Efficiencies Available through Improved Operations of National Weather Service Offices

CED-77-41: Published: Mar 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1977.

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A survey was conducted of the activities of the National Weather Service (NWS), with particular attention paid to local weather forecasts, routine weather briefings provided to general aviation pilots, and operation of weather observation stations.

About 170 of the 209 Weather Service Offices issue local forecasts for their immediate areas which are adaptations of larger zone forecasts and cover the same time period. The need for local weather forecasts in certain areas is questionable. If local forecasts were discontinued except in the Western Region, about $2 million could be saved annually. Both the NWS and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provide route weather briefings for general aviation pilots. As much as $3.3 million of NWS staff resources could be made available for other purposes if this duplication in services were removed. The NWS substation network needs improvement; a comprehensive evaluation is needed of the climatology and hydrology substation networks.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should: (1) reevaluate the need for Weather Service Offices to routinely provide local forecasts to the Eastern, Central, and Southern Regions, and discontinue this practice where no clearly useful purpose is served by local forecasts; and (2) determine which Western Region offices should discontinue local forecasts. In consultation with FAA, the Secretary should reevaluate the need for maintaining duplicative weather briefing services for general aviation pilots, and reevaluate the justification for the number and location of existing substations.

    Agency Affected:


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