Our Stories

  • Oral History: A Look Back with Hydrologist Ed Johnson

    Hear from Ed Johnson, former director of strategic planning and policy at the NWS, as he reflects on his time at the agency. Read MoreAboutOral History: A Look Back with Hydrologist Ed Johnson »

  • Oral History: A Look Back with Hydrologist David Vallee

    Hear from David Vallee, accomplished hydrologist, as he discusses his time at the Northeast River Forecast Center. Read MoreAboutOral History: A Look Back with Hydrologist David Vallee »

  • Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    Oral History: A Look Back with Hurricane Forecaster Ed Rappaport

    Hear from Ed Rappaport, legendary hurricane forecaster, as he reflects on his time at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Read MoreAboutOral History: A Look Back with Hurricane Forecaster Ed Rappaport »

  • Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Great Chicago Heat Wave of 1995

    On July 12, 1995, a deadly heat wave swept through the Midwest region of the United States, impacting the Chicago area in particular. Read MoreAboutGreat Chicago Heat Wave of 1995 »

  • Photos courtesy of Crystal Seal
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Intense Summer 2012 Microburst Impacts Localized Area South of Washington, DC

    Just one week after the Super Derecho of late June 2012 impacted millions of people across the Upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, an intense localized microburst impacted part of the Fredericksburg, Virginia area, around 60 miles south of Washington, D.C. Read MoreAboutIntense Summer 2012 Microburst Impacts Localized Area South of Washington, DC »

  • One Hot Weather Station

    Of all the cooperative weather observing sites located in National Parks, one attracts the highest international interest among the weather and climate community: the station at Death Valley National Park. Read MoreAboutOne Hot Weather Station »

  • Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Terror in Texas: Tropical Storm Allison

    Though heavy rain is a common element that can occur during the average hurricane or tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Allison was anything but ordinary. Read MoreAboutTerror in Texas: Tropical Storm Allison »

  • ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    Tragedy at Teton: 1976 Dam Break Disaster

    Disastrous dam failure, whether from natural or human causes, can occur with very little warning. Such was the case in southeastern Idaho in the summer of 1976, when the Teton Dam catastrophically failed. Read MoreAboutTragedy at Teton: 1976 Dam Break Disaster »

  • Far Beyond Normal: 15 Years Since the Unprecedented 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season

    Reflecting on the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, one of the most active and destructive on record. Read MoreAboutFar Beyond Normal: 15 Years Since the Unprecedented 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Tragedy at Joplin-The EF-5 of May 22, 2011

    As communities across the Southeastern US were still reeling from a busy and tragic April in 2011, an unthinkable tragedy struck again in a different part of the country about one month later. Read MoreAboutTragedy at Joplin-The EF-5 of May 22, 2011 »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    Then and Now: Decades of Hurricane Preparedness

    One crucial part of the National Weather Service’s effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation is the element of preparedness -- knowing what’s coming, where to go, and what to do. Read MoreAboutThen and Now: Decades of Hurricane Preparedness »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990), ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    Lasting Collaboration: The History of the National Ice Center

    In working to achieve the mission of the agency, the NWS often collaborates with other organizations and groups to improve accuracy and protect lives. Read MoreAboutLasting Collaboration: The History of the National Ice Center »

  • Aftermath of the May 11, 1970 Lubbock Tornado (City of Lubbock Photo)
    ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    1970 Lubbock Tornado Kills 26; Injures Over 1,500

    A violent F5 tornado struck Lubbock, Texas at night on May 11, 1970. It became a watershed event for the city and the field of severe weather research. Read MoreAbout1970 Lubbock Tornado Kills 26; Injures Over 1,500 »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    Changing Tides: The National Weather Service and Rip Current Safety

    Even the strongest swimmers can fall victim to a rip current. Read about the NWS campaign that has protected beachgoers for almost 20 years. Read MoreAboutChanging Tides: The National Weather Service and Rip Current Safety »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    Planning Ahead: The #SafePlaceSelfie Campaign

    The #SafePlace Selfie social media campaign, though fairly new, has had a monumental impact on safety and preparedness. Read MoreAboutPlanning Ahead: The #SafePlaceSelfie Campaign »

  • ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    The April 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes

    The second largest U.S. outbreak of tornadoes on record led to major changes in observation and dissemination technologies and a major shift in the way the National Weather Service prepares and issues forecasts. Read MoreAboutThe April 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes »

  • The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    TIROS I = TV Weather Eye in Space

    At 6:40 am EST on April 1, 1960, a three stage 90-foot tall Thor-Able rocket lifted a drum shaped, 270- pound satellite from the launching pad at the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral. Read MoreAboutTIROS I = TV Weather Eye in Space »

  • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Using Ocean Modeling to Track the Movement of Nuclear Contamination: NWS Responds to the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster

    On March 12, 2011, the day after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred, NOAA and the NWS began moving swiftly to determine how to help. Read MoreAboutUsing Ocean Modeling to Track the Movement of Nuclear Contamination: NWS Responds to the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Origins of NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook

    Dive into the history of the Spring Outlook, an annual report with roots almost 30 years in the past. Read MoreAboutOrigins of NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook »

  • Barb Mayes Boustead and her original and 'working' copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter.
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Reflecting on “The Long Winter” with Barb Mayes Boustead

    For Barb Mayes Boustead, the record-breaking winter storms of 2008 and 2009 brought to mind another “Long Winter”: the one penned by Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House book series. Read MoreAboutReflecting on “The Long Winter” with Barb Mayes Boustead »

  • Some of the damage in Murphysboro, IL. Photo by the Jackson County (IL) Historical Society.
    Early Growth (1912-1941)

    The Tri-State Tornado of 1925

    The deadliest tornado in U.S. history struck 3 states on March 18, 1925, with southern Illinois hardest hit. Read MoreAboutThe Tri-State Tornado of 1925 »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Using Ocean Modeling to Track Nuclear Contamination: NWS Responds to the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster

    While the mission of the NWS is focused on domestic climate and environmental efforts, catastrophic weather events happen worldwide. Read MoreAboutUsing Ocean Modeling to Track Nuclear Contamination: NWS Responds to the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990), ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    Scratching the Surface: A Photo History of Surface Analyses at the Weather Prediction Center

    Though it has operated under many different names and used many different technologies to predict weather over the years, the Weather Prediction Center has been producing surface analyses since the very beginning. Read MoreAboutScratching the Surface: A Photo History of Surface Analyses at the Weather Prediction Center »

  • Montgomery County Police Department Cruiser Buried Under Snow
    Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990), ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    Unpredictable: The President’s Day Storm of 1979

    Forecasts for a winter storm over President's Day weekend 1979 called for 4-6 inches of snow. That was not to be; the President’s Day Storm paralyzed the Mid-Atlantic for days, leading to major forecast model improvements. Read MoreAboutUnpredictable: The President’s Day Storm of 1979 »

  • ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980), The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    Dr. Robert White - Weather Bureau Chief and NOAA’s First Administrator

    As NOAA's first administrator, Dr. White is credited with leading the agency into the numerical weather prediction and satellite eras, and is widely recognized as one of the most influential individuals in the field Read MoreAboutDr. Robert White - Weather Bureau Chief and NOAA’s First Administrator »

  • Birthday Cake - Celebrating the National Weather Service's 150th Birthday on Feb. 9, 2020
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990), ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980), The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965), Post-War Expansion (1945-1960), Weather and the War (1942-1945), Early Growth (1912-1941), The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912), Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    The National Weather Service at 150: A Brief History

    The National Weather Service celebrates its 150th Birthday on February 9, 2020 -- an ideal time to recognize the many accomplishments of the agency. Read MoreAboutThe National Weather Service at 150: A Brief History »

  • 100 Years of Weather Observations at Belvedere Castle in Central Park

    The history of the Belvedere Castle Weather Station, a testament to consistency in an ever-changing agency. Read MoreAbout100 Years of Weather Observations at Belvedere Castle in Central Park »

  • The current Weather Forecast Office structure of the NWS
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    The NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring - A Retrospective (Part 2)

    Implementing the NWS's Modernization was a monumental task. Read MoreAboutThe NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring - A Retrospective (Part 2) »

  • Describing weather instruments
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    A Look Inside at Burlington

