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Service Change Notice 16-48

National Weather Service Headquarters Washington DC

230 PM EDT Mon Oct 24 2016

 

To:       Subscribers:

          -NOAA Weather Wire Service

          -Emergency Managers Weather Information Network

          -NOAAPORT

          Other NWS partners and NWS employees

 

From:     Mark Tew

          Chief, NWS Analysis and Mission Support Division 

         

Subject:  NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) and Emergency

          Alert System (EAS) changes for tropical cyclone

          watch/warning services effective June 1, 2017

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added three new

Event Codes to the EAS Rules for the 2017 hurricane season:

-Extreme Wind Warning

-Storm Surge Watch

-Storm Surge Warning.

 

These additions will result in service delivery changes for NWR

and the EAS. 

 

Extreme Wind Warning, Event Code EWW: The Extreme Wind Warning

is an existing operational warning issued for advance notice of

sustained surface wind speeds of 115 miles per hour or greater

in association with major hurricanes. Extreme Wind Warnings are

issued by Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) serving the Gulf and

East coasts, WFO San Juan, and the following inland WFOs: 

Albany (NY), Atlanta, Birmingham, Blacksburg, Columbia, Fort

Worth, Greenville-Spartanburg, Jackson (MS), Raleigh, San

Antonio and Shreveport. For the remainder of the 2016 hurricane

season, the event code assigned to the Extreme Wind Warning will

be TOR. Beginning with the 2017 hurricane season, the new event

assigned to the Extreme Wind Warning will be EWW. There will be

no changes to the current Tornado Warning Event Code, TOR.

 

A Storm Surge Watch/Warning is currently under development by

the NWS, planned for operational use in 2017.  The operational

implementation of the Storm Surge Watch/Warning will be

announced at a later date through a separate SCN once the public

comment period ends and comprehensive testing is completed.

 

Storm Surge Watch, Event Code SSA: For the U.S. Gulf and East

coasts, WFOs may issue the Storm Surge Watch for the possibility

of life-threatening inundation for rising water moving inland,

generally within 48 hours, associated with a tropical,

subtropical or post-tropical cyclone. NWS may issue this watch

earlier when conditions, such as tropical-storm force winds,

could reduce the time available for protective actions, such as

evacuations. NWS may also issue a watch for locations not

expected to receive life-threatening inundation but could

potentially be isolated by inundation in adjacent areas. 

 

Storm Surge Warning, Event Code SSW:  For the Gulf and East

coasts, WFOs may issue the Storm Surge Warning to provide

advance notice of life-threatening inundation from rising water

moving inland, generally within 36 hours, associated with a

tropical, subtropical or post-tropical cyclone. NWS may issue a

warning when other conditions, such as the onset of tropical

storm-force winds, are expected to reduce the time available to

take protective actions such as evacuations. NWS may also issue

a warning for locations not expected to receive life-threatening

inundation but could potentially be isolated by inundation in

adjacent areas.

    

SERVICE CHANGES FOR THE NWR USER COMMUNITY:

 

For the balance of the 2016 hurricane season, the Extreme Wind

Warning will be broadcast over NWR. For receivers providing a

limited, caption-like message display, "TORNADO WARNING" will

show on the receiver. Receivers equipped with Specific Area

Message Encoding (SAME) will activate with SAME alarm tones. 

Receivers equipped with the 1050 Hertz (Hz) Warning Alarm Tone

(WAT) will activate.

 

For the 2017 hurricane season, the Extreme Wind Warning will

continue to be broadcast over NWR. Those receivers providing a

limited, caption-like message display will likely show wording

such as "UNKNOWN WATCH" or "UNKNOWN WARNING". Receivers equipped

with SAME should activate with the SAME alarm tones. Receivers

equipped with the 1050 Hz WAT should activate for this alert.

 

For the 2017 hurricane season, Storm Surge Watches may be

broadcast over NWR. Those receivers providing a limited,

caption-like message display will likely show wording such as

"UNKNOWN WATCH" or "UNKNOWN WARNING". Receivers equipped with

SAME should activate with the SAME alarm tones. The 1050 Hz WAT

will not be used with the Storm Surge Watch.

 

SERVICE CHANGES FOR THE EAS:

 

For the remainder of the 2016 hurricane season, WFOs will

request EAS activation for the Extreme Wind Warning using the

Tornado event code, TOR.  Beginning with the 2017 hurricane

season, NWS will request an EAS activation using the EWW event

code.

 

Pending operational decisions for the 2017 hurricane season, the

NWS may request EAS activation for the Storm Surge Warning. In

most jurisdictions, the NWS will not request EAS activation for

the Storm Surge Watch. 

 

Local WFOs are now reaching out to their State and Local

Emergency Communications Committees, state emergency management

agencies and broadcasters' associations to assist with

implementing the new EAS event codes. To keep you updated about

new EAS services planned for your area, your local WFO may issue

Public Information Statements, update WFO web pages and air

Public Service Announcements over NWR.

 

A list of frequently asked policy questions concerning these new

NWR and EAS event codes and services is provided online at:

 

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/easfaq/

 

More details on the NWR program are online at:

 

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr

 

More details on the EAS are online at:

 

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/info/eas_description.html

 

A Weather-Ready Nation information sheet (Important NOAA Weather

Radio All Hazards and Emergency Alert System Changes)

summarizing these changes is posted online at:

 

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/resources/Tropical_EASWRN_092816.pdf

 

More details about the provision of other new storm surge

information services for 2017 (new national Valid Time Event

Code (VTEC) product; changes to the WFO VTEC product; new

Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge Watch/Warning graphic; Wireless

Emergency Alert changes; etc.) will be provided in future

Service Change Notices.

 

For more technical information, please contact:

 

     Timothy Schott

     NWS Dissemination Services Manager

     Timothy.Schott@noaa.gov

     301-427-9336

 

For more tropical cyclone policy information, please contact:

 

      Jessica Schauer

      NWS Tropical Cyclone Program Manager

      Jessica.Schauer@noaa.gov

      305-229-4476

 

National Service Change Notices are online at:

 

  http://www.weather.gov/os/notif.htm

 

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