NWS Melbourne Office History
December 1988 - Construction of new NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) at Melbourne Regional Airport begins.
April 1989 - Meteorologist In Charge reports for duty. Staff of one.
July 1989 - Melbourne becomes first NWS field office completed under the National Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR) of the NWS. Staff of Three.
October 1989 - Forecast and warning operations begin for Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. Staff of nine.
January 1990 - First Science and Operations Officer (SOO) in the Nation reports at Melbourne.
June 1990 - Melbourne Hydrologic Service Area (HSA), the first in state history is established. Responsible for forecasting all of Florida rivers except western panhandle.
January 1991 - Construction begins on second WSR-88D (NEXRAD) system in the Nation at WFO Melbourne!
Summer 1991 - NWS Melbourne hosts Operations Center for Convection and Precipitation/Electrification Experiment (CaPE). A major research project investigating Florida thunderstorms, lightning and rainfall and involving over 200 scientists. NWS Melbourne, USAF, and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) meteorologists collaborate on improving short-range forecasts of thunderstorm initiation.
October 1991 - The second WSR-88D in the Nation; the first in a sub-tropical, maritime climate, begins operational use at Melbourne. Staff of 20.
The Melbourne WSR-88D supports the Nation's Space Program. Dedicated users include the USAF at Cape Canaveral and Patrick AFB, and NOAA's Spaceflight Meteorology Group at Johnson Spaceflight Center in Houston, and the Applied Meteorology Unit at Kennedy Space Center.
October 1991 - Joint NASA, USAF, NWS agreement establishing the Applied Meteorology Unit (AMU) completed. The AMU is tasked with applications development and technology transfer to improve forecasts for space operations with spinoff benefits to public forecast and warning operations.
March 1992 - Melbourne staff performs exceptionally well with WSR-88D during the two worst hailstorms in Florida history. Despite over 100 million dollars in damage, no deaths or serious injuries reported in Orlando area.
July 1992 - NOAA's Spaceflight Meteorology Group uses Melbourne WSR-88D to support Space Shuttle mission (STS-46) for first time.
Summer 1992 - Melbourne and NWS Southern Region meteorologists work with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory and FAA scientists to test Orlando Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) workstation.
August 1992 - Melbourne WSR-88D performs flawlessly during approach and passage of Hurricane Andrew over south Florida and becomes first operational NEXRAD to track a hurricane.
March 1993 -Melbourne WSR-88D performs flawlessly during the infamous "Storm of the Century"as tornadic squall line sweeps through east central Florida.
September 1993 - Presented National Weather Service Modernization Award for "Exemplary manner in which WFO Melbourne has used new technologies to support public warning and forecast services to east central Florida"
October 1993 - Awarded NOAA Unit Citation for performance during Hurricane Andrew.
Jan-Feb and Aug-Sep 1994 - SWIFT BOAT I and II, a unique program to investigate marine weather phenomena with a chase boat and compare to WSR-88D data as well as provide staff training and familiarization is successfully completed under the direction of NOAA Corps. officer.
March 1994 - Melbourne WSR-88D and facility dedication ceremony is held on March 31st. Melbourne becomes third NWS office in Nation, and first east of the Mississippi, to commission the WSR-88D.
April 1994 - Forecast and warning responsibility expanded to cover all of east central Florida including Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Volusia Counties as the WSR-88D is formally commissioned.
June 1994 - First official Open House of Melbourne Office. 1200 Citizens tour the office.
July 1994 - Melbourne HSA successfully handles record flooding in north Florida from remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto.
November 1994 - Tropical Storm Gordon spawns killer tornado at Barefoot Bay south of Melbourne and brings flooding rainfall to east Central Florida.
August 1995 - NWSO Melbourne earns second NWS Modernization Award for "continued excellence in operational research and dedication to the spirit of scientific collaboration".
March 1996 - Severe storms produce Golf-ball to soft-ball size hail and several tornadoes over many areas of central Florida during the 30th and 31st. Severe weather warnings provide plenty of time for residents to prepare for the storms.
July-August 1996 - NWSO Melbourne provides special weather support for the preliminary Olympic soccer matches held at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Melbourne Meteorologist Scott Spratt travels to Savannah, Georgia to man the Olympic Marine Weather Support Office for the Olympic sailing venue .
July-August 1996 - In collaboration with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (Norman, OK) and NASA, a Warning Decision Support System (WDSS) is installed at NWSO Melbourne. The WDSS uses data from the Melbourne WSR-88D (radar) and unique display capabilities to provide forecasters with an additional tool for severe weather forecasting and warning.
October 1996 - Tropical Storm Josephine makes landfall in Northwest Florida and produces numerous tornadoes across east central Florida. NWSO Melbourne issues warnings well in advance of all tornadoes, including the strong Edgewater tornado. A NWS Service Enhancement "Gold medal" was awarded for forecast and warning performance during the tornado outbreak.
November 1996 - The Melbourne Office hosts its second official Open House .
November 1997 - The third Open House draws over 500 visitors!
February 1998 - Tornado Outbreak. A series of supercell thunderstorms produced 6 strong to violent tornadoes late on the 22nd and early on the 23rd. Although Tornado Warnings were issued well in advance of all touchdowns, 42 fatalities occurred (38 died in mobile homes and RV's), making it by far the most deadly tornado outbreak in the history of Florida. A NWS Service Enhancement "Gold medal" was awarded for forecast and warning performance during the tornado outbreak.
December 1998 - US Department of Commerce Gold Medal awarded to the NWS office in Melbourne for performance during the tornado outbreak of February 1998.
March 1999 - WSFO Melbourne assumes complete forecast and warning responsibility for east central Florida.
September 1999 - Hurricane Floyd brushes the Florida coast prompting the largest peacetime evacuation in US history.
April 2000 - Final office systems targeted in the multi-year NWS modernization become commissioned. MLB becomes a certified Weather Forecast Office (WFO). Staff of 24.
July 2005 - Following extensive efforts by WFO Melbourne and local officials, Indian Harbour Beach in Brevard County becomes the first "TsunamiReady" community on the eastern seaboard.
December 2006 - WFO Melbourne hosts the 8th annual NWS SKYWARN Recognition Day (24-hour communication test) and contacts 921 other "ham" stations located within 50 states. Seventy of the 89 NWS stations operating during the event were reached.
April 2009 - NWS Melbourne recieves a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award "for providing life-saving severe weather outlooks and accurate tornado warnings for east central Florida during the 2006-07 severe weather season.
January 2012 - Upgrades to the Melbourne 88D radar are completed to bring Dual Polarization technology to east Central Florida. The addition of Dual Pol radar products will improve radar rainfall estimates, precipitation type discernment including hail, and allow for the detection of tornadic debris, smoke, and other non-hydrometeors.
January 2013 - The NWS Melbourne 88D radar tower raising project is completed which has mitigated a potential beam blockage to the south and south southeast from new hangar construction at Melbourne International Airport.
May 2013 - Bart Hagemeyer, WFO Melbourne's first MIC, retires with over 24 years of service as Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Melbourne Forecast Office.