Skip to main content

NWS proposal would see change to how advisories are issued

Anyone in the general public can take a survey to give feedback on the proposed changes.

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. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 8.58.10 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 10.42.07 AM

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. 

Sign up for our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters

Next Up

FINNEGANS Caribou image

FINNEGANS, Caribou Coffee team up for charitable MN brew

The Dead Irish Poet stout is now available at liquor stores and bars.

Jiecong Cao

Man charged in sex trafficking bust at Roseville hotel

He has been charged with the promoting of prostitution.

Justin Morneau

5 former Minnesota Twins are on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot

Four were staples on the 2000s teams and the other is the one that got away.

kitchen window minneapolis google street view - crop

Kitchen Window reveals it will close, announces storewide sale

The premium cookware shop has been in business for more than 35 years.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, November 23

The latest info from the state health department.

Monoclonal antibodies

COVID: New monoclonal antibody clinic to open in Twin Cities

Monoclonal antibody treatment can help prevent hospitalization from COVID.

hopkins high school GSV Pro - CROP

Principal reveals more details about Monday fight at Hopkins High School

She revealed more details about the incident that prompted a shelter in place Monday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-23 at 8.46.26 AM

School board walks out amid angry scenes at meeting over racism in Prior Lake

The meeting grew tense after the board heard from multiple student speakers.

Sassy Spoon 2

Popular gluten-free restaurant Sassy Spoon closes

It began life as a food truck before moving into a permanent space in 2015.

farming field

Minnesota farmer ordered to repay $1.4M for loan fraud

The 67-year-old pleaded guilty in federal court.



Frost advisory, freeze warning issued across northern Minnesota

Wednesday morning is expected to be the coldest of the week.

storm, severe weather

Severe weather Thursday: Here's what the NWS is saying

If storms can get going during daylight hours, they might be nasty.


NWS watching potential for snow in Minnesota this weekend

The weather service says the storm track will likely change between now and then.

Warnings, advisories issued ahead of weekend winter storm

Snow totals will vary across the state, with highest amounts in western Minnesota.

storm, shelf cloud, severe weather

NWS: 'Significant damaging wind event' possible in Minnesota

Make sure you have a way to be alerted to warnings.

storm, severe weather

'Particularly dangerous situation' issued by NWS as potential derecho nears

Storms could produce damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.


NWS on the snowstorm potential for Thursday-Friday in Minnesota

Details are coming into focus as the storm gets closer.