Warnings Event Week 2017

From 11 to 15 December 2017 EUMeTrain is running an event week related to meteorological warnings in Europe. Presenters from various European Met-Services will report about their warning strategies and warning situations. In the second part of the event week, the focus will be laid on communication: How are warnings best communicated to the public, which communication channels are used, what are the problematic issues.
Presentations will start in the morning and end around noon. Each presentation will not last longer than 45 minutes. After each presentation, some time will be given to the audience to ask questions to the presenters.

* Online lectures will be conducted using the online-conferencing tool called 'Webex'. For any technical issue or connectivity problems visit the Webex FAQ site to search for the possible solutions.

Preliminary Agenda:

Monday, 11 December 2017

08.30-09.15 UTC: Warning strategy in Germany, Thomas Kratzsch (DWD)

The presentation shows the warning strategy, a three-tiered warning system with probabilistic texts days in advance “7-day-forecast of weather risk”, pre-warning-information about one or two days in advance, and (severe) weather warnings based on nowcasting and short-range-forecasts.
DWD provides the official warnings in Germany „Amtliche Warnungen“ for Desaster Management and the public. DWD‘s warning system uses meteorological thresholds and 4 warning levels. Thresholds have been developed in collaboration with most important users (i.e . national authorities for disaster management and hydrologists), so they have been combined with impact observed by those, are impact-orientated. DWD warnings contain information about possible impact in close connection (automatic) with the intensity of the warning element.
DWD warnings are available on DWD-Website, on many national websites from media, in meteoalarm.eu and esp. in the DWD-Warn-App. They are distributed as fax, SMS, Email and in CAP-Format. The warning activities from regional centers are coordinated by and discussed with the Forecast Centre in Offenbach. For this Forecast Centre produces warning “guidance” polygones that will be made available more and more for users too.
The presentation will show some new products as those polygones, the severe weather clip and the communication of uncertainty with actual examples.

09.15-10.00 UTC: Aspects of forecasting excessive precipitation events in Germany – Examples from 2016, Marcus Beyer (DWD)

During the summer season 2016 parts of Germany were affected by several extreme events of excessive precipitation that led to enormous damage as well as fatalities due to local floodings. The ingredients-based methodology can help to determine the degree of the severity of storms as well as typical accompaniments.
The talk will first summarize all possibilities that may lead to excessive precipitation. In addition a glance will also be thrown on non-meteorological parameters that decide if an excessive precipitation event finally leads to subsequent flooding.
The gained knowledge will then be deepened by looking on three different case studies: Braunsbach (Baden-Württemberg, May 29th 2016), Xanten (North Rhine-Westphalia, June 1st, 2016) and the most catastrophic case of Simbach (Southern Bavaria, June 1st, 2016).
By making use of the case studies the presentation will also show how the warning process chain works with respect to the forecast of severe thunderstorms.

11.00-11.45 UTC: Black Ice Case in January 2017, Lars Kirchhuebel (DWD)

In winter the tasks of the forecaster are explained in the light of the winter services’ requirements. Especially the bigger, mainly governmental winter service authorities need information about dangerous winter weather conditions for personnel planning and equipment as soon as possible. But also the general public must be informed about possible risks. For this reason medium range products, like the DWD forecast information “7-day-forecast of weather risk” as well as special trend-products for winter weather (road weather information and forecasting system) are used by meteorologists for weather forecasts and by winter services for the planning schedule up to 7 days. Additionally for more detailed forecasts regional weather products (ICON-EU) can be used 5 days in advance. 48 hours before the event regional forecasts (COSMO-DE) and warnings as well as special products that are tailored to the needs of the road maintenance services are available.
The following winter case shows an example of warning management by DWD in winter. In the beginning of January 2017 a “Black Ice Event” over the northern and western part of Germany caused a lot of trouble, due to the breakdown of public traffic. Furthermore several people were injured when falling down or in accidents, even one person died. After passage of winter storm “Axel” on January 4th , that crossed Germany from northwest to southeast, very cold air surged in. With a high pressure system that built over Germany temperature in 850 hPa dropped to -10 to -18°C. Therefore surface temperature remained below freezing point for nearly 3 days. Not till the warm front of the low pressure system “Caius” over Scandinavia moved to Germany from the North Sea, parts of the republic became slowly warmer. But the warm air reached Germany first in mid-levels of the atmosphere around 850hPa, which consecutively caused the dangerous black ice.

