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Weather and Emergencies Preparation, Response, Recovery Northwest Response Forum Dryden, Ontario Geoff Coulson Warning Preparedness Meteorologist April.

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Presentation on theme: "Weather and Emergencies Preparation, Response, Recovery Northwest Response Forum Dryden, Ontario Geoff Coulson Warning Preparedness Meteorologist April."— Presentation transcript:

1 Weather and Emergencies Preparation, Response, Recovery Northwest Response Forum Dryden, Ontario Geoff Coulson Warning Preparedness Meteorologist April 6, 2011

2 Page 2 – August 25, 2014 Contents Severe Weather Watch/Warning Program Warning Preparedness Meteorologist (WPM) Program Risk Communication Staying on Top of the Weather Future Weather Trends

3 Page 3 – August 25, 2014 Ontario Storm Prediction Centre - Toronto

4 Page 4 – August 25, 2014 Special Weather Statements Unusual weather (thunderstorms in January) Large areas of dense fog Approaching storm system still a few days away Weather which will approach but not meet weather warning criteria Summary of a recent weather system (i.e. snow amounts, tornado locations etc…)

5 Page 5 – August 25, 2014 Weather Watch vs. Weather Warning Weather Watch means there is the potential for severe weather --- Be Alert Weather Warning means that severe weather will soon occur or is occurring --- Take Action

6 Page 6 – August 25, 2014 Scale of a Summer Storm One storm covering part of a county

7 Page 7 – August 25, 2014 Scale of a Winter Storm L X Snow Heavy Snow Rain Showers Freezing Rain One storm covering thousands of square kilometres

8 Page 8 – August 25, 2014 Short-Fuse vs. Longer Lead Time Short-Fuse…perhaps minutes… Longer lead time…perhaps hours

9 Page 9 – August 25, 2014 Warning Preparedness Meteorologist (WPM) Program WPM Motto –Take full credit when the forecast is right –Blame Weather Centre when the forecast is wrong

10 Page 10 – August 25, 2014 WPM’s – Environment Canada’s Face to Clients Geoff CoulsonPeter Kimbell

11 Page 11 – August 25, 2014 Roles of the WPM… Client/Media Requests WPM’s Weather Centre

12 Page 12 – August 25, 2014 Roles of the WPM Working with Emergency Management Organizations –Emergency Management Ontario –Municipalities/Townships/Regional Governments –Conservation Authorities –Provincial/National Parks Provision of presentations –Summer/winter severe weather –Staying on top of the weather –Review of recent weather in different parts of the province –Explanation of various weather bulletins

13 Page 13 – August 25, 2014 Roles of the WPM – Emergency Exercises Provision of mock weather bulletins for emergency exercises of both large scale (i.e. Nov Trillium Response – Northwestern Ontario) and small scale (Town of Markham) –Weather bulletins to “set the tone” in pre-exercise package –Weather bulletins presented in chronological order during exercise Mock bulletins provided for “weather-centric” emergencies as well as other types of emergencies that are complicated by weather

14 Page 14 – August 25, 2014 Roles of the WPM – Storm Damage Surveys Tornado vs. Downburst Rating of Damage on Fujita Damage Scale Length/Width of Damage Used to verify our Watches/Warnings Used to learn more about severe spring and summer storms

15 Page 15 – August 25, 2014 Roles of the WPM WPM’s in contact with a variety of clients Feedback to EC –What we are doing well –Client concerns –Help shape new products/services

16 Page 16 – August 25, 2014 CANWARN Storm Spotters and Ontario Provincial Police

17 Page 17 – August 25, 2014 CANWARN Training Northwestern Ontario Spring 2011 Week of June 13 th –June 13 Thunder Bay – 7 PM - McIntyre Building Rm. 195, Confederation College –June 14 Fort Frances/EMO –June 15 Kenora –June 16 Dryden Training session about 3 hours long No cost involved Training includes –How thunderstorms form –Severe vs. non-severe storms –Reporting Procedures –Safety

18 Page 18 – August 25, 2014 Targeted Weather Info Emergency Managers and Responders have live access to the Weather Centre 24/7 to access updated weather information related to emergencies caused by weather or complicated by weather Unlisted number to access Weather Centre Warning Preparedness Meteorologists (WPM’s) –Geoff Coulson Toronto – – –Peter Kimbell Ottawa – –

19 Page 19 – August 25, 2014 Risk Communication

20 Page 20 – August 25, 2014 Risk Communication Challenges Storms with little or no warning or occurring overnight How bad will this storm really be? –Proper descriptive words –Historical context (i.e. worst storm in 5 years…) How best to describe potential impacts –Series of canned phrases –Phrases attuned to given situation Public’s perception of a given storm –May not match with EC warning criteria –Can differ greatly from community to community –Social media means EVERYONE can (and does) comment

21 Page 21 – August 25, 2014 Risk Communication Challenges Weather Centre may not have full appreciation of significance of a given event –Very localized –Difficult to get precipitation amount estimates Example – March 6 to Snowfall in Thunder Bay area Official Snow Totals for March 6, 7 and 8 in Thunder Bay between 20 and 25 cm Unofficial Snow Totals from surrounding area (Kakabeka Falls, Pearl etc..) on the order of 40 cm or more Images Courtesy of the WeatherNetwork

22 Page 22 – August 25, 2014 Need to Tap into Social Media Twitter Facebook Blogs Discussion Lists Web Cams Explosion of information available to be used in real-time by the Weather Centre to better comprehend weather impacts in local communities Need to develop more efficient/effective ways to find, quality assure weather comments and factor them into current and forecast conditions

23 Page 23 – August 25, 2014 Weather Centre of the Future Public Desk Marine Desk Severe Weather Desk Social Media Desk? –Information from clients –Information to clients

24 Page 24 – August 25, Tornado Event – June 6 Leamington 4 tornadoes confirmed in the Harrow, Leamington area of Essex county 1 F2, 2 F1, 1 F0 Tornadoes occurred around 3 AM Public concerns about notification for nocturnal storms

25 Page 25 – August 25, 2014 Leamington Tornadoes – Public Alerting If the warnings go out at 2:30 AM…how do I hear about them?

