Changes are coming to how Watches, Warnings and Advisories are issued by the National Weather Service


A rare lightning storm crackles over Mitchell’s Cove in Santa Cruz, California around 3 a.m. Sunday morning. The severe storm system rolled through the San Francisco and Monterey Bay area early Sunday, packing a combination of dry lightning and high winds that triggered wildfires throughout the region. (Shmuel Thaler/The Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP)

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Confusion surrounding the various types of watches, warnings, and advisories will soon be a thing of the past. At least that’s the goal of the National Weather Services ‘Hazard Simplification Project.’ Since as early as 2010, they have been collecting feedback from the public as well as other meteorologists in order to find out how to best issue and word their products to deliver critical weather information as effectively and as simply as possible.

Currently, the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a variety of products that include but are not limited to: special weather statements, advisories, watches and warnings. In their recent announcement, the NWS set a goal that by 2024 they are going to completely phase out the use of ‘Special Weather Statements’ and ‘Advisories’ as it was found these created the most confusion in the general public. Instead they will replace them with a product known as ‘Plain Language Headlines’, the NWS has provided a few early examples of how the new product might differ from the old ones.

Courtesy: NWS/NOAA

‘Watches’ and ‘Warnings’ are not set to undergo any major changes in the near future, and now will be at the forefront in anticipation of, or during a severe weather event. While these products may not be changing, it is always important to know the differences between them.

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