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Warnings and Geographic Information Systems For the National Weather Service Ken Waters Regional Scientist Warnings and Geographic Information Systems For the National Weather Service Ken Waters Regional Scientist Pacific Region Headquarters National Weather Service, Honolulu HI July 13, 2005 Silver Spring, MD

Polygon Team n n. Feb. Created to help move the NWS from county-based warnings Polygon Team n n. Feb. Created to help move the NWS from county-based warnings to polygon-based warnings 2004: Regions meet to study this issue n. Mar. 2004: Meeting Information presented to MSD Chiefs n. Apr. 2004: Gen. Johnson asks PR Regional Director Jeff La. Douce to commission a polygon warning team n. June 2004: Meeting information presented to Ops Committee n. June 2004: Polygon Team Chartered n. Aug. 2004: First formal Polygon Team Meeting n. Sep. 2004: Verification Scoring Sub-team Launched n. Jan. 2005: AMS Presentation n. Mar. 2005: Prototype Test Started n. Sep. 2005: Scheduled end of Polygon Prototype Test TEAM MEMBERS: n. Mike Looney, CRH (facilitator) n. Mike Coyne, MIC Huntsville MS n. Steve Naglic, WCM WFO Columbia SC n. Pete Wolf, SOO WFO Jacksonville FL n. Jeff Lorens, WRH n. Brent Mc. Aloney, OCWWS n. Doug Young, OCWWS n. Noreen Schwein, CRH n. Joe Shaffer, SPC n. Rich Okulski, OAA n. Ken Waters, PRH Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

County vs. Polygon n Latitude/Longitude points at the bottom of all TORs, SVRs, FFWs, County vs. Polygon n Latitude/Longitude points at the bottom of all TORs, SVRs, FFWs, and SMWs. Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Polygon Advantages Polygon Eliminates Area False Alarmed Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Polygon Advantages Polygon Eliminates Area False Alarmed Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Prototype Test Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Prototype Test Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Polygon Team Challenges n Software Issues n Workload Concerns n Verification n Dissemination Ken Polygon Team Challenges n Software Issues n Workload Concerns n Verification n Dissemination Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Jackson MS Apr 5 -7 “Trial by fire” Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Jackson MS Apr 5 -7 “Trial by fire” Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Example: FFW issued July 10 th, 2005 (remnants of Hurr. Dennis) 10 counties warned Example: FFW issued July 10 th, 2005 (remnants of Hurr. Dennis) 10 counties warned in west central Alabama---results in 25 vertices due to Warngen constraining boundaries to political county boundaries! Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Example: FFW issued July 10 th, 2005 (remnants of Hurr. Dennis) Using the polygon Example: FFW issued July 10 th, 2005 (remnants of Hurr. Dennis) Using the polygon method reduces the definition to only 5 vertices, covers largely the same constituency, and allows the forecaster much more flexibility to warn for the area the hazard is expected---rather than for county boundaries. Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Another Example---Warngen Simplifying Polygon to County Boundary Tornado warning issued for Dent Co. MO Another Example---Warngen Simplifying Polygon to County Boundary Tornado warning issued for Dent Co. MO What happens if the tornado crosses like…. Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Offices Not Watching Size of Pathcast in Warngen Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Offices Not Watching Size of Pathcast in Warngen Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Another interesting case study, May 30, 2004 30/2314 Z: WFO St. Louis forecaster issued Another interesting case study, May 30, 2004 30/2314 Z: WFO St. Louis forecaster issued tornado warning for Washington Co. IL, conforming the polygon to “more or less” the shape of the county 30/2319 Z: WFO Paducah issued tornado warning for neighboring Perry Co. IL 30/2330 Z: Confirmed tornado touchdown in Dubois, Washington County IL The irony of all this? : Using polygons as issued by the WFO’s, this event was unwarned! Using legacy county verification, WFO St. Louis warned for the event. Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Now that I’ve got your attention…. . Let’s talk some about GIS and how Now that I’ve got your attention…. . Let’s talk some about GIS and how it can relate to the National Weather Service……. Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

What is a GIS? n n Geographic Information System DEFINITION: An organized collection of What is a GIS? n n Geographic Information System DEFINITION: An organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

GIS Data n Collection of: • Points n Surface observations • Lines n n GIS Data n Collection of: • Points n Surface observations • Lines n n Hurricane tracks Tornado trajectories • Polygons n n n Short-fuse warnings (TOR, SVR, FFW, SMW) Watches (SPC Outline) Other watches/warnings using preexisting polygons such as county outlines • 3 -dimensional objects n Volumetric river basins Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

