3.3 Reduce Extreme Weather Impacts

Why is reducing extreme weather impacts important?

Every year, millions of Americans are impacted by weather disaster. These events can be life threatening and are always harmful to the economic and social well-being of American communities. The Department of Commerce is committed to reducing the impact of extreme weather. Through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department is establishing the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) to deliver the world’s best weather forecasts to keep Americans out of harm’s way.

Strategic Objective 3.3 Progress Update

Did you know that flooding is more dangerous than wind during extreme weather? During 2019, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) placed priority focus on mitigating flood impacts through improved decision-support services offered to emergency managers. NOAA recently released the National Weather Model 2.0 and launched new flood mapping technology. In addition, the release of an improved rainfall outlook tool means that the public is able to receive high-risk predictions with an extended three-day lead time.
Additional improvements during 2019 include an upgrade to NOAA’s global weather forecast model to improve forecasts of severe weather, winter storms as well as hurricane intensity and track. NOAA’s new approach to flash-flood warnings also improved with an easy-to-read format.  This impact-based system allows wireless emergency alerts to have a greater focus on alerting those who need to take immediate action along with providing them information about the flash-flood hazard itself. These advancements help state, regional, county, and local emergency managers and the American public more time and better data to make well-informed, life-saving decisions while under the threat of a flash-flood event.

Weather warnings on the go!
Click here for instructions on how to set up Wireless Emergency Alerts on your own cell phone to warn you about threatening weather.
Watch / Warning / Advisory Definitions
When potentially hazardous weather is forecasted, the National Weather Service issues various alerts. Click here for definitions.
Picture of a wireless emergency alerts capabilities
Picture of NOAA hazardous weather definitions
Picture of NOAA’s U.S. flood map

National Weather Service Live Radar
Check out current weather in the U.S. on this live radar map.
This radar map is just one of the resources available on the NOAA's GeoPlatform, an application using Esri's ArcGIS Online. This platform provides geospatial data, maps, and other analytical tools.

65 NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) products transitioned to a new stage during 2019
NOAA is continually researching improvements to existing weather prediction technology to make more informed planning, resources management, and investment decisions. Through research and development, NOAA's National Weather Service will deliver more accurate forecasts, earlier warnings, and clearer communication of high-impact weather and water events. 
The National Weather Service received a satisfaction score of 86 for 2019, approximately 6 points higher than overall U.S. customer satisfaction
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a measure of user satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to consumers. The National Weather Service considers its ACSI score to be an important indicator of the value it provides American consumers because this score is comparable to scores of high performing private sector organizations.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology working to make infrastructure resilient to extreme weather
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) sends teams across the U.S. to evaluate how natural disasters, including both hurricanes and wildfires, impact the current infrastructure's success. NIST's National Construction Safety Team Act launched a multi-year study on how critical buildings and emergency communication systems performed in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. Such efforts will help officials identify solutions to improve building codes, standards, and practices to make communities resilient to extreme weather conditions. Click here for news and updates on NIST's Hurricane study efforts and watch this video to learn more about community resilience to disasters.
Additionally, NOAA is enhancing coastal resilience by launching the OceanReports tool and other data portals to provide actionable information to coastal communities in easily usable formats to support ocean commerce, energy development, and conservation.
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About the Data
ncdc.noaa.gov/billions - For information from NOAA regarding the costs of extreme weather
theacsi.org - For the American Customer Satisfaction Index, with customer satisfaction data by industry and sector
About NOAA
noaa.gov - For information about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration