If you watch the Storm Team forecast here on our web page or on TV you have no doubt seen watches, warnings and advisories alerting you to potentially hazardous weather conditions headed our way.
However, starting in 2024, the National Weather Service will change some of these products.
No longer will advisories, such as for Winter Weather or Wind Chill, show up on our maps, the crawls on the bottom of the TV screen or the alerts on your cell phone. Instead, what are called Plain Language Headlines will take their place.
So instead of an alert starting out with the following headline:
A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect….
It might now say:
VERY COLD TONIGHT: Wind Chills between -5F and -10F
There are several reasons for this. First, it eliminates some of the dozens of weather alert products. When the weather gets active in one part of country, having so many types of alerts can get overwhelming. Second, the term ‘advisory’ is misunderstood and sometimes confused with a ‘watch’ which can impact how someone prepares for approaching hazardous weather.
While these ‘Headlines’ might change, the main part of any alert such as the “What, Where, When, Impacts” will stay the same. The amount of snow falling, when the highest winds arrive etc. will still be part of any alert issued by the National Weather Service.
For boaters that use Lake Ontario, Small Craft Advisories will switch to Small Craft Warnings when the changes take place.
Over 80,000 National Weather Service surveys were taken by the public over the last couple of years and 55% either agreed or strongly agreed that advisories should be eliminated.
The changeover will take three additional years because of the need for feedback from those who use National Weather Service products like the general public and organizations (like emergency management) as to the exact phrasing. Also, software needs to be updated, public education needs to take place as well as testing of these new products before the change becomes official.
In fact, the National Weather Service is looking for input from public and you can find out more by clicking here.
Whenever the official changeover takes place, the Storm Team will be ready to pass them along to you whether by TV, computer or cell phone.