NWS replacing “Advisory” alerts with more common language; public comment sought

The National Weather Service is asking the public for comments on options for using plain language headlines for hazard notifications. 

According to their survey, the National Weather Service (NWS) says that they are looking to switch away from the currently used “Watch”, “Warning”, and “Advisory” headlines for its messaging when such weather or flood conditions occur. 

They say that social science research has indicated that the “Advisory” headline is very misunderstood and is often confused with the “Watch” headline. 

Based on this research and feedback from NWS partners, the have decided to discontinue the “Advisory” headline in favor of plain language. 

Currently, the NWS uses the following method:  

Watch: Issued when a life- and/or property-threatening event is possible but not yet certain

     Example:  “…Winter Storm Watch in effect from 3PM EDT to 11PM EDT…”

Warning: Issued when a life- and/or property-threatening event is happening or about to happen 

     Example:  “…High Wind Warning in effect from 8AM CDT Saturday to 3PM CDT Sunday…”

Advisory: Issued when an event less serious than a Warning is happening or about to happen

     Example:  “…Heat Advisory in effect from 6AM MDT to 1PM MDT…”

The agency has designed a number of plain language headline options that could be used in place of the “Advisory” headline. 


They are now asking for public comment on these options. 

Officials are proposing three options to replace the Advisory headline language. 

All current “Advisory” headlines will transition to plain language headlines that clearly describe the weather or flood event. 

“Watch” and “Warning” headlines will remain as they are today. 

This change will not be made before 2024. 

They are seeking feedback on how to change their advisories to be easily understood by the general public.

This survey will be open until July 31.

NWS Hazard Simplification: Plain Language Messaging Options Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HazSimp21