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History

     Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs) were formed as a direct response to the Southern Airways flight 242 crash. The aircraft crashed near Atlanta, Georgia in 1978 due to a thunderstorm. Since that crash, National Weather Service meteorologists directly support the aviation customer by providing detailed weather information 16 hours a day, 7 days a week from 21 offices nationwide.

Map of CWSU's Oakland Center Weather Service Unit Fort Worth Center Weather Service Unit Houston Center Weather Service Unit Atlanta Center Weather Service Unit Miami Center Weather Service Unit Anchorage Center Weather Service Unit Hawaii Aviation Memphis Center Weather Service Unit Jacksonville Center Weather Service Unit Kansas City Center Weather Service Unit Albuquerque Center Weather Service Unit Seattle Center Weather Service Unit Los Angeles Center Weather Service Unit Salt Lake City Center Weather Service Unit Denver Center Weather Service Unit Minneapolis Center Weather Service Unit Washington D.C. Center Weather Service Unit Chicago Center Weather Service Unit Cleveland Center Weather Service Unit Indianapolis Center Weather Service Unit New York Center Weather Service Unit Boston Center Weather Service Unit

Mission

     The CWSU mission is to constantly strive to provide the most accurate and dependable weather information possible to our Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) customers, both in-house and off site, contributing to the safest and most efficient use of our nation's National Airspace System.

Who and Where

     There are 84 National Weather Service meteorologists throughout the United States whose top priority is providing timely, accurate and precise weather information to air traffic controllers. These 84 scientists are equally dispersed throughout 21 CWSUs which are co-located within air route traffic control centers.

What We Do

     CWSU meteorologists perform several functions, but none more important than the face-to-face on the spot briefings to air traffic controllers. These face-to-face briefings let the meteorologist convey a variety of weather information to air traffic controllers using science, past experiences and local knowledge. This is vital in helping FAA personnel safely and efficiently route traffic.

     Other functions of CWSU meteorologist's include producing and disseminating Center Weather Advisories (CWAs) and Meteorological Impact Statements (MISs). These products are similar, but have two significant differences. Those differences are length of product and how the product is used by the aviation community:

     -- The CWA is a short-term weather forecast (lasting up to 2 hours) on how weather is impacting aviation.
     -- The MIS is similar in content, but is a medium range forecast product (2-12 hours) and used for planning.

     In addition to the MIS, CWA and briefings the CWSU personnel provide a variety of graphical forecast information. The information is displayed via in-house FAA meteorological software systems and provides controllers up-to-date weather hazard information affecting their specific sectors. CWSU internet sites also provide graphical forecast information for their ARTCCs, associated TRACONs, and major airfields. It is important to note that not all CWSU web sites are the same due to unique differences in topography, climatology and customer needs.

Aviation Weather Center and CWSU Partnership

     CWSU meteorologists routinely correspond with the Aviation Weather Center (CWSU) making sure weather information is shared and consistent. This sharing of weather knowledge is evident during the Collaborative Collective Forecast Product (CCFP). This product is produced through a secure chat room to share knowledge with adjacent CWSUs, CWSU, airline companies and the FAA Command Center about potential areas of thunderstorm coverage. The CCFP product is produced during peak thunderstorm season (March-October) every 2 hours. The CCFP is a vital product for air traffic controllers throughout the country to minimize delays while ensuring safe skies.

Outreach

     Outreach involvement varies among CWSUs. A few common outreach activities include visiting local schools, speaking to pilot organizations and participating at safety seminars. To find out more about these outreach programs in your area please click here.



A collage showing the wide variety of CWSU customers