NWS DMX has been providing support for many partners through our Decision Support Services (DSS) for several years, and this year has a new tool to help with this support, the DSS Events Calendar. This tool is being rolled out across the Central Region NWS offices so each office has a consistent baseline for partner support. The calendar works by NWS partners such as Emergency Managers (EMs) providing input about their events through a web-based form. This information is then organized into a web-based calendar so that our office and meteorologists are aware of each event being held across our county warning area. These events tend to be outdoor events that gather a large attendance which are most vulnerable to the impacts of weather, and more specifically severe weather.
Many days several events are ongoing across Central Iowa with as many as 15 to 20 on one of the busier days. NWS DMX meteorologists stay aware of these locations while issuing warnings and can place special statements in the severe warnings about the outdoor event locations that may be occurring in a warned area. The event location is included in the input and then is directly loaded into the office computer system used to issue warnings, so that these event locations can be included in a warning if necessary.
County Emergency Managers maintain contact with our office throughout the event as well, by logging into a chat program or via the phone to obtain the latest information about any threatening weather. If requested by an EM, NWS DMX will also provide a localized briefing detailing any hazardous weather that may be expected throughout the duration of the event. One example is a video briefing held with the Jasper County Emergency Management officials for high-attendance races held at the Iowa Speedway, another example is a daily email briefing during RABGRAI provided to public safety officials, County EMs, neighboring NWS office management, and regional NWS management.
This tool has allowed NWS DMX to streamline its operations regarding event support to the local county officials, helped NWS DMX meteorologists to maintain awareness of these large events in case hazardous weather is approaching, and help keep everyone safe so they can enjoy these events to their fullest.
If you have weather hazard concerns for an event, please contact your county emergency coordinator who will work with the National Weather Service before and during impactful weather conditions.
Blog post by Mindy Beerends, Senior Forecaster, NWS Des Moines