Overview: IS-271.A course was published on 10/31/2013 to address topics covered in the multi-day Hazardous Weather and Flood Preparedness course offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS). The module also complements other onsite courses by those agencies.
Primary audience: IS-271.A is for Emergency Managers. This course is on a non-federal government website operated by the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET).
FEMA IS-271.A test answers
Each time this test is loaded, you will receive a unique set of questions and answers. The test questions are scrambled to protect the integrity of the exam.
Question 1. You read in the forecast for today that strong westerly winds are expected. This means that the winds will blow from the west toward the east.
Question 2. A Tornado Watch has been issued for your county through 11 p.m. this evening. Which of the following is the best source to make sure you have the earliest possible information about any Tornado Warnings issued for your area?
A. Local Weather Forecast Office
B. Your citizen network
C. Local broadcast media
D. Storm Prediction Center✅
Question 3. True or False: A Tornado Watch has been issued for your county for the next three hours. One of the actions to take is to follow your Emergency Operations Plan’s guidance on when it might be time to activate spotter groups.
Question 4. Your threats analysis should include analyzing the vulnerabilities of power generation, water, and sewage treatment facilities.
Question 5. A Watch means that:
A. A hazardous weather event is imminent or occurring
B. There is an increased risk of hazardous weather✅
C. Citizens should look for and take shelter immediately
D. A severe weather event has occurred in a nearby county
Question 6. An example of an indirect weather observation system is:
Question 7. Which of the following is included in a National Weather Service Area Forecast Discussion product?
A. 10-14 day forecast
B. Temperature probability graphics
C. Forecaster reasoning
D. Radar imagery✅
Question 8. In two days your community is hosting the State baseball championship and expecting record crowds. The Day 2 Convective Outlook indicates your area could have severe weather on game day. As an emergency manager, you should:
A. Continue to monitor the forecast products and coordinate with the Weather Forecast Office
B. Discuss the situation with event organizers and suggest they review their safety plans for severe weather
C. Inform public safety agencies in your community about the severe weather potential
D. All of the above✅
Question 9. A train has derailed in your community, resulting in a hazardous materials release. Resources available to you from the National Weather Service include all EXCEPT:
A. Customized wind forecasts to help determine areas that might be impacted
B. Anticipated health impacts of the hazardous substances✅
C. Incident meteorologists who can monitor conditions and provide ‘spot’ forecasts
D. Dispersion modeling to determine how the materials will be transported
Question 10. Forecasting precipitation type (rain, snow, sleet, ice) is difficult because:
A. it requires knowing the type and location of cloud nuclei in the atmosphere
B. it requires knowing the depth of the moist and dry layers in the atmosphere
C. the lifting process determines the precipitation type that is possible
D. it requires knowing the depth of the melting and freezing layers in the atmosphere✅
Question 11. Who issues Tornado Watches?
A. Convective Weather Prediction Center
B. Private sector weather providers
C. Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
D. Storm Prediction Center✅
Question 12. When a life-threatening weather situation is occurring or is imminent, who has the responsibility to activate the local warning sirens within a jurisdiction?
A. The National Weather Service
B. The local governmental jurisdiction✅
C. State emergency management officials
D. An elected member of the city council
Question 13. What should the word ‘convection’ in a forecast discussion alert you to as an emergency manager?
A. Upward-moving air with the potential for storms to form✅
B. An inversion in which air moves upward very rapidly
C. A cold, sinking air mass causing potential heavy precipitation
D. Several days of overcast skies and continual rain or snowfall
Question 14. Tornadoes are small, short-lived storms formed on the:
A. synoptic scale
Question 15. You have just arrived at the office this morning. What is the best source for quickly determining the potential for severe thunderstorms today?
A. Check the local Weather Forecast Office hourly storm summary✅
B. Consult a farmer’s almanac for today’s forecast
C. Check the Convective Day 1 Outlook
D. Check in with your Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Question 16. You are the emergency manager in Applegate, a community located alongside a stream called Big Creek. Six miles to your northeast, near the headwaters of the creek, is a community called Bunker Hill. Your local weather forecast office has just issued this Special Weather Statement: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR HAS INDICATED A THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING PENNY SIZE HAIL. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 3 MILES NORTH NORTHWEST OF BUNKER HILL…MOVING SOUTH AT 5 MPH. Should you anticipate any potential hazards from this storm?
A. Yes; the slow-moving storm could cause flooding along Big Creek, including in creekside areas of Applegate✅
B. Yes; the storm is headed directly to Applegate and significant hail damage should be expected
C. No; penny size hail does not qualify the storm as ‘severe’ so effects are expected to be minimal in Applegate
D. No; based on the direction of travel this round of storminess will not affect my area
Question 17. True or False. NOAA Weather Radio with SAME technology is programmable to sound alerts for hazards in your specific area, can be heard almost everywhere in the country, and can be relied on even if there is a power outage at your home or business.
Question 18. Good warning messages for the public should:
A. Avoid mentioning possible consequences that may cause people to panic
B. Explain the possible consequences if the instructions are not followed✅
Question 19. Uncertainties in forecasts are primarily due to which of the following?
