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College Project: Severe Weather Maps

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Hello Everyone!

I hope this is okay to post, but I've been scouring the internet for a good place to find people who may be able to guide me. I have a college project to explore graphic design in the context of encouraging particular behaviours; whilst seemingly everyone else chose the (with hindsight, arguably more obvious) route of COVID-19 comms, I am exploring how different countries use design to signify risk during major weather events.

I felt like a great place to start would be to download as many weather apps as I could, to look at how they're displaying current snow/ice warnings in England to try and convince people to take more care. I've also gone on a bit of a rabbit hole of looking at some of the sites that are used elsewhere in the world, and found myself a bit overwhelmed. This has led me to seek out a community where I'd guess that people are likely to have already done a fair bit of investigation into how they choose to view the weather, in the hope that there would be some "hey, you should check out this obscure Mexican forecasters approach, it's amazing" type tips.

I can't pretend to have a big background in weather communities, but I do enjoy watching lightning storms when they (rarely) go off where I live - though nothing like what I've seen online from around the world.

If this isn't okay to ask, please feel free to delete, but it did seem like it could be a fun way to find some more niche forecasts that I might not otherwise spot, and I'm hoping to work in graphic design at University in two years so would love to nail this piece!

Thanks!
 

TH2002

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A good starting point would be to compare how the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center (NWS SPC), private meteorological groups and organizations like North Mississippi Storm Chasers and Spotters (NMSCAS), and local television stations disseminate information to viewers. Television stations in particular have to do things way differently since they have to be understandable to a much more general audience rather than a bunch of weather nerds. Other organizations to look into are ECCC in Canada, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the South African Weather Service, among others.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the world there is no such thing as severe weather preparedness/warning, or sometimes a very limited warning network at best. Some countries like Guyana only started keeping tabs on their tornadoes less than five years ago, and many still don't. The eastern India to Bangladesh region has been historically prone to intense and extremely deadly tornadoes, with the high death tolls being partially attributable to the fact there is still no tornado warning system, even to date.
 

WesL

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Great to have you on board, @CloudyWithAChanceOfStools! In the United States, the method of broadcasting weather on TV and online is determined by the software used. Barron Services is one of the largest providers of such software and is used by many TV stations across the country. I'm not sure about the other providers, but I'm sure some of our members can fill in the gaps.

I understand that urgent notifications, such as those on television, radio, or social media, would have more variations and be based on a trust model. This is something that new meteorologists at TV stations have to deal with. It's interesting to note that I used to listen to Chris Moyles on BBC Radio One on a 6-hour delay in the US and enjoyed his jokes. However, I could still connect with him because I knew when he was joking and when something serious was happening. In the US, viewers and listeners have similar expectations, and I believe that growing a following is now a contractual requirement for most weather teams.

I mention this because the National Weather Service is usually very cautious with their wording. When they use phrases such as 'confirmed tornado,' 'your life is in danger of flooding,' or 'evacuate low-lying areas before a tropical storm,' it is not normal and indicates that immediate action is required to ensure safety. Although most people who follow weather updates are aware of this, it is important to take these warnings seriously and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.

One approach that has proven to be successful over the years is the use of a color-coded system by private or broadcast teams to indicate important dates with active weather. For instance, a yellow color could be used to indicate that today there is a chance of thunderstorms in the late afternoon, while a red color could be used to indicate that there is a higher risk of severe thunderstorms occurring, which could potentially result in tornadoes.

Look forward to what others chime in with. I'll work to find some good examples of the concepts above.
 

WesL

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I humbly submit "The Katrina Warning" as a prime example of how language in an NWS warning makes people look and listen.

000

WWUS74 KLIX 281550 NPWLIX

URGENT — WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA 1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28, 2005

...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH... RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.

AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.

ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!
 
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