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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Message content order makes a difference for readability

WEA issued 9/5/2023

When we stumbled across this WEA on pbs.warn, the thing that popped out was the idea of an "over wall moving southeast." It took a while, and some sleuthing, to figure out that "wall" is a town southeast of San Angelo and the message was trying to communicate that a thunderstorm was moving in that direction. Phew! Messages can be so confusing!

We provided some edits to try to improve the clarity of this message. First, we included the name of the organization sending the message, which was missing from the original WEA. Next, we identified the threat in the location that it was spotted and the direction it was moving. We took from the original message the information about the potential impacts and provided some clear instruction on the actions a person should take to protect themselves. We also used ALL CAPS to call attention to the threat and the recommended actions. And finally we offered a URL for more information, which could be directed to the website or social media of the sender, or, in this case, the NWS webpage that could provide updated information.

Notably, this warning went out to a very large area (all of San Angelo, plus the little town of Wall) and there was no NWS warning issued for the event. Some practice on polygons and some coordination with the authorized sender (NWS) would improve this alert even more.


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