The National Weather Service is the federal agency that provides weather forecast information to the public. It was created by an Act of Congress in 1890 and is now a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NWS serves the United States and its territories with climate and weather data. It carries out weather data collection through satellites and ground-level remote sensing equipment. The service has more than one hundred offices nationwide.
The National Weather Service is composed of 122 local Weather Forecast Offices. Each WFO is responsible for a specific area of responsibility. Most of these offices are located in the U.S. Pacific islands. In addition to this, the service operates a collection of regional centers. These centers provide water supply resources, daily river forecasts, peak flow forecasts, and seasonal snow pack forecasts.
NWS is also responsible for issuing weather warnings to the public. Warnings are issued for hazardous conditions. Unlike watches, which are not intended to mean that the dangerous weather is imminent, warnings are meant to give people time to prepare.
When the NWS issues a watch, it means that a hazardous weather event is likely to happen. Typically, a watch is issued after the risk of hazardous hydrologic events has increased.
The weather forecasting services have improved significantly through technological advancements. However, false alarms continue to be an issue. As such, there are still many challenges with the growth of the market for forecasting services.