2012-12-14 / Top Stories

National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration To Assess Sandy Forecasting

Almost a month after the proposed Sandy Service Assessment team was disbanded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released information regarding the official commissioned team that will assess the performance of the National Weather Service during Hurricane/- Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy.

The team is slated to meet this month and begin its field work on Jan. 6, 2013.

The team will be multi-disciplinary, including two social scientists and 10 experts from across NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Team members whom are employed by NOAA have been selected from around the country and were not involved in forecasting Sandy.

"This allows for an impartial and unbiased review," NOAA Deputy Under Secretary for Operations, David Titley wrote in a statement.

The team leader will be a scientist with NOAA's Marine Fisheries Service and will "oversee all field work, the development of findings and recommendations, and the drafting of the assessment report," the statement reads. According to the statement by Titley, the newly commissioned assessment team will have three areas of focus: "the philosophies and policies behind the forecast and the weather watch and warning products and how they are communicated; how storm surge products are produced and issued from multiple NOAA line offices; and the web presence as a tool for communicating with the public." The team will conclude the assessment with a report identifying facts, findings, and best practices and will make recommendations for process changes and service improvements that can be made within six months. After Sandy battered the East Coast in late October, the National Weather Service has come under harsh criticism for proposing, then disbanding an assessment team, stating that the charter for the proposed team was never signed and approved. The team was to include the first non-governmental co-chair, Mike Smith, Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.

Smith who originally called for an independent investigation of the NWS, believes it is necessary to include nongovernmental team members. "All will have the perspective of government employees. There is nothing wrong with that provided it is complemented by "outside the box" thinking that nongovernment employees can provide," Smith wrote on 'Mike Smith Enterprises Blog', regarding the newly commissioned team. “

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