The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a statement today saying it has commissioned a team to assess National Weather Service performance leading up to and during “Hurricane/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy.”

This announcement comes in the wake of criticism of NWS by many in the weather community for terminating an initial review of its performance by a team that would have included non-governmental leadership and representation, and for not issuing Hurricane Watches and Warnings during the storm.

See our recent post for more on the NWS-Sandy controversies, and read the NOAA statement below...

On behalf of the NOAA Deputy Under Secretary for Operations, below is a statement on the forthcoming NOAA service assessment on Sandy:

NOAA has commissioned a team to assess the performance of the National Weather Service during Hurricane/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy.

It is a multi-disciplinary team that includes two social scientists and 10 experts from across NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members of the team who work for the National Weather Service were chosen from around the country and did not forecast Sandy. This allows for an impartial and unbiased review.

The team leader is a scientist with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service who has extensive management and team lead experience. He will oversee all field work, the development of findings and recommendations, and the drafting of the assessment report.

The team will focus on three main areas: the philosophies and policies behind the forecast and the weather watch and warning products and how they are communicated; how storm surge products are produced and issued from multiple NOAA Line Offices; and the web presence as a tool for communicating with the public.

The team will deliver a concise report that identifies facts, findings, and best practices, and it will make recommendations for process changes and service improvements that can be made within six months. The team will start work this month and will begin its field work on January 6. Interim findings are due to NOAA leadership in the spring, with the final report due shortly thereafter.

I look forward to the findings and any recommended ways the National Weather Service can do an even better job to protect life and property through timely and accurate forecasts.

Dr. David Titley

NOAA Deputy Under Secretary for Operations