Click for next page ( 52


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 51
4 AHPS Users The primary emphasis of the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) is a continuum of models and product delivery approaches (see Chapter 3), but AHPS' value ultimately will be determined by the users of AHPS products. Perhaps this is the reason AHPS has two goals that target AHPS users. One goal is to create new formats, including graphics, for products that are easier to use; the other is to increase the distribution of products using advanced information technologies (such as the internet and web-based geographic information system (GIS) formats) to provide broader and more timely access and delivery of information. Through fulfilling these goals, the National Weather Service (NWS) may realize opportunities to assure optimal communication of hydrologic information generated through AHPS. These goals provide direction for the format and presentation of AHPS information, but other user- related issues also need to be considered in the development, implementation, and execution of AHPS for the wide-ranging user base that AHPS developers expect. This chapter addresses these user-related issues. RANGE AND NEEDS OF AHPS USERS The NWS intends AHPS products to reach a wide range of users with an equally wide range of needs for hydrologic information. AHPS users include the general public and hydrologic professionals in various government agencies and the private, academic, and non-profit sectors. AHPS products, once fully developed, will reach users through the internet, GIS maps and data layers, television and other media outlets, and communicated advisories and warnings. The challenge of meeting the needs of a broad range of users is critical for the success of the AHPS program, as AHPS products must reach many and varying users and accommodate different levels of user technical sophistication. AHPS products must also be delivered at the right time, at the right spatial scale, and with the right level of hydrologic forecast certainty to each AHPS user. AHPS users include those who use the specific technologies and models developed for AHPS and those who use the output developed as part of AHPS (Table 4-1). For example, hydrologic professionals from government, academia, and the private sector may use AHPS models and algorithms, whereas travelers may need to know whether low-lying roads will be flooded out. Currently, most AHPS users are internal to the NWS or involved in professional activities related to the monitoring of hydrometeorological data, but the number of public and external users is expected to grow. Some River Forecast Centers (RFCs) are responding to this growth already; for example, the Colorado Basin RFC1 provides information for users interested in water-based recreational activities and snow conditions. With the growing user base and different needs of users, optimal application of AHPS products and technologies should accommodate the associated range of skills and needs. AHPS users need hydrologic data on different time and spatial scales (see Table 4-2). Timing of needs spans hours, days, months, seasons, and years. Emergency managers are usually concerned with short-term predictions related to floods and features of floods, such as peak flow and areas of inundation. Daily to multi-day predictions are needed by water resource managers who focus on issues of power generation and flood control. Monthly to seasonal predictions are 1For further information on the Colorado Basin RFC see http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov. 51

OCR for page 51
52 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) TABLE 4-1 Users and Potential Users of AHPS Individuals Academics Government - Personal decision-making - Research and development - Transportation during disasters applications - Public health - Recreational decision making - Teaching and training - Environment - Farmers - Public education and - Recreation outreach - Water utilities - Emergency management Private Sector Nonprofits - Insurance companies - Watershed organizations - Planning and design - Disaster/relief organizations consultants (i.e., Red Cross) - Corporate risk managers Critical Facilities - Private water companies - Schools - Water-based recreation - Nursing homes companies - Hospitals - Farmers and ranchers - Power plants - Power generators TABLE 4-2 Characteristics of Potential Users and of Information Needed User Spatial Scale Temporal Scale Staff Size Technical Engagement (km2) Capability Time RFCs 102 104 Days to weeks Medium High Before/during WFOs 101 -103 Hours to days Medium High Before/during River basin 101 104 Hours to weeks Medium High Before/after commissions State emergency 102 104 Hours to weeks Medium to Low to high Before/after managers large Local emergency 100 103 Hours to days Small to Low to high Before/after managers medium Water supply 103 104 Weeks to Small Medium to Before/during/ managers Months high after Dam managers 103 104 Weeks to Small High Before/during Months Floodplain 102 104 Hours to weeks Small Low to high Before/during managers needed for managing water supplies for municipal or agricultural purposes. Decadal and longer predictions can be used for long-range assessment of operational strategies and policy. Spatial scales of interest range from small headwater basins of a few tens of square kilometers to large, integrated river basin operations. Emergency managers are concerned with their areas of jurisdiction, such as a town or a county, while water resource managers have interests in larger basin areas. AHPS models (see Chapter 3) work to reduce uncertainty in forecasts and minimize the frequency and implications of false predictions. Different AHPS users have different thresholds for hydrologic forecast certainty. For example, Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) need hydrologic

