U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version


Document Type



Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (April 2021) 102(4): E765-E773

doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0249.1


United States government work


According to recent Census data, the Hispanic or Latino population represents nearly 1 in 5 Americans today, where 71.1% of these individuals speak Spanish at home. Despite increased efforts among the weather enterprise, establishing effective risk communication strategies for Spanish-speaking populations has been an uphill battle. No frameworks exist for translating weather information into the Spanish language, nor are there collective solutions that address this problem within the weather world. The objective of this article is threefold. First, the current translation issue in Spanish is highlighted. Through research conducted at the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center, situations are revealed where regional varieties of Spanish contributed to inconsistent risk messaging across the bilingual weather community. Second, existing resources are featured so that interested readers are aware of ongoing efforts to translate weather information into Spanish. Organizations within the weather service, like the NWS Multimedia Assistance in Spanish Team and the NWS Spanish Outreach Team, are highlighted for their pioneer work on Spanish weather communication. Last, a framework for translation standardization in the atmospheric sciences is introduced, along with future initiatives that are being sought by NWS and AMS to enhance Spanish hazardous weather communication.