The National Weather Service, the government service that helps keep accurate weather predictions coming to power weather reporting services, is looking for observers. The NWS uses ground observers to help keep their machine-assisted weather reporting accurate from the ground. This increases “ground truth,” or reporting of accurate, to-the-minute weather information.
What Does the National Weather Service Do?
The National Weather Service keeps tabs on weather patterns all over the country and beyond. This is in order to help keep accurate information about current and upcoming weather patterns coming in.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of weather reporting in the US is derived from NWS observations. The NWS provides mountains of raw data for use by reporting agencies, which then make the complicated raw data into easy-to-digest reports for laypeople.
As such, it’s very important that the NWS has reliable observers on the ground level to keep their raw data accurate. This data plays a vital role in keeping weather reports from major agencies clear. It can even save lives during emergency weather events.
What Does an NWS Observer do?
National Weather Service observers play a vital role in the service’s operations. They are the “ground truth” reporters. Observers are trained to identify things like cloud patterns that preface tornadoes, the types of weather that can lead to hail and the speed and heading of storms. Similarly, training for flooding observation includes rain gauges and weather spotting tactics.
“We don’t ask people to go out into flooded areas,” Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dave Nicosia said. “We don’t want people to get themselves in harm’s way.”
There are observers’ training courses at various locations throughout the US. Anyone who would like to pursue the vocation can attend.
What Would You Need?
Observers don’t need the best smartphone for the job, as cellphones aren’t the biggest factor in what they do. Instead, trainers explain the tools used to observe and record weather patterns as they develop.
If you or someone you know is looking for a job that involves keeping an eye on the sky and preserving the safety of their community, a NWS observer role is for you.
Keep in mind, however, that a position as an NWS observer can be tedious. Most of the time spent observing will be clear skies and calm reporting. However, when the weather turns extreme, an observer’s job is suddenly as exciting as it is important.