Changes coming to the National Weather Service alert system

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - The next time you get a winter weather advisory, that could mean lake effect snow, or oncoming freezing rain, all because of a plan to simplify by the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

News 8 sent Meteorologist James Gilbert to its headquarters to ask why, and if this will really help.

A national change on how you get your weather information in the winter means that the NWS should give you simpler notifications about what to expect.

There's one major problem with the watch, warning and advisory warning system in Buffalo. 

"We've had so many different types of products," said Meteorologist Dave Zaff. "Overwhelmingly, the public wanted us to simplify our products."

Their answer?

The number of winter alerts have been cut nearly in half, so you can say goodbye to the blizzard watch. They're also breaking down what, where, and when we can expect the worst of it. 

But what does that mean for the consumer? We asked how people feel about that National Weather Service alert.

"It does give us a heads up," said Guy Lewis, who has lived in Rochester all his life. "In all honesty, I don't necessarily read them all the way through."

He says overall, more information is a good thing, but Rochester could benefit from simplification. 

"I don't think it would hurt too bad, especially in Rochester where we're pretty much prepared for everything," Lewis said. 

Just as the employees in Buffalo feel about going into the winter with a new toolbox, no matter the storm, the same goal is in mind. 

"If we need to issue a warning to protect life and property, that's what we'll do. It doesn't matter what it's called," said Zaff.

The new plan is already in effect across the United States. 


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