(WVNS) — In 2014 the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) began implementing the “Hazard Simplification Program”.
The goal of this program was to simplify the types of warnings, watches, and advisories that are issued by local NWS offices; such as the offices in Charleston, WV, and Pittsburgh, PA which covers northern West Virginia. In the most recent phase of the project beginning November 4, flood products have been consolidated and simplified for easier messaging.
The first major change being implemented is the term “Flood Watch”, which will now be used for all situations where there is the potential for flooding due to forecasted heavy rain. Previously, either a “Flash Flood Watch” or a “Flood Watch” would have been issued instead. For non-convective events, such as the failure of a dam/levee, “Flash Flood Watches” will still be issued.
Other changes include simplifying the majority of different flood advisory products into one, in an effort to cause less confusion. Now instead of a “Small Stream Flood Advisory” for example, a simple and more direct “Flood Advisory” would be issued for the affected area.