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Midwest Weather Service hereby announces additional product changes fourthcoming to our "Severe Weather Outlooks" and our "Heavy Rainfall Potential" product. More specifically, the existing 4 to 8 day severe weather outlook and the heavy rainfall outlook products will be changing. Comments on our proposed product changes will commence on the 15th of this month (May), and run until 31 July 2015. After the comment period closes, we will go through all comments received. If any of these products are approved, then a debut date will be announced in the "what's new" page.

What follows below is a highlight of the changes being considered:

    1). The extended 4-8 day outlook will be shown with an additional probability level.
    2). The heavy rainfall outlook will feature a 3-tier probablistic levels.

Here is a more descriptive summary of the proposed changes:

The existing 4-8 day severe weather outlook is shown using only one probability contour (20%). No contour was used for higher probabilities. This will change with the addition of a higher probability contour (30%). The current 20% contour will be adjusted to 15%. The existing heavy rainfall outlook only shows an "outlook area" on the graphics. This will change with the addition of a 3-tier probability contours. The probability levels will be 10% (low), 30% (Medium), and 50% (High). As with any proposed changes in existing products, these changes are designed with our clients and the general public in mind. With the additions planned to our longer range severe weather and heavy rainfall outlooks, we expect them to be more user friendly, and foster an increased understanding of the "outright" probability of threat. It should also help streamline awareness and improved communications with the media and other groups/agencies.

Outlook graphics changing too!

The existing graphics on each product likewise, will change. The table below illustrates how the graphics look now, verses how they will change. The left graphic illustrates the existing format, while the right shows the planned changes. The first tier of graphics are of the 4-8 day severe outlook, and the second tier is of the heavy rainfall outlook.

What is currently used
What is being proposed
Current 4-8 day outlook sample
Changed 4-8 day outlook sample
Current heavy rainfall sample
Changed heavy rainfall sample

Here are a few questions we have been asked recently about these changes:

Q-1) You already changed your short term severe weather outlooks recently. Why is it necessary to change the 4-8 day outlook and heavy rainfall outlook?
A) This is all part of a sweeping attempt to improve our forecast products. The existing 4-8 day outlook has been used for the last several years, and we feel it's due for a major upgrade. The new product will contain abit more explicit information and graphics, which should help foster a much better understanding of the severe potential. This will be done using a 2 tier risk probability contour.

Q-2) I see your going to revise the heavy rainfall outlook too. Why is that?
A) As with the 4-8 day severe outlook, this product too, is in line for an overhaul. The existing outlook does not provide sufficient information, and is out of date. Again, all new information and graphics are planned for the new product.

Q-3) We realize products need revisions and updates, but what is the sole reason behind these changes? Is it because the SPC changed their product suite?
A) This seems to be a hot question lately. The answer in simplest fashion is because we want our product suite to be "user-friendly, and easy to find". Products can become outdated after a certain period of time, despite the cosmetic changes or tweaks made along the way. For these reasons, our staff will review the products currently operational every 4 to 5 year period. If changes are necessary, we then make a formal announcement of the planned changes. We want to emphasize here that "we are not changing our products because the SPC changed their products". Our office has no affiliation with that agency.

Q-4) Are their any other products due for any changes?
A) There are currently no other product changes planned for the immediate future, but that is always subject to change. We do have experimental products that are being evaluated now, which could become operational in the near future as well.

If you would like to send us feedback about these proposed outlook changes, just e-mail us! Be sure to mention that you are providing feedback on our outlook changes in the subject area, or it may be discarded.