Standard Situational Awareness Displays and WarnGen Test and Practice Modes Michael Dangelo



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Standard Situational Awareness Displays and WarnGen Test and Practice Modes

  • Michael Dangelo

  • Senior Forecaster

  • NWS State College, PA (CTP)

  • 12 July 2005

  • NWS Severe Weather Tech Workshop


The (Perceived) Need for Standard SA Displays

  • Many offices have Situational Awareness (SA) Displays, or have begun to adopt them recently, as an outgrowth of the best-practices of the offices in the forefront of Severe Weather Operations, and AWOC.

  • A STANDARD SA Display is not part of our AWIPS baseline.



The (Perceived) Need (cont.)

  • The offices that do have SA Displays have used local ingenuity and resources to develop these displays.

  • SA Displays keep SA of all individuals in the office (WDMs and helpers) high through use of visual cues and (at times) audible alarms and feedback.



Reasons for SA Displays:

  • In real-time, any potential Warning Decision-Maker or staff member assisting with Severe Weather Operations can see the valid warnings and threats across their area of responsibility (and beyond?).

  • In some cases, real-time verification may be available from outside (media/spotter) sources.



What’s the problem with the way it is done now?

  • Each WFO has a different “level” of an SA Display

    • None (The norm?)
    • Haphazard, locally grown (CTP)
    • Elaborate, locally grown (OUN)
  • Get everyone up to a similar level



Why we should tie SA Displays to AWIPS (baseline).

  • AWIPS already contains ALL of the information for the warning/verification-monitoring part of SA Displays.

  • Not all of this information is in the same place in AWIPS, though. – D2D/Local Warnings -- WWA/GHG -- LSR.

  • AWIPS is our STANDARD WFO platform, and having this info all tied together on AWIPS would be most logical.



CTP’s SA Display

  • One 42” Plasma TV Screen hooked to one windows-networked PC, and to one display screen (0:2) of our workstations (LX4).

  • We can switch between the PC and LX via a toggle switch.



Troubles with CTP’s SA Display

  • Not convenient

  • Must either keep the PC always tuned to the web site (Iowa State) that we use to monitor local warnings (in lieu of AWIPS “Local Warnings” working).

  • Use one screen on the LX to display D2D w/radar or WWA/GHG Monitor. (resources & LXs thin in big events)



SA Breakdown Example (June 6th) (Intro)

  • We try to employ one forecaster as a Severe Weather Coordinator, but that person is usually not at a LX.

  • The coordinator and newly arriving help couldn’t keep current.

  • Intra-office and External Coordination both suffer.



SA Breakdown Example (June 6th) (continued)

  • “Sectorized” warnings (4 forecasters)

  • SA Display not utilized to fullest potential due to lack of resources

  • Coordinator could not keep good SA – and did not contact appropriate Counties in a few cases, as the warnings were flying out fast and furious.

  • Coordinator could not answer minor questions from those areas that were contacted timely.



SA Breakdown Example (June 6th) (continued)

  • Troubles (no notifications and/or poor communication with External contacts) may have been avoided - if the appropriate information was available to the Coordinator via an SA Display



What kind of Info do I want from an AWIPS SA Display?

  • Watch and Warning Info, by polygon and with text-time readouts (GHG Monitor?)

  • Radar-overlay available (RIDGE)

  • LSR info (damage report locations, icons)

  • Use D2D? (familiar interface)

  • Little Configuration Needed



What kind of Info do I want from an AWIPS SA Display?



Topic #2

  • The (perceived) Need for WarnGen Test/Practice Modes



Topic#2: The (perceived) Need for WarnGen Test/Practice Modes

  • Forecasters have a real need to practice warnings with the tools they must use (WarnGen (WG)).

  • Best done at the workstations – takes little time/attention away from current weather and operations.

  • Need to occasionally send TEST msgs.



Topic#2: The (perceived) Need for WarnGen Test/Practice Modes (cont.)

  • Don’t we have this?

    • A TEST mode is available, but difficult to start and fraught with danger (D2D frozen in time).
    • No PRACTICE Mode at all.
  • Why every forecaster cannot use it:

    • Test mode is difficult to invoke, and not all forecasters (me!) are comfortable with the procedure.


Topic#2: The (perceived) Need for WarnGen Test/Practice Modes (cont.)

  • WWA and GHG (as it is being deployed nationally) have these features built in!

    • but, only after mishaps occurred
  • WarnGen (WG) should have these features, too! It is our PRIMARY WARNING TOOL!

  • Forecasters use WG exclusively in Thunderstorm-Warning Mode.

  • It should be easy to use – switch available to the forecaster right on the GUI (checkbox or radio boxes) with graphical (colors/pop-ups) feedback on current WG “mode.”



WG Test/Practice modes, Conclusions

  • These adjustments to WG would:

    • Greatly enhance our ability to train forecasters, and keep them sharp
    • Keep SA higher when worrying less about how to make the machine work
    • Allow for EASY issuance of TEST messages
    • Allow for PRACTICE after local modification of WG templates


Two Ideas, One Goal

  • Enhance the operations in the WFO during the busiest time - Warning Decision Making Situations.

  • Both “Standard” SA Displays and WG Test/Practice Modes would be moves toward this goal.




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