FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — When severe weather threatens, Watch, Warning, and Advisory are terms that are frequently used. However, past public surveys revealed a misunderstanding of the term Advisory, which is intended to serve as the middle ground between a Watch and a Warning. Having weather impacts but not quite to the level of a warning.
“People say, ‘Well it’s no longer bad’ because the Watch is replaced with a ‘downgrade’, an Advisory, so it won’t be bad,” explained Michael Lewis, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana, “Well, we didn’t say that we said the conditions aren’t going to be as intense as a warning. It looks like it could be impactful, but not as intense. It creates confusion and it really has been a matter of simplifying that.”
In an effort to simplify that communication the term Advisory will be eliminated from the weather service hazard language in the coming years. It will be replaced with plain language headlines, and they are looking for your help to determine what those will look like with a simple survey. The three questions will provide the NWS with how the majority react to certain phrasing and messaging.
“Rather than the government coming in, or the weather service coming in and saying ‘You shall do this because this is what we issued’. We are trying to figure out what we can issue, what can we send to you that will illicit a proper response so that we can save lives, minimize loss and reduce property damage,” said Lewis, “It’s all a matter of getting the right information to the right people using the right words.”
The hope of the weather service is to remove the Advisory term in 2024 and replace it with clearer hazard messaging to keep you and your family informed and safe. The public input survey runs through July 31st and a link to the survey can be found here.