How testing of new severe weather products is done

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NORMAN, OK. (WHSV) — Researchers are improving the severe weather warning system.

They have been working with National Weather Service Forecasters, emergency managers and now broadcasters to test new ways of communicating and alert of severe weather.

"Essentially, when our broadcaster comes in, we throw them in a studio environment, we put a microphone on them, we have a camera, and we put the severe weather in front of them with the new warning product and we ask them, just do your job, make your decisions," said Holly Obermeier, a lead researcher

WHSV's Chief Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz recently attended a training for several days. She said each day was intense as the the teams worked on two severe weather cases a day. They also tested new warnings and alerts on wind, hail, tornadoes and lightning.

Lightning is not part of the severe weather products now, but it soon will be as the different groups are working on how to communicate this information, figuring out what to show, and the best way to show the graphics for the weather consumer.

It's also important for researchers to test these products on broadcasters who do not deal with severe weather as often as those in tornado alley.

Obermeier explained how important it is for meteorologists in non-severe weather areas to experiment with the new information.

"This is a product that has to work for everyone, even in regions who only see severe weather a couple of times a year," said Obermeier.

Researchers are documenting meterologist's reactions and then we go through a series of questions after each case. The next step is to work with the public and then another round of testing next year.