Sep 21, 2013

US National Weather Service

It has its beginnings in the early history of the United States. Weather has always been important to the citizens of this country and especially during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The beginning of the National Weather Service we know today started on February 9th, 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to establish a national weather service. This resolution required the Secretary of War "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."

It was decided that this agency would be placed under the Secretary of War, because 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 Signal Service Corps under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Meyer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.

Later that year, the first systematized, synchronous weather observations ever taken in the U.S. were made by "observing-sergeants" of the Army Signal Service at 22 stations and telegraphed to Washington. An agency was born which would affect the daily lives of most of the citizens of the United States through its forecasts and warnings.

The National Weather Service, once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government. It is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Climate Prediction Center is responsible for all of the NWS's climate-related forecasts. Their mission is to "serve the public by assessing and forecasting the impacts of short-term climate variability, emphasizing enhanced risks of weather-related extreme events, for use in mitigating losses and maximizing economic gains." Their products cover time scales from a week to seasons, extending into the future as far as technically feasible, and cover the land, the ocean, and the atmosphere, extending into the stratosphere. Most of their products cover the Contiguous U.S. and Alaska. Additionally, Weather Forecast Offices issue daily and monthly climate reports for official climate stations within their area of responsibility. These generally include recorded highs, lows and other information. This information is considered preliminary until certified by the National Climatic Data Center.