NOUS41 KWBC 311747


Service Change Notice 13-11

National Weather Service Headquarters Washington, DC

1248 AM EST Thu Jan 31 2013


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

          NOAA’s National Weather Service


          Rich Edwing

          Director, Center for Operational Oceanographic

            Products and Services

          NOAA’s National Ocean Service


Subject:  Beach Hazards Statements Issued by WFO Tampa Bay Area

          To Include Information about Harmful Algal Blooms 

          (HAB) when appropriate, effective February 4, 2013


Effective Monday, February 4, 2013, at 2 pm Eastern Standard Time

(EST) or 1900 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), harmful algal

bloom (HAB) information provided by NOAA’s National Ocean

Service’s HAB-Operational Forecast System (HAB-OFS), which meets

the criteria shown below, will be included in the Beach Hazards

Statement being tested by WFO Tampa Bay Area. NOAA's HAB-OFS

provides information on the location, extent, and the potential

for development or movement of harmful algal blooms in the Gulf

of Mexico.


An NWS Beach Hazards Statement will be issued by WFO Tampa Bay

Area for their area of responsibility for a HAB of Karenia brevis

(commonly known as Florida Red Tide) if all of the following

criteria apply:


- NOS’ HAB-OFS team has issued a HAB-OFS public conditions report

  or update.


- Karenia brevis concentrations which correlate to respiratory

  impacts (between “low b” and high (>50,000 cells/L)) have been

  confirmed by in-situ cell counts in WFO Tampa Bay Area’s area

  of responsibility.


- NOS’ HAB-OFS team forecasts moderate or high respiratory

  impacts are possible in the WFO Tampa Bay Area’s area of



  - If the level of forecasted respiratory impacts decreases,

    WFO Tampa Bay Area will cancel the Beach Hazards Statement

    for HAB.


A graphic showing WFO Tampa Bay Area’s area of responsibility is

online at:


Routine HAB bulletins prepared by NOS’ HAB-OFS are issued to

coastal managers once a week, at a minimum, or twice a week

during an active bloom.  For more information about HAB-OFS and

the services they provide, refer to:


The Beach Hazards Statement is issued under the NWS’ Coastal

Hazard Message (CFW) with a Valid Time Event Code (VTEC) of BH.S. 

The Beach Hazards Statement is being tested by six WFOs, but only

the Beach Hazards Statement issued by WFO Tampa Bay Area will be

incorporating HAB content (when criteria are met) at this time.


Table 1:  Communication identifier for the CFW issued by the

WFO Tampa Bay Area for Beach Hazards (BH.S):


Issuing WFO                  WMO Header         AWIPS Id

-----------                  -----------              --------

Tampa Bay Area, FL           WHUS42 KTBW        CFWTBW


In addition to HAB impacts, the Beach Hazards Statement issued by

WFO Tampa Bay Area, with the headline of "Beach Hazards Statement

in effect for [timeframe]" will also inform beachgoers and local

authorities of a multitude of hazards including, but not limited to:


-Rip currents or other 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 not meeting advisory criteria


WFO Tampa Bay Area will coordinate with NOS’ HAB analysts in the

HAB-OFS program concerning harmful algal blooms and potential

health impacts on coastal areas.  The HAB analysts will provide

necessary information for inclusion in the Beach Hazards

Statement issued by WFO Tampa Bay Area for its area of

responsibility. The HAB information will originate from

operational HAB forecast bulletins generated by NOS’ HAB-OFS

analysts located within the NOS’ Center for Operational

Oceanographic and Products and Services (CO-OPS). An NOS HAB-OFS

point of contact for additional information will be included in

all Beach Hazards Statements which include HAB information.


The Beach Hazards Statement is intended to provide information

for these types of hazards listed above in a single product.

Those hazards listed above will not necessarily be included in

the Beach Hazards Statements issued by all NWS coastal offices

participating in this test. Each office has unique criteria for

their area of responsibility and will tailor the contents of the

Beach Hazards Statement as appropriate. For example, only WFO

Tampa Bay Area is testing the inclusion of HAB information in

their Beach Hazards Statement.


Below is a link to an example of the Tampa Bay Area Beach Hazards

Statement containing harmful algal bloom information:


The BH.S VTEC code is operational, i.e., the VTEC line carries

the (O) identifier. When in effect, the Beach Hazard information

issued by WFO Tampa Bay Area and the other five test offices is

highlighted in turquoise on the NWS Watch, Warning, Advisory map:


Users interested in the Beach Hazards Statement, who have not

already installed the code, may need to make the appropriate

changes to their systems in order to process the BH.S VTEC code

if they have not done so already. No additional changes are



The test of the new VTEC event code (BH.S) began on May 15, 2012,

and will continue until further notice. For information about the

other five offices participating in the Beach Hazards Statement

test, refer to the original Service Change Notice, issued May 2,



Users are encouraged to provide feedback by using the brief

survey and comment form:


General background information on VTEC can be found online at:


If you have questions or comments please contact:


Chris Alex

Ecological Forecasting focal point

NWS Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch

Silver Spring, MD 20910

301-713-1858 ext. 171


NWS Service Change Notices are online at: