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Dec. 16, 2004 — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working with the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System to establish a new communication link with NOAA's National Weather Service to increase public safety through improved dissemination of weather forecasts and warnings. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"This is a prime opportunity to link NOAA's life-saving forecasts and warnings to first responders, public safety officials and others who rely on this information to perform their critical task of protecting life and property," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

This developing relationship features a two-way link between NLETS - an interstate law enforcement network - and the NOAA Weather Wire Service - a satellite collection and dissemination system that provides timely delivery of NWS weather information products. Arizona, Iowa, Maryland and Oklahoma are participating in the initial evaluation with national implementation slated for mid 2005.

"Efficient trade of information between NWS forecasters and law enforcement agencies via NLETS gives us another avenue to reach the public with important weather warnings when seconds could mean the difference between life and death," said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Keeping people safe when hazardous weather threatens is our top priority."

NLETS consists of more than 400,000 workstations across the United States that will allow users to receive weather information from the NWS and enable them to relay real-time weather information directly to NWS meteorologists. For example, a state trooper could report roads flooded by a rain-swollen river directly to a NWS meteorologist who would then issue flood alerts based on that information in conjunction with radar data and other observing tools.

"While there is already an exchange of data between NWS and law enforcement agencies, this exchange varies widely by location at the moment, and generally takes too long," said Marty Baron, program leader of NOAA's Weather Wire Service. "This dedicated circuit between the NLETS organization and the NWS, via the weather wire, will allow for a much easier exchange of information."

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

Media contact:

Chris Vaccaro, National Weather Service: (301) 713-0622, ext.134

Related Web sites:

NOAA'ss National Weather Service

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  Page last modified: 11-Mar-2010 9:35 AM