GIS Data Formats n n Most commonly used standard is the ESRI “shapefile”, which GIS Data Formats n n Most commonly used standard is the ESRI “shapefile”, which is widely supported across industry. Each shapefile (also known as a theme or layer) is composed of at least three file components which describe the geographic (latitude/longitude) coordinates and data attributes that make up each shape Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

GIS Software n Desktop • • n ESRI Arc. GIS ESRI Arc. View Map. GIS Software n Desktop • • n ESRI Arc. GIS ESRI Arc. View Map. Desk Public Domain: GRASS Server • ESRI Arc. IMS • ESRI Arc. GIS Server • Public Domain: UMinn Mapserver n Non-GIS Software • AWIPS (uses shapefiles) Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

NWS Data n Uses formats not familiar to GIS users: • WMO GRIB 1 NWS Data n Uses formats not familiar to GIS users: • WMO GRIB 1 & 2 n n NDFD Grids NCEP Models • WMO Binary Universal Form for the Representation (BUFR) of meteorological data n Soundings etc. • Level II & Level III radar n Unique binary format in radial format around a single station ALL are already georeferenced! Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Convergence Looking for ways to merge hydrometeorologic data with GIS Convert NWS data sets Convergence Looking for ways to merge hydrometeorologic data with GIS Convert NWS data sets into georeferenced, GIS-friendly formats - Disseminate NWS data using GIS structure such as Internet Mapping Systems - Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

One Example… n Converting warning polygons into GIS/georeferenced data files Ken Waters, NWS Pacific One Example… n Converting warning polygons into GIS/georeferenced data files Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Archiving short-fused NWS warnings since mid 2003. Converting then-little-used polygons at the bottom of Archiving short-fused NWS warnings since mid 2003. Converting then-little-used polygons at the bottom of the warnings to GIS data sets using AWIPS and freeware software tools Interesting patterns result, especially when the warning sets are shown over time… Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Step 1: Capture the polygon points n Set up a “trigger” mechanism in AWIPS Step 1: Capture the polygon points n Set up a “trigger” mechanism in AWIPS to capture all short-term warnings: • TOR – tornado warnings • SVR – severe thunderstorm warnings • FFW – flash flood warnings • SMW – special marine warnings Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Step 2: Parse the warning text Extract all the needed information: Issue Time UGC Step 2: Parse the warning text Extract all the needed information: Issue Time UGC Expiration Time VTEC line …. and…. of course… …the polygon vertices Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Step 3: At scheduled intervals update the “flat file” database n Using only open Step 3: At scheduled intervals update the “flat file” database n Using only open source (“freeware”) software • Code written in Perl • Polygon values formatted in ESRI “gen” format n n “gen” format is common ASCII format that ESRI products can convert to/from using scripts Check for new warnings each minute –andcheck for expired warnings each minute as well Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Step 4: Convert “gen” format into standard shapefile format Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Step 4: Convert “gen” format into standard shapefile format Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

The long-term database can then be used in a variety of ways to provide The long-term database can then be used in a variety of ways to provide post-analysis and to look for trends (both weather-related as well as policy-related) Examples: • Area of polygon (warned areas) • Verification studies (e. g. compare LSR with warnings • Provide summaries of storm seasons Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Examples – Tornado Warnings 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Examples – Tornado Warnings 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Examples – Severe Thunderstorm Warnings 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Examples – Severe Thunderstorm Warnings 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Examples – Flash Flood Warnings in 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Examples – Flash Flood Warnings in 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Special Marine Warnings Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Special Marine Warnings Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Converting LSR Data into GIS Shapefiles TORNADO REPORTS Jan-Jun 2005 Note the remarkable paucity Converting LSR Data into GIS Shapefiles TORNADO REPORTS Jan-Jun 2005 Note the remarkable paucity of confirmed tornado reports for 2005! Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

…in contrast to…. One remarkable day, May 30 th 2004 when severe weather broke …in contrast to…. One remarkable day, May 30 th 2004 when severe weather broke out from Texas to Iowa to the Carolinas Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

