Better training provides forecasters information for better decision making

NOAA National Weather Service forecasters now have updated training available on demand to help them provide critical information when floods threaten the areas they serve.

The NWS Warning Decision Training Division, also known as WDTD, recently updated the Warning Operations Course Flash Flood Track. Warning Operations Courses, or WOCs, are extensions to WDTD’s Radar & Applications Course — a rigorous curriculum  with more than 65 hours of online lessons culminating in a week-long workshop in Norman, Oklahoma.

A screen shot of the NWS Warning Decision Training
Division recently updated Warning Operations Course Flash Flood Track. The curriculum provides more advanced training in several focus areas: severe weather, winter weather, flash flooding and forecaster decision-making.

The WOCs provide more advanced training in several focus areas: severe weather, winter weather, flash flooding, and forecaster decision-making. The topics covered in WOC Flash Flood include conceptual models of flash floods, forecasting tools, and warning best practices.

Updates to this year’s WOC Flash Flood include new practice simulations using case data from a 2018 flash flood event in Des Moines, as well as eight new or heavily updated lessons.

“The course is ever-evolving,” said Jill Hardy, CIMMS research associate with NWS WDTD. “We provide training to help forecasters make the best decisions possible when working flash flood events. Our training aims at helping them process information faster, which ultimately helps save lives, property and reduces economic impact.”

Hardy said relevant and consistent upgrades to the Flash Flood track are possible because of the hydrometeorological expertise among the WDTD team, as well as collaborations with other subject matter experts within NOAA and universities.

A screen shot of the NWS Warning Decision Training
  Division recently updated Warning Operations Course Flash Flood Track. The curriculum provides more advanced training in several focus areas: severe weather, winter weather, flash flooding and forecaster decision-making
A screen shot of the NWS Warning Decision Training
Division recently updated Warning Operations Course Flash Flood Track. The curriculum provides more advanced training in several focus areas: severe weather, winter weather, flash flooding and forecaster decision-making

In addition to Hardy, CIMMS Research Associates Brad Workman and Katarina Christian both have backgrounds in flash flooding. Their experiences led to a significant overhaul of the conceptual models section of the course, with three new lessons and updates to three existing lessons.

“Better training provides forecasters the tools they need to make better decisions in their office,” Hardy said.

The team — consisting of Hardy, Workman, Christian, Andy Wood, and NWS WDTD Meteorologist Instructor Justin Gibbs — provide the 12-hour training course annually from January through September, with the target audience being all NWS forecasters with flash flood warning responsibilities.

For more information, visit NWS WDTD.