National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

In support of NWS forecasters and their partners, the National Weather Service is upgrading its chat service to improve reliability, security and expand functionality.

After analysis of digital messaging tools available on the marketplace, the collaboration platform, Slack, was selected for a pilot demonstration which took place over the past year and proved successful. On July 12, 2022 NWS signed a contract to use Slack as the next generation of the NWSChat service. Slack will serve as both a forecast collaboration and communication platform, allowing NWS forecasters to discuss and share information with each other and core partners during high impact weather.

Agency forecasters developed NWSChat to expand their ability to communicate weather observations and forecast information with emergency managers and other core partners. Since NWSChat launched more than a decade ago, demand and usage has exploded, far exceeding the tool’s capacity and leading to frequent outages.

The transition from NWSChat to Slack will include building NWS-specific functionality, testing and training for NWS employees and the thousands of external NWSChat collaborators in the emergency management, public safety, meteorology and broadcast sectors.