S. Potter, S. Harrison, P. Kreft (2021) The benefits and challenges of implementing impact-based severe weather warning systems: Perspectives of weather, flood, and emergency management personnel. Weather, Climate, and Society, 13(2), 303-314. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-20-0110.1
Impact-based weather warnings are a type of warning system that communicates what the weather will DO (e.g. disrupt traffic, take out power) as well as what the weather will BE (e.g. wind speed, rainfall intensity). They add meaning to warnings that can enable the public to make appropriate decisions to protect themselves during extreme weather events.
We investigated the challenges and benefits of impact-based severe weather warning systems from the perspectives of agencies in New Zealand and Europe, to help better implement impact-based warnings worldwide. We found key benefits included: a perceived increase in understanding of warnings by the public, more consideration of pre-existing conditions by forecasters, and an increase in interagency communication. Challenges included: whether the warnings should be designed for society or individuals, a lack of impact data, data verification challenges, conflict of people/agency roles and responsibilities, and a perceived increased burden on response agencies.
We suggest that improvements in collecting and storing impact, vulnerability, and capacity data would help to ensure the success of impact-based warnings.