National Weather Service proposal would drop 'advisories' as part of severe weather warning revamp

After years of hearing terms like "winter weather advisory" and "special weather statement" then trying to figure out what that actually means, the public may be in for a change.

The National Weather Service's (NWS) Hazards Simplication (Haz Simp) Project is taking a look at ways to reduce confusion and organize its messages.

On Thursday, the NWS said it's now gathering feedback on the proposed changes, which would revamp its current Watch, Warning and Advisory (WWA) system.

ARIZONA WILDFIRES RAGE AS BLAZE NORTHEAST OF PHOENIX SPURS EVACUATIONS, 2 OTHER FIRES GROW

Currently, the three terms are used to alert the public to hazardous weather, with "watch" meaning a significant event is possible, "warning" meaning a significant event is happening and "advisory" meaning a less significant event is about to happen or currently happening.

With weather hazards that don't meet those three criteria, a "special weather statement" is also used.

After decades of using the WWA system, forecasters have found from research done in the past several years that many in the public misunderstand those terms.

The proposed new system would drop the current "advisory," "special weather statement," and "short-term forecast."

GERMAN POLITICIAN DIES AFTER STRUCK BY LIGHTNING WHILE TAKING REPORTED BATHROOM BREAK

"In their place, we would use plain language statements to convey information for less significant events that aren't reaching either the “Watch” or “Warning” levels," according to an NWS factsheet.

Proposed changes from the National Weather Service would drop "advisories" and "special weather statements," only focusing on "watch" and "warning" type messages for major events.

Proposed changes from the National Weather Service would drop "advisories" and "special weather statements," only focusing on "watch" and "warning" type messages for major events. (NWS)

An example of this would be for what is now known as a winter weather advisory. The proposed changes would convey the simple message of light snow accumulation.

Proposed changes from the National Weather Service would drop "advisories" and instead use plain language statements for weather events.

Proposed changes from the National Weather Service would drop "advisories" and instead use plain language statements for weather events. (NWS)

Part of what motivated the change is that an advisory is often confused with a watch, even though they mean two different things.

The proposed new system will only have two primary headline terms, "watch" and "warning."

CLICK HERE FOR MORE WEATHER COVERAGE FROM FOX NEWS

Officials are now asking for comments and feedback on the proposed changes, with an online survey that runs until Aug. 21.

"This proposal is a major project milestone, but time will be needed to adjust software and policy, and to provide outreach and forecaster training, before we would implement any changes," the NWS said.