The Severe Weather Forecasting Programme (SWFP) aims to strengthen the capacity of WMO Members to deliver improved forecasts and warnings of severe weather in order to save lives and livelihoods and protect property and infrastructure. Further, SWFP, in collaboration with Public Weather Services Programme (PWS), also focuses on developing capacity for impact-based forecasts and warning services for improved decision-making. Impact-based warnings provide information on what the weather will do in addition to what it will be - the potential impacts of forecast weather on users and stakeholders. The capacity development work of the SWFP targets National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in developing countries, least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Territories.
The Programme was preceded by the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP), which launched in 2006. SWFDP was initiated to make the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) products, including Ensemble Prediction System (EPS) products, of the most advanced Global Data-Processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS) Centres available to all WMO Members. Using a Cascading Forecasting Process, the Project made global-scale products available to Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMC) that integrate and synthesize them in order to provide daily guidance for short-range and medium-range forecasts of hazardous weather conditions and weather related hazards to NMHSs in their geographical region. The limited bandwidth of many of the receiving NMHSs is taken into account – they receive products that they can easily download/visualize. Thus, NMHSs are enabled to issue effective severe weather warnings to disaster management and civil protection authorities in their respective countries. Because NMHSs in a geographical region typically need similar products, the SWFDP made efficiency gains by coordinating their requirements.The Eighteenth Session of the World Meteorological Congress in June 2019 (through its Resolution 15) removed the "Demonstration" designation to refer to it as the Severe Weather Forecasting Programme (SWFP) in consideration of the fact that Project had demonstrated the capability of the cascading forecasting process.
Currently, SWFP covers over 75 developing countries in eight sub-regions with contributions from GDPFS centres and support from development partners and donors: