The National Weather Service is considering a proposal that would change way storm watches, warnings and advisories are issued, and it is asking the public to answer a survey to better inform any decision it makes.
"For decades, the National Weather Service (NWS) has used the "Watch, Warning, and Advisory" (WWA) system to make users aware of expected weather and water hazards. Extensive social science research with NWS meteorologists, core partners, and the public has found that these three WWA terms can be misunderstood and/or confused. The concern with such confusion is that it could contribute to inappropriate responses by our partners and public."
In short, the weather service believes "advisory" is too often confused with a "watch."
The proposal, if accepted, would see advisories dropped from the terminology and replaced with plain-language information, while the NWS would primarily "raise the flag," so to speak, in the event of a storm watch or warning.
A watch means conditions are favorable for storm development, while a warning means a severe weather event is in progress or imminent.
A public survey can be taken here, though below are specific details showing how the proposal would see advisories replaced with "plain-language headlines."
For starters, there are countless forms of weather advisories, from winter weather advisories and frost advisories in the cold months, to heat advisories and flood advisories in warm season.
Here's how wind and flood advisories, for example, would look with a plain-language headlines.
The fuller details would continue to explain where impacts are taking place and what to expect during the duration of the event.
For example, as seen in the image below, a heat advisory would be issued in plain language by the NWS by saying a specific area can expect to experience "high heat index values until 9 p.m. CDT this evening."
Further in the description, the advisory would give specifics, like just how hot it will feel and when the hottest conditions can be expected.
The weather service has also proposed using bullet points to quickly get the message out for non-severe, short-term forecasts. Essentially, this would see special weather statements and short-term forecasts replaced by a "Weather Message" that would detail the "What, Where, When, Impacts and Precautionary/Preparedness Actions."
All in all, this change is more specific to types of weather, be it snow or strong storms, compared to the vague, generalized special weather statements that currently exist.