The National Weather Service has announced their decision to stop issuing “Advisories” and “Special Weather Statements” to streamline how they communicate hazardous weather events with the public. Watches and Warnings will remain unchanged. The change will become effective no sooner than 2024.
The National Weather Service says it will replace these bulletins with “plain language” that clearly describes weather or water hazards expected to take place or taking place in a specific area. That language hasn’t been developed yet: in the coming months and years, the National Weather Service will embark on public outreach, partner preparation, and policy and software development to make sure the system is functional, and more importantly, makes sense to the public when it goes live.
Prior to today, the National Weather Service had been conducting research to see what partners and the public thought of “advisory” language. In a release shared with the press, the National Weather Service wrote, “Research showed that a large majority of the public and some partners misunderstand the meaning of “Advisory” and confuse it with “Watch”. The new paradigm will better support emergency managers, who need plain language headlines to support clear communication, along with messages in a bulleted, easy-to-read format.”
If you’re a fan of Winter Weather Advisories, Small Craft Advisories, or Special Weather Statements in general, enjoy them while you have them: they’ll only be around for a few more years. But watches and warnings like Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Tornado Warnings will remain indefinitely.