or Advisories will be color-coded Just click on the county or zone to get the product
  25. 25. NWS Grand Junction Website All text versions of Watches, Warnings, or Advisories will be posted here
  26. 26. NWS Grand Junction Website “Local Warnings” Link
  27. 27. Hydrology <ul><ul><li>Inundation of a normally dry area caused by an increased water level in an established watercourse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the west, usually caused by mountain snowmelt, a warm rain-on-snow event, or large reservoir releases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Watches will usually be issued when rivers approach bankfull; Warnings will be issued when river levels are expected to exceed established flood stages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flood (Flood Watch / Flood Warning) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Hydrology <ul><ul><li>A life-threatening flood caused by heavy rain over a short time, usually less than 6 hours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flash flooding usually occurs in small streams, or dry washes and canyons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most flash floods here occur during the monsoon season, typically on the 2 nd or 3 rd day of thunderstorms with heavy rain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dam Breaks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flash Flood (Flash Flood Watch / Warning) </li></ul>
  29. 29. Hydrology <ul><li>Flood / Flash Flood Statement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statements are issued for both floods and flash floods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conveys latest information on the event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May remove portions of the warning area, if that area is no longer susceptible to flooding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terminates the watch or warning </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Hydrology <ul><li>Urban and/or Small Stream Flood Advisory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flooding of small streams, streets, or low-lying areas (such as underpasses, parking lots, etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flooding is not considered life-threatening, mostly just a nuisance or inconvenience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No significant damage to property is expected </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. BREAK
  32. 32. Winter Weather <ul><li>Of major importance to the public in western Colorado and eastern Utah is the timing and impact of winter weather phenomena. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Winter Weather <ul><li>Winter Storm Watch </li></ul><ul><li>Winter Storm Warning </li></ul><ul><li>Blizzard Warning </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy Snow Warning </li></ul><ul><li>Winter Weather Advisory </li></ul>
  34. 34. Winter Weather <ul><li>Blizzard Warning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Snow and/or blowing snow reducing the visibility to < ¼ mile with sustained winds of 35 mph for 3 hours or more. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Winter Storm Warning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More than one winter phenomena is expected (i.e. heavy snow, high winds, etc). </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Winter Weather <ul><li>Heavy Snow Warning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountain Zones (> 7500’): > 12” per snow event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Valley Zones (< 7500’): > 6” per snow event </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Winter Weather Advisory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountain Zones: 5-11” per snow event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Valley Zones: 3-5” per snow event </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Non-Precipitation Events <ul><li>Non-precipitation events such as high wind, fog, heat, and freezing rain can also pose a threat to public safety. </li></ul>
  37. 37. High Winds <ul><li>High Wind Warning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountains: sustained > 50 mph, gusts > 75 mph </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Valleys: sustained > 40 mph, gusts > 58 mph </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wind Advisory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountains: sustained 40-49 mph, gusts 58-74 mph </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Valleys: sustained 30-39 mph, gusts 45-57 mph </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Cold Temperatures <ul><li>Freeze Warning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Temperatures < 32 ° at the beginning or end of the growing season </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Cold Temperatures <ul><li>Wind Chill Warning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountains: < -35 ° and winds > 10 mph </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Valleys: < -25° and winds > 10 mph </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wind Chill Advisory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Valleys (only): -18° to -24° and winds > 10 mph </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Wind Chill <ul><li>The measure of the rate of heat loss based on air temperature and wind speed. </li></ul><ul><li>Only valid for exposed human skin (no bearing on animals or inanimate objects). </li></ul><ul><li>Formula was altered in 2002, based on updated meteorological and physiological knowledge. </li></ul>
  41. 41. Wind Chill Click here for wind chill chart and information
  42. 42. Other Non-Precipitation Events <ul><li>Dust Storm Warning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Widespread visibility of < ¼ mile with sustained winds > 25 mph. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blowing Dust Advisory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Widespread visibility of < 1 mile with sustained winds > 25 mph. </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. Other Non-Precipitation Events <ul><li>Heat Index&quot; (HI): sometimes referred to as the &quot;apparent temperature&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>The HI, given in degrees Fahrenheit, is a measure of how hot it really feels when the relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature (body’s effectiveness in sweating is reduced).  </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme Heat Warning – HI will exceed 120 ° for 3 or more hours.   </li></ul>
  44. 44. Heat Index Click here for heat index chart and information
  45. 45. Ultraviolet (UV) Index <ul><li>Although the Grand Junction office does not send out warnings for high UV numbers, the forecast is available on the “Local Climate” section of our website. </li></ul>
  46. 46. Other Non-Precipitation Events <ul><li>Dense Fog or Smoke Advisory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visibility is reduced to < 1/4 mile over a significant area. </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Fire Weather Program <ul><li>NWS Grand Junction provides user-oriented fire weather forecasting service tailored for use by federal, state, and county land management organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>General fire weather forecasts and smoke management forecasts are routinely issued each day from April 1 to October 31. </li></ul>
  48. 48. Fire Weather Program <ul><li>Spot weather forecasts (fire-specific forecasts) </li></ul><ul><li>Fire Weather Watches </li></ul><ul><li>Red Flag Warnings </li></ul>
  49. 49. Red Flag Criteria <ul><li>Any combination of the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thunderstorms producing “dry lightning” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong and erratic winds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First occurrence of lightning after a hot and dry period </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low fuel humidity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low atmospheric relative humidity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expected passage of a cold front </li></ul></ul>
  50. 50. NWS Grand Junction Website “Fire Weather” Link Clickable Zone Map Other Fire Weather Forecasts
  51. 51. General Climate Information <ul><li>Grand Junction’s detailed climate summary is published each morning. </li></ul>
  52. 52. General Climate Information <ul><li>Daily temperature and precipitation is also available for a number of ASOS, cooperative observer, and spotter stations. </li></ul>
  53. 53. General Climate Information <ul><li>Each day, a daily record of each day’s weather information is made available (a Form F-6, or Local Climatological Data (LCD)). </li></ul><ul><li>This information is available for 10 sites in western Colorado and eastern Utah. </li></ul>
  54. 54. Daily F-6/LCD Report
  55. 55. NOAA Weather Radio <ul><li>Began in the 1970s </li></ul><ul><li>24/7 weather coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Range of about 40 miles, depending on terrain </li></ul><ul><li>Tone alert feature will automatically turn the radio on when warnings have been issued </li></ul><ul><li>SAME </li></ul>
  56. 56. NOAA Weather Radio <ul><li>NWS Grand Junction maintains 6 NWR stations. </li></ul><ul><li>Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Durango, Vernal, Moab. </li></ul><ul><li>NWR Stations in Steamboat Springs and Monticello, UT are in the planning stage. </li></ul>
  57. 57. NOAA Weather Radio <ul><li>The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has also made NWR through various AM/FM repeaters: </li></ul>
  58. 58. NWS Grand Junction <ul><li>24 hour phone number: 256-9463 </li></ul><ul><li>Toll-free number: 1-800-868-7964 </li></ul><ul><li>Weather Recording: 243-0913 </li></ul><ul><li>Website: </li></ul>
  59. 59. Thank You for Your Attendance! National Weather Service Grand Junction, Colorado