OCR for page 51
AHPS Users 53 forecasts with high levels of certainty. WFOs use forecasts in the short temporal scale (hours in many cases), and will use these forecasts before or during the onset of heavy precipitation to develop warnings and watches that will be communicated directly to the public and the media. The public has come to expect very accurate and accessible forecasts, and the implications of false predictions for WFOs include loss of life or property or wasted response resources. Other end- point users, such as water supply managers, may not need highly certain precipitation and hydrologic forecasts because their lead-times are longer and some of their operational decisions are made after events have passed (Table 4-2). REACHING AHPS USERS The optimal communication of AHPS information involves phasing the AHPS users into AHPS operations, educating and training users to fully exploit the range of available AHPS products on a regional basis, and making uniform the user interfaces of AHPS information. A Phased Approach Because AHPS reaches the public and other users through the RFCs and WFOs, the NWS needs to recognize and focus on its internal users first. As described in Chapters 2 and 3, AHPS products range from the "basic" services to more elaborate "partnered" services, and these products and services are planned to be developed and implemented incrementally through 2013. An incremental approach for AHPS users is also reasonable. The rationale for a phased approach is two fold. First, RFCs and WFOs are central to AHPS because they are the public interface for AHPS products; and second, RFCs and WFOs comprise the vast majority of the AHPS user base. The first phase of such an approach should address the RFCs' and WFOs' needs and fully train and integrate RFC and WFO personnel into the AHPS program. WFOs are the current first- level users of AHPS products; they use hydrologic information from the RFCs to develop watches, warnings, and forecasts that they then communicate to the media, emergency managers, and the public. However, site visits (see Appendix A) indicate a wide range of understanding and acceptance of AHPS products and suggest a need for bringing all RFC and WFO personnel to a comparable level of understanding of AHPS products. WFOs are the most proximate users of hydrologic forecasts, and RFCs and WFOs are the primary AHPS users. The NWS should focus AHPS development and implementation initially on the activities and needs of the RFCs and WFOs because RFCs and WFOs play critical roles in disseminating AHPS information. In subsequent User Phases, the NWS can focus on the needs of new and/or external users, as enhanced and partnered services are developed, refined, and implemented. A part of the phased approach includes outreach, training, and educational activities to (1) inform users of the full range and operation of AHPS products as they are developed and (2) provide a venue for user feedback on current AHPS products. NWS professionals already conduct outreach activities to disseminate information about their products and foster understanding of AHPS products and services. For example, the NWS worked with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and held training workshops throughout the basin. This effort and others like it are productive and need to be continued and expanded. As more AHPS products are added, as capability among current users increases, and as new users become familiar with AHPS, a new structure for outreach activities will be required. Outreach activities can include the following:

