Weather Organizations - The National Weather Service

As we go through our days, weeks, months and years, our minds often turn to weather. Will there be a cold snap later in the day? Is there rain coming or should I water the garden? What'sthat hurricane doing out in the Caribbean?

These are the sorts of questions we want answers to on a very regular basis. And in the USA, all the answers come, in part orcompletely, from the National Weather Service.

Here is a short article by Margaret Tustle on the history andresources of the NWS. If you want to use this article yourself,you can find it at

The National Weather Service - What, When, And Why

The National Weather Service - What, When, And Why

By Margarette Tustle

Recording The Weather

In 1870, the National Weather Service (NWS) was founded by a resolution from President Ulysses S. Grant. The resolution stated the National Weather Service “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.” George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson all established an interest in weather-related recordings prior to the establishment of the National Weather Service. This interest influenced the role and developement of the National Weather Service.

NWS Progression

• 1869 - The telegraph was invented, in which weather observations could quickly be transmitted to and from several locations. This helped weather predicting and reporting become easier.

• 1870 - General Albert J. Meyer was named the director of the Weather Bureau, and the National Weather Service was implemented. At this point in history, the National Weather Service was operated in the same line as military traditions.

• 1890 - The Department of Agriculture reformed the Weather Bureau to make it a civilian enterprise. This was done by the request of President Benjamin Harrison. Due to this change, the Kentucky Derby (in its 15th year) was able to take a weather report!

• 1891 – The National Weather Service weather experiments and directions were given by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1891.

• 1901 - The first 3-day forecast was made; and the mail carriers would put slips of paper sharing the forecast into the newspaper as it was delivered each morning.

• 1927 – The ability of the Weather Bureau to make predictions about the weather was greatly enhanced with the beginning of air travel. The NWS learned about air currents, upper level moisture, etc.

• 1951 - The National Weather Service established the Severe Weather Warning Center at the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. This Center is the predecessor to the National Sever Storms Center.

• 1960 – The first weather satellite was launched at Cape Canaveral.

• 1967 - The Weather Bureau was officially renamed the National Weather Service, which is made up of members of the Volunteer Corps who notify the NWS on a regular basis on their observations.

Use The NWS Daily!

By utilizing all that this governmental agency has to offer, we can plan recreational activities, monitor storm activity, know what to wear each day, etc. You can check out the NWS website for customized forecasts for you local area, throughout the United States, and even world-wide. Other information on the NWS website: local air quality details; educational resources for helping your children learn about the weather; and more!

Margarette Tustle writes for family and home. Find more resources on weather at

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So that's the NWS in a nutshell.

It's also worth remembering that all those weather forecasts yousee on web pages or provided by various weather services are allprovided by the National Service, as are all the weather advisoriesand warnings.

Sure, some of the commercial weather people might pretty the forecasts up a bit, and use their own people to provide moreinformation, but without the NWS for the primary data theymight just struggle a bit - perhaps even a lot.

For more information on weather use the menu at the top leftof this page. A good place to start could be the Severe Weather page.

And to find out how you can observe and record the weather aroundyour home, the best place to start is the Home Weather Stations page.

This link will take you back to the Top, or, when you're ready, here's how to return to the Home page.

But just before you move on...

You may be interested to know that you can find out more about weather and home weather stations by receiving our newsletter ,"Watching Weather". It's published more or less weekly, and apart from tips on how to use your weather station and understand what it's telling you about the weather around you, it also covers many other weather related topics.

If this sounds interesting, just add your name and email address to the form below. When you join, you'll also receive, totally free, a 20 page guide to setting up and trouble shooting problems in home weather stations.

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Last update 05/28/2011