National Weather Service 150th Anniversary
Posted by: Communications Team | February 3, 2020
Discovering that Wednesday, February 5, 2020 is a day to honor all individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting, and broadcast meteorology. During our research on the Weatherperson Day we also learned that the National Weather Service (NWS) will celebrate its 150th anniversary on February 9, 2020. Naturally, we went down that path and discovered some interesting facts.
“Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.” National Weather Service.
A Joint Congressional Resolution requiring 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 was introduced. Congress passed the resolution and on February 9, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law. A new national weather service had been born within the U.S. Army Signal Service’s Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.
The weather service is first identified as a civilian agency when Congress, at the request of President Benjamin Harrison, passes an act transferring the meteorological responsibilities of the Signal Service to the newly created U.S. Weather Bureau in the Department of Agriculture on October 1, 1890.
The U.S. experiences 26,000 severe storms, 1,300 tornadoes, 12Atlantic basin tropical storms, 5,000 floods, 69,000 fires, and dozens of heavy snowstorms and blizzards in an average year.
Nationwide, more than 11,000 volunteer cooperative observers take regular measurements of temperature, precipitation and other data, which is used by forecasters and climatologists. Nearly 300,000 volunteer storm spotters are trained by the National Weather Service to provide visual reports of severe weather. Volunteer amateur radio operators provide critical emergency communications during severe weather.
Television weathercasters are the most visible members of America's weather team. They are the trusted faces many people turn to for weather information, and they relay the official National Weather Service watches and warnings for hazardous weather.
A seven-day forecast can accurately predict the weather about 80 percent of the time and a five-day forecast can accurately predict the weather approximately 90 percent of the time. However, a 10-day—or longer—forecast is only right about half the time according to NOAA Scijinks.
“Meteorologists are able to predict, with up to 90% or more accuracy within 2 to 5 days, how a complex fluid on a rotating planet with oceans, mountains, and varying heat distributions changes. Kudos colleagues.” Dr. Marshall Shepherd, Forbes Magazine
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Sources: National Weather Service, Forbes Magazine, NOAA Scijinks, National Day Calendar