Virtual Office Tour - Emergency Communications

Several communication systems are in place to support special communications of emergency information to our customers. Our primary contacts for dissemination of severe weather information are the State Warning Points for Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and the various County Emergency Managers. These officials then ensure that other state and county agencies and the public are informed of the weather hazard. Forecaster Kelly Godsey is pictured below manning our emergency communications and coordination workstation.

A picture of the emergency communications and coordination workstation at NWS Tallahassee.

This workstation is manned by an extra meteorologist during severe weather or tropical events. This individual, often one of our managers, fosters communication of critical information between the warning forecasters (pictured at other workstations) and our first responders in the emergency management and media communities. One of the four screens behind Kelly is dedicated to a chat room that we use to communicate with local media outlets, both television and radio. The handset that Kelly is using is a satellite-based phone system called Southern Linc that we use to communicate with our Alabama county energency managers. Some Georgia EMs are also using the system now. There are two light-colored telephones in the foreground. One of these is the Hurricane Hotline. This hotline is administered by NOAA and is used as our primary internal coordination tool during Hurricane Season. This system allows forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami to coordinate their forecasts, watches and warnings with the many NWS Forecast offices that may be impacted by any given tropical storm or hurricane. Regional and national forecast centers such as the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC), as well as forecasters at our East Coast Naval bases, and representatives from the Dept. of Homeland Security participate in these conference calls. The nearest light colored phone in the picture connects us to the National Warning System, or NAWAS. NAWAS is a communications system administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is used solely for emergency communications between government agencies. NAWAS is the system used by many NWS offices to contact their various state emergency management agencies. The black telephone in the rear left of the cubicle is called ESATCOM. ESATCOM is a simplex satellite system that allows us to communicate severe weather information to our Florida counties.

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