OCR for page 51
54 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) 1. establishing dissemination methods and channels; 2. developing educational resources, including people; 3. structuring around key users; and 4. coordinating with others who serve the same users. Site-visit interviews conducted by the committee during the course of this study made clear that outreach and training about AHPS protocol, products, and services could be improved. Training, especially, may be an easy way to alert and familiarize WFO, RFC, and other personnel with AHPS development and implementation and operations. Training can be tailored to users external to the NWS, as well. For instance, if WFOs successfully use AHPS products, but local emergency managers are less inclined to incorporate AHPS into their operations, then appropriate training could be directed towards these emergency managers. An AHPS outreach, education, and training program should be designed to ensure that AHPS products are used properly and to their fullest potential. The AHPS User Interface The user interface to access AHPS information is central to fulfilling AHPS user-related goals of creating new formats for products and widely distributing AHPS products and services. The AHPS website, http://www.weather.gov/ahps/, is the primary portal for all of its hydro- meteorological information. The NWS has done an excellent job in providing web access to AHPS observational data and products. In this way, AHPS information can be accessed by the public and used by all those involved in the hydrologic and meteorological enterprise (NRC, 2003). As noted earlier, AHPS products are being used and disseminated via the RFCs and the WFOs. AHPS information is presented in different ways, depending on the issuing RFC. Greater uniformity in the presentation of AHPS information would enhance the effectiveness and the identity of the AHPS site(s) and reduce the potential for misinterpretation of AHPS information. Some of the differences in graphic presentation reflect the different phases of implementation. Many, but not all, sites have the "basic" services operational. Some RFCs have graphic flash-flood guidance available. GIS information is available at some, but not all, forecast sites. Similarly, formats of AHPS information span a wide range, from satellite and radar imagery2 and graphical forecasts3, to area/regional maps4 that suggest that graphical designs are also in various phases of development. Differences are bound to emerge as advancements in hydrologic models are tested and phased in across the RFCs. These differences aside, there is a need to present the same kinds of information in the same ways and to ensure that the information is being communicated as intended. A number of examples illustrate opportunities to improve consistency in the format and presentation of AHPS information: Northeast RFC (Figure 4-1) is testing a new hydrograph generation program that will ultimately be used at all RFCs. For now, however, only Northeast RFC is using it to generate hydrographs and forecast plots. Consequently, the Northeast RFC hydrograph has 2http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov. 3http://www.srh.noaa.gov/rfcshare/precip_analysis_new.php. 4http://aprfc.arh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pafc&gage=sixa2&view=1,1,1,1,1,1&type=2.

OCR for page 51
AHPS Users 55 a different format than other RFCs, and differs in color scheme and other appearances from other RFCs, such as the Missouri Basin RFC (Figure 4-2). The map legends for flooding-stage are different on the "Rivers" page (Figure 4-3) and forecast locations pages for the Lower Mississippi RFC (Figure 4-4) Some forecast plots and hydrographs show only stage and not discharge or flooding thresholds (Figure 4-5). Different color schemes and presentations are used for flash-flood guidance (Figures 4-6 and 4-7) If information is unknown at a specific location (i.e., flood stage, GIS coverage, etc.) it should be noted on the website. While the NWS is making progress towards its goal of creating new formats for AHPS products, graphical formats need greater consistency across all AHPS web pages. AHPS has used the internet to a great extent to increase the distribution of products using advanced information technologies (such as the internet and web-based GIS formats) to provide broader and more timely access and delivery of information. GIS is a powerful geostatistical tool that can present and analyze spatially complex layers of information. It holds great promise for some of the AHPS products, such as mapping flood inundated areas, areas prone to landslides or debris flows, or intensity and duration of droughts. The degree to which GIS is used in the development and presentation of AHPS products is difficult to ascertain; GIS data layers are available for users to download at some of the forecast sites, and some RFCs present AHPS information in GIS forms. Prototypes for the most select, "partnered," services are planned to FIGURE 4-1 Hydrograph and forecast plot (Northeast RFC). SOURCE: http://newweb.erh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=aly&gage=sacn6&view=1,1,1,1,1,1.

OCR for page 51
56 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) FIGURE 4-2 Hydrograph of Missouri Basin RFC. SOURCE: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lbf&gage=npsn1&view=1,1,1,1,1,1. FIGURE 4-3 Color scheme for flooding-stage legends from "rivers" page (Missouri Basin RFC). SOURCE: Adapted from http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lbf.

OCR for page 51
AHPS Users 57 FIGURE 4-4 Color scheme for flooding-stage legends for hydrograph and forecast (Lower Mississippi RFC). SOURCE: Adapted from http://ahps.srh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mob&gage= lekm6&view=1,1,1,1,1,1. FIGURE 4-5 Hydrograph without flooding threshold and discharge (Arkansas Red-Basin RFC). SOURCE: http://ahps.srh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lub&gage=bpst2&view=1,1,1,1,1,1.

