AMS 50th Conference on Broadcast Meteorology

Will you be at the AMS Conference on Broadcast Meteorology in Phoenix, AZ next week?  So will we!

Kodi Berry is presenting on Threats-in-Motion, a proposed change to NWS tornado warnings.  Threats-in-Motion represents a more modern warning process, featuring a rapidly updating tornado warning which provides more equitable lead time.  Input from broadcast meteorologists has had a direct impact on the development of this product.

Thursday, June 22nd at 2:30 PT

Moving tornado warnings: How Threats-in-Motion may evolve the way we communicate severe weather

Holly Obermeier is presenting on the last seven years of testing experimental FACETs products (such as probabilistic hazard information) with broadcast meteorologists, including the development of a research television studio with NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed.  Such testing has lead to direct impacts on the research and development of these products, thanks to the input of broadcast participants.

Thursday, June 22nd at 2:45 PM

Seven Years of Testing Experimental NOAA Severe Weather Products with Broadcast Meteorologists


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Decisions Over Time

What weather information do broadcast meteorologists seek in the days and hours leading up to a severe weather event?  What decisions are being made with this information?  Could experimental products help fill any informational gaps in this timeframe?

These were all questions researchers sought to answer during the Fall 2022 “End User Decisions Over Time” virtual experiment.

Over the course of four 2-day experiments, 10 broadcast meteorologists participated in virtual exercises and discussions with researchers.  Participants completed a ranking exercise using Google Jamboards, in which they selected various pieces of weather information listed on cards as “Must Have”, “Could Have”, “Should Have” or “Won’t Have”.  Researchers provided example cards for participants, but they also created their own cards.

“Must Haves” in the 4-24 hour and 0-4 hour ranges before severe weather included convection-allowing models (CAMs), SPC Mesoscale Discussions (both for probability of watch and severe weather timing), NWSchat, and severe weather timing information from local National Weather Service offices:

“Things ramp up and the Mesoscale Discussion comes out, watches come out – use the Mesoscale Discussion as a trigger to reissue post on social media and blog, do brief cut ins”

“SPC Mesoscale Discussions drive the ship, as well as watches and local warnings.”

 “Mesoscale Discussion prior to watch time, we start to alert folks.  This is when things start to get real crazy at the station.”

“Use CAMs to show [viewers] where storms will be, love the HRRR and the ability to forecast storm mode, where storms fire, when they arrive, etc.”

“NWSchat is probably the biggest advancement in warning tech ever besides radar because of exchange of information – saves lives in [large US city] “

After being introduced to experimental products being developed at CIWRO and NSSL, participants were asked to complete the ranking exercise again, this time including the experimental information.  “Must Haves” included SPC Moving Watch Guidance, probability of warnings from the Warn on Forecast guidance system, and probability of hazard over the next 60 minutes:

”Giving folks the all clear is critical to maintaining trust and avoiding warning fatigue and to maintain citizen participation in their own safety…when we leave watches up it contributes to fatigue. It also dilutes authority and trust to act when left up too long”

“The more nailed we are with the threat time, the more people will pay attention.  I don’t know if I’d share all the timing guidance, but it would help me more.”

“Would not show the likelihood of a tornado warning, I use it internally but no need to send it to the viewer.  Not useful for them.”

“This is my favorite of the bunch, I think more forecasts should be probabilistic vs deterministic to avoid being “wrong” when you are barely off.”

More research results from this project will be shared during the presentation “End User Decisions Over Time: Assessing Weather Information Needs and Decision Making for Severe Weather Events with Broadcast Meteorologists” at the 103rd AMS Annual Meeting in Denver, CO on January 9th, 2023.

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Threats-in-Motion Virtual Tabletop Exercise with Broadcast Meteorologists

The KPHI research team held this year’s virtual Threats-in-Motion (TIM) Workshop from Sept 20-24.  We were honored to have a total of 25 broadcast participants (5 per day) for the week.  Threats-in-Motion is a proposed update to the current warning paradigm which features a more rapidly updating warning polygon with moves along with a storm, possibly at intervals as quickly as 1 minute.

Participants from Day 2 of the 2021 Virtual Threats in Motion Workshop

Participants worked through surveys in which they were shown different TIM prototypes, and were then asked for feedback.  Focus group discussion followed the surveys.  Discussion topics included initial impressions, preferred update frequency, and possible concerns.   Most of our participants voiced a desire for a product like TIM, but expressed some concern over update frequency.  While most of the broadcasters felt they could keep up with 1-minute updates in their on-air coverage, they might struggle to keep other platforms, such as crawls and social media, up to speed.

Feedback and discussions were insightful and revealing.  Virtual experiments may not feature our signature delicious brownies, but we appreciate the time and effort from each of our participants!

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KPHI-TV represented at the August “Threats in Motion” Workshop

KPHI-TV researchers were excited to participate in the Threats in Motion workshop held in Norman, OK this August.  Threats in Motion is a proposed change to National Weather Service tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings.  This concept would allow warning polygons to update every minute and move forward in time spatially.  This potential change represents a bridge to probabilistic information in the future under a FACETs paradigm, and is a significant change to the current warning system.  Other industry representatives included those from The Weather Company, Baron, Midland Weather Radio and NBC Universal.   The workshop also included stakeholders from other NOAA laboratories and NWS entities, as well as the emergency management community.  Threats in Motions concepts will be tested (in addition to probabilistic hazard information) with broadcast meteorologists during this October’s Hazardous Weather Testbed.

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Congratulations, Caroline!

We want to say “Congratulations!” to our 2018 NOAA Hollings Scholar and KPHI-TV intern,  Caroline Carithers.  Caroline has accepted a meteorologist/reporter position at WKRG in Mobile, AL.  She graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Alabama this spring,  with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and a minor in Math.

We are proud of you, Caroline, and wish you the best of luck in your new broadcasting career!  May there be endless Target brownies in your television studios today and beyond!

You can follow Caroline and her weather updates on Twitter and Facebook.

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We’re Going Green…

We’re always making technological strides here at KPHI TV!  This year we’ve upgraded to a green screen setup, including lights, camera and lapel microphones.  Different from past years, we’ll be recruiting two broadcast meteorologists per week (versus one).  The two meteorologists will work in tandem in this new studio space to cover hazardous weather events using NSSL’s experimental PHI product in a research environment.


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