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Tracking Eastern U.S. Storm; Unsettled in the Northwest

A storm system crossing the Mississippi Valley will bring gusty winds with a threat for isolated severe thunderstorms today before shifting through the East Coast on Thanksgiving. Late this weekend into early next week, heavy rain and thunderstorms are possible from the western Gulf of Mexico to coastal New England. Unsettled weather will continue for one more day in the Northwest. Read More >

 

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Brief History of National Weather Service Offices 
Past and Present

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The National Weather Service (known before 1970 as the Weather Bureau) has had many offices. Many of them evolved as the aviation industry expanded, supporting local airport observations. Many also had varying warning and forecast duties. However, in the 1990's, the NWS was consolidated into 120+ offices, each with roughly the same duties.

The following is an attempt to list all past and present NWS/WB offices. If you have information on any of these, or ones that were missed, please contact Chris.Geelhart@noaa.gov .  Several offices have more detailed histories available, which can be accessed by clicking on the city name. 

Other NWS history pages:

 

Forecast and Observation Sites National Sites

AWSC -- Agricultural Weather Service Center
CWSU -- Center Weather Service Unit
DCO -- Data Collection Office
DFO -- District Forecast Office
FAWS -- Flight Advisory Weather Service
RDO -- River District Office
RFC -- River Forecast Center
SigSvc -- U.S. Army Signal Service Office

WBO -- Weather Bureau Office
WBAS -- Weather Bureau Airways Station
WBFC -- Weather Bureau Forecast Center
WBMO -- Weather Bureau Meteorological Observatory
WFO -- Weather Forecast Office
WSO -- Weather Service Office
WSFO -- Weather Service Forecast Office
WSMO -- Weather Service Meteorological Observatory
WSCMO -- Weather Service Contract Meteorological Observatory
HC -- Hurricane Center
HQ -- Regional/National Headquarters
NMC -- National Meteorlogical Center
NCEP -- National Centers for Environmental Prediction
TC -- Training Center
TWC -- Tsunami Warning Center

 


Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Caribbean territories
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pacific territories
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

 

Discussion of station types:


Signal Service Years:
No distinction has been made on these pages to delineate the types of station types used by the U.S. Army during the Signal Service era.

 

Weather Bureau Years:

When the Weather Bureau took over in 1891, there was generally a single type of field office, called a Weather Bureau Office (WBO).  Some delineation was made during the early 1900's when forecast functions started to take place in the field (rather than all at Weather Bureau headquarters); offices with these forecast functions were referred to as District Forecast Offices. Some offices also began to perform river forecasts; originally referred to as River District Offices, the network was realigned and evolved into the River Forecast Center (RFC) network currently in use. 

As the aviation industry began to play a larger role in the 1920's and 1930's, many locations began to operate a second Weather Bureau office at airports. These were initially referred to as Weather Bureau Airways Stations (WBAS). Eventually in the 1940's and 1950's, the split operations were frequently consolidated at the airport location, although some locations maintained separate facilities. There were also specialized forecast centers that performed aviation forecasts, referred to as Flight Advisory Weather Service stations (a forerunner to the current Center Weather Service Unit). 

Weather Bureau sites that performed forecast functions were later referred to as Weather Bureau Forecast Offices (WBFO); the smaller sites peforming warning and local observation functions used the WBO terminology. Some smaller offices only conducted meteorologial observations (such as radar or upper air functions), and were referred to as Weather Bureau Meteorological Observatories (WBMO). 

 

Weather Service Years:

When the Weather Bureau became the National Weather Service in 1970, generally the only thing that changed was the terminology.  Thus, WBFO became Weather Service Forecast Office (WSFO), WBO became Weather Service Office (WSO), and WBMO became Weather Service Meteorological Observatory (WSMO).  Some changes were made in the early 1970's to add additional WSFO's, increasing the total to 53. 

During the NWS modernization of the 1990's, the network of stations was realigned and consolidated. Most of the remaining field offices became Weather Forecast Offices (WFO), all with roughly the same forecast and warning duties. Some of the WSO sites remained in operation, mainly in Alaska and the Pacific territories, although a few also operated in the contiguous U.S. for several additional years. Former WSO sites in Hawaii became Data Collection Offices, similar in concept to a Weather Service Meteorological Observatory.