    In 1956, the Weather Bureau office in Burlington, Vt., opens its doors to the public for the first time, to celebrate 50 years of operation. Read MoreAboutA Look Inside at Burlington »

  • AWIPS display at the Louisville NWS office
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Introducing AWIPS

    As part of the modernized NWS, a new computer system is deployed to its field offices. Read MoreAboutIntroducing AWIPS »

  • Living, Talking Time Capsules: Oral Histories and the NWS Heritage Project

    In an effort to fully capture our history, the NWS has started collecting oral histories from past and present employees. Read MoreAboutLiving, Talking Time Capsules: Oral Histories and the NWS Heritage Project »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    Floods and the Awesome Power

    Although severe weather events impact everyone, they can create unique challenges for people with disabilities. Read MoreAboutFloods and the Awesome Power »

  • Naval operating base at Dutch Harbor in Unalaska, Alaska. Library of Congress photo.
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Flying the Aleutians

    A Weather Bureau forecaster shares her experience in 1956 of familiarizing herself with the aviation network serving the Aleutian Islands. Read MoreAboutFlying the Aleutians »

  • Meteorologist at Joint Numerical Forecast Unit, c. 1965.
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965), Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Numerical Weather Prediction

    The forecast ability of the Weather Bureau greatly increases with the introduction of computer models to simulate the trends of the atmosphere. Read MoreAboutNumerical Weather Prediction »

  • Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    Key Advances in Weather History: Dual-Pol Radar

    Radar is an essential component of modern meteorology--but how did the latest innovations come about? Read MoreAboutKey Advances in Weather History: Dual-Pol Radar »

  • Early Growth (1912-1941)

    Close Calls During Weather Flights

    The stories of Frank Knapp, a Weather Bureau pilot during the 1930s. Read MoreAboutClose Calls During Weather Flights »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Weather and the War (1942-1945), Signal Service Years (1870-1891), The Pioneers (pre-1870)

    Out of Thin Air: The History and Evolution of Upper-Air Observations

    A practice that can be dated as far back as the 18th century, when Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a thunderstorm to prove the electrical nature of lightning, upper-air observations have been indispensable to meteorologists for hundreds of years. Read MoreAboutOut of Thin Air: The History and Evolution of Upper-Air Observations »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Early Growth (1912-1941)

    NWS and AMS: 100 Years of Working Together

    Ever since the founding of the American Meteorological Society, the organization has had an incredibly close relationship with the NWS. Read MoreAboutNWS and AMS: 100 Years of Working Together »

  • Graphic Depicting NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring Concept of Coverage
    Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    The NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring - A Retrospective (Part 1)

    Planned in the 1980s and implemented in the 1990s, the NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring modernized the agency’s organization and technology to ensure more rapid detection of storms and deliver timely forecasts and warnings to the public.  Read MoreAboutThe NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring - A Retrospective (Part 1) »

  • Teletype machines at the Weather Bureau office in Louisville, Ky., in the mid 1960s.
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    STOP SHOUTING THE FORECAST!

    Decades after teletypes were phased out, the NWS finally begins eliminating the ALL-CAPS FORMAT of its products. Read MoreAboutSTOP SHOUTING THE FORECAST! »

  • Ship in port
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    The Port Meteorological Officer

    The U.S. Voluntary Observing Ship program provides vital weather observations to the NWS, and Port Meteorological Officers serve as the field representatives and primary points of contact for ships. Read MoreAboutThe Port Meteorological Officer »

  • Research Doppler radar near Norman, OK in 1970, with WSR-57 radar seen to the right. (National Severe Storms Laboratory photo)
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    Introducing NEXRAD

    Early tests of the Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) paid dividends on May 11, 1982, when the Oklahoma City NWS office issues a number of Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings based on the test Doppler radar in Norman. Read MoreAboutIntroducing NEXRAD »

  • Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    The Great Ice Storm of 1998

    After the holiday craziness settled into a bright new year, something far beyond New Year's resolutions was set into motion: a disastrous ice storm. Read MoreAboutThe Great Ice Storm of 1998 »

  • Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990), Post-War Expansion (1945-1960), Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    The National Weather Service and the Evolution of Meteorological Radar

    Radar, a technological concept that was first developed over 100 years ago, is a vital part of modern meteorology. Read MoreAboutThe National Weather Service and the Evolution of Meteorological Radar »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    The Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004: A Wake-Up Call

    For many around the world, the day after Christmas is celebrated as another holiday: “Boxing Day”. On that day in 2004, however, the world was shattered by one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history, forever changing humankind’s perception of tsunamis. Read MoreAboutThe Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004: A Wake-Up Call »

  • Charles Foster Jones
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    The Last Weather Observation

    Charles Foster Jones, a Weather Bureau cooperative observer in Attu, Alaska in June 1942, relays his final observation shortly before being executed by invading Japanese forces during World War II. Read MoreAboutThe Last Weather Observation »

  • Different sizes of Weather Bureau kites
    The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912)

    Flying Kites for Science

    The Weather Bureau's early efforts to measure the upper atmosphere involved kite flying. Read MoreAboutFlying Kites for Science »

  • Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    "Of Historic Proportions": The Superstorm of 1993

    In March of 1993, a superstorm of unprecedented severity pelted the eastern United States. Remembered for its devastating tornadoes, shocking snowfall totals, destructive winds, and extreme flooding, this was a deadly storm of historic proportions. Read MoreAbout"Of Historic Proportions": The Superstorm of 1993 »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    The Unsung Heroes of Firefighting: NWS Forecasters in the Field

    Along with firefighters and first responders, there is another group vital to wildfire aid: Incident Meteorologists, or IMETs. Read MoreAboutThe Unsung Heroes of Firefighting: NWS Forecasters in the Field »

  • Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    No Snow in Sight: The NWS and the 1980 Olympic Winter Games

    Almost 20 years after their first participation in the Olympics, the National Weather Service got another opportunity in 1980 when the Winter Games returned to the US. However, an atypical lack of snow in the region leading up to the Games presented extreme challenges for meteorologists and athletes alike. Read MoreAboutNo Snow in Sight: The NWS and the 1980 Olympic Winter Games »

  • Early balloon launch from Mount Weather, VA. Library of Congress photo.
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Early Growth (1912-1941), The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912)

    The Trusty Weather Balloon

    While weather instruments to measure the upper atmosphere have changed over the decades, the use of balloons to carry them aloft continues today. Read MoreAboutThe Trusty Weather Balloon »

  • Thomas Jefferson Award presentation, 2009

    Monk, Engineer, Weather Observer

    NWS cooperative observers come from all walks of life. Read MoreAboutMonk, Engineer, Weather Observer »

  • Elfin Cove, AK
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    All in an Alaskan COOP Day

    NWS employees sometimes have to go to great lengths to visit cooperative weather observing stations. Read MoreAboutAll in an Alaskan COOP Day »

  • Daily Weather Map for September 1, 1872
    Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    The Daily Weather Map

    While many changes have occurred over the history of the National Weather Service, one constant has been the Daily Weather Map. Read MoreAboutThe Daily Weather Map »

  • The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    Breaking the Ice: The Weather Bureau and the 1960 Olympic Winter Games

    For the first time in agency history, the Weather Bureau was approached to provide special weather service to the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. Read MoreAboutBreaking the Ice: The Weather Bureau and the 1960 Olympic Winter Games »

  • Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    The Sky is Falling: Delta Air Lines Flight 191 Crash

    In 1985, Delta Air Lines Flight 191 fell from the sky at the Dallas/Fort Worth International airport as a result of inclement weather. Read MoreAboutThe Sky is Falling: Delta Air Lines Flight 191 Crash »

  • Early Growth (1912-1941)

    The Mount Washington Observatory

    Aptly named the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather”, the Mount Washington Observatory experiences some of the most extreme weather conditions on record. Read MoreAboutThe Mount Washington Observatory »

  • Crew and personnel of Project StormFury, 1966. Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.
    ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    Almost Science Fiction: Hurricane Modification and Project STORMFURY

    In the years between 1962 and 1983, hurricane observation took an enormous step in an ambitious direction that almost sounds like science fiction: human interference and the modification of hurricanes. Read MoreAboutAlmost Science Fiction: Hurricane Modification and Project STORMFURY »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), Modernization and Restructuring (1980-1990)

    Weather Woodles

    In order to help young children understand the weather, long-time National Weather Service employee Carolyn Willis created fuzzy, zany cartoon characters to explain complex weather phenomena: the Weather Woodles. Read MoreAboutWeather Woodles »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond), Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Wireless Emergency Alerts: How Your Mobile Device Could Save Your Life!

