National Research Council Report on the National Weather Service

Aug 7, 2012, 2:23 PM

Tropical storm warnings for the Caribbean were lifted last week for Ernesto