Southeast & Caribbean Region

The National Weather Serive’s Ecological and Environmental Workshop in Tampa, FL featured over 40 participants from 20 different agencies and organizations.

The Emergency Response Specialists representing NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation Tampa Pilot Project hosted an Ecological and Environmental Workshop on March 7, 2013. NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the U.S. and its territories, and this pilot project in Tampa is taking weather support services beyond the traditional domain of the NWS to address impacts that affect the environment and ecology. The workshop was well-attended with natural resource managers and organizations from the Tampa area and around the state, who came to learn more about the pilot program and provide insight on how weather impacts affect their missions and operations. The NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, FL served as the ideal location to host the event.

The Tampa Bay Area Weather Forecast Office led discussions on new and enhanced NWS products and services, future objectives of the Tampa pilot, weather and climate thresholds of various agencies, and weather hazards that may require an environmental response. In smaller breakout groups, NOAA’s Emergency Response Meteorologists and the environmental and ecological stakeholders discussed in detail the specific impacts, thresholds, gaps in current NWS forecasts, and lead-time concerns as they relate to water and natural resource (fisheries, wildlife, etc.) management.

All of the information gathered from the stakeholders supports the first objective of the Tampa pilot project to create an “impacts catalog.” This “impacts catalog” will feature the stakeholders’ weather thresholds and high impact concerns, to guide the Tampa Bay Area Weather Forecast Office in designing new services and updating current products that will provide a higher level of decision support to a broader user community.

Information provided by Todd Barron., Emergency Response Specialist, NWS Tampa Bay Area

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