    A mid-2000s Congressional Act inspired a revolutionary development in emergency notification technology: Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). Thanks to Wireless WEAs, countless lives have been saved when they otherwise wouldn't have been. Read MoreAboutWireless Emergency Alerts: How Your Mobile Device Could Save Your Life! »

  • Early Growth (1912-1941), The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912)

    Isaac Monroe Cline: The Cyclone Pioneer

    Fighting through the blinding rain and powerful winds caused by the Hurricane of 1900, Galveston chief meteorologist Isaac Cline struggled to keep himself and his family alive. Read MoreAboutIsaac Monroe Cline: The Cyclone Pioneer »

  • Artist's rendering of TIROS-1 in orbit
    The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    The Satellite Era Begins

    On April 1, 1960, the first satellite images are received from the just-launched TIROS-1 satellite. Read MoreAboutThe Satellite Era Begins »

  • World Weather Building, late 1974
    ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    The World Weather Building

    In 1974, NOAA moves several of its Washington-area weather operations to a new facility in Camp Springs, Maryland. Read MoreAboutThe World Weather Building »

  • A crane hoists the radar dish of the WSR-57 radar to the 70th floor of the RCA Building in midtown Manhattan, on June 13, 1960.
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    A Radar for 30 Rock

    In 1960, the Weather Bureau goes to great heights to provide radar coverage for the New York City area. Read MoreAboutA Radar for 30 Rock »

  • Destruction of the Goshen United Methodist Church in Piedmont, AL, March 27, 1994.
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today)

    Cooperative Expansion of NOAA Weather Radio

    A deadly tornado in 1994 prompts a nationwide effort to expand the NOAA Weather Radio network. Read MoreAboutCooperative Expansion of NOAA Weather Radio »

  • Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States
    The Pioneers (pre-1870)

    Jefferson and Madison, America's First Cooperative Weather Observers?

    Two of our early Presidents chronicle the weather in the young United States Read MoreAboutJefferson and Madison, America's First Cooperative Weather Observers? »

  • Bear Mountain Weather Bureau office in 1943. Photo courtesy of NWS Eastern Region Headquarters
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960), Early Growth (1912-1941)

    The Bear Mountain Weather Bureau Office

    Just north of the New York City metropolitan area, visitors to Bear Mountain State Park can visit an old Weather Bureau office that was established in 1934. Read MoreAboutThe Bear Mountain Weather Bureau Office »

  • X-10 site at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Weather for the "Atom Splitters"

    In the late 1940's, the Weather Bureau establishes two special offices to fulfill the needs of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Read MoreAboutWeather for the "Atom Splitters" »

  • Radiosonde in 1943. Library of Congress photo.
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    The Farmer and the Gadget

    In 1948, a Canadian farmer writes a humorous letter to the Weather Bureau regarding a recovered radiosonde. Read MoreAboutThe Farmer and the Gadget »

  • Weather Bureau office at Wake Island, 1954
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Weather Wife at Wake

    In 1954, Mrs. John Moore, the wife of a Weather Bureau observer stationed on Wake Island, shares her experiences. Read MoreAboutWeather Wife at Wake »

  • Observer training in Micronesia, 1957
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Expanding Services Across the Pacific

    While offices had been opened across the Hawaiian Islands early in the 20th century, the Weather Bureau role in the Pacific greatly increases following World War II. Read MoreAboutExpanding Services Across the Pacific »

  • Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    The Thunderstorm Project: When Pilots Flew Into Thunderstorms ... Intentionally

    As the aviation industry expanded during WWII, the increase in air travel led to weather-related aviation incidents--primarily caused by thunderstorms. To learn about these dangerous storms, Congress mandated an in-depth meteorological study: the Thunderstorm Project Read MoreAboutThe Thunderstorm Project: When Pilots Flew Into Thunderstorms ... Intentionally »

  • The Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior.
    ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    Tragedy on Lake Superior: The Wreckage of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    In the wake of an intense autumn storm that thrashed the Great Lakes, an enormous ship met a watery grave. Read MoreAboutTragedy on Lake Superior: The Wreckage of the Edmund Fitzgerald »

  • Navy biplane taking weather measurements
    Weather and the War (1942-1945), Early Growth (1912-1941)

    The Weather Bureau's "Flying Forecasts"

    The Weather Bureau inaugurates "flying forecasts" on December 1, 1918, as the aviation industry expands following World War I. Read MoreAboutThe Weather Bureau's "Flying Forecasts" »

  • The remains of a school bus in Rainsville, Alabama after the 2011 tornado outbreak.
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    Winds of Change: The 2011 Tornado Outbreak and the Birth of a Weather-Ready Nation

    Over the course of our 150-year history, tragic storm events have driven monumental change within the organization. In April of 2011, a tornado outbreak changed the National Weather Service forever. Read MoreAboutWinds of Change: The 2011 Tornado Outbreak and the Birth of a Weather-Ready Nation »

  • Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    Then and Now: NOAA Hurricane Hunters

    In order to collect life-saving information, the NOAA Hurricane Hunters risk their lives and fly directly into the eye of the storm. Read MoreAboutThen and Now: NOAA Hurricane Hunters »

  • A Weather Bureau employee plots a pilot balloon run.
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Bessie Bergman Paul

    From a young age, Bessie Bergman Paul learned about the importance of weather forecasts and observations from her father, a man who worked at an airport. Years later, she put her skills to good use as an employee of the Weather Bureau. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Bessie Bergman Paul »

  • A Weather Bureau employee tracks a pilot balloon.
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Charlcia B. Rosenlund

    Charlcia B. Rosenlund reflects on the time she spent working in the wartime Weather Bureau, including her experiences working in the Last Frontier: Alaska. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Charlcia B. Rosenlund »

  • Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Mary J.H. Williams

    Mary J.H. Williams tells of her experiences in the wartime Weather Bureau, including the time she flew in the Goodyear blimp. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Mary J.H. Williams »

  • Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Charlotte Schmidtke Jones

    Charlotte Schmidtke Jones, a woman who spent more than two decades in the Weather Bureau, shares stories of her experiences. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Charlotte Schmidtke Jones »

  • Grace D. Harding inflating a pilot balloon for observation.
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Grace D. Harding

    Grace D. Harding tells of her time working for the Weather Bureau, including one particular story about a mysterious incendiary device. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Grace D. Harding »

  • Richard G. Hendrickson taking weather observations at his farm in Bridgehampton, New York (2008).
    Early Growth (1912-1941)

    The NWS's Longest Serving Weather Observer

    When Richard G. Hendrickson logged his first weather observation for the U.S. Weather Bureau, the precursor to the National Weather Service, Herbert Hoover occupied the White House. Read MoreAboutThe NWS's Longest Serving Weather Observer »

  • Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    On the Front Lines of Change: The Women of the Wartime Weather Bureau

    As American men stepped up to defend their country in World War II, American women stepped up as well. Read MoreAboutOn the Front Lines of Change: The Women of the Wartime Weather Bureau »

  • Early Signal Service weather map. Photo courtesy NOAA Photo Library.
    Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    The First Synchronized Weather Observations

    On November 1, 1870, the Signal Service inaugurates its new weather observation network. Read MoreAboutThe First Synchronized Weather Observations »

  • Dorothy Chambers (left) and another Weather Bureau employee plotting weather maps from teletype reports.
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Dorothy Hurd Chambers

    Dorothy Chambers shares her time with the Weather Bureau, including an interesting anecdote about "finding" the Jet Stream. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Dorothy Hurd Chambers »

  • Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Women in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Shirley E. Kodalen Buhmann

    Shirley Buhmann shares her story working with the Weather Bureau during World War II and after. Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During WWII: Shirley E. Kodalen Buhmann »

  • Weather Bureau office in Glasgow, MT, in 1963.
    Revolutionizing Observations, Forecasts & Dissemination (1990-Today), ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980), Early Growth (1912-1941), The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912), Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    The Many Faces of a Weather Bureau Office

    The Weather Bureau sets up shop in whatever facility they can find -- not always a fancy government building, either. Read MoreAboutThe Many Faces of a Weather Bureau Office »

  • Thule Air Base, 2005. Photo by U.S. Air Force
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    The Weather Bureau's Northernmost Outpost

    The Weather Bureau begins work in 1946, to help assemble a modern geophysical laboratory and meteorological observatory in Greenland. Read MoreAboutThe Weather Bureau's Northernmost Outpost »

  • Example of AFOS terminal at WSFO Topeka, KS
    ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980)

    The Weather Office of the Future: Introducing AFOS

    In the 1970's, the NWS introduces plans for the Automation of Field Operations and Services (AFOS), an ambitious computer network to replace the teletype networks of the past, and to automate some forecasts. Read MoreAboutThe Weather Office of the Future: Introducing AFOS »

  • Francis Reichelderfer
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Francis Reichelderfer: Sailor, Aviator, Meteorologist, and Director of the U.S. Weather Bureau

    For a quarter century, Francis Reichelderfer presided over the most revolutionary era in the history of the National Weather Service, guiding the organization through World War II and bringing modern technology to weather forecasting. Read MoreAboutFrancis Reichelderfer: Sailor, Aviator, Meteorologist, and Director of the U.S. Weather Bureau »

  • The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912)

    The Mount Weather Research Observatory

    The Weather Bureau establishes an observatory in the early 1900's in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to conduct meteorological research. Read MoreAboutThe Mount Weather Research Observatory »

  • StormReady Logo
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    StormReady: Connecting with Communities to Save Lives

    A tragic storm leads to an inspired idea to connect directly with communities. Read MoreAboutStormReady: Connecting with Communities to Save Lives »

  • Andrea Booher/FEMA Photo
    Becoming a Weather-Ready Nation (Today and Beyond)

    The Great Flood of 1993

    The size and impact of the Great Flood of 1993 was unprecedented and has been considered the most costly and devastating flood to ravage the U.S. in modern history. Read MoreAboutThe Great Flood of 1993 »

  • Women in the Weather Bureau During World War II: LaVera Roland

    LaVera Roland describes her experiences working with the Weather Bureau Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During World War II: LaVera Roland »

  • Launching a radiosonde during high winds in St. Louis, 1945

    Women in the Weather Bureau During World War II: Virginia Tredinnick Denmark

    Virginia Denmark shares her reflections of her time with the Weather Bureau Read MoreAboutWomen in the Weather Bureau During World War II: Virginia Tredinnick Denmark »

  • Weather Bureau office in Stampede Pass, WA, during the winter of 1949-50
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    Cool Off at Stampede Pass

    In 1956, the Weather Bureau shares the story of one of its more "extreme weather" offices, at Stampede Pass, Washington. Read MoreAboutCool Off at Stampede Pass »

  • Damage to the Eads Bridge in St. Louis after a tornado on May 27, 1896. Image from NOAA Photo Library
    Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    John P. Finley's Rules for Tornado Forecasting

    Signal Corps Sgt. John P. Finley extensively studies tornadoes in the 1870's and 1880's, coming up with 15 rules for tornado forecasting. Read MoreAboutJohn P. Finley's Rules for Tornado Forecasting »

  • The Lunar Module
    ESSA to NOAA and Environmental Focus (1965-1980), The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    Supporting the Space Race

    The Weather Bureau accepts NASA's request to provide weather support for the space program. Read MoreAboutSupporting the Space Race »

  • Wreckage of USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Library of Congress photo.
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Censoring the Weather During World War II

    If snow falls and everyone sees it, did it still occur? Read MoreAboutCensoring the Weather During World War II »

  • Early telephone switchboard. Library of Congress photo.
    Early Growth (1912-1941)

    40,000 Calls a Day via WE6-1212

    In 1939, the Weather Bureau's New York office begins an automated forecast service via telephone, with instant success. Read MoreAbout40,000 Calls a Day via WE6-1212 »

  • The Weather Bureau office in Peoria, Illinois, in the early 1900's displays its signal flags on the roof.
    The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912), Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    A Brief History of Signal Flags

    In 1881, the Signal Service expands its forecast relay methods to include visual displays. Read MoreAboutA Brief History of Signal Flags »

  • Weather Bureau kiosk in downtown Washington, D.C., in 1923 (Library of Congress photo)
    The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912)

    The Tale of the Weather Bureau Kiosk

    In 1908, the Weather Bureau introduces a new method for distributing observations and forecasts to the public. Read MoreAboutThe Tale of the Weather Bureau Kiosk »

  • A scene from the Dakotas, from the January 28, 1888 edition of Frank Leslie's Weekly.
    Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    The Blizzards of 1888

    Two blizzards, one in January 1888 that struck the northern Plains and a second in March, would forever change the face of weather forecasting. Read MoreAboutThe Blizzards of 1888 »

  • Signal Service
    Signal Service Years (1870-1891)

    Signal Service Reflections

    In 1922, Weather Bureau employee Henry E. Williams asks Signal Service veterans to share their stories on their impressions of the Signal Service years. Read MoreAboutSignal Service Reflections »

  • Different sizes of kites used for upper air observations
    Early Growth (1912-1941)

    Weather Bureau Kite Observer Killed

    On August 28, 1919, a Weather Bureau employee at Ellendale, ND, is killed by lightning while assisting with a kite observation. Read MoreAboutWeather Bureau Kite Observer Killed »

  • Weather Bureau personnel, clockwise from top right: Lester Fodor, Edward Weber, George Kubach, Luther Brady
    Weather and the War (1942-1945)

    Weather Bureau Meteorologists Lost at Sea

    The sinking of the USS Muskeget on September 9, 1942 northeast of Newfoundland results in 121 casualties, including four Weather Bureau meteorologists. Read MoreAboutWeather Bureau Meteorologists Lost at Sea »

  • Dr. Francis W. Reichelderfer
    Early Growth (1912-1941)

    A Half Century of Service

    In early 1941, Dr. Francis W. Reichelderfer writes a letter to Weather Bureau personnel to mark the 50th anniversary of the Weather Bureau as a civilian agency. Read MoreAboutA Half Century of Service »

  • Hazel Tatro is congratulated by South Carolina Gov. Donald Russell (right), as Columbia (S.C.) MIC John Purvis watches.
    The Satellite Age Begins (1960-1965)

    First Woman Meteorologist-in-Charge

    Mrs. Hazel Tatro becomes the Weather Bureau's first woman Meteorologist-in-Charge in 1964, when she is selected for the position in Winston-Salem, NC. Read MoreAboutFirst Woman Meteorologist-in-Charge »

  • Destruction at Tinker AFB outside of Oklahoma City on March 25, 1948.
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    The Start of Tornado Forecasts

    After Lt. John Finley of the Army Signal Corps began issuing routine tornado forecasts, the practice was discontinued until after World War II. Work by two meteorologists in the U.S. Air Force eventually led to the creation of what is now the Storm Prediction Center. Read MoreAboutThe Start of Tornado Forecasts »

  • Orville Wright is at the controls as the Wright Flyer takes off under its own power in Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 1903
    The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912), blogs

    The Wright Brothers and the Weather Bureau

    On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made four brief flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with their first powered aircraft. Read MoreAboutThe Wright Brothers and the Weather Bureau »

  • Image of Audrey Storm
    Post-War Expansion (1945-1960)

    My Battle with Audrey

    A Young Coast Surveyor's wife provides a graphic first-hand description of Hurricane Audrey's destruction. Read MoreAboutMy Battle with Audrey »

  • A split view of Galveston’s Broadway Street – in September 1900 and today.  Photo courtesy of Galveston Historical Foundation.
    The Weather Bureau Rises (1891-1912)

    Galveston Storm of 1900

    Join meteorologist Isaac Cline as he describes his experiences during the worst disaster to ever befall the United States. Read MoreAboutGalveston Storm of 1900 »

  • Snowflake Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG Via Getty Images
    Early Growth (1912-1941), Winter Weather

    The Snowflake Man

    Frank Hartwell recalls Wilson Bentley - the Snowflake Man. Read MoreAboutThe Snowflake Man »

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