SR/SSD 99-8

4-1-99

Technical Attachment

NCEP CRITICAL WEATHER DAY (CWD) PROCEDURES


NCEP POINT OF CONTACT: Senior Duty Meteorologist (SDM) at PH.: (301)763-8298; FAX (301)763-8592; or e-mail: SDM@noaa.gov.

PURPOSE: The NCEP declaration of a Critical Weather Day (CWD) will ensure that the computer, communications, and personnel resources of the NCEP are directed toward production and delivery of essential forecast products. This policy will minimize the chance of delay in the delivery of NCEP products and services to NCEP customers.

DEFINITION: A critical weather event is defined as any of the following occurring on/near the coast of or within the United States and its territories (including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam):

1. A widespread tornado outbreak;

2. A storm system causing a major precipitation event;

3. A severe cold-season storm affecting a large area with widespread heavy snow, freezing rain, or blizzard conditions; or

4. A tropical system threatening the coastline or producing excessive rainfall after moving inland.

INITIATION: The requests to declare a CWD may come from the Regional Directors, any NCEP Director, any NCEP Lead Forecaster, or the NCEP Central operations (NCO) SDM. These requests will be coordinated by the SDM with the requestor and other appropriate NCEP Centers.

DECLARATION: A CWD will be declared by the SDM based on the potential, or existence of, a critical weather event as defined above. At the time of declaration, the SDM will determine the CWD starting time and duration.

NOTIFICATION: SDM will notify the offices listed below. When a CWD is extended or terminated, the same group will be contacted.

1. NCEP Central Computing Facility (NCCF) Shift Supervisor

2. NCO On-Gall Senior Production Analyst (SPA)

3. NCEP Lead Forecasters

4. NWS Telecommunications Gateway (NWSTG) Crew Supervisor

5. NWS OSO Systems Monitoring and Coordination Center (SMCC)

6. NWS NCF operations in SSMC2

7. NCEP Users Support Services Branch (USSB)

8. NESDIS Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC)

9. NESDIS/OSDPD Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) Shift Supervisor

10. Employees of the World Weather Building, through an announcement made at least once per day during normal working hours, when the CWD is in effect.

11. During administrative hours, NCO Director or Deputy and NCEP Director or Chief Operations Officer.

12. GSA Customer Service Representative at FB4

NCEP CENTRAL OPERATIONS (NCO): During a CWD, the NCO Director or Deputy will normally determine that NCEP computer activities will be curtailed to meet the operational schedule. On a case-by-case basis, the SDM will have the authority to permit changes, tests, and outages, if a greater risk is created by not completing these. The SDM will attempt to assess the chance of a CWD and advise the NCO Production management Branch, the User Support Services Branch and NWSTG of a potential CWD 24 hours prior to scheduled system changes. If a CWD is declared, the following will normally be done:

1. Operational implementations will be postponed1;

2. Systems tests and changes involving the NCO computers, workstations, servers, networking and/or communications facilities will be postponed if they have the potential for adversely effecting operations; and

3. NWSTG will be requested to postpone tests and changes to their communications facilities.

Other actions that may be taken:

1. Non-operational checkout jobs and parallel development runs may be curtailed and

2. Planned systems outages by GSA or other facility contractors may be postponed2.

NOTES:

1The normal days for scheduled computer software changes are Monday through Thursday.

2Scheduling of the outages should be made with the concurrence of the SDM and as far in advance as possible. Planning will include the establishment of a mutually agreeable time beyond which cancellation will be very difficult. The ability to cancel a scheduled outage will be taken into account when declaring a CWD.