What is the National Weather Service?
The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is a
part of the Department of Commerce. The primary mission of the NWS
involves the protection of life and property as well as enhancement of the national economy. This is
accomplished through weather forecasts and severe weather warnings. However, there is more to the
story and this involves people taking the appropriate action(s) based on such forecasts and
warnings. This part of the equation is the goal of NOAA's "Weather Ready Nation"
campaign to educate and help individuals prepare for severe weather and water events. Learn more
about how you can become "weather ready" here.
What does the Charleston, SC NWS office do?
Our office is responsible for providing forecasts and severe weather warnings for 20 counties across southeast SC and southeast GA, as well as
portions of the Atlantic coastal waters. We routinely
issue public forecasts as well as specialized forecasts/products for the aviation, marine, fire
weather, hydrologic and climate communities. We also issue various types of watches, warnings and
advisories to raise awareness of certain types of weather hazards such as strong winds, dense fog,
and frozen precipitation. Click here for more
information about our office.
Do you give tours of the office?
Yes, we provide tours for schools, civic groups and other interested parties. School tours are
limited to 5th grade or higher. If you would like to watch the evening weather balloon launch, it is
conducted at 7 PM EDT/6 PM EST. Contact us by phone at 843-554-4851 during regular business hours to
schedule a tour. Please note that tours will be cancelled if severe weather is expected.
How do I get a job with the NWS?
Those interested in becoming meteorologists with the NWS must meet the following requirements.
For other positions within the NWS, qualification requirements vary by position. All pertinent
information about job vacancies can be found on USAJOBS.
Can I volunteer at your office?
Yes, but there are several factors to determine eligibility. Please contact us during normal
business hours at 843-554-4851 if you are interested in volunteering.
Can you give a weather presentation to our
Yes, we routinely give presentations to a variety of community organizations upon request. We
can suit the topic and length to your interests with enough advance notice. However, we cannot
guarantee being able to work within your schedule due to our limited staffing, active weather, and
travel limitations. Also, if your group is less than 15 people, we request that you visit our office
instead. For more information, contact us by phone during normal business hours at
I have a rain gauge and like to record my rainfall. Would you be
interested in this information?
Yes! The Community Cooperative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) program involves folks who take
daily precipitation measurements and report this information on the internet for all to see.
Please visit the CoCoRaHS website to learn more about the
program and use the "Join CoCoRaHS" link to sign up as either an Observer or Local
Coordinator. If you have any questions, the Regional Coordinator for the local area is Julie Packett
What is doppler radar?
A doppler radar contains special technology that detects motion toward or away from the radar
antenna, in addition to showing the location of precipitation. The ability to detect motions within
thunderstorms has greatly improved the ability for NWS meteorologists to provide advance notice of
impending severe weather, including tornaodes. Learn more about this technology here.
How does the NWS determine what a "severe thunderstorm"
According to the NWS, a "severe thunderstorm" is one that produces 58 mile per hour
or greater winds and/or 1 inch or greater in diameter hail. Excessive lightning is not considered
during the issuance of Severe
Thunderstorm Warnings, however Special
Weather Statements are often issued to address storms with excessive cloud-to-ground
I often see "POP" mentioned in your Area Forecast
Discussion. What does that mean?
POP refers to the probability of precipitation. More information can be found in this tutorial.
Where can I find transmitter frequency and SAME code
information for NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards?
Check out the NOAA Weather Radio website.
How do I become an official NWS storm spotter?
If you live in the area serviced by our office,
follow these steps:
1) Attend one of our "Basic Spotter" training classes. We also offer an
"Advanced Spotter" training session for those that want to learn more details about severe
Check the latest Storm Spotter
Training Schedule to see if a class is scheduled near you.
2) Online/Web-based Option - If you cannot attend one of our training sessions in person, or
you just want to refresh you knowledge of the Storm Spotter program, check out the training on the
COMET MetEd web site. Note: You
will need to register on the COMET web site to access the training.
If you chose option #2, be sure to follow the instructions in the Course Description section
for how to become an official Storm Spotter for the NWS in Charleston, SC.
If you have questions, contact our Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Ron Morales:
Phone: 843-744-0303 ext 223
Where can I learn about the
A comprehensive list of weather education resources can be found here. JetStream is a pretty neat online weather school
from the NWS.
Where can I get information on weather
safety/preparedness and fatality/injury/damage statistics?
Check out the NWS Weather Safety and Publications/Brochures/Booklets
webpages. You can find weather hazard statistics here.