National Severe Weather Workshop March 2-4 to focus on learning and growing together

Emergency managers and members of the media will have an opportunity to exchange information and techniques for public safety during severe weather with academia and federal government experts from NOAA at the sixth annual National Severe Weather Workshop on March 2-4, 2006, in Midwest City, Okla.

Registration is underway for the three-day workshop, which is designed to enhance partnerships between severe weather forecasters and researchers, emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, businesses, storm spotters and other weather enthusiasts. In addition, free storm observation training will be offered Saturday. This year’s theme is “Learning and Growing Together: Expanding Severe Weather Horizons.”

“This annual event brings together the people who are on the front lines when our country faces severe and hazardous weather situations,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. “We can all learn from each other, which ultimately benefits our communities.”

Sponsors of this event are the NOAA National Weather Service Southern and Central regions, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the NOAA National Weather Service forecast office in Norman, Okla., the Warning Decision Training Branch, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, Oklahoma Emergency Managers Association and the Central Oklahoma Chapters of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association.

A new activity this year will be a role-playing scenario with three teams representing the NOAA National Weather Service, broadcast meteorologists and emergency managers. The teams will simulate real-life situations in an actual weather event and explore information needs for decision making by those involved in real-time warning operations and information dissemination. To help foster improved teamwork and increase empathy for the roles of others, participants will be asked to participate in a role that is different from their regular job.

“Participants will identify challenges and generate ideas for improving communication,” said Joseph Schaefer, director of the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, one of the workshop organizers. “The scenario will showcase a number of ‘best practices’ related to warning decision making and response.”

John Jones, deputy director of the NOAA National Weather Service, will be a featured speaker Thursday morning. Eve Gruntfest, professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, an internationally recognized expert in natural hazard warning system development and flash flooding, will be the featured speaker during a banquet Thursday night.

On Saturday afternoon, storm observation training will be presented by Kevin Kloesel, assistant dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, University of Oklahoma, and Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist at the NOAA National Weather Service forecast office in Norman, Okla.

Register for the workshop online. Standard registration is $90 and ends February 19. Late registration of $100 will be accepted online until February 26 or at the door. One-day packages are available. Payments may be made by check or purchase order or online via credit card.

Tickets for the Thursday night banquet are $15 and must be purchased by February 19. Storm observation training Saturday afternoon is free. Sponsor and vendor opportunities are still available for businesses to promote their products or services during the event. More information is available online or by calling (405) 579-0771.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the web:
NOAA Severe Weather Workshop Information and Registration: http://www.norman.noaa.gov/nsww2006
NOAA Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov