Severe Thunderstorms in the South/Central Plains and Mississippi Valley
Severe thunderstorms move into the South/Central Plains and Mississippi Valley this afternoon; and into the Gulf States on Saturday. Storms may contain very heavy rain,large hail, and damaging winds. High fire danger caused by hot and dry conditions, and strong winds continue in the southern Plains, while an active weather pattern keeps conditions wet with heavy mountain snows out west.
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The National Weather Service in Shreveport is one of 122 weather forecast offices around the country. There are also 13 river forecast centers, 9 national centers, and other support offices. We have regional headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri; Bohemia, New York; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Anchorage, Alaska; and Honolulu, Hawaii. The national headquarters for the NWS is located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NWS employs 4,000+ employees. The NWS provides a national infrastructure to gather and process weather and climate data worldwide. Each year, NWS collects some 76 billion observations and issues approximately 1.5 million forecasts and 50,000 warnings. The NWS is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is also a part of the Department of Commerce.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport is located on Hollywood Avenue near the Shreveport Regional Airport.
Forecasts & Warnings
NWS Shreveport has forecast and warning responsibility for forty-eight counties and parishes, roughly centered around Shreveport, LA. This includes 1 county in extreme Southeast Oklahoma, 9 counties in Southwest and Southern Arkansas, 21 counties in East Texas, and 17 parishes in Northwest and North Central Louisiana. This is called our County Warning Area (CWA).
We produce gridded 7-day forecasts for many weather elements. Most people are familiar with our forecasts for the daily high and low temperatures and chance for precipitation. However, we also produce forecasts for sky cover, precipitation amount, snowfall and ice accumulations, dewpoints, and many other variables. The full 7-day forecasts package is issued at 4am and 4pm Central time every day.
Our office also issues aviation and fire weather forecasts. The aviation forecasts, called Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) are issued every 6 hours just before 00, 06, 12, and 18 UTC. TAFs are produced for 7 airports in the Shreveport CWA: Shreveport Regional Airport, Monroe Regional Airport, Tyler-Pounds Field, East Texas Regional Airport (Longview), Angelina County Airport (Lufkin), Texarkana Regional Airport, and South Arkansas Regional at Goodwin Field (El Dorado). Fire weather forecasts are produced for fire officials and firefighting efforts.
In addition to the routine 7-day, fire weather, and aviation forecasts, we also monitor the need for watches, warnings, and advisories. Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK, but are coordinated with our office. All other watches and all warnings and advisories are issued by the local office in Shreveport.
While River Forecast Centers provide the routine river and lake level forecasts, they are coordinated with and adjusted by our office. The NWS office in Shreveport is also responsible for issuing flood warnings for rivers, lakes, and bayous within our CWA.
The Shreveport NWS office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There are always forecasts on duty maintaining a constant weather watch. In addition to their regular issuance times, all forecasts are updated as conditions warrant.
The Shreveport NWS office is also responsible for launching weather balloons. Weather balloons are one of the few methods we have for directly measuring the atmosphere higher than about 30 feet above the ground. These observations, also called soundings, are taken twice daily at 00 and 12 UTC (6am/6pm CST and 7am/7pm CDT). The balloons are launched one hour before the observation time. During high-impact events, such as impending severe weather, winter weather, or when a hurricane is approaching the United States, balloon launches may occur more frequently, usually as often as every 6 hours.
Our forecasts, observations, watches, warnings, and advisories are also transmitted through a network of NOAA All Hazards Radio transmitters. These stations broadcast 24 hours a day, every day. Broadcasts that originate from NWS Shreveport are on the following transmitters:
Broken Bow, OK: WXJ65, 162.450 MHz
El Dorado, AR: WNG725, 162.525 MHz
Texarkana, TX: WXJ49, 162.550 MHz
Marietta, TX: WNG653, 162.525 MHz
Gilmer, TX: KWN32, 162.425 MHz
Tyler, TX: WXK36, 162.475 MHz
Center, TX: WNG650, 162.525 MHz
Lufkin, TX: WXK23, 162.550 MHz
Shreveport, LA: WXJ97, 162.400 MHz
Monroe, LA: WXJ96, 162.550 MHz
Natchitoches, LA: WXN87, 162.500 MHz
A few transmitters located just outside the NWS Shreveport CWA, which are managed and controlled by neighboring NWS offices, do provide some coverage for our area. To find out which transmitter covers your locations, check the above link for more information about NOAA All Hazards Radio.
