WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — This upgrade comes after many crashes, leaving users unable to attain essential information regarding tornado warnings and other severe weather information. This hindered meteorologists and forecasters from cautioning the public during severe weather due to the lack of information. The ArkLaMiss utilizes a total of three NWS stations, it is very important that we have the means to communicate with all of them.

The previous communication portal, NWSChat, was a nightmare to use, especially during a time of heightened weather activity. First, it was difficult to log into the platform. Second, if someone was lucky enough to log in, the person using it may not be allowed into the region-specific server for the area being forecasted for. Lastly, if allowed to join the server, it was not uncommon to be kicked out of the server or for the platform itself to crash.

It is critical for meteorologists, emergency management, broadcasters, and those involved with public safety to have reliable information in a timely manner. Without a way to communicate effectively, information such as a tornado confirmation and flooded streets will not be accessible.

The National Weather Service has upgraded its chat service to improve its reliability, security, and expand overall functionality. After careful deliberation of a few digital messaging tools, Slack, the collaboration platform, was selected for a pilot demonstration.

Over the past year, the demonstration proved to be successful. On July 12, 2022, NWS signed the contract to use Slack as the next NWSChat service. This communication platform will allow NWS forecasters to discuss and share important information with others during high-impact weather situations.