26 Page 26 – August 25, Tornado Event – June 23 Midland Event Occurred between 6:15 and 6:30 PM No lead time on Warnings –First warning issued around 6:40 PM Hits Trailer Park at south end of Town Rated F2 (peak winds 180 to 240 km/h)

27 Page 27 – August 25, 2014 Impacts: Snow Squalls Dec 5 to December 7, 2010 West Lorne From theweathernetwork.com

28 Page 28 – August 25, 2014 Impacts: Snow Squalls Dec 5 to December 8, 2010 London From Twitter

29 Page 29 – August 25, 2014 “402 Snow Squall Event” – Dec 12 to Multi-day event Long-lived whiteout conditions…snow accumulation not the main issue Plows had to be pulled off the highway Many people used to hearing Snow Squall Warnings Most Snow Squall warnings mention whiteouts, blowing snow, large accumulations resulting in dangerous driving conditions

30 Page 30 – August 25, 2014 “402 Event” Difficult to impart in the warnings how “out of the ordinary” and particularly dangerous the “402” Event was even as it unfolded 1 in 30 year event? Full scope of event not understood/ignored by some Road barriers moved by motorists so they could continue their trip Failure to understand or failure to communicate?

31 Page 31 – August 25, 2014 Groundhog Day Storm – Wed Feb Not quite what was forecast for much of Southwestern & Southcentral Ontario Wiarton, Hamilton, portions of Eastern Ontario had significant snowfall and blowing snow But worst was over in many areas before 6 AM Feb 2 Many cancellations based on storm lasting longer Difficult to “pull back” once initial statements out (starting Sunday) The words “near-blizzard” and “blizzard” very rare/evocative

32 Page 32 – August 25, 2014 Warning Program Re-engineering Warning Re-Engineering Program Underway –Total overhaul to warning system ▪Bulletin preparation – content - significance ▪Bulletin dissemination Want to differentiate level of severity of a given storm to key clients and the public Vigilance Map…tiered approach to warnings… –Green - OK –Yellow - Warning –Orange – Significant Warning –Red – Rare, Particularly Dangerous Warning

33 Page 33 – August 25, 2014 Warning Impact Statements Link impact statements to level of message Strong tornadoes could cause serious injury or death Intense snow squalls causing zero visibilities and extremely dangerous driving conditions Freezing Rain/High Winds resulting in widespread power failures Snow resulting in potential office/school closures Short duration, high intensity rainfall could produce… –difficulty driving/hydroplaning –Localized flooding

34 Page 34 – August 25, 2014 Warning Program Re-engineering This is a multi-year project Will be looking to engage key clients in this process Client feedback will be important in assessing/understanding weather impacts and building a database of what type of weather constitute the various weather warning tiers (i.e. green, yellow, orange, red) In the tiered warning system the “402” Event would likely have constituted a level red given its relative rarity and severity

35 Page 35 – August 25, 2014 Staying on top of the Weather

36 Page 36 – August 25, 2014 Internet Access to Weather Info Weatheroffice.gc.ca –current watches, warnings, advisories, special weather statements –current conditions, 24 hour trends, 7 day forecasts –Radar imagery –Much more…

37 Page 37 – August 25, 2014 Warning Battleboard Page automatically refreshes every 10 minutes

38 Page 38 – August 25, 2014 Weatheradio Continuous broadcast of weather info Line of sight broadcast…trees, hills may disrupt signal Standby mode  Tone Alert when Warnings issued Specific Area MEessaging – SAME - Get the Warnings for YOUR area Special frequencies…so require a special receiver

39 Page 39 – August 25, s of Svr Wx Watches/Warnings of watches/warnings available from Environment Canada for key decision-makers

40 Page 40 – August 25, 2014 Future Weather Trends

41 Page 41 – August 25, 2014 Ontario – 4 Full Seasons of Weather

42 Page 42 – August 25, 2014

43 Page 43 – August 25, 2014 More Severe Weather? More awareness by the public –24 Hr news cycle –Numerous shows about severe weather More reports –Cameras everywhere –Plus YouTube, blogging, tweeting etc… More people in various parts of the province More infrastructure (some of it aging…) “Perhaps in recent years we are finally getting a better understanding of the amount of summer severe weather that actually occurs in Ontario”

44 Page 44 – August 25, 2014 Climate Change Impacts in the Great Lakes Basin Research continues to better understand what changes will occur in the coming decades

45 Page 45 – August 25, 2014 Precipitation Increase in intensity and frequency of heavy rainfalls Increase in frequency and severity of drought More precipitation in the form of rain/freezing rain as opposed to snow during the winter Greater chance of “ice storm” type events

46 Page 46 – August 25, 2014 Temperature Increase in annual/seasonal temperature Increase in number of hot days (T >= 32 Deg C) and heat waves Increase in number of heat-related mortalities Decrease in number of extreme cold days and extreme minimum temperatures

47 Page 47 – August 25, 2014 Great Lakes Increase in water temperatures (increase in lake effect snow?) Decline in water levels

48 Page 48 – August 25, 2014 More Extremes? Thunderstorms? Tornadoes? Snowstorms?

49 Page 49 – August 25, 2014


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