Remember all of those watches, warnings and advisories we talk about on TV? Or those awareness weeks to educate you on the dangers of different types of weather? Perhaps even those who have the power to train you to spot storms?
From all of that to everyday basic meteorological measurements, we thank the National Weather Service (NWS).
On February 9th, 1870, a joint congressional resolution was adopted that tasked the Secretary of War to take meteorological observations at military stations across the continental United States.
President Ulysses S. Grant, the former Civil War general, signed the resolution into law.
So, when we say things like, "We broke a record," we can thank the NWS.
Perhaps now more than ever, the vast scope of the National Weather Service aids us in forecast communication across the nation and serves as a model for those around the world. It was turned from a war organization to a civilian agency in 1890, then dubbed the U.S. Weather Bureau under the Department of Agriculture (it would then be transferred to the Department of Commerce in 1940).
From Guam to Puerto Rico, Caribou to Hawaii, the National Weather Service is comprised of 122 offices bringing us real time observations, alerts, forecasts and more.
The NWS falls under the later-created National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, founded 100 years later in 1970 under the Department of Commerce. The organization's name was changed to the National Weather Service that same year.
Under the NWS scope includes the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), which are made up of the Aviation Weather Center, the Storm Prediction Center, the Weather Prediction Center, River Forecast Center, Ocean Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center, Space Weather Prediction Center, Environmental Modeling Center and the Climate Prediction Center.
And under those organizations, the umbrella continues to unfold way beyond how long my fingers can type the names of organizations and sub-organizations and more and more and more...
The very obvious truth is, we couldn't do our jobs without both founding and current members of NWS. While sometimes our forecasts may differ, we follow their guide on watches, warnings, advisories, hurricane names (sorry, winter storms don't have names until NWS says so) and so much more.
Their models, machines and more serve as a pillar of weather forecasting both everyday and inclement.
While nearly always underfunded, their research and dedication continues to make us safer each and every day. I file the organization in an unsung hero category.
Forecasters, developers, researchers and more don't join NWS after years, sometimes a decade of college, studying some of the most difficult physical mathematics and atmospheric dynamics of all time, for money or fame. They do it because they love their science, and for many they strive to make a difference in our lives.
Our local office is in State College. Make sure to send them some love now and again. They certainly show it for us almost each and every day.
Until next time,
-Chief Meteorologist Bradon Long