The First West Texas and southeast New Mexico Integrated Warning Team Workshop
On February 26, the National Weather Service in Midland led the first ever West Texas and southeast New Mexico Integrated Warning Team (IWT) workshop. This half day event, held at the Region 18 Educational Support Center, was the culmination of 9 months of planning by NWS Midland staff members, local area emergency management officials, and media partners. A special thank you goes out to all our partners who helped plan and attend the first IWT in our area! We also want to thank the Region 18 Educational Support Center for being incredible hosts for this event, and for being terrific partners to the National Weather Service.
A total of 125 people were in attendance, including representatives from the Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, and San Angelo NWS offices. The workshop brought together a widely varied audience of local, regional, and state emergency management representatives, educators from area independent school districts, elected officials, congressional liaisons, local media partners, PIOs from various agencies, local 9-1-1 supervisors, state health officials, social science researchers, and an array of emergency responders from the WFO Midland’s 26 county area.
The workshop focused on the role of the Integrated Warning Team (IWT) as it relates to protecting our communities, and the importance of communication between all members of the IWT during both weather and non-weather related emergencies. Researchers from Texas Tech University discussed the recent Joplin, Mo. and Tuscaloosa, Al. tornados and presented their findings on what prompted people to protect themselves in advance of these violent storms. A media panel comprised of meteorologists from all area television stations gave IWT participants the opportunity to learn more about how on-air weather professionals work with the National Weather Service, and what actions are taken during severe weather events. A local weather scenario helped better define IWT member roles and actions that are taken during severe weather, and the workshop concluded with a state representative from the Texas Department of
Emergency Management discussing how social media can benefit all our agencies in emergency situations. The IWT workshop was extremely well received by those in attendance and represents an important step in strengthening partnerships of all those involved in protecting the residents of West Texas and southeast New Mexico.