11.45-12.30 UTC: Avalanche Warning and Weather Forecast, Andreas Gobeit and Gernot Zenkl (ZAMG)

In this presentation I want to give a short overview of the challenging work as an avalanche forecaster. I want to show which types of meteorological situation can lead to critical avalanche situations in the eastern Alps. Furthermore I will explain the methods we use to inform and warn the people and show some impressive case studies.

Click here to register to the Monday session

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

09.15-10.00 UTC: EFI and SOT products, Ivan Tsonevsky (ECMWF)

The Extreme Forecast Index (EFI) and the Shift Of Tails (SOT) are two operational products focusing on forecasting severe weather provided by ECMWF. They both are based on ECMWF ensemble forecast (ENS). The EFI compares the full distribution of the real-time ENS with model climate (M-climate) derived from ECMWF re-forecasts whilst the SOT compliment the EFI by comparing just the tails of both distributions. During the presentation a detailed description of the EFI and SOT will be provided alongside some examples which show how these products should be used. A description of the M-climate will be included as well and some limitation of the products will be discussed. The presentation will also show an example of two new EFI parameters designed to help forecast severe convection.

11.00-11.45 UTC: A case study of the severe storm from 11 July 2016, Izolda Marcinoniene (LHMS)

Tropical air, which reaches the Baltic region every summer, usually brings more or less widespread severe weather events. The case of 11 July 2016 deserves a special attention. A powerful mesoscale convective system with a few overshooting tops started developing in Poland during the day. At its most intensive stage the convective system reached Lithuanian capital Vilnius in the evening with the largest impact occuring later at night in Belarus.
I will introduce this case briefly, and participants will have an opportunity to view the case through a simulator interface based on this case.

11.45-12.30 UTC: Forecasting extreme weather using probabilistic tools, Shay Frenkel (IMS)

Cold lows, triggering significant snow events in the central mountains of Israel are relatively rare, occurring on average once in every two or three years. During the presentation we will examine an extreme snow event that took place on December 2013. We will give a review of the synoptic conditions leading to the rare event and compare it to climatology in order to present its extremity. We will also present an analysis of probabilistic tools from both global and regional models regarding the event, and discuss the ability to predict its extremity and severity using these special tools.

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

09.15-10.00 UTC: Warning procedures at MeteoSwiss and the handling of a severe warning case, Daniel Murer (MeteoSwiss)

Severe weather warnings at MeteoSwiss started already in 1983 with early warnings for heavy precipitation events in the south alpine regions. In 2001 as a consequence of severe storm “Lothar” (26.12.1999) a system for severe weather warnings covering wind, rain and snow events had been introduced.
In 2009 the warning system has been improved and optimized with the integration in the NinJo software. This highly reliable warning system contains a controlling part which is monitoring the different interfaces. The warning contents are easy configu-rable or can be edited before sending, covering all the different customer’s needs. Depending on the event type a closer collaboration with experts from other administrations for natural hazards as for flash floods, avalanches or forest fires takes place before and during a warn event.
A case study will be presented, illustrating the work of decision making, the coordination with internal and external experts, the warn handling (issues, modifications) and the variety of warning products.

11.00-11.45 UTC: Weather events connected with the advection of warm tropical air mass into mid latitudes, Barbara Wrona (IMGW)

The case study includes 3 examples of advection of the tropical, warm air mass into the mid latitudes (exactly over Poland) at the beginning of last August (2017). One of them caused extreme weather conditions while the other two less spectacular. The focus of the presentation will be directed to the latter ones. Synoptic analysis will try to answer which factors were essential in development of the situation and what role did the jet stream play in each of these cases.

