History of the Pueblo Weather Office
The National Weather Service is a federal government agency which is
a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which
is a part of the Department of Commerce (DOC). The mission of the National
Weather Service is to protect lives and property and to enhance the economy.
We do this by providing weather forecasts and weather warnings and advisories
to you, our customers. We keep a constant eye on the weather across the
nation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. A highly
trained and dedicated staff of around 5,000 men and women accomplish the
mission with the help of high-speed computer networks, weather satellites
in outer space, and ground-based weather observation and radar systems.
The National Weather Service Office in Pueblo provides forecasts,
warnings, and other meteorological information to the general public, media,
emergency management and law enforcement officials, the aviation community,
and other customers. We are staffed around the clock with two
meteorologists and 18 hours a day by one hydrometeorological technician. Most of the time,
though, there are many more skilled staff in the office, working as a team
to carry out our mission of protecting lives and property by OBSERVING
the weather, PREDICTING the weather, and most importantly INFORMING
you of our findings. Of prime interest to most of our customers is the
7-day forecast, which allows the general public, businesses, farmers and
ranchers, and commerce to plan activities which are weather sensitive.
Serving as the nerve center for official government weather services
across much of southern Colorado, the staff at the NWS in Pueblo ensures
the delivery of timely information on critical weather. Our office issues
forecasts and severe weather warnings, with the invaluable resource of
the Doppler radar, for 21 counties in the Upper Arkansas River Valley (north
to the Leadville area), south central, and southeast Colorado. The population
of our County Warning and Forecast Area (CWFA) is over 800,000. The largest
metropolitan area is Colorado Springs, with a population of over 500,000.
Over 100,000 people live in the Pueblo area. Other larger communities in
our CWFA include Alamosa, Canon City, Walsenburg, Trinidad, La Junta, and
Lamar. Click here for a map of our County
Warning and Forecast Area. Our area is as diverse, both topographically
and weatherwise, as you can get. Annual precipitation normals range from
around 6 inches in the high "desert" valleys, to over 60 inches in the
southwest mountains. The headwaters of two major river basins are in
our area on the Continental Divide, the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. Elevation
in our area of responsibility ranges from just under 3,400 feet near Holly
near the Kansas border in Prowers county to the highest point in Colorado,
Mount Elbert in the Sawatch Range, at 14,440 feet MSL. Seven mountain ranges
tower above the surrounding plains and valleys in our CWFA. It is truly
a beautiful and very challenging 30,000 square mile area for which to forecast
Our staff consists of 23 in all: 13 meteorologists, 1 meteorlogist
intern, 4 hydrometeorological technicians (HMTs), 1 ITO, 3 electronic technicians,
and an administrative assistant. Forecasters make the decision to issue
and then prepare critical watches, warnings, and advisories, and prepare
public forecasts, aviation forecasts, river information, and broadcast on our NOAA
Weather Radio stations. Interns and HMTs prepare critical watches, warnings,
and advisories, monitor the ASOS weather observations, provide public service,
broadcast on our NOAA Weather Radio stations, collect disseminate river and rainfall
data, and prepare local climatological data.
The Meteorologist-In-Charge (MIC) oversees all office staff and
is responsible for all operations conducted in and out of the office. The
MIC is assisted by the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM), a Science
and Operations Officer (SOO), a Data Acquisition Program Manager (DAPM),
an Electronic Systems Analyst (ESA) and an Admistrative Assistant.
The WCM is the primary focal point for external relations and training.
The SOO administers internal office training, research and operations.
The DAPM oversees data collection, quality control, and dissemination,
and is also the supervisor for interns and HMTs. The ESA and ITO oversee computer
hardware/software operations and electronics issues. The senior meteorologists/forecasters
on shift, serves as the shift supervisor for the journeyman forecasters,
interns, HMTs, and other forecasters or managers who help out on the shift
when the workload becomes heavy.
Here is a summary of some of our programs: