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.