Graphical HWO - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the purpose of a graphical hazardous weather outlook?
A: A graphical hazardous weather outlook gives us the chance to communicate threats and threat severity in a way that our existing text hazardous weather outlook does not: visually. While the text outlook allows for greater detail and description in terms of the exact threat type and timing, the graphical outlook allows our customers to better visualize where the greatest threat for any one threat type might occur. We are excited about the opportunity to provide this kind of information to our customers and the public.

Q: How does this affect the "normal" text hazardous weather outlook?
A: The text hazardous weather outlook will be unaffected by the change. We see the graphical HWO and text HWO as complements to each other. We can provide greater detail and description in the text HWO, but the graphical product will give our customers the chance to visualize threats in ways that our text product cannot.

Q: How often is the graphical HWO updated?
A: The graphical HWO is updated along with the regular text HWO. HWO’s are regularly sent out around 5am, 1pm, and 9pm in the fall, winter, and spring months, and at 5am and 1pm in the summer months.

Q: What do the colors mean?
A: Color code information is available by clicking on the thumbnail for the threat type you’re interested in. For example, if you see yellow shading on the thunderstorm threat graphic, you can click that graphic to see what the shade corresponds to.

Q: I have a question that wasn't answered here...and a suggestion for your product. Who should I contact?
A: Send an e-mail to We’ll be happy to listen to any suggestions or answer any questions. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.