The National Weather Service (NWS) mission is defined as the provision of weather forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and the provision of weather information for the Nation's economic well-being. The NWS previously issued and disseminated warnings for tornado, severe thunderstorm, flood and marine hazards using geopolitical boundaries. Realizing the continuing need to improve the specificity and accuracy of warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods and marine hazards, the NWS currently implements Storm-Based Warnings (as of October 1, 2007).
Storm-Based Warnings (threat-based polygon warnings), are essential to effectively warn for severe weather. Storm-Based Warnings show the specific meteorological or hydrological threat area and are not restricted to geopolitical boundaries. By focusing on the true threat area, warning polygons will improve NWS warning accuracy and quality. Storm-Based Warnings will promote improved graphical warning displays, and in partnership with the private sector, support a wider warning distribution through cell phone alerts, pagers, web-enabled Personal Data Assistants (PDA), etc.