Our office is also responsible for maintained climate records for several observation sites around the area. Much of this data from Cooperative Observer (COOP) sites. You can learn more about our COOP program here. Climate and past weather data requests can be made to our office. However, if certified data is needed, such as for a court case, please visit the National Centers for Environmental Information. Information on damage reports from past severe weather events can also be found from NCEI's Storm Event Database.
History of the National Weather Service in Shreveport
The National Weather Service in Shreveport is now located on Hollywood Avenue. It's the fourteenth move in 134 years of operations. The last move took place in 1995. As in all previous moves, this one from the Old Airport Terminal Building, was a short one--less than one mile. Doppler radar and the upper-air observing equipment are co-located with the office. The Shreveport office has forecast and warning responsibility for forty-eight counties and parishes across the Four State Area: Northwest and North Central Louisiana, Northeast Texas, Southwest Arkansas, and extreme Southeast Oklahoma.
The first three weather observers began on September 2, 1871. They were assigned to the 74th Calvary of the U.S. Army, and their names and ranks are as follows:
Sgt. Frank Fletcher
Sgt. Hugh Coyle
Sgt. James O'Doyd
On December 12, 1872, Private A. M. Geissinger became the first person assigned by the Signal Corps, specifically assigned to the Shreveport office. He was a Northerner, and consequently, was refused stage coach transportation from Monroe to Shreveport. The railroad line from Monroe to Vicksburg to Shreveport (then, the Vicksburg, Shreveport, and Pacific Railroad) had yet to be constructed.
The first official U.S. Weather Bureau observer under the United States Department of Agriculture was M. J. Wright in 1891. He did not even serve one year at the Shreveport office.
Sgt. Hugh Coyle, listed above, died at his desk while on duty from the Great Yellow Fever Outbreak of 1873 in Shreveport.
In 1890, by executive order, the Organic Act established daily weather observations at all Signal Corps posts. The act also made the government responsible for all storm warnings. On July 1, 1891, the U.S. Weather Bureau was founded under the direction of the Department of Agriculture. Many of the older weather observers were discharged from the army and transferred to the Weather Bureau to maintain continuity.
A milestone for the legal community occurred in 1892 when, for the first time, weather records were used in court in Shreveport for a murder trial.
The observing site remained in Downtown Shreveport at various locations in and around the old Post Office until 1941. On October 6, 1941, the Weather Bureau moved to the Airport Administration Building at the Downtown Airport. Due to the growing aviation concerns, the Weather Bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce by Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 30, 1940. The first aviation observations in Shreveport were taken in 1937. The next move occurred on July 6, 1952, to the Greater Shreveport Municipal Airport (renamed Regional Airport in 1971). The last move was on February 2, 1995.
Through the years, the Weather Service has gone from one daily surface weather map to hourly weather observation, twice daily upper air observations, radar, satellite, and computer models. The first upper air observations in the Shreveport area were at Barksdale Air Force Base in 1951. These were transferred to the Regional Airport in 1956, then to Longview, TX, in 1975, and now back to Shreveport in 1995. The original tracking equipment is still with us. The first radar was a World War II surplus WSR-1, which went into operation in 1953. This radar was later upgraded, and the old radar was de-commissioned in October 1995. Also, communications have gone from telegraph to teletype to the current computer system. The late 1970s saw the advent of NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio. Now, warnings are available to the public in only a matter of seconds after the decision is made to warn.
Being on the fringe of Tornado Alley, the National Weather Service in Shreveport has been on the forefront of service to the public. In 1948, Shreveport was one of the first offices to organize a severe storm network for both river and local storms. The first film about tornadoes, their development, and warnings, was developed by the Weather Bureau in Shreveport in conjunction with United Gas Company in 1955. In 1972, Shreveport was recognized with the most comprehensive storm spotter network, which included ham radio operators and local officials in every county and parish. During the past few decades, the Weather Service in Shreveport has received five NOAA Unit Citations.