OCR for page 51
58 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) FIGURE 4-6 From left to right, flash-flood guidance for 1-hour, 3-hour, and 6-hour durations for Arkansas. SOURCE: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/rfcshare/ffg.php?location=AR&zoom_map=state&duration=1. FIGURE 4-7 From left to right, AHPS products for flash-flood guidance for 1-hour, 3-hour, and 6-hour durations (California Nevada RFC, Sacramento, CA). SOURCE: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/cnrfc/flashFloodGuidance.php. utilize GIS, as well (see Figure 3-1). In planning these services, it is critical to ensure that the products and modes of presentation, whether GIS based or not, are communicating what is intended. The NWS should consult a communications specialist to assist with developing consistent and clear modes of presentation. FEEDBACK FROM AHPS USERS User feedback is important in the continual development, implementation, and execution of AHPS products. It can be used to structure training and outreach efforts about AHPS products and services, conduct long-term monitoring of meeting AHPS goals and objectives, provide a database of information to support programmatic changes over time, and build a reliable foundation to keep AHPS current and useful to its wide range of users. Together with a phased development, outreach,

OCR for page 51
AHPS Users 59 and training approach, user feedback can help guide the continual evolution of AHPS products and services. User feedback approaches for AHPS should include internal users, external users, and ways to integrate feedback received from users. Internal User Feedback The WFOs are the primary, internal NWS users, but RFC, headquarters, and regional field staff also use AHPS products. To this end, the NWS has organized teams around themes to receive and process internal user feedback. These teams consist of both headquarters and field staff to identify needs with respect to flash-flood services, short-to long-term forecasts, flood mapping and graphical dissemination, collaborative research, program management, and other topics (George Smith, NWS, personal communication, 2004). Feedback from these teams is to be used to guide the development of various AHPS products or services. The use of teams is a good first step towards the integration of field and headquarters staff, but the number of RFC and WFO personnel involved on these teams is quite limited. Given the top-down structure of AHPS management (see Chapter 2), RFCs may seem to be AHPS users at first glance. However, as AHPS reaches full maturity, RFCs are more likely to be primary developers and disseminators of AHPS information that supports WFOs and a wide variety of other users. Fully integrating the RFCs into the development of AHPS will be essential to the program's ultimate success, and their presence on the NWS internal teams needs to be commensurate with the role that RFCs play in the AHPS enterprise. Of course, RFCs are but one player in the AHPS program, and there is needed integration and two-way communication among the NWS Headquarters (HQ), RFCs, National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC), National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), WFOs, the public, and other users (Figure 4-8). Better integration is needed to incorporate feedback from the RFCs and WFOs in the development of AHPS products and priorities. External User Feedback External AHPS users include the media, emergency managers, and the public, among others (Table 4-1). As stated earlier, the WFOs are the most proximate users of AHPS products and are the gateway to many AHPS external users. Although undocumented in NWS materials, WFOs, as the public interface for many of the AHPS products, would provide a suitable venue to receive input and feedback from external users who are not web-based users. This type of communication through the WFOs would echo the two-way communication stressed in internal communications (Figure 4-8). Currently, the NWS uses the AHPS website as the primary venue to solicit and collect feedback from external users about AHPS products, services, and delivery. This strong web-based focus seems fitting, considering that AHPS is a program that concentrates on the web-interface and internet access to hydrologic information5. The standard NWS survey is available on AHPS pages; the survey identifies the program being surveyed and asks nine questions: 1. On a scale of 0 to 10 (10 highest), rate technical quality of this product/service (e.g., forecast accuracy, timeliness, problems with display). 5The AHPS website also invites feedback via phone and postal mail entries.

OCR for page 51
60 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) NOHRSC NWS HQ NCEP OHD, OCWWS, HSD Regional Headquarters (Alaskan, Central, Eastern, NSSL Pacific, Southern, & Western) RFC RFC RFC RFC WFOs WFOs WFOs WFOs External Users (the public, emergency managers, academicians, federal agencies, others) FIGURE 4-8 Integrated internal NWS communication for AHPS products and information. NOTE: See acronym list. 2. On a scale of 0 to 10 (10 highest), rate how easy you found the product/service to interpret and use. 3. What features did you like or find useful? 4. What features did you not like? (Explain briefly) 5. How often do you use this product/service? 6. Tell us how you plan to use the information provided in this product/service (e.g., information only, to support personal decision-making, to support business decision making, etc)? 7. Comments on the Product/Service Description Document (documentation) provided. 8. Any additional comments/suggestions concerning this product/service. 9. What is your affiliation? This type of information, collected on a regular basis, is available to the NWS to review the usefulness of AHPS products. Because the survey is NWS-wide, it can also be used to assess AHPS in comparison to other NWS programs. Information from the AHPS survey can be used to ascertain which AHPS aspects work as anticipated, which ones work, but not as anticipated, and those that do not work at all. Integrating User Feedback The NWS website survey provides an excellent opportunity to document how AHPS products, services, and delivery are being received and used by AHPS users. It remains unclear, however, how the NWS is using the information it receives via the website or any other feedback venue. Integrating feedback from other user groups will require a plan or strategy within the AHPS

