National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Thunderstorm
Photo Courtesy of Don Moore - Looking north from Billings towards Roundup, June 24, 2007.

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Our Mission

The mission of the National Weather Service is to Protect Life and Property. We do that through:

  • Timely warnings and accurate forecasts.
  • Serving public, aviation, agricultural, forestry and commercial weather needs.
  • Weather and river observations and quality control of climate data.

Watches & Warnings:

  • The NWS gives advance notice of specific weather conditions which are or may be a threat to life and property, utilizing local law enforcement, media partners and the internet to disseminate details. To access our watches and warning via the Internet, visit

General Preparedness Information

Be prepared for adverse weather conditions before they strike:

  • Define weather hazards that would impact your event
  • Set up a centralized communications center
  • Develop an Emergency Action Plan

The National Weather Service (NWS) can help your event staff with:

  • Safety and awareness information and brochures
  • National Weather Services products and services training
  • Please contact Tom Frieders for more information or to schedule training: (406) 652-0851 ext. 223

Weather Hazards That Could Impact Your Event

Weather Hazards:

Set Up Centralized Communications Center

Phone Service:

  • Have the National Weather Service phone number readily accessible to contact for more information. We can be reached at (406) 652-1916 ext. 0, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Internet Access:

  • Have the ability to monitor the forecast and radar trends from the National Weather Service website:

NOAA Weather Radio:

Television and Radio:

  • Can be used to supplement the National Weather Service website and NOAA Weather Radio.

Lightning Detector:

  • Have a lightning detector on hand to help alert the event organizers of any lightning in the area.

Radio/Phone Communications:

  • Have the capability to communicate with event staff, by either radio or phone. Provides the ability to easily spread word of approaching threatening weather.

Develop an Emergency Action Plan

When should people be advised of threatening weather?

  • Keep attendees well informed of approaching hazardous weather and potential evacuations. Determine how much time it will take people to seek shelter or evacuate in an emergency. By knowing how much time it will take people to seek shelter or evacuate, you can notify attendees of approaching hazardous weather conditions so they can seek shelter or evacuate before a storm arrives.

How do you notify attendees of approaching hazardous weather conditions?

  • You can notify attendees by using a PA system, horn or siren. Use preprinted (fill in the blank) statements so that the message is consistent between event organizers.

Where do attendees seek shelter?

  • During severe weather, including lightning, severe winds, hail and tornadoes, attendees should seek shelter in a sturdy building as quickly as possible. Go to an interior room of the building and stay away from windows. Stay inside until the severe weather has passed. Make sure you have a shelter predefined.

Severe Thunderstorm
Photo Courtesy of Mike Umscheid - Northwest of Forsyth, June 24, 2007.

NWS partners in America's Weather Industry may provide specialized weather support to Special Event Organizers. This support may include, but is not limited to, customized weather information, warning, weather, radar and communication devices, and/or consulting services. Support by America's Weather Industry can be organized, structured, tailored, and packaged to help make decisions about how to plan and run, and manage Special Events and for the management of the event, its participants and spectators.