National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Pictures from around western Colorado and eastern Utah
The NWS Hydrology Program

The objectives of the National Weather Service Hydrology Program are to:

  1. mitigate the loss of life and property by providing the nation with timely river and flood forecasts and warnings,
  2. support the national economy with water resources forecast services,
  3. conduct the necessary research to implement and improve these warnings and forecasts, and ,
  4. provide hydrometeorological data for broad applications to the flood warning and forecast program, water resources planning, and flood plain management programs.
Regular river gage reports by the National Weather Service (formerly the Weather Bureau) began as early as 1891. Although reports and forecasts expanded throughout the early decades of the 20th century, the March 1936 floods in the Eastern States and the February 1937 floods in the Ohio and lower Mississippi Valleys generated a demand for a more organized river and flood service.

As a result, the country was divided into 8 hydrologic districts during the 1940s. In 1946, the first River Forecast Centers were created for these districts, which would eventually expand to 13.

The authority of the NWS to make river forecasts is documented in the Department of Commerce Organization Order 10-15. The statutes for the criminal code (15 U.S.C. 313, June 25, 1948) specified that the (then) Weather Bureau "/gjt.shall have charge of forecasting the weather, the issue of storm warnings, and the display of weather and flood [warnings]/gjt."

Operations in eastern Utah and western Colorado
The Grand Junction National Weather Service Forecast Office provides river and flood forecasts and warnings to much western Colorado and Eastern Utah. In eastern Colorado, the hydrology program is supported by the NWS offices in Boulder and Pueblo and in eastern Utah the program is supported by the Salt Lake City Weather Service Office . River stage and flow forecast guidance for the Colorado River Basin is provided by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.