- Where can I find current and historical weather data?
Certified past weather data for legal purposes is available from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NCDC Customer Support is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time except Federal Holidays. To contact NCDC Customer Support for Weather and Climate Data and Products:
Phone: 1-828-271-4800 then press "2"
Fax: 1-828-271-4876 TTY: 1-828-271-4010
Preliminary, and therefore unofficial, local area climate and past weather are available at http://www.weather.gov/climate.
- I am a teacher - what weather related educational materials are available?
A number of educational resources for educators and students are available at http://www.weather.gov/education.
NOAA's Weather and Atmosphere Education Resource page is designed to help students, teachers, librarians and the general public access the many of NOAA's educational activities, publications, and booklets.
Additional educational resources are also available from the American Meteorological Society.
- How do I work for the National Weather Service? What would be the best kind of college courses to take for these jobs?
Most occupations with the National Weather Service are either for people trained in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, climatology, hydrology or related fields. Jobs available with the NWS are posted at USAJobs.
For more specifics on careers in meteorology and recommended college coursework, please visit the American Meteorological Society’s Career Center.
- Is there any way to find out which Weather Forecasting Office serves my area?
- Begin by retrieving a forecast for your area. To do this, enter your city and state or ZIP code in the “Local forecast by City, ST or ZIP code” box on http://www.weather.gov.
- On the local forecast, the name and a link to the serving office is located above the forecast icons.
- Can I visit my local NWS office?
Visiting your local NWS Forecasting Office is something that is not only allowed, but encouraged. To arrange a visit, please contact the warning coordination meteorologist (WCM) or meteorologist in charge (MIC) of the office you wish to visit.
- If anyone in your group has special needs, please contact us ahead of time so that we may better accommodate them.
- No bags, packages, or purses are allowed to be carried into our building.
- There may be times when it is not possible to arrange a visit; especially during severe weather events.
- Tours may be cancelled on short notice by the National Weather Service due to severe weather. If this happens, we'll re-schedule with you.
- Tours will be cancelled when the National Terrorism Advisory System issues an elevated or imminent threat alert indicating that public access to government facilities should be restricted. Tours will not be re-scheduled until the threat expires or is modified to permit public access again
- When I'm viewing one your forecasts, I get an old forecast. What's going on?
Always check the time and date of forecasts. Several types of products are not issued year-round such as recreational and Great Lakes nearshore forecasts. The time and date of issue are located in the Forecast Details section.
You may be unintentionally recalling data from your PC's cache memory. Use the reload/refresh (or SHIFT-reload/refresh) function of your browser, and/or try rebooting your computer. You could also clear your browser's cache/history but only do this if you are completely familiar with the consequences.
- Do you have any mobile apps for my iPhone/Droid, etc ?
The National Weather Service does not currently offer a dedicated mobile app. For mobile weather and alerts, please visit http://mobile.weather.gov or install one of the many apps for your device built from National Weather Service data.
- What is Skywarn and where can I get more information?
Skywarn is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer severe weather spotters. Skywarn Spotters support their local community and government by providing the NWS and their local emergency managers with timely and accurate severe weather reports. These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to inform communities of the proper actions to take as severe weather threatens. For more details on the Skywarn program, go to: http://www.skywarn.org/
- How can I "tune-in" NOAA Weather Radio? How can I find the broadcast frequency of the station in my area?
You can find the location and frequency of your nearest NOAA Weather Radio transmitter by using the index located at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrbro.htm.
- Is the voice I hear on NOAA Weather Radio a computerized voice or a real person?
You are most likely listening to a computer synthesized voice.
The enhanced voices generally have been better received by the public than "Paul" the first computerized voice was. There is a better capability to fine-tune the pronunciation of words and phrases along with controls to adjust the volume and rate of speech. These all help to make the voices more understandable when it really counts - in warning situations.
Efforts are underway to both expand the coverage of the NOAA Weather Radio network and improve the audio quality. If you hear words in a broadcast which need to have the pronunciation adjusted, forward your comments to the appropriate NWS forecast office so they can attempt to improve the pronunciation.
- What is a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch?
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch outlines an area where conditions are favorable for an organized episode of hail 1 inch diameter or larger and/or damaging thunderstorm winds are expected during a three to eight hour period.
A Tornado Watch includes the similar large hail and damaging wind threats, as well as the addition of the possibility of multiple tornadoes. Typical watches cover about 25,000 square miles, or about half the size of Iowa.
Related video: What is a Watch?
- What's the difference between a watch and a warning?
A watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather during the next 6 to 8 hours. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible. This gives a heads up to emergency managers, media and the general public guidance as to where the greatest area for severe weather.
You do not always need a watch before a Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Warning is issued. Many severe thunderstorms or Tornadoes affect only a small area for a short period of time, making watches impractical. Watches are issued primarily for areas where well organized or significant severe weather is possible, or the severe weather threat is expected to persist for many hours.
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms or Tornadoes are occurring or imminent in the warning area.
- Who clears watches?
It is up to the local NWS forecast offices to clear or keep counties within the watch and when time allows the Storm Prediction Center is notified. Also, only local NWS offices can cancel a watch.
- What is a derecho and where do I learn more about them?
A derecho is an exceptionally long-lived, widespread, severe, convective wind outbreak. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path. As a result, the term "straight-line wind damage" sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the swath of wind damage extends for more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers), includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) along most of its length, and several, well-separated 75 mph (121 km/h) or greater gusts, then the event may be classified as a derecho.
Derecho producing storm systems also can contain tornadoes, but they consist mostly of (and are defined by) damaging non-tornadic wind. Sometimes a derecho results in hundreds of severe wind and damage reports spread along a swath covering multiple states, with deaths, injuries and many millions of dollars in losses. See the Storm Prediction Center derecho FAQ for more information and some historical examples.
- Is there a UV Index on the internet?
The Ultraviolet Index forecast may be found at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/view/national.php?prodtype=ultraviolet
For more information on UV index, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Where can I find a marine forecast on the Internet?
Marine forecasts may be retrieved from the Weather.gov in the same way as land based weather forecasts. To do this, enter the desired latitude and longitude in the Local forecast by City, ST or ZIP code box on http://www.weather.gov.
Marine forecasts may also be retrieved by selecting a marine area on the national map found on the Weather.gov front page.
- How can I submit comments?
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