A. Meteorologists are not paying close enough attention to the evolving weather situation
B. The overnight model forecasts are poor so meteorologists must use their own best judgment
C. Atmospheric processes are very complex, posing difficulties for both models and forecasters✅
D. A large number of observations input to the models means that guidance might be delayed
Question 20. Severe weather season is around the corner. You would like to begin some public awareness efforts, as well as make sure your spotters are trained and organized. Who in the National Weather Service should you call to work with you on these activities?
A. Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM)✅
B. No one; both of these tasks are your responsibilities
C. Science and Operations Officer (SOO)
D. Lead Duty Forecaster
Question 21. Who is authorized to initiate official watches and warnings?
A. The National Weather Service✅
B. Registered private weather information vendor
C. Certified broadcast meteorologist using Doppler radar
D. All of the above
Question 22. Your Warning Partnership includes your local National Weather Service Forecast Office, you, and all of the following EXCEPT:
A. The media
B. Weather spotters
C. Police and emergency responders
D. Emergency Management Institute (EMI)✅
Question 23. Your local Weather Forecast Office has just issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the western part of the county to your north. The system is moving to the southeast. What should you do?
A. No action is required; the storm is not in my county
B. Monitor the storm’s movement and prepare accordingly✅
C. Dispatch spotter groups to the adjacent county
D. Monitor stream gauges for increased runoff from storms upstream
Question 24. Advisories are issued:
A. For situations with high potential for flooding
B. When the threat or hazard is expected to impact a sparsely populated area
C. For threats that are likely to occur a few hours or more in the future✅
D. For threats that are dangerous but that might not be life-threatening
Question 25. True or False: Geography is not a factor in assessing community risk.
Question 26. Which is a method that local Emergency Operations Centers can implement to improve coordination with partners prior to a hazardous event?
A. Hold topic-focused conference calls and webinars
B. Conduct drills to practice coordination and test response
C. Develop hazards plans for any threats to your community
D. All of the above✅
Question 27. After a winter of above-average snowfall, temperatures in your area have been moderate and rainfall has been near average. On April 10, you find this phrase in the Hazardous Weather Outlook from your local forecast office: UPPER-LEVEL DISTURBANCES WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE NORTHEAST ACROSS THE REGION TODAY. THESE FEATURES WILL INTERACT WITH A MOIST AIRMASS TO GENERATE NUMEROUS SHOWERS WITH LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL. What is the most likely hazard that you should be alert to?
A. Tornadic winds
B. Potential flooding✅
C. Lightning-generated fires
D. Severe storms with hail
Question 28. If a community has warning sirens, other communication methods will not be necessary.
Question 29. It is July 16 and the Area Forecast Discussion you are reading mentions that instability is high. Starting this morning and through the afternoon, your community is hosting a large art festival in an open park along the river. Which of the following represents an immediate action to take as you prepare for the day?
A. Have organizers order extra tents for protection from wind and rain
B. Evacuate people from the park vicinity
C. Alert festival organizers of the potential for thunderstorms later today✅
D. Let organizers know they should reschedule the event for a different week
Question 30. The Zone Forecast mentions: “CHANCE OF RAIN 60 PERCENT.” The correct way to interpret the forecast is:
A. Sixty percent of the forecast area will receive rain and 40% will be dry
B. Sixty percent of the towns and cities in the zone will receive rain
C. Rain is likely to fall for 60% (or 14 hours) of a 24-hour period
D. A given point in the forecast area has a 60% chance of receiving rain✅
Question 31. Suppose you are the emergency manager for the small community of Lake Isabella, California Yesterday was the third consecutive day of near record-high temperatures and today’s Area Forecast Discussion contains this phrase: CONTINUED WARM TEMPERATURES AND VERY LOW HUMIDITY TODAY AND WEDNESDAY WITH POOR TO NO OVERNIGHT RECOVERY OF HUMIDITY. NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS WILL LIKELY BE GUSTING OVER 35 MPH… What is the primary hazard you should be aware of for your community?
A. Damaging winds causing power outages
B. Onset of a drought period
C. Development of convective storms
D. Increased wildland fire danger✅
Question 32. Long-range forecast products tend to be as accurate as short-range ones.
Question 33. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for your metropolitan area. Snow accumulation is expected to begin between 3 and 4 p.m. and continue through the evening. What action do you take?
A. No action is required; an Advisory does not indicate a severe event
B. Put the Emergency Operations Center on full alert to deal with traffic accidents and delays
C. Refer to your Hazards Plan for snow events impacting rush hour in your area✅
D. Immediately scramble snow removal equipment to clear roads for the evening commute
Question 34. The components that determine the difference between an inconvenient weather situation and one that is hazardous are:
A. Event type
B. Event severity
C. Community vulnerability
D. All of the above✅
Question 35. During a rain event, you observe heavy, wind-driven rain for 30 minutes. The dispatch center has received calls about small stream flooding on the southern edge of your community. You report this flooding to the Weather Forecast Office. They will use the information to:
A. input data into weather prediction models.
B. deploy an Incident Meteorologist to verify conditions.
C. map the areas that should be evacuated.
D. refine their forecast to alert others in the storm’s path.✅
Question 36. Which of the following is NOT a consideration for a threats analysis?
