MetService, New Zealand's National Meteorological Service, has had a $1.7 million refresh.

Last week a beta version of the new site went live, and MetService is encouraging feedback over the next few months.

The changes include improved Marine, Rural and Mountain and Park sections as well as an interactive map of severe weather watches and warnings.

One of the main changes is an increase in clarity of Severe Weather Warnings on the site.

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It features a new interactive map showing watches and warnings and the introduction of a two-tier land-based warning system.

The two tiers are Orange and Red.

An orange warning is represented by an orange hexagon graphic, indicating weather that meets or exceeds warning criteria.

A Red Warning, represented with a red triangle graphic, is reserved for only the most extreme weather events, when MetService forecasters expect significant impact or disruption.

The new look site can be accessed by going to beta.metservice.com.

The refreshed site will run concurrently to the original website over the coming months.

Metservice.com is one of the most popular New Zealand-based websites, with more than one million pageviews per day. The site provides national weather and marine forecasts for all of Aotearoa, including the Chatham Islands.

As New Zealand's only official provider of Severe Weather Warnings, metservice.com is one of MetService's key channels to alert the public to this safety-critical information.

The new website has been two years in the making, following comprehensive research and user testing. The research involved a survey of 1000 people and smaller focus groups, which drilled down into how people use and interpret the forecasts.

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