GIS Allows Interactive Analysis Such as Overlaying Polygon Warnings With Storm Reports Ken Waters, GIS Allows Interactive Analysis Such as Overlaying Polygon Warnings With Storm Reports Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Converting LSR Data into GIS Shapefiles HAIL REPORTS Jan-Jun 2005 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Converting LSR Data into GIS Shapefiles HAIL REPORTS Jan-Jun 2005 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Converting LSR Data into GIS Shapefiles WIND REPORTS Jan. Jun 2005 Ken Waters, NWS Converting LSR Data into GIS Shapefiles WIND REPORTS Jan. Jun 2005 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Tendency to align warnings to county borders continued in 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Tendency to align warnings to county borders continued in 2004 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Flash Flood Warnings the most “county-based” of all four shortfuse warning types Ken Waters, Flash Flood Warnings the most “county-based” of all four shortfuse warning types Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Applications For Viewing Polygon Warnings n CONUS map showing warnings, updated each minute: http: Applications For Viewing Polygon Warnings n CONUS map showing warnings, updated each minute: http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/ n Arc. IMS map service for historical viewing: http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/ n Texas A&M Site (warnings + radar): http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/warn. html n Iowa Mesonet: http: //mesonet. agron. iastate. edu/GIS/apps/rview/warnings. phtml n New NWS RIDGE Site: http: //www. srh. noaa. gov/RIDGE Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Busy Day…. ! http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/ Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Busy Day…. ! http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/ Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Arc. IMS Map Service http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/warn. html Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Arc. IMS Map Service http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/regsci/gis/warn. html Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Includes LSR data from SPC Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Includes LSR data from SPC Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Texas A&M Mesonet Site http: //mesonet. tamu. edu/Polygon. Test/ Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Texas A&M Mesonet Site http: //mesonet. tamu. edu/Polygon. Test/ Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Iowa Environmental Mesonet http: //mesonet. agron. iastate. edu/GIS/apps/rview/warnings. phtml Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region Iowa Environmental Mesonet http: //mesonet. agron. iastate. edu/GIS/apps/rview/warnings. phtml Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

New RIDGE Site (hosted on SRH Uses web technology to server) “simulate” an Internet New RIDGE Site (hosted on SRH Uses web technology to server) “simulate” an Internet map server Allows several different radar products (including SRM) on top of hillshaded topography, roads, counties, rivers Includes ability to animate and zoom …and…. an overlay of the active warnings in effect at the time of the radar image Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Where do we go from here…. . ? n Look at a new type Where do we go from here…. . ? n Look at a new type of All-Hazards radio • Focusing on points in space rather than geopolitical counties • Fixed radio could be programmed with location (either latitude/longitude, or relative to major city [e. g. , 20 mi NW of Houston] • Moving radios (including cell phones, PDA devices, allhazard radios in cars, buses, trains) could be located using the now more commonly found GPS units Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

New NOAA Radio Concept Warning issued for Okmulgee and Mc. Intosh Counties. New NWR’s New NOAA Radio Concept Warning issued for Okmulgee and Mc. Intosh Counties. New NWR’s use latitude/longitude (or city) rather than county/SAME code. Residents in Checotah will not be alerted but residents in Stidham are, even though both are in Mc. Intosh County. GPS-enabled cell phones/cars travelling on I-40 within polygon would be alerted also. Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Where do we go from here…. . ? n Automated GIS techniques • Greatly Where do we go from here…. . ? n Automated GIS techniques • Greatly facilitate verification • Provide more statistics (e. g. , how many people were warned with each warning by linking to population databases) • More robust web dissemination possibilities --- including the ability to provide custom information based on user criteria n ONE WARNING: care must be taken to consider private sector concerns here as some businesses are also taking this road Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Private Sector Opportunities Why not work WITH private sector. Some private sector companies are Private Sector Opportunities Why not work WITH private sector. Some private sector companies are already strongly endorsing the polygon warning methods Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Why GIS…. ? 1. Compatibility with many other public, private, and government agencies that Why GIS…. ? 1. Compatibility with many other public, private, and government agencies that already use GIS data for their work and analysis 2. GIS has great analysis capabilities…able to do “what if” analysis and look for trends 3. Using polygon warnings we can provide better service by highlighting where the real threat is without worrying about geopolitical boundaries 4. A BETTER SERVICE TO OUR PUBLIC! Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region

Questions? n My Website: • http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/hq/regsci/gis Ken Waters Regional Scientist Questions? n My Website: • http: //www. prh. noaa. gov/hq/regsci/gis Ken Waters Regional Scientist NWS Pacific Region Honolulu, Hawaii Ken. [email protected] gov (808) 532 -6413 Ken Waters, NWS Pacific Region