Weather office brings in new high-alert warning system

2010-09-29 00:00

THE SA Weather Service (SAWS) has introduced an improved severe weather warning system to reduce risks to lives and property due to hazardous weather.

In a statement yesterday, the weather office said the modifications should enable the public and response agencies to act in good time and take steps commensurate with the level of risk associated with the potential hazard.

In future, alert levels will rise from an initial “advisory” to “watch” to “warning” as the certainty of the occurrence of an expected severe weather hazard increases, said Sifiso Ngubane, KZN regional manager for SAWS.

The alert levels will be colour- coded on the warning web page of the weather service.

They are as follows:

•No alert (colour-coded green) indicates that no hazard is expected.

•Advisory (colour-coded yellow) means “be aware”: a potential hazard may occur in the next two to six days. It is intended as a “heads-up” and raises awareness of potentially hazardous conditions.

•Watch (colour-coded amber), means “be prepared”: hazardous weather is likely over the next three days. This level advises the public and response agencies to be prepared as the risk of significant or widespread disruption increases.

•Warning (colour coded red) indicates “take action”: hazardous conditions are occurring, or are about to occur within the next 24 hours. This is the highest alert level and urges the public and response agencies to take appropriate action as significant or widespread disruption is expected with a high level of certainty.

Ngubane said the warnings will be distributed via the media and on the website.

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