NOUS41 KWBC 051918



Service Change Notice 12-10

National Weather Service Headquarters Washington, DC

1115 AM EST Mon Mar 05 2012


To:        Subscribers:

           -Family of Services

           -NOAA Weather Wire Service

           -Emergency Managers Weather Information Network


           Other NWS Partners, Users and Employees


  From:    Mark Tew

           Chief, Marine and Coastal Services Branch


  Subject: Test of Beach Hazards Statement with new Valid Time

           Event Code (VTEC) in Coastal Hazard Message at

           Select Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) Effective

           May 15, 2012


Effective Tuesday May 15, 2012, at 1200 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), six NWS Weather Forecast Offices will use a new VTEC event code for beach hazards in their Coastal Hazard Messages (CFW).


These WFOs will begin using the new VTEC event code for the following BH.S: Beach Hazard Statement within the CFW instead of:


CF.S: Coastal Flood Statement

LS.S: Lakeshore Flood Statement used in the Great Lakes

RP.S: Rip Current Statement used at 17 coastal WFOs when specifically targeting hazardous conditions that are occurring or likely to occur along a beach, coastal area or shore and their immediate adjacent waters.


The Beach Hazards Statement, with the headline of "Hazardous Beach Conditions in effect for [timeframe]" will inform beachgoers and local authorities of a multitude of hazards including, but not limited to:


- rip currents or other types of dangerous currents in the surf zone

- unusually cold water temperatures

- potential for lightning along the beach/shoreline

- high heat indices which do not meet advisory criteria

- unusual surf/wave conditions which do not meet advisory criteria.


In coordination with other agencies, as needed, the product may also inform users of various types of environmental hazards (e.g., chemical spills, harmful algal blooms, high bacteria levels in the water, or potentially hazardous marine wildlife which may be impacting the area.


The Hazardous Beach Conditions Statement is intended to provide information for these types of hazards in a single product. The examples of hazards provided above will not necessarily apply to all NWS coastal offices because each office has unique criteria for their area of responsibility.


The BH.S will be operational, i.e., the VTEC line will carry the (O) identifier.  The Beach Hazard information issued by these offices will be highlighted in turquoise, same color as rip current statement, on the NWS Watch, Warning Advisory map at:


Table 1:  Communication identifiers for the CFWs issued by the

6 WFOs that will use the new VTEC for Beach Hazards (BH.S)

effective May 15, 2012:


Issuing WFO                  WMO Header             AWIPS Id 


Grand Rapids, MI             WHUS43 KGRR            CFWGRR

San Francisco Bay Area, CA   WHUS46 KMTR            CFWMTR

Newport/Morehead City, NC    WHUS42 KMHX            CFWMHX

New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA  WHUS44 KLIX            CFWLIX

Seattle, WA                  WHUS56 KSEW            CFWSEW          

Tampa Bay Area, FL           WHUS52 KTBW            CFWTBW


Customers must make the appropriate changes to their systems in order to process the new VTEC BH.S.


The remainder of NWS coastal and Great Lakes offices will continue using the VTEC event codes CF.S, LS.S, and RP.S in their Coastal/Lakeshore Hazard Message (CFW) when there is a threat of hazardous beach conditions. No actions are necessary to continue processing the CF.S, LS.S, and RP.S VTEC event codes.


This test of the new VTEC event code (BH.S) within the CFW by the WFOs specified in Table 1 will continue until further notice, unless significant negative feedback is received. 


Users are encouraged to provide feedback by using the brief survey and comment form on the Internet at:


General background information on VTEC can be found online at:



If you have questions or comments please contact:


David Soroka

National Marine Program Leader

Silver Spring, MD 20910

301-713-1677 ext. 111


NWS Service Change Notices are online at: