IRIS Comes to NWS Des Moines

The NOAA/National Weather Service’s goal of building a Weather Ready Nation is all about building relationships with our core partners including emergency managers, first responders, government officials, businesses and the general public and helping them make better decisions to save lives and property and enhance livelihoods.  Communicating with everyone can be a daunting task as the National Weather Service in Des Moines has contact information for thousands of core partners and over 4,700 SKYWARN severe weather spotters.

One of our newest tools to help gather and disseminate information is called IRIS which is an acronym for Integrated Real-time Impacts and Services.  This is a web based application that integrates current weather data and keeps a database of all contacts allowing our staff to call partners and spotters and disseminate Local Storm Reports quickly and easily with just a few clicks of a button. With IRIS, spotters can note their information by name and/or spotter number with their report sent out in just a matter of seconds.  Under previous software, severe weather reports would need to be located with other geocoding software before being sent to the media and the world.  It also has the capability of parsing out subsets of our large database and emailing those folks when necessary. 

IRIS also monitors dozens of local observations alerting NWS staff of critical wind speeds and precipitation accumulations and making that information easy to disseminate with just a few clicks of a mouse.  Future capabilities also include enhancing our ability to provide critical Decision Support Services to our core partners by cataloging key events and impacts important to them. Operational staff will be notified when weather elements reach critical levels.

In order for IRIS to work efficiently and optimize its information our partners and spotters need to have current location and contact information noted. If you are a member of one of these key groups and have had your address, phone number and/or email address change recently please let us know so we can update our information and database.

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Blog post by Brad Small, Senior Forecaster, NWS Des Moines