11.45-12.30 UTC: Challenges of issuing meteorological warnings - The Portuguese experience, Nuno Moreira (IPMA)

The presentation will focus on the current meteorological warning system at IPMA and on the activities and contacts with external organizations that are underway in order to improve the warning system. These improvements are being focused on warnings criteria and content, namely on the inclusion of impacts descriptions related to meteorological phenomena. The impact analysis poses a challenge to forecasters, who need to be more aware of the consequences of weather, through the broadening of contacts outside the forecasting centre.

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

08.30-09.15 UTC: How we use social media to communicate a dangerous weather events? , Justyna Wodziczko (Met.No)

Dialogue between forecasters and customers is not always an easy matter. There are often some inconveniences and shortcomings. Society do not always understand what we want to convey to them, mainly because we are using the language which is understandable for us, meteorologists. During my presentation I would like to present you some examples how do we communicate with media and society during extreme weather events. Why MET decided to use social media? I would try to give you an answer if it is worth to ‘invest’ in social media.

09.15-10.00 UTC: Customers side of view, Jyri Silmari (Finnish Emergency Services Department)


11.00-11.45 UTC: ANYWHERE in a nutshell, Tuomo Bergman(FMI)

ANYWHERE project is a H2020 funded project that aims to develop tools to support coordination of the emergency response operations to face challenge of the extreme weather and climate events. The purpose is to build a pan-Europeans multi-hazard platform for faster analysis and anticipation of the risk prior to event occurrence, improved coordination of the emergency actions and assist to raise the self-preparedness. The aim is to reach more effective early warning systems and decision support systems, accompanied by tailored online services developed to support self-preparedness, self-protection, and self-response of citizens.

Click here to register to the Thursday session

Friday, 15 December 2017

08.30-09.15 UTC: The ZAMG warning procedures presented on the basis of the late winter event 18th and 19th April 2017, Thomas Turecek (ZAMG)

On 18th and 19th of April 2017 polar air masses caused a late winter outbreak in the Alpine area. The forecasters had to deal with for this time of year unusual amounts of fresh fallen snow down to deep valleys. As the season for snow warnings in fact was already over, ZAMG had to reactivate the winter maintenance warnings to issue warnings to winter service customers in time.
The ZAMG warning procedures will be presented on the basis of this late winter event. We also have to talk about climatological thresholds, which are the basis of ZAMG weather warnings. They depend on the reoccurrences of extreme weather events in a particular geographical area. Recently ZAMG’s warning system develops stepwise towards an IMPACT system. To issue accurate IMPACT based weather warnings the forecasters on duty also has to consider the possible effect of an extreme weather event. This is considered as a big change in the tasks of a forecaster. So in this lecture I also want to discuss the problems of this special type of weather warnings.

09.15-10.00 UTC: Severe Weather follow-up product (LUOVA), A-J Punkka and Kaisa Solin (FMI)

A cluster of severe straight-line wind producing thunderstorms caused widespread damage in Southern Finland on the 12th of August 2017. Numerous automatic weather stations recorded peak wind gusts of 20 m/s or more and tens of thousands of households suffered from disruptions in electricity supply. This downburst incident will be used as an example to demonstrate the variety of the FMI safety weather products. These include a severe weather follow-up product for the coming 5-10 days and impact-based severe weather outlooks as well as regular 24/7 weather warnings.

11.00-11.45 UTC: Warnings and interpretation – which is the weakest link?, Tamás Allaga (Met.Hungary)

Making reliable severe weather forecasts is always a great challenge. Communicate them towards the public and special end users is sometimes greater, even if the forecast is good. Now, Hungarian Meteorological Service (OMSZ) plans to develop and simplify its two-level warning system to make it more understandable. The most important questions are: should we create a very simple warning system in order to make it understandable for everyone, even if it is technically not the best? Should we use and communicate advanced probability forecasts, (even) if end users usually cannot do with them? Should we issue impact-based warnings when we cannot handle all the possible factors? In our lecture, we are going to search answers for these questions.

Click here to register to the Friday session