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NOAA's National Weather Service Backgrounders

  • Wildefire Support
    NOAA experts play a vital role in efforts to combat wildfires that rage across the United States each year, threatening lives, structures and tens of thousands of acres of vegetation.

  • Forecasting Tornadoes
    Through a tremendous investment in research, observing systems and forecasting technology, NOAA's National Weather Service issues more than 1,000 watches and nearly 30,000 warnings for severe storms and tornadoes each year.

  • Hurricane Forecasting
    Hurricanes are one of nature's most powerful forces. Powerful
    winds and storm surge can put millions at risk. Even after landfall, hurricanes and tropical storms can produce tornadoes and deadly inland flooding.

  • NOAA'S Hurricane Hunters
    Specially equipped NOAA aircraft play an integral role in hurricane forecasting. Data collected during hurricanes by these high-flying meteorological stations and from a variety of other sources are fed into numerical computer models to help forecasters predict how intense a hurricane will be, and when and where it will make landfall.

  • Lightning
    Lightning is one of the most underrated severe weather hazards, yet ranks as the second-leading weather killer in the United States. Deadlier than hurricanes or tornadoes, lightning strikes in America kill an average of 62 people and injure at least 300 others each year.

  • NOAA Weather Radio
    Saving lives is the focus of NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards by providing immediate broadcasts of severe weather warnings and civil emergency messages and giving those in harm's way critical lead time to respond and remain safe.

  • Storm-Based Warnings
    On October 1, 2007, the National Weather Service began issuing more geographically specific warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods and marine hazards. These are potentially deadly, short duration events that can develop very rapidly.

  • Stormready and Tsunamiready Programs
    To help guard against the ravages of severe weather, NOAA's National Weather Service designed StormReady®–a grass roots program aimed at preparing communities with the communication and safety tools necessary to help save lives.

  • Tsunamis
    Of all Earth's natural hazards, tsunamis are among the most irregular and the most infrequent. Yet, they pose a major threat to coastal populations, particularly in the Pacific. The tragedy of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami focused world attention on the rare but very real threat of tsunamis and the need for a comprehensive warning system.

  • Rip Current Awareness
    Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water that pull swimmers away from the shore. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes.

  • Heat Awareness
    “Each year, heat kills 1,500 people on average in the United States — more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, lightning, or any other weather event combined,” said Eli Jacks, chief of fire and public weather services with NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Heat can be a silent killer because it doesn’t topple trees or rip roofs off houses like tornadoes and hurricanes. Nevertheless, it’s a dangerous weather condition for which people should prepare.”

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  Page last modified: 11-Jun-2014 3:19 PM