OCR for page 51
AHPS Users 61 program. Other federal agencies have undertaken similar user-based feedback and integration tasks, and the NWS might learn from them in developing its own user feedback integration strategy (see Box 4-1). While the NWS is applauded for inviting user feedback, there are several aspects about this web survey feedback that need more clarification or better documentation. For example, it is not clear how the information from the web-based surveys is processed or integrated into subsequent development and implementation of AHPS. Important elements of the web-based surveys that remain undocumented or difficult to ascertain are: how long this information has been collected; how this information is used; how long the information is retained at the NWS; how many responses are received; who receives the completed web-surveys; and how the information is processed. After collecting the information, organizing the responses is the next step in a strategy to integrate user feedback. At a minimum, user feedback could be organized by the utility of the products (including ease of use of models and ease of interpretation of results), user or user type (WFO, RFC, local emergency managers, public, etc.), type of use (warning, water resource management), or time frame (short-, medium-, or long-range forecasts). Feedback from users could be used to evaluate AHPS usage to determine future needs and answer several key questions in this regard: 1. What are the specific products being used? 2. How have AHPS products been implemented and used? 3. How does actual use of AHPS products align with NWS expectations for AHPS use and implementation? 4. In what areas are strengths noted? 5. In what areas are weaknesses noted? 6. What ways does the public use AHPS products? These questions could form the basis for improving program development. In order to facilitate this, however, an organized approach is needed to collect, organize, process, and maintain important feedback. Such an approach should be developed to use feedback to its greatest potential to improve AHPS products and services and make progress towards fulfilling AHPS goals. To improve the integration of AHPS user feedback, the AHPS program needs to expand venues beyond the internet for users to provide feedback on AHPS products and services, documentation of the user feedback to date, and development of a structure to include user feedback into AHPS product development and implementation. Before AHPS is fully developed and implemented in 2013, it is necessary to develop a strategy for systematically collecting and processing feedback from AHPS users.

OCR for page 51
62 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) BOX 4-1 Users and Other Federal Programs Like the NWS, several other federal agencies distribute technology or technical information to a broad user base. The challenge with integrating users is not a new issue for federal agencies that deal with the distribution of technology. Perhaps unique among federal agencies, the NWS distributes technology as well as distributing public communications based on that technology, whereas most other federal programs are dealing with a more technical user base. There are, however, lessons that might be learned by evaluating similar efforts with other federal agencies. Two examples could help the NWS guide and develop its interaction with the AHPS user base, Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) HAZUS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC). FEMA over the past decade has been developing HAZUS, which is a GIS-based tool for modeling/integrating wind, flood, and earthquake events, and then evaluating the damages associated with a specific event. The user community is broad with a decided emphasis on FEMA regional staff, and state and local emergency management officials and planners. It is also understood that there will be a broad range of potential users that include the private sector, industry, academia, and others. While FEMA is still ramping up in supporting the user community, two key actions have taken place: 1. The encouragement and support of geographically based user groups. The user groups provide a network that links users within an area, and allows them to exchange lessons learned as well as provide group feedback to FEMA on the development of HAZUS. 2. The development of training that is open to a wide range of potential users. The training is held at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute, as well as in locations that coincide with a gathering of practitioners. For example in 2004, HAZUS training was held at the end of the Association of State Floodplain Managers annual conference, providing some of the participants an opportunity to be trained in HAZUS. Over the past 35 years HEC has developed a number of critical hydrologic and hydraulic engineering and water resource planning models. These models have received national and international distribution. Due to documentation, ease of use, reliability of results, and availability at no cost, the HEC models have gained wide acceptance. However, because of budgeting issues, the HEC support of users has changed dramatically over the years. Up to the mid-1980s non-USACE staff were eligible to participate in training held at HEC on a space available basis. Likewise, free support was available from HEC staff over the phone assisting all users with model applications. In the mid-1980s however, HEC shifted its focus to primarily supporting the needs of USACE district staff. While the general public could still obtain models and documentation to support the models, USACE no longer provided training and support. During this transition, USACE encouraged the creation of a cottage industry that specifically supports training and support as an element of a broader business. Today, USACE models and documentation are available over the web, and there is a well-developed user community that is able to train and support new users. Measuring Success Measures of success can be used to monitor progress, integrate user feedback, and document program successes. Certain questions can help frame success measures for AHPS: 1. Was the forecast accurate for your purposes (scale from 0-10, etc.)? 2. Were lead times increased compared to previous forecasts or warnings? 3. Was something done with the forecasts to minimize losses?

