National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

National Weather Service Mobile/Pensacola


Radar tower behind the Mobile NWS Office The Weather Forecast Office (WFO) located at the Mobile Regional Airport in West Mobile is one of 122 field offices of the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS is an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The NWS was previously known as the "U.S. Weather Bureau" until the early 1970s. Before it was the "Weather Bureau", the agency was part of the Signal Corps.

The office in Mobile was originally located downtown in 1870 as part of the Signal Service. In 1934, it was moved to the old Bates Field (now Brookley Field). The office stayed there until 1941 when it moved to the old terminal building of Bates Field (a.k.a. Mobile Regional Airport). Under the modernization of the NWS, the office moved into its present day location just off Airport Boulevard on the southeast side of Mobile Regional Airport (under the "big white ball") in 1994. More information on the history of our office!
 

Mobile County Warning AreaArea of Responsibility 
NWS WFO Mobile/Pensacola is responsible for hydrometeorological (e.g. weather and water) forecast and warning services for 20 counties - 5 counties in southeast Mississippi, 12 counties in south Alabama and 3 counties in the northwest Florida panhandle. The area of responsibility also covers 5 bays and sounds and the coastal waters out to 60 nautical miles. This is called the county warning area (CWA) and can be seen in the map to the right.

The CWA for WFO Mobile/Pensacola is surrounded by WFO New Orleans, LA to the west, WFO Jackson, MS to the northwest, WFO Birmingham, AL to the north and WFO Tallahassee, FL to the east.

 

Staff
There are 22 staff at WFO Mobile/Pensacola. Of those 22, 16 are degreed meteorologists. At full staffing, the office is comprised of:

  • Meteorologist in Charge (supervisor and administrator of the WFO and its programs)

  • Warning Coordination Meteorologist (interacts with emergency managers, storm spotters and media)

  • Science and Operations Officer (science and training leader)

  • Electronics Systems Analyst.

  • Information Technology Officer

  • 5 Senior Forecasters

  • 5 General Forecasters

  • 1 Observation Program Leader

  • 3 Entry-Level Meteorologists

  • 2 Electronic Technicians

  • 1 Administrative Support Assistant


The NWS office is fortunate to be assisted by many civilian volunteers. A network of "cooperative observers" dutifully record weather data each day and send us reports of temperature and precipitation. There is also a network of "Skywarn Storm Spotters" who report what they see during hazardous weather. Our network of volunteers are crucial to the success of the National Weather Service forecast and warning programs.

Forecaster For more storm spotter information, head over to our SkyWarn program webpage.

 

Operations
WFO Mobile/Pensacola is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (yes, even on holidays). During hazardous weather (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, severe weather), staffing is increased to handle the hazardous weather event properly. Rest assured, even at 3 o'clock in the morning, there is a staff at the NWS Office in Mobile/Pensacola manning the scopes, watching the skies over you.

 

Products and Services We Provide
NWS offices issue numerous statements, forecasts, and various other products each day for use by interests in the public, local governments and the marine and aviation communities. Routine services provided to the general public include

  • Digital Gridded Forecasts (out to 7 days)

  • County based Zone Forecasts (out to 7 days)

  • Coastal Waters Forecast

  • Area weather summaries containing an overview of existing conditions

  • Climatological Data describing the observed, record and average weather conditions

  • Hazardous Weather Outlook

Aviation forecasts and observations issued by WFO Mobile/Pensacola are used in support of general and commercial aviation. Products issued routinely are:

  • Hourly and "special" observations from Mobile's Regional Airport

  • Terminal Forecasts (TAFs) for the Mobile Regional Airport, Pensacola International Airport, and Mobile Downtown Airport (Brookley Field).

Non-routine products issued by the WFO include watches, warnings, and statements for a variety of weather types.  A few examples include:

Watches, warnings and statements for...

  • Tornadoes

  • Severe Thunderstorms

  • Flash Floods

  • River Floods

  • Hurricane

  • Winter Weather

Non-precipitation weather hazards including...

  • High Wind

  • Excessive Heat

  • Dense Fog

  • Excessive Cold

  • Rip Currents

WFO Mobile/Pensacola also provides services to area communities. For example, severe weather and hurricane preparedness seminars are always provided free of charge to schools, businesses and any interested groups. Tours of our office by small groups are also welcome (must be scheduled in advance)!


AWIPS Display Information Dissemination 
Forecasts, statements, and guidance provided by the NWS are available to the public through the internet, TV, radio, and various private services. Most TV and radio stations contract with private companies that collect the NWS data and distribute the data to their customers. 

Information from the NWS can be heard in a more direct fashion on a NOAA Weather Radio. A NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a special radio that broadcasts information directly from the National Weather Service. In fact, the broadcast you hear over NWR is created right here directly from our office. A NWR receiver costs range from $20-$80. Some have audible alarms triggered by the NWS when a warning is issued for your area. More information on NWR.

Finally, information from the NWS can also be found on the internet at www.weather.gov/mob. Find us on social media, too - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.