A. Distance to nearest weather forecast office✅
B. Locations of special needs populations
C. Frequency of hazardous weather
D. Severity of past and anticipated weather events
Question 37. In order from lowest urgency to highest, which sequence properly ranks the product categories issued by the National Weather Service? Note that not all product categories are issued for all hazard types.
A. Watch, Advisory, Outlook, Warning
B. Outlook, Watch, Advisory, Warning✅
C. Outlook, Advisory, Watch, Warning
D. Advisory, Outlook, Watch, Warning
Question 38. Methods for receiving the most recent hazardous weather information and current updates directly from your local Weather Forecast Office (WFO) include all EXCEPT which of the following?
A. EMWIN or other message broadcast systems
B. NWSChat, phone calls, phone alerts
C. NOAA Weather Radio
D. Local broadcast media✅
Question 39. The Forecast Discussion says “A WEAK PRESSURE GRADIENT IS EXPECTED TO PERSIST, KEEPING RAIN OVER THE AREA FOR SEVERAL DAYS.” From a preparedness point of view, this phrase suggests that:
A. You should be ready to respond to downed power lines, etc.
B. You should stay alert for potential flooding✅
C. You should be alert for severe storm development
D. There is nothing weather-related to concern you
Question 40. Today’s Area Forecast Discussion for your municipality north of Canton contains this phrase: AN AREA OF ENHANCED LIFT IN THE 850MB-700MB LAYER CONTINUES TO AFFECT LOCATIONS NORTH AND WEST OF A CANTON TO TOLUCA LINE. TO THE SOUTH SKIES WERE PARTLY CLOUDY WITH EARLY AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES RISING INTO THE MID/UPPER 70S. As an emergency manager, what might you be concerned about based on the word ‘lift’?
A. Long-duration stratiform rain showers
B. Convective storms, precipitation, instability✅
C. Warmer air aloft with cooler air near the surface
D. Debris lofted by tornadoes
Question 41. Condensation is a process that can lead to precipitation, flooding, and storm development. Condensation can occur and begin providing the fuel for severe weather when:
A. the probability of precipitation equals 100%.
B. the dewpoint temperature equals the air temperature.✅
C. the dewpoint temperature is significantly less than the air temperature.
D. the dewpoint temperature is warmer than the surrounding air temperature.
Question 42. True or False: The latest hurricane intensity forecast indicates a 20% probability for a Category 2 storm, 39% probability for a Category 3 storm, and 28% probability for a Category 4 storm tomorrow afternoon as it approaches your area. Guidance for working with probabilities would suggest that you anticipate the worst-case scenario by preparing for a Category 5 event.
Question 43. Today’s Hazardous Weather Outlook refers to an inversion that is likely to break after 10:00 am. What conditions might you expect while the inversion persists?
A. Skies will be cloud-free increasing visibilities
B. Strong thunderstorms could result
C. Any particulate matter near the surface will quickly disperse
D. Fog could be present in low-lying areas✅
Question 44. You are working on a threat analysis for your community. Which of the following would be considered a variable environmental factor?
A. soil saturation✅
B. Locations of dams
C. Soil type
D. Locations of mountains or hills
Question 45. It has been an above-average snowy winter in your riverside agricultural community in the upper Midwest. On a cloudy day in early spring, you find this phrase in the Area Forecast Discussion: RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS WILL PERSIST ACROSS THE FORECAST AREA OVER THE NEXT COUPLE DAYS. SOME LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITH TEMPERATURES REMAINING IN THE LOWER 30S. TEMPERATURES WILL RECOVER RAPIDLY OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS…INTO THE 50S BY SATURDAY. What weather hazard might you need to prepare for in your community?
A. Severe thunderstorms associated with warmer temperatures
B. Late-season winter storms
C. Continued dramatic temperature changes
D. Flooding due to ice jams✅
Question 46. What factors should you account for when doing a threat analysis for your community?
A. What weather events are likely and at what time of year
B. Percentage of population and property likely to be affected
C. Expected impacts of the hazard on critical infrastructure
D. All of the above
Question 47. The forecast product you read on August 30 mentions that a cold front with instability along the frontal boundary will be moving through your locality in northern Iowa. The weather event you are likely to be most concerned about during this frontal passage is:
A. A severe thunderstorm with possible hail
B. Early season snowfall accumulating on a tree limb
C. Steady precipitation and potential flooding✅
D. A freeze affecting vulnerable plants and agriculture
Question 48. As an emergency manager, what are your four primary roles in planning for and acting during periods of hazardous weather?
A. Detect, Forecast, Alleviate, Recover
B. Prepare, Act, Recover, Respond
C. Mitigate, Prepare, Respond, Recover✅
D. Prepare, Defend, Recover, Respond