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Ezra Rogers
Ezra Rogers

National Weather Service [UPD]



Heavy snow will extend from the mountains of California and the Intermountain West into the Northern Plains. Gusty to strong winds may produce critical fire weather risks over portions of the Central and Southern High Plains. Multi-hazard impacts will stretch from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes by Friday into the weekend. Read More >




national weather service



CAP is an XML-based information standard used to facilitate emergency information sharing and data exchange across local, state, tribal, national and non-governmental organizations of different professions that provide emergency response and management services. NWS CAP messages are produced in the CAP v1.1 format defined by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).


You will only see alerts if they have been published for your location by authoritative sources. Google will only show the most severe alerts in Google Now, similar to the level that triggers most national emergency alert systems. If there are no alerts for your area, no Public Alerts cards will be displayed. Public Alerts will also show up in your notification shade when updates are available -- just swipe down from the top of your screen to open or dismiss these notifications.


The Aviation Weather Center delivers consistent, timely and accurate weather information for the world airspace system. We are a team of highly skilled people dedicated to working with customers and partners to enhance safe and efficient flight.


The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area.[6][7] The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.[8]


The NWS performs its primary task through a collection of national and regional centers, and 122 local Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). As the NWS is an agency of the U.S. federal government, most of its products are in the public domain and available free of charge.


Calls for the creation of a government weather bureau began as early as 1844, when the electrical telegraph was introduced. In 1869, Cleveland Abbe began developing probabilistic forecasts using daily weather data sent via telegraph by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Western Union, which he convinced to back the collection of such information. Meanwhile, Increase A. Lapham of Wisconsin lobbied Congress to create such a service, having witnessed the destructive power of storms in the Great Lakes region.[9] Representative Halbert E. Paine introduced a bill to provide the funding, and in 1870, the Weather Bureau of the United States was established through a joint resolution of Congress signed by President Ulysses S. Grant[10] with a mission to "provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories... and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms." The agency was placed under the Secretary of War as Congress felt "military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations." Within the Department of War, it was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Service under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Myer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.[11]


Abbe was appointed as the Bureau's first chief meteorologist. In his earlier role as the civilian assistant to the chief of the Signal Service, Abbe urged the Department of War to research weather conditions to provide a scientific basis behind the forecasts; he would continue to urge the study of meteorology as a science after becoming Weather Bureau chief. While a debate went on between the Signal Service and Congress over whether the forecasting of weather conditions should be handled by civilian agencies or the Signal Service's existing forecast office, a Congressional committee was formed to oversee the matter, recommending that the office's operations be transferred to the Department of War following a two-year investigation.[12]


The agency first became a civilian enterprise in 1890, when it became part of the Department of Agriculture. Under the oversight of that branch, the Bureau began issuing flood warnings and fire weather forecasts, and issued the first daily national surface weather maps; it also established a network to distribute warnings for tropical cyclones as well as a data exchange service that relayed European weather analysis to the Bureau and vice versa.[13] The first Weather Bureau radiosonde was launched in Massachusetts in 1937, which prompted a switch from routine aircraft observation to radiosondes within two years. The Bureau prohibited the word "tornado" from being used in any of its weather products out of concern for inciting panic (a move contradicted in its intentions by the high death tolls in past tornado outbreaks due to the lack of advanced warning) until 1938, when it began disseminating tornado warnings exclusively to emergency management personnel.[14]


The NWS, through a variety of sub-organizations, issues different forecasts to users, including the general public. Although, throughout history, text forecasts have been the means of product dissemination, the NWS has been using more forecast products of a digital, gridded, image or other modern format.[22] Each of the 122 Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) send their graphical forecasts to a national server to be compiled in the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD).[23] The NDFD is a collection of common weather observations used by organizations and the public, including precipitation amount, temperature, and cloud cover among other parameters. In addition to viewing gridded weather data via the internet, users can download and use the individual grids using a "GRIB2 decoder" which can output data as shapefiles, netCDF, GrADS, float files, and comma separated variable files.[24] Specific points in the digital database can be accessed using an XML SOAP service.


The National Weather Service issues many products relating to wildfires daily. For example, a Fire Weather Forecast, which have a forecast period covering up to seven days, is issued by local WFOs daily, with updates as needed. The forecasts contain weather information relevant to fire control and smoke management for the next 12 to 48 hours, such as wind direction and speed, and precipitation. The appropriate crews use this information to plan for staffing and equipment levels, the ability to conduct scheduled controlled burns, and assess the daily fire danger. Once per day, NWS meteorologists issue a coded fire weather forecast for specific United States Forest Service observation sites that are then input into the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). This computer model outputs the daily fire danger that is then conveyed to the public in one of five ratings: low, moderate, high, very high, or extreme.[25]


The local Weather Forecast Offices of the NWS also, under a prescribed set of criteria, issue Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings as needed, in addition to issuing the daily fire weather forecasts for the local service area. These products alert the public and other agencies to conditions which create the potential for extreme fires. On the national level, the NWS Storm Prediction Center issues fire weather analyses for days one and two of the forecast period that provide supportive information to the local WFO forecasts regarding particular critical elements of fire weather conditions. These include large-scale areas that may experience critical fire weather conditions including the occurrence of "dry thunderstorms," which usually occur in the western U.S., and are not accompanied by any rain due to it evaporating before reaching the surface.[26]


State and federal forestry officials sometimes request a forecast from a WFO for a specific location called a "spot forecast," which are used to determine whether it will be safe to ignite a prescribed burn and how to situate crews during the controlling phase. Officials send in a request, usually during the early morning, containing the position coordinates of the proposed burn, the ignition time, and other pertinent information. The WFO composes a short-term fire weather forecast for the location and sends it back to the officials, usually within an hour of receiving the request.[26]


The NWS assists officials at the scene of large wildfires or other disasters, including HAZMAT incidents, by providing on-site support through Incident Meteorologists (IMET).[27] IMETs are NWS forecasters specially trained to work with Incident Management Teams during severe wildfire outbreaks or other disasters requiring on-site weather support. IMETs travel quickly to the incident site and then assemble a mobile weather center capable of providing continuous meteorological support for the duration of the incident. The kit includes a cell phone, a laptop computer, and communications equipment, used for gathering and displaying weather data such as satellite imagery or numerical forecast model output. Remote weather stations are also used to gather specific data for the point of interest,[27] and often receive direct support from the local WFO during such crises. IMETs, approximately 70 to 80 of which are employed nationally, can be deployed anywhere a disaster strikes and must be capable of working long hours for weeks at a time in remote locations under rough conditions.[citation needed] 041b061a72


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