GSD Demonstrates Latest Hazard Services Tool to Six NWS Forecast Offices

From late October through November, members of the Global Systems Division/Information Systems Branch (ISB)/Hazard Services Development Team visited several National Weather Service forecast offices to demonstrate Production Version Two (PV2) of the Hazard Services application. In what would become known as the "Hazard Services Road Show", each site visit lasted one day and included presentations, demonstrations, and "hands-on" testing by the forecasters. The sites visited included the Weather Forecast Offices in Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Boulder, Colorado; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Goodland, Kansas; and Burlington, Vermont. You might be thinking to yourself, "Wait a minute - Burlington, Vermont?" One person on the GSD team works remotely from Massachusetts and graciously drove up to Burlington to work with the forecasters.

The staff of ISB has a long history and well-earned reputation of working closely with its customers, including personnel at NWS Weather Forecast Offices. The Hazard Services Project is no exception and forecaster feedback has driven the development of the Hazard Services application. In fact, through a series of workshops, forecasters helped define and shape the vision of the Hazard Services Project long before software development began. The Development Team embraces an Agile development philosophy continually incorporating user feedback into their work through weekly stakeholders meetings and software demonstrations. The end result is an application – Hazard Services – which meets or exceeds the needs and requirements of the forecasters.

These recent site visits were another way of exposing forecasters to the Hazard Services application, giving them an opportunity to take it for a "test-spin" by providing them with hands-on time to work through hydrometeorological scenarios. The level of familiarity with this application varied greatly from office to office and from forecaster to forecaster, resulting in fresh innovative perspectives and ideas.

The Hazard Services Project started from a recognition that NWS hazard operations need to be simplified and streamlined to provide forecasters better tools to perform their mission-critical job of providing lifesaving watches, warnings, and advisories. It is also part of an effort to support new avenues for disseminating hazard information in a world of rapidly evolving social media and mobile devices. The Hazard Services application started as the Next Generation Warning Tool with a series of workshops used to gather ideas and requirements from potential users including external partners, social scientists, software engineers, meteorologists, and hydrologists from the public and private sectors.

Today, Hazard Services is a joint project between GSD and Raytheon, under the direction of the NWS Office of Science and Technology. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the Hydrologic Hazard operational tool is scheduled for this summer. The technology will be integrated into the second generation of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS II) as part of the Common AWIPS Visualization Environment (CAVE). Beyond IOC, work will continue to support NWS short-fused and long-fused hazard operations. These technologies will be used to facilitate collaborative exchanges of hazard information between NWS forecasters and its external partners such as emergency managers and law enforcement officers.

Hazard Services technologies will revolutionize and streamline NWS operations by:

  • Streamlining the forecaster's workflow by combining functionality from three AWIPS legacy warning applications;
  • Providing a wider variety of hazard products in an information-centric operation; and
  • Enhancing collaboration and data sharing between forecasters and NWS partners.

Contact information
Name: Bryon Lawrence
Tel: 303-497-4920
bryon.lawrence@noaa.gov