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National Weather Service seeks public input on flood-based warning messages

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Weather Service wants the public’s input on how to make hazard messages easier to understand through simplifying flood-based watches, warnings and advisories.

Kerry Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the survey is part of an ongoing hazard simplification project.

“The feedback from these hazard simplification surveys are important,” Jones said. “If you can take just a few minutes to complete this survey, we can let our voices in New Mexico be heard. We’re kind of unique in that we deal with aspects related to (monsoon season and) burn scars, and this is really an opportunity to make sure our voice is heard.”

The survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Flood18 through Friday.

Based on the feedback, the weather service could implement some or all of the proposals in early 2020.

Under the proposed consolidation, (areal) flood watch, (river) flood watch for forecast points, flash flood watch, coastal flood watch and lakeshore flood watch would be consolidated to “flood watch.”

“Areal” refers to flooding that develops more gradually from persistent moderate to heavy rainfall.

(Areal) flood warning, (river) flood warning for forecast points, coastal flood warning and lakeshore flood warning would be consolidated to “flood warning,” under the proposal, and (areal) flood advisory, (river) flood advisory for forecast points, coastal flood advisory and lakeshore flood advisory would be consolidated to “flood advisory.”

The weather service is also proposing issuing shorter messages that would follow a simpler format addressing the what, where and when of flood hazards followed by additional information and precautionary actions.

The weather service implemented changes to its winter weather messaging last year as part of the hazard simplification project.

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