The National Weather Service is looking into changing its usage of the terms "watch," "warning" and "advisory" while describing weather-related events.
Using an online demonstration — found at http://nws.weather.gov/haz_simp/
— the Maryland-based organization is hoping to garner feedback on its suggestions and to decide whether a change is necessary.
"We're running this demonstration to get a more formal, deeper comment process about whether there is an alternative to the system that will be more clear to everybody and still convey the critical information that we want to convey," said Eli Jacks, chief of public weather services.
"The primary reason for this demonstration is that we find that people get our three primary terms confused."
As part of its Weather Ready Nation initiative, the organization's goal is to clarify and simplify its 14 official product messages to better serve the country and help people prepare for inclement weather.
For example, instead of reading or hearing that "the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch", the agency is suggesting a change to "the National Weather Service forecasts the potential for heavy snow".
The term "advisory" would then be replaced with "the National Weather Service advises caution for," while "warning" would be expanded to "warning for a dangerous" followed by the weather event.
With a start date of Dec. 11, Jacks and his staff have received more than 1,000 comments so far from the online demonstration, with suggestions ranging from color coding to rewording the messages. The demonstration will run through March 31, 2013.
You can take a survey to express your opinions at:http://www.nws.noaa.gov/survey/nws-survey.php?code=WHSD