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NOAA Kicks Off 2016 Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Activities

NOAA Hazardous

On April 18, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) kicked off its 2016 Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) Spring Experiment. During the course of this multi-week experiment, meteorologists from across the United States will go to Norman, Oklahoma, to develop, test, and evaluate severe weather forecast and warning techniques with researchers at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center (SPC).

Each year, the HWT conducts two programs in the spring to review emerging ideas and answer the question, “What do forecasters need?” The Experimental Warning Program and Experimental Forecast Program draw as many as 60 researchers and forecasters together for six to eight weeks from April to June. Emergency managers and broadcasters are also involved in the research.

The 2016 Spring Experiment will include four major projects co-organized by NSSL and SPC. The first experiment will prepare forecasters to use data from NOAA’s next generation of geostationary weather satellites, known as GOES-R (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series). Three NWS forecasters and one broadcaster will participate each week.

Next, two different experiments will test the early concepts of FACETs (Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats, a more flexible and modern next-generation severe weather watch and warning framework) with the newly designed Probabilistic Hazards Information (PHI) tool. The Hazards Services–PHI experiment will include two NWS forecasters each week evaluating software design using archive and real-time data.

For the PHI-Prototype Experiment, three NWS forecasters per week will create probabilistic forecasts for severe convective hazards using the PHI tool.

Finally, in late June the hydro experiment, part of the Hydrometeorological Testbed, will continue its focus on flash flood watches and warnings, with five forecasters participating during each segment of its three-week run.

The HWT provides a conceptual framework and a physical space to foster collaboration between research and operations to test and evaluate emerging technologies and science for NWS operations. Its unique setting encourages interaction between researchers and the people who most benefit from research: forecasters. These collaborative testbed projects shorten the transition time from meteorological research to useful operational forecasting tools. Learn more at

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