Operations is the heartbeat of any NWS office. The mission of the NWS has always been:
" The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community ."



Routine Operations consist of three main focus areas: Public, Aviation, and Data acquisition. For normal operations, the operational staff includes a lead forecaster who has overall responsibility for the shift, a journeyman forecaster, and the Hydro Met-Tech who performs data collection and quality control, and ensures the NOAA All Hazards Radio program is running smoothly. Flexibility to shift responsibilities is the cornerstone for smoothly running operations. Sometimes, both forecasters will work on the public forecast, with one focused on the short-term, one on long-term. Other forecast responsibilities, such as the fire weather and aviation forecasts will be handled by the forecaster with the short-term responsibility.

When weather becomes hazardous and approaches severe potential, the whole operations works as a team to ensure that warnings are prepared and disseminated to NOAA Weather Radio, state emergency management, public media outlets, and is posted through the Internet.

Without quality data, preparation of any forecast would be impossible. Although more and more data acquisition is becoming automated, the NWS still relies on people to make sure all equipment is working properly. In addition to the electronics staff, the NWS also uses an Information Technologist (IT) to ensure that all the various computer systems can operate together. The NWS still has some older computer systems, most of which perform the routine task of calling data sensors in the field and dumping the data into a database. These older computer systems must still be able to communicate with cutting-edge computer platforms, making the IT position a challenging one at times.



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