| You are at: NWS Home » SRH Home » WFO Mobile Home » Office Information Page » Who We Are
|NWS Forecast Office Mobile-Pensacola
Who We Are...
The Weather Forecast Office (WFO) located at Mobile's Regional Airport is a field office of the National Weather Service (NWS), which is an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which in turn is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Our Agency used to be known as the "U.S. Weather Bureau" until the early 1970s when we changed the name to the NWS. Before it was the "Weather Bureau", the agency was part of the old Signal Corps. The office in Mobile was originally located downtown in 1870 as part of the Signal Service. In 1934 it was moved to the old Bates Field (now Brookley Field). The office stayed there until 1941 when it moved to the old terminal building at the current day locations of Bates Field (or Mobile Regional Airport). In 1994 (under the modernization of the National Weather Service) the office moved into its present day location just off Airport Boulevard on the southeast side of Mobile Regional Airport (under the "big white ball").
Area of Responsibility The Mobile-Pensacola WFO is responsible for hydro-meteorological (i.e., weather and water) forecast and warning services for 20 counties in Southeast Mississippi, South Alabama and the Western Florida Panhandle (see map below). The warning and forecast area of the Mobile WFO is surrounded by areas served by fellow WFOs in New Orleans, Jackson, Birmingham, and Tallahassee.
Staff In all, there are 23 persons on staff at WFO Mobile-Pensacola. Of those, 14 are degreed meteorologists. At full staffing, the office is comprised of :
The NWS office is fortunate to be assisted by many civilian volunteers. During severe weather, HAM radio operators take up positions in the WFO and communicate with NWS trained spotters watching storms in the field. Also, a network of "cooperative observers" dutifully record weather data each day and send us reports of temperature and precipitation. These folks do this on their own time, with no pay and without a gripe. Our network of volunteers (both HAM and cooperative observers) are crucial to the success of the National Weather Service forecast and warning programs.
- A Meteorologist in Charge (Supervisor and administrator of the WFO and its programs.)
- A Warning Coordination Meteorologist (Interacts with emergency managers, storm spotters and media outlets.)
- A Science and Operations Officer (The science and training leader of the WFO.)
- A Computer Systems Analyst.
- An Information Technology Officer.
- 5 Senior Forecasters (Shift supervisors.)
- 5 Journeyman Forecasters.
- 3 Hydro-Meteorological Technicians.
- 1 Meteorologist Interns.
- 2 Electronic Technicians.
- 1 Administrative Support Assistant.
- 1 Co-op Student
Operations The WFO is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (even holidays). During severe weather, staffing is increased to handle the event properly. Rest assured, even at 3 o'clock in the morning, there is a staff at the NWS manning the scopes...watching the skies over you.
Products and Service We Provide The National Weather Service issues numerous statements, forecasts, and other various products each day for use by the public, marine, aviation, and local governments. Routine services provided to the general public include
Aviation forecasts and observations issued by the WFO are used in support of general and commercial aviation. Products issued routinely are:
- Short Term (0 - 6 hour) Forecasts.
- County based general Zone Forecasts (out to 7 days).
- Coastal Waters Forecast.
- Area weather summaries containing an overview of existing conditions.
- Climatological Data describing the observed, record and average weather conditions.
- Hazardous Weather Outlooks.
- Hourly and "special" observations from Mobile's Regional Airport.
- Terminal Forecasts (TAFs) for the Mobile Regional Airport and Pensacola Regional Airport.
Non-routine products issued by the WFO include watches, warnings, and statements for a variety of weather types. A few examples include:
Watches, warnings and statements for...
Non-precipitation weather hazards including...
- Severe thunderstorms
- Flash floods
- River floods
- Hurricane (statements)
- Winter weather
The Mobile - Pensacola WFO also provides services to area communities. For example, severe weather preparedness seminars are provided free of charge to schools, businesses and any interested groups. Tours of the WFO by small groups are also welcome (when scheduled in advance).
- High wind
- Excessive heat
- Dense fog
- Excessive cold
Information dissemination Forecasts, statements, and guidance provided by the National Weather Service are available to the public through the Internet, commercial TV, radio, and various private services. Most TV and radio stations contract with private companies that collect NWS data and then distribute the data to their customers. Information from the National Weather Service can be heard in a more direct fashion on NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a special radio which broadcasts information directly from the National Weather Service. In fact, the broadcast you hear over NWR is done right here directly from our office. NWR receiver costs range from $20 to $80. Some have audible alarms which are triggered by the NWS when a warning is issued for your area. Finally, information from the NWS can also be found on the Internet at...http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mob