National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Building a Weather-Ready Nation and managing the nation’s weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings requires a diversified organization. From the National Weather Service (NWS) Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD to six Regional Headquarters: Eastern, Southern, Central, Western, Alaska, and Pacific; to local Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs),River Forecast Centers (RFCs),Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs), andNational Centers nationwide, NWS employees are working to support all aspects of keeping the public safe from weather, water, and climate hazards and meeting the NWS mission to protect lives and property, and enhance the national economy.

NWS Headquarters is responsible for managing the functions of the entire NWS. Headquarters coordinates programs directly related to weather warnings and forecasting to ensure the compatibility and effectiveness of weather services and ensures climate, water, and weather warnings, forecasts, and data products are provided to government, industry, and the general public. The NWS Headquarters also ensures funding is available to support field needs, manages information technology resources, and ensures a coordinated NOAA program of weather-related activities across NOAA line offices.

The six NWS regional offices manage all operational and scientific meteorological, hydrologic, and oceanographic programs of the region including observing networks, weather services, forecasting, and climatology and hydrology. They monitor these services and adjust resources to provide the most effective weather and warning services possible. 

The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) delivers science-based environmental predictions. It produces reliable, timely, and accurate analyses, guidance, forecasts and warnings for the protection of lives and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NCEP is comprised of nine distinct centers including the Aviation Weather Center, Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center, Storm Prediction Center, Space Weather Prediction Center, Weather Prediction Center, Ocean Prediction Center, Environmental Modeling Center, and NCEP Central Operations. NCEP is the starting point for nearly all weather forecasts in the United States.

The local WFO’s are responsible for issuing advisories, warnings, statements, and short term forecasts for their local county warning area including the public, media, emergency management, aviation community, and other customers 24 hours per day, 365 days per year to keep the public safe from weather hazards. More specifically, forecasters prepare graphical and digital forecasts, issue warnings, watches, and advisories, aviation forecasts, and river forecasts and warnings. They monitor weather observations, provide public service, and program/monitor broadcasts over eleven NOAA Weather Radio-All Hazards Stations. They also collect and disseminate river and rainfall data, launch balloons to gather upper-air weather data, administer the Cooperative Weather Observer Program, and prepare local climatological data summaries and reports.

Meteorologists at the National Operations Center at NWS Headquarters preparing the daily briefing for NWS leadership A forecaster with the National Hurricane Center in Miami briefs FEMA about the track forecast for Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 WFO operations at NWS WFO Norman OK
Meteorologists at the National Operations Center at NWS Headquarters preparing the daily briefing for NWS leadership. A forecaster with the National Hurricane Center in Miami briefs FEMA about the track forecast for Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 WFO operations at NWS WFO Norman OK
Radiosonde launch at WFO Baltimore/Washington by meteorologist Forecast operations at NWS Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center Forecaster at Space Weather Prediction Center
Radiosonde launch at WFO Baltimore/Washington by meteorologist Forecast operations at NWS Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center Forecaster at Space Weather Prediction Center


Timely flood warnings and accurate river forecasts are critical to saving lives and property. The 13 RFC’s keep watch over the nation’s waterways to minimize loss of life and property damage from flooding and meet the water service needs of our nation. RFCs produce timely and accurate water forecasts and information to support the NWS customers and partners. RFCs produce flood forecasts, river and water information used for navigation, recreation, reservoir operations, and water supply plans. The National Water Center (NWC) is the center for water forecast operations. The NWC will strengthen the nation’s water forecast capabilities for floods and droughts, improve preparedness for water-related disasters, and inform high-value water decisions at the local, state, and national levels. It complements the existing regional River Forecast Centers with a national center focused on water information and services to the nation. The center will also support research and collaboration across federal water science and management agencies.

CWSUs provide accurate and dependable weather information to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contributing to the safest and most efficient use of our nation's National Airspace System. There are 84 National Weather Service meteorologists equally dispersed throughout 21 CWSUs which are co-located within air route traffic control centers. CWSU meteorologists perform face-to-face on the spot briefings to air traffic controllers and are vital in helping FAA personnel safely and efficiently route traffic. Other functions include producing and disseminating a short-term weather forecast (lasting up to 2 hours) on how weather is impacting aviation and a medium range forecast product (2-12 hours) and used for planning.

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Leadership

Dr. Louis W. Uccellini's Photo

Dr. Louis W. Uccellini

NOAA Assistant Administrator
for Weather Services and
Director, National Weather Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Biography
Large Photo

Laura K. Furgione picture

Mary C. Erickson

Deputy Director, National Weather Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Biography
Large Photo