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Pacific Storm System Impacting the West Coast

Another Pacific storm will bring additional rounds of heavy coastal and low elevation rain, mountain snow, and high winds to California and southern Oregon. Heavy rain with the potential for flash flooding and isolated strong to severe thunderstorms are possible across portions of the central Gulf coast. A winter storm will continue to impact the north and central interior of Alaska. Read More >

National Weather Service Special Emphasis Observance Programs

As a culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse agency, the NWS uses the Special Emphasis Observance Programs to celebrate the diversity of our employees and this Nation's peoples; to enhance cross-cultural, cross-ethnical, and cross-racial awareness among its employees; and as a way of creating an environment that will enable all to reach their full potential in pursuing organizational and personal objectives. These programs recognize the achievements and contributions made by members of specific racial, ethnic, or gender groups in our society. The observances also promotes understanding, teamwork, harmony, pride and esprit among all groups, not just within the specific group being honored. The NWS asks all its employees to participate and attend these programs, typically consisting of speeches, lectures, films, and other events, produced throughout the year.The NWS, NOAA, the Department of Commerce, and the Nation benefit from the work of all Americans.

The NWS celebrates the following Special Emphasis Observances:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Holiday January (3rd Monday)
National African-American History Month February
National Women's History Month March
National Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month May
National Jewish Heritage Month May
National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month June
National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 to October 15
National Disability Employment Awareness Month October
National American Indian Heritage Month November
National Veterans Day November 11


Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Holiday

January (3rd Monday)

NOAA’s National Weather Service recognizes this day as an occasion for people to remember Dr. King’s life and dedicate themselves anew to live his dream. Dr. King was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, the son and grandson of Atlanta pastors. Dr. King entered Morehouse College in Atlanta when he was only fifteen years old and graduated at age nineteen. Dr. King earned a B.A. degree in Divinity from Crozer Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania and on June 5, 1955, Dr. King received his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University. Dr. King is known for being one of the greatest orators of the twentieth century, and perhaps in all of American history. In the 1950s and 1960s, his words led the Civil Rights Movement and helped change society. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed, we hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal." Twenty years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., uttered these words, Public Law 98-144 was enacted, designating the third Monday in January as a Federal holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birthday.

National African-American History Month


NOAA’s National Weather Service commemorates the rich and varied contributions of African-Americans to the culture and history of the United States each February. Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926. Originally established as Negro History Week in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Ph.D., noted African-American author and scholar. Dr. Woodson chose the second week of February for the observance because of its proximity to the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass; two individuals whom Dr. Woodson felt had dramatically affected the lives of African-Americans. February 10, 1976, during President Ford’s bicentennial address to our country, Negro History Week expanded into Black History Month. We have increasingly called this commemoration "African-American History Month," although both names are currently in use.

National Women's History Month


NOAA’s National Weather Service observes and celebrates National Women's History Month annually in March to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women. Women’s History Month grew from a grassroots educational initiative. In the 1970's women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in the general public consciousness. In 1978, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County, California Commission on the Status of Women initiated a local week long celebration, "Women's History Week." The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, March 8, which was first celebrated in 1911 in Europe. Celebrations of National Women's History Week spread throughout the nation. At the request of museums, libraries, and educators across the country, the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March in 1987. A National Women's History Month Congressional Resolution was quickly passed. Since 1992, a Presidential Proclamation has carried the directive for what is now a major national and international celebration.

National Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month


Each May NOAA's National Weather Service celebrates National Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month to honor the achievements of Asian/Pacific Americans and to recognize their contributions to the United States. May was selected for the recognition because two significant events in history took place in that month: Japanese immigrants first arrived in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 (Golden Spike Day). Furthermore, since school is still in session during May, educators could capitalize on the opportunity to include Asian/Pacific American history into the curriculum. On Oct. 2, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Joint Resolution and we celebrated the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week in May 1979. In 1992, the week was expanded to a month long recognition when President George Bush signed the law permanently designating May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously supported the law. Public-Law 102-450 approved on October 23, 1992, designated May of each year Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

NWS Asian American / Pacific Islander (AAPI) Focal Points


National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15

NOAA’s National Weather Service celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 - October 15 annually. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico achieved independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18. The term Hispanic, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Spanish-speaking people in the United States of any race. September 17, 1968, Public Law 90-498 authorized an annual proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The Public Law called upon the people of the United States, especially educators, to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Public Law 100-402, Approved August 17, 1988, authorized the designation of the National Hispanic Heritage Month inserting a thirty-one-day period beginning September 15 and ending on October 15.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month


October of each NOAA’s National Weather Service observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The NWS recognizes the tremendous contributions of individuals with disabilities to NWS and the United States. Presidential proclamation has observed National Employ the Handicapped Week the first week in October every year since 1945. National Disability Employment Awareness Month began with the Presidential Proclamation of Public Law 100-630 (Title III, Sec 301a) in 1988. The new law recognized a change in terminology and replaced "handicap" with "disability." The President's New Freedom Initiative is a significant effort to build on past success and increase opportunities, including integrating people with disabilities into the workforce, increasing access to technology, and expanding educational opportunities for all people with disabilities to ensure full integration in American society. People with disabilities are the nation's largest minority, and the only one that any person can join at any time.

National American Indian Heritage Month


NOAA’s National Weather Service observes and celebrates National American Indian Heritage Month in November to recognize the contributions of culture, heritage, history, art, and tradition of the American Indian to the United States. What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of this Nation has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose. National American Indian Heritage Month was first enacted August 3, 1990, by a Joint Resolution and President Bush approval, Public Law 101-343, designating November 1990 as "National American Indian Heritage Month." Each year since 1994 the President has issued a proclamation designating the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. During these celebrations of National American Indian Heritage Month, the NWS takes the time to honor and recognize the American Indian Community.

National Veterans Day

November 11

NOAA’s National Weather Service celebrates National Veterans Day November 11 each year to honors the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed services. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day to celebrate the armistice that ended World War I and remind Americans of the tragedies of war. A law adopted in 1938 made the day a federal holiday. In 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans. A law passed in 1968 that changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to many our citizens. Congress, therefore, enacted legislation (Public Law 94-97) which returned the observance of this special day to its traditional date beginning in 1978. Veterans Day celebrations in the United States include parades and speeches. Special services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery; they begin with two minutes of silence, then after the playing of taps, a wreath is placed at the tomb that houses the graves of three unknown Americans who fought in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. In a ceremony in Washington, D.C., a wreath is placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor those who died in the Vietnam War.


Special Emphasis Program links are located at: