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NWS Products and Services Reference Guidebook

NWS Reference Guide Cover
The National Weather Service (NWS) provides many products and services which can be used by other governmental agencies, Tribal Nations, the private sector, the public and the global community. The data and services provided by the NWS are designed to fulfill users needs and provide valuable information in the areas of weather, hydrology and climate.

In addition, the NWS has numerous partnerships with private and other government entities. These partnerships help facilitate the mission of the NWS, which is to protect life and property and enhance the national economy. This document is intended to serve as a reference guide and information manual of the products and services provided by the NWS on a national basis.

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Updates: October 2011

Section 1: What is the National Weather Service?

  • Mission Statement
  • Organizational Structure
  • County Warning Areas
  • Weather Forecast Office Staff
  • River Forecast Center Staff
  • NWS Directive System

Section 2: Non-Routine Products and Services
(watch/warning/advisory descriptions)

  • Convective Weather
  • Tropical Weather
  • Winter Weather
  • Hydrology
  • Coastal Flood
  • Marine Weather
  • Non-Precipitation
  • Fire Weather
  • Other
  • Statements
  • Other Non-Routine Products
  • Extreme Weather Wording
  • Verification and Performance Goals
  • Impact-Based Decision Support Services
  • Requesting a Spot Fire Weather Forecast
  • Hazardous Materials Emergency Support
  • Interactive Warning Team
  • HazCollect
  • Damage Surveys
  • Storm Data
  • Information Requests

Section 3: Routine Products and Services

  • Public Forecasts
  • How We Forecast
  • XML Data
  • Radar Services
  • Hydrologic Services
  • Marine Services
  • Fire Weather Services
  • Aviation Services
  • Climate Services

Section 4: Specialty Centers and Offices

  • Storm Prediction Center
  • National Hurricane Center
  • River Forecast Center
  • National Climatic Data Center
  • Climate Prediction Center
  • Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
  • Space Weather Prediction Center
  • Aviation Weather Center
  • Tsunami Warning Center
  • National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center



Section 5: Communication Channels

  • NWS Website
  • NWSChat
  • iNWS
  • Social Networking
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS)
  • NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) National Warning System (NAWAS)
  • HazCollect
  • GIS/Open Data Formats
  • Americas Weather and Climate Industry
  • NOAA Weather Wire Service (NWWS)
  • Family of Services (FOS)
  • Emergency Managers Weather Information Net work (EMWIN)
  • Interactive Weather Information Network (IWIN)
  • NOAAPort

Section 6: Website Navigation

  • Using the NWS Website
  • Hazardous Display Organization

Section 7: Outreach and Education Activities

  • Safety Campaigns
  • Safety Rules
  • StormReady/TsunamiReady
  • Severe Weather Spotter Training
  • Education and Training Courses
  • Meteorology and Hydrology Career and Job Resources

Section 8: Equipment

  • ASOS
  • CoCoRaHS
  • COOP Observing Equipment
  • Doppler Weather Radar
  • Hydrologic Observing System
  • Marine and Tsunami Buoys
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Satellites
  • Radiosondes and Upper Air Soundings
  • Wind Profilers

Section 9: Tables and Definitions

  • Sky Condition
  • Time Periods
  • Precipitation Chances
  • Hail Size
  • Heat Index
  • Wind Chill
  • EF Tornado Scale
  • Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
  • Beaufort Scale
  • Abbreviations and Definitions

Information and Acknowledgements

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Weather Services, Weather Awareness, Data Analysis, Projects/Research, Education,
, Get Weather Information, NWS Partners, Contact Us

NOAA, National Weather Service
Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
1325 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Last Updated: April 1, 2015

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