UA to Host Workshop on Severe Weather Warning Process

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Center for Advanced Public Safety, or CAPS, at The University of Alabama will host a weather research workshop July 10 to present and evaluate research and applications aimed at enhancing the severe weather warning process.

The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University’s South Engineering Research Center, room 2036.

Weather enterprise partners, a series of local and regional networks of weather professionals operating to disseminate severe weather warnings to the public, will participate in the conference. They include meteorologists from the National Weather Service and broadcast media, emergency managers and other emergency planning professionals, along with UA faculty.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox opens the conference, and other speakers scheduled include James Spann, chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40; Dr. Vankita Brown, social scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Beau Elliot, project area manager for CAPS; Dr. Laura Myers, senior research social scientist at CAPS; and Chris Sims, programmer and senior analyst for CAPS.

“These networks are constantly looking for better ways and methods to prepare the public for severe weather events,” Myers said. “This workshop is intended to integrate the expertise and knowledge of these professionals in the development of applications and research that would meet those needs.”

UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety, part of the computer science department in the College of Engineering, uses leading edge information technologies to offer products and specialized software development services in a variety of areas including public and transportation safety, health care and social services

Based on research of post-disaster human behavior, the severe weather warning applications to be discussed are intended to minimize the public impact of severe weather. Research concerning modifications to warning communication, hazard education language and public hazard education will also be discussed.

The goal of the workshop is for the participants to form a coalition responsible for providing feedback for the presented research, which will be useful for future research and warning applications. The objective is to develop and complete research and applications that meet the needs of emergency planners, meteorologists, emergency managers, first responders and others, including the public, to enhance the severe weather warning process.

CAPS hopes to develop partnerships between the weather enterprise networks in the Southeast region and other sectors of the nation. These partnerships and the development of a severe weather warning coalition will direct CAPS and other UA departments in the development of applied technologies and research that will serve the needs of these partners in enhancing the severe weather warning process.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,900 students and more than 110 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Mitchell, Portz and Truman scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,; Judah Martin, engineering student writer,