Great Lakes Region

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, water and climate information for the general public.  NWS also helps event planners prepare for hazardous conditions that may put participants and spectators in harm’s way.  For events designated as “National Special Security Events” (NSSEs) by the Department of Homeland Security, NWS is required to coordinate with federal, state and local partners to ensure a steady flow of accurate weather information.

One recent example of this was the Republican National Convention, designated as an NSSE due to the national significance of the event and the dignitaries in attendance.  The months leading up to the convention involved considerable planning for NWS, including building partnerships with the U.S. Secret Service, FEMA, and local and state agencies.  The NWS Eastern Region Headquarters assisted in the planning process by hosting its first Decision Support Services (DSS) Roadshow in Cleveland May 2-3, which focused on DSS and communication techniques, and was attended by staff from Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) in Cleveland, Wilmington and Pittsburgh.

Image of National Weather Service staff at DSS Roadshow meeting in Cleveland, May 2016.  The meeting was focused on communication and Decision Support Services.

The DSS Roadshow in Cleveland on May 2016 focused on communication and providing effective Decision Support Services.

WFO Cleveland meteorologists provided on-site support during the RNC by staffing a desk at the Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC).  The staff was available 24-hours a day to answer weather-related questions and provide alerts if weather conditions reached pre-determined thresholds.  A DSS area dedicated to the RNC was also created at the WFO to prepare special briefings and help with coordination.  Briefings were disseminated twice daily via email to the emergency management community.  Additional personnel from across the Eastern Region were brought in to maintain sufficient staff support at the WFO.

NWS was tested on the last day of the RNC, when a line of thunderstorms began bearing down on Cleveland just as the evening’s events were commencing.  NWS staff responded rapidly and effectively, briefing both the Mayor’s Office and the MACC, and ultimately reaching over 100 individuals.  Although the thunderstorms subsided before arriving at the city, NWS staff played a critical role in keeping decision-makers informed.

For more information about NOAA’s National Weather Service and its role in providing support for National Security Special Events, please refer to this Q&A factsheet.


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