OCR for page 51
AHPS Users 63 The NWS has developed a set of performance measures that address the first two questions. Specifically, the 2003 goal for flash-flood lead times is 50 minutes and the goal for flash-flood warning accuracy is 87 percent. The 2008 target for lead time is 58 minutes and the 2005 goal for accuracy is 90 percent (NWS, 2003). While such improvements are important and would be expected to reduce losses, there is little proof that these improvements actually lead to more effective responses by those receiving the warning. On one hand, having additional lead time should allow people to take actions they would otherwise have not been able to undertake. On the other hand, additional time may encourage people to procrastinate or not take any action at all. These types of data are missing, but would be useful to understand how people are using AHPS products and to derive approaches to producing risk reductions commensurate with the improved forecasts. Data that quantify levels of user satisfaction with AHPS products and services are also needed. Surveys of various user groups can be distributed following specific events, at training sessions, or at other pre-determined intervals. The NWS has conducted surveys (i.e., following a demonstration on AHPS in the Middle Susquehanna sub-basin in November 2003) to gauge user interest and satisfaction. In addition, the results from surveys can be used to understand better whether AHPS is meeting needs and where additional work is required to do so. Similarly, successes of AHPS can be documented clearly and used to promote the program to others and help quantify the economic benefits resulting from investment in AHPS. Specific success measures can help structure surveys and interpret survey results to improve AHPS. Some success measures currently exist, in the form of metrics, like customer satisfaction indices, and these should continue to be collected. Metrics that quantify improvements in user responses to hydrologic events can be useful in the development and implementation phases and can be used to support continued or increased funding of the AHPS program. The NWS should develop specific measures of success and a strategy to systematically collect and integrate feedback into a continuous loop of improved AHPS products and services. CHAPTER SUMMARY This chapter discusses the user aspects of the AHPS program. It describes the range of the type and needs of the users that the NWS expects of AHPS products and makes recommendations about reaching and receiving feedback from AHPS users. The range of AHPS users is noted to be potentially very broad, but for now, the RFCs and the WFOs comprise the majority of AHPS users. The recommendations from this chapter are presented in Box 4-2. BOX 4-2 Recommendations RFCs and WFOs play important roles in disseminating AHPS information; WFOs are the most proximate users of hydrologic forecasts; and RFCs and WFOs are the primary AHPS users. Therefore, it is recommended that the NWS focus initially on the activities and needs of the RFCs and WFOs. continues

OCR for page 51
64 Toward a New Advanced hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) BOX 4-2 Continued An AHPS outreach, education, and training program should be designed to ensure that AHPS products are used properly and to their fullest potential. While the NWS is making progress towards its goal of creating new presentation formats for AHPS products, the AHPS information should be presented with greater consistency across RFCs and WFOs. It is recommended that the NWS consult a communications specialist to assist with developing consistent and clear modes of presentation. Before AHPS is fully developed and implemented in 2013, it is necessary to develop a strategy for systematically collecting and processing feedback from AHPS users. Feedback from the RFCs and WFOs should be more thoroughly integrated into the development of AHPS products and priorities. The committee recommends that the NWS develop specific measures of success together with a strategy to systematically collect and integrate feedback into a continuous loop of improved AHPS products and services. REFERENCES NRC (National Research Council) 2003. Fair Weather: Effective Partnerships in Weather and Climate Services. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. NWS (National Weather Service). 2003. Building Pathways for Better Science and Technology in Water Forecasts: Office of Hydrologic Development Strategic Plan for FY 2003-2008. Available on-line at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/docs/Final2.pdf. Accessed May 25, 2005.