Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 May 2000



(2000), "SEVERE WEATHER", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 9 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited


The National Weather Service (NWS) Web site


The National Weather Service (NWS) Web site is a trove of severe weather information and data. It not only includes information on current conditions, but also encompasses IWIN - the Interactive Weather Information Network, which shows currently active severe weather warnings; EMWIN - the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network; flood and hurricane information; natural hazard statistics; drought information; and much more.

For example, after major meteorological disasters in the US, the NWS Office of Meteorology (OM) conducts "service assessments" to evaluate how the NWS performed in that disaster. These assessments offer information not only about the NWS, but also about the events themselves.

Thus, they can provide useful information to hazards researchers, planners, and managers. The latest assessment examines the intense tornado outbreak of 3 May in Oklahoma and Kansas, which consisted of about 70 tornadoes, including the devastating FS vortex that struck Oklahoma City.

The complete list of assessments is available online at the second URL above. They can also be ordered free by contacting the National Weather Service Headquarters, attention of: Publications, 1325 East West Highway, SSMC2, Room 14408, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 713-0090, ext.118.

Additional assessments are available from the NWS Office of Hydrology Natural Disaster Assessment. Web site:

Ice Storm '98

This is the Web site for the Ice Storm '98 Project at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The project consisted of an exhaustive examination of the ice storm that occurred in eastern Canada and in New York and the New England states in January 1998. In addition to photographs, the site offers over 200 interviews with emergency responders and volunteers who were involved in the restoration effort. A number of post-storm reports are also available, including several from the USA. The project welcomes comments and inquiries. Interested persons should contact: Wayne Smith, Project Manager, Ice Storm '98 Analysis, Department of Political Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6; e-mail:

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

Via this Web page, the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) now provides a "Resource Listing for Weather and Climate Instruction". The document was developed to assist those who teach weather and climate at any educational level by listing some of the available instructional resources. It includes sections entitled "Career Guidance", "General Instruction", "Audio-visual", "Print", "Instruments/Equipment", "Software", "Data Sources", "Professional Organisations", and "Additional Resource Contacts", as well as a list of abbreviations and acronyms.

National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (ESIG)

It is hard to keep up with the Web spinners at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (ESIG). Last month, at the address above, they added yet another page to the "Societal Aspects of Weather" Web site. Dedicated to "weather policy", the page provides a centralised source of information on policies for weather research and decision making. The authors welcome feedback and suggestions for additions. Beyond that new page, the Web masters at NCAR have updated the Societal Aspects of Weather site with a dedicated search engine, additional new content, and pages reorganised according to frequency of use.

Wind Engineering Library at Texas Tech University

The holdings of the Wind Engineering Library at Texas Tech University are now searchable online. The database covers more than 4,500 articles and incorporates a simple system for searching the catalogue. The site also enables users to quickly determine the availability of items.

National Geographic Society

On its Web site, the National Geographic Society offers a section called "Info Central", which they describe as a mini-encyclopaedia. It includes a "Fact Guide", "Answer Guide", and "Web Guide". In turn the Web Guide's Science and Nature Section offers a catalogue of Web sites that address "weather, natural hazards, and disasters".

The extensive list covers various types of hazards, as well as such things as "K-12 education", "disaster preparedness", "disaster response", and "organisations and contacts".

Weather Channel Web site weatherlencyclopedia

While monitoring Hurricane Floyd on the Web, we noticed this interesting corner of the Weather Channel Web site - their "Storm encyclopaedia home page", which includes sections on flooding, heat waves, hurricanes and tropical systems, severe thunderstorms (including lightning and hail), tornadoes, and winter storms.

Each section provides information about the given physical phenomenon, historical highlights, concomitant risks, human preparedness and response, and other aspects of these meteorological hazards.

The Environmental Defence Fund (EDF)

In June, the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) released a report entitled Hot Nights in the City: Global Warming, Sea-Level Rise and the New York Metropolitan Region, by Janine Bloomfield, Molly Smith, and Nicholas Thompson. Available from the URL above in PDF format, the report states that "sea-level rise will contribute to the temporary flooding or permanent inundation of many of New York City's and the region's coastal areas as increased sea levels accentuate the impact of the storms that already strike the region". The study projects both more frequent droughts and increased flooding due to downpours, with consequent increases in heat-related morbidity, respiratory problems, and mosquito-borne diseases. The report concludes by outlining options for dealing with this impending crisis, detailing specific hazards and their potential effects on individual metropolitan New York areas. Paper copies of this 40-page report can be ordered from EDF, 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, for $10.00, postpaid.

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