National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
What is the National Weather Service (NWS)?
The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is a part of the Department of Commerce. The primary mission of the NWS involves the protection of life and property as well as enhancement of the national economy. This is accomplished through weather forecasts and severe weather warnings. However, there is more to the story and this involves people taking the appropriate action(s) based on such forecasts and warnings. This part of the equation is the goal of NOAA's "Weather Ready Nation" campaign to educate and help individuals prepare for severe weather and water events. Learn more about what the NWS does here and how you can become "weather ready" here
What does the NWS office in Wilmington, NC do?
Our office is responsible for providing forecasts and severe weather warnings for 14 counties across southeast NC and northeast SC, as well as portions of the Atlantic coastal waters. We routinely issue public forecasts as well as specialized forecasts/products for the aviation, marine, fire weather, hydrologic and climate communities. We also issue various types of watches, warnings and advisories to raise awareness of certain types of weather hazards such as strong winds, dense fog, and frozen precipitation.
What is doppler radar?
A doppler radar contains special technology that detects motion toward or away from the radar antenna, in addition to showing the location of precipitation. The ability to detect motions within thunderstorms has greatly improved the ability for NWS meteorologists to provide advance notice of impending severe weather, including tornadoes. Learn more about this technology here. You can view the data from the NWS Wilmington, NC doppler radar here.
How does the NWS determine what a "severe thunderstorm" is?
According to the NWS, a "severe thunderstorm" is one that produces 58 mile per hour or greater winds and/or 1 inch or greater in diameter hail. Excessive lightning is not considered during the issuance of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, however Special Weather Statements are often issued to address storms with excessive cloud-to-ground lightning.
I often see "PoP" mentioned in your Area Forecast Discussion. What does that mean? And where can I learn about other terminology used in your forecast products?
PoP refers to the "probability of precipitation" which describes the probability of getting at least 0.01" of precipitation. In other words, if we are forecasting a 40% chance of rain for a certain location and time period that means we are expecting a 4 out of 10 chance of at least 0.01" of rain for that specified location and time period. To learn more about additional terminology we use in our products check out the NWS glossary.
Where can I find transmitter frequency and SAME code information for NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards?
Check out this page for more information.
How do I become an official NWS storm spotter?
Check out our SKYWARN Weather Spotter page to learn more about helping the NWS by being our "eyes" and "ears" in the field.
Do the NWS have a weather app?
Unfortunately the NWS does not have a mobile "app" but you can check out this page for details on the more mobile-friendly version of our forecast pages. Please note that the website may not be kept up to date at all times and will eventually be going away in favor of our improved forecast pages at
Can a Meteorologist from NWS Wilmington, NC give a presentation to our school or civic group?
Yes! Check out our Education and Outreach Resources page which includes a link to our outreach request form.
I have a rain gauge and like to record my daily rainfall. Would you be interested in this information?
Yes! The Community Cooperative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) program involves folks who collect precipitation data and report this information for meteorologists and others to use, including us at the NWS. Please visit our CoCoRaHS page to learn more about the program and how to sign up as an observer.
I need to find some past temperature and precipitation data for sites across southeastern NC and northeastern SC. Where can I access this data?
Our climate page is a great place to start for unofficial past weather data. If you need to access official weather data for legal purposes you will need to go through the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Do you have any student volunteer opportunities?
Yes, for college students. Check out this page for more details.