NWS Director’s Actions Speak Louder than Words
(December 22, 2011) One week after tweeting the importance of sending weather warnings through mobile devices, Assistant Administrator for the National Weather Service Director Dr. Jack Hayes says he’s ready to pull the plug on NWS efforts to create wireless weather warning apps.
Dr. Hayes attended a conference for Weather Ready Nation on December 13. Discussions focused on the importance of sending weather warnings through mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, the tools most people are now using. Dr. Hayes tweeted the following from the conference, “JackatNWS Cell phones and geotargeted alert information named most important warning dissemination technology by panelists so far.”
Today, Dr. Hayes, is in support of abandoning all NWS efforts to develop those types of weather warning applications. On December 21, Laura Furgione, Deputy Director of the National Weather Service, distributed a message calling for a hold on use of any NWS resources, including on-duty time of NWS employees, to develop such applications.
“The irony in this is that our director is using social media to promote the importance of disseminating warnings through wireless devices, yet, he is abandoning the NWS work to create such apps,” said NWSEO President Dan Sobien. “It’s clear this is where people are most likely to receive their warnings, yet NWS has no interest in pursuing the best way to alert them when it comes time to protect their lives and property. The whole episode makes me question the agency’s commitment to a Weather Ready Nation.”
NWSEO is ardently fighting this policy. A Four Winds was distributed to members yesterday and the NWSEO Facebook page received more than 50 responses to the Four Winds post. Most of the responses focused on the importance of using the talents and expertise of the NWS workforce to find the newest methods to better disseminate weather warnings. Members are encouraged to join the NWSEO Facebook group. If you have a Facebook account, you can join by searching for National Weather Service Employees Organization on Facebook and request admission. Once your membership is verified, you will be granted admission to this closed group.
One member detailed his concerns: