Week 1 is underway!

Week 1 of this year’s Spring EM Experiment kicked off yesterday!  EMs were able to get a first look at some of the new experimental products, and they began to work PHI in the Enhanced Data Display (shown on the screens).  In the coming days we’ll add even more new products.

EM round table discussion
EMs’ first looks at new experimental products.
EMs working PHI in the Enhanced Data Display (EDD).
EMs working PHI in the Enhanced Data Display (EDD).
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This year’s experiment is about to kick off!

Spring is buzzing around the building and we are excited to have this year’s EM experiment just around the corner! It’s PHI-nally here!

We have Emergency Managers coming from all over the country–Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Oklahoma–representing a variety of jurisdictions, such as cities, counties, states, hospital networks, utility companies, and more!  We’ll be switching things up a bit this year so stay tuned for pictures and updates of the action.  Week 1 starts next week, May 13, and Week 2 starts right after that on May 20.

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What IS the PHI-EM experiment and why is it being run?

Since 2015, an ever growing and evolving team of researchers at CIMMS/NSSL have been collaborating with academic researchers from around the country to host annual springtime Emergency Manager (EM) experiments, including the Probabilistic Hazard Information (PHI)-EM experiment.  These experiments were designed to elicit feedback directly from EMs about new technologies under development at the lab. The PHI-EM experiments have specifically focused on gathering feedback about a new technology called Probabilistic Hazard Information.


The PHI developed at NSSL is meant to help all parties in the communication chain make more informed decisions about impending weather threats.  This new PHI includes the probability of a storm to produce tornadoes, severe thunderstorm hazards (including high wind and hail), and lightning in the next hour.  It also updates rapidly, and is most commonly viewed as a plume of probabilities projected ahead of a storm (see picture below). PHI plumes are created by a forecaster using a suite of tools and algorithms.  The forecaster makes decisions about the probabilistic trend of the storm based on his/her tools (e.g., radar, ensemble model data). After creation, PHI plumes are delivered to EMs and Broadcast Meteorologists through the Enhanced Data Display (EDD).  In addition, the EDD offers other useful information about timing, severity, and the anticipated storm track. EMs and Broadcasters then use the PHI plumes to make decisions for their jurisdictions such as sounding sirens or canceling events (EMs), and whether to run a crawl or cut into on-air programming for live coverage (Broadcasters).  


EM feedback is invaluable to the evaluation process.  While PHI may constitute a huge breakthrough on the forecasting end of the chain by conveying richer and very localized forecast information, if the displays are hard to understand or not providing meaningful and needed information on the users’ end of the chain, then more work needs to be done!  Thus, EMs have been brought in as participants to help assess the viability of this new information and product. Specifically, EMs have been asked for their feedback on the types of PHI that have been created thus far as well as the EDD interface to view them. They have been asked to comment on which aspects of PHI are most/least helpful and easy/difficult to use and understand.  Overall, as researchers, we are trying to ascertain the feasibility of the PHI and EDD and move them toward operations!

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2019 Spring EM Experiment Recruitment has started!

Hi everyone!  It’s that time of year again!  That’s right, the call just came out and applications are rolling in for the 2019 Spring EM Experiment!  More details can be found on the Recruitment Page for the project!  Take a look through the details when you get a chance.  We hope all of the Emergency Managers out there will consider applying!

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We’re Back!

Hello everyone!  My name is Cassandra Shivers-Williams and I am currently a post-doc researcher at CIMMS/NSSL within the Societal Impacts Group (SIG).  I have been working with Emergency Managers (EMs) in the Hazardous Weather Testbed experiments since 2016!  My wonderful colleague Kodi Berry started this blog as a way to talk about all of the awesome EM research happening here!  Well…I’m picking it up and taking it over! (You may have noticed the site facelift =)  )

This blog will be highlighting lots of fun with EMs and the Probabilistic Hazard Information (PHI) Experiment, sprinkled with some other ongoing social science research within the SIG!  Our sister entity, KPHI TV, also conducts social science research, but primarily with Broadcaster Meteorologists.  That work is blasted on the KPHI TV Blog!   I encourage everyone to check out that blog for more fun with PHI!

This website has been updated with some background information about the work we do and the research team, opportunities for EMs to participate in testbed research, presentations/publications of our EM work, and some alumni!  Take a look around and check back in periodically to see the latest and greatest updates from the SIG!

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Week 1 Underway

This week emergency managers from hospital, city, county, and state jurisdictions are evaluating how they might use probabilistic hazard information for decision making during severe convective weather. 

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2018 EM Selection

We had an unprecedented response to our call for EM applicants for the 2018 HWT PHI EM project. Over 50 EMs applied for 8 spots! So many strong candidates this year! We are actively pursuing funding for next year so we hope those we had to turn away this year will apply next year.

Thank you to our friends in the National Weather Service for helping to spread the word about our project!

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This is the information page for emergency manager (EM) participation in NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT). EMs in the HWT help evaluate probabilistic hazard information (PHI) for severe weather, the core of the future National Weather Service severe weather warning paradigm.  PHI is part of NSSL’s overall FACETS initiative.  Learn more about FACETS here:


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