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National Weather Service
Quick Response Team (QRT)
Operational Procedures

NOTE: this is an abbreviated version of the QRT Operational Procedures. All Local WFO actions are in bold. Names of team members and their phone numbers have been excluded in this abbreviated version for security reasons. Please consult your station duty manual for the complete set of QRT operational procedures.

  1. Event occurs.

  2. Per individual Region notification guidelines, local WFO immediately notifies their Regional Headquarters that a significant event has occurred.

  3. Regional Headquarters immediately notifies the NWS Watch Office of the significant event(s) with potentially greater than F3 damage. The Watch Office will contact the National WCM Program Manager, the Director of OCWWS, the Performance and Awareness Division Chief, and other senior NWS officials including the AA for Weather Services, as appropriate. The AA for Weather Services will, at their discretion, contact the NOAA Administrator or other senior NOAA officials.

  4. Regional Headquarters should notify the NWS Watch Office through the following:
    • Sending an e:mail message to "nws.metwatch@noaa.gov" (preferred) or
    • Leaving a message on the Watch Office hotline at (XXX) XXX-XXXX

    These are the first actions that should be taken and apply to both business and non-business hours. Regional office personnel should provide their name, phone number, and a brief message for a return call. Either e:mail messages or phone calls should activate Watch Office pagers.

  5. Local WFO Post-Storm Data Acquisition (PSDA) Team immediately deploys to the damage site and determines that greater than F-3 damage may have occurred. If necessary, the local WFO may request PSDA "mutual aid" support from an adjacent office for the purpose of conducting the survey. The local PSDA Team will reach a consensus to define the potential of greater than F3 damage. The local PSDA Team shall continue the survey effort independent of the F3 damage determination to ensure acquisition of valuable survey information.

  6. Local WFO shall provide the following statement to emergency management and media: "damage is potentially greater than F3," as outlined in NWSI Directive 10-1604, until the QRT Wind Damage Expert(s) provide(s) input to the WFO for the final F-scale determination.

  7. The National WCM Program Manager, or their designee, will contact the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM) to notify them that the NWS is activating QRT procedures, and advise that NWS Regional or National Headquarters may be contacting them to request Civil Air Patrol (CAP) support. OCWWS personnel on the PSDA Working Group includes the National WCM Program Manager and National WCM Program Assistant.

  8. Local WFO will coordinate with Regional and National Headquarters to arrange a timely aerial survey of the damage area. Aerial surveys can be arranged via the CAP or other sources (e.g., National Guard, TV/Sheriff Office Helicopters, etc.)

  9. If it is determined that a QRT is needed, Regional Headquarters personnel will call one of the Wind Damage Experts listed in Appendix A, to see if they are available to perform a post-storm wind damage survey. Regional Headquarters will provide the Wind Damage Expert with logistical information about the local WFO (i.e., MIC and WCM contacts, office address, phone number, etc). If the first expert called is not available, another person listed in Appendix A should be called. For widespread and/or multiple events, additional Wind Damage Expert(s) may be required.
  10. NOTE: Other NWS personnel not listed in Appendix A can be considered as Wind Damage Experts and serve on a QRT, if they demonstrate extensive PSDA experience and are recommended as a National Authority by their Regional Office.

  11. Wind Damage Experts will have pre-draft blanket Travel Orders from NWS Headquarters (W/OS5) to expedite their travel. During normal business hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time) the Wind Damage Experts should call SATO Travel in Silver Spring, MD to obtain their plane tickets at: (XXX) XXX-XXXX. During non-business hours SATO Travel 24 Hour Emergency Services Desk should be called at: (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Note: SATO's Silver Spring Office pseudo city code is 01S0 (this code is used to reserve airline tickets via the 24 hour emergency number).

  12. QRT Wind Damage Expert must travel to the local WFO within 18-24 hours of the event.

  13. Local WFO will arrange for the transportation, lodging, etc of the Wind Damage Expert. If necessary, the local WFO may request logistical support from adjacent offices or the appropriate Regional Headquarters.

  14. The Wind Damage Expert(s) will accompany the local WFO PSDA Team to the damage site and provide their expertise for the determination of the F-Scale rating. The local WFO PSDA Team will provide the official F-Scale rating to the public.

  15. Wind Damage Expert returns home and submits travel expense receipts to NWS Headquarters (W/OS5) for reimbursement.


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Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
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Silver Spring, MD 20910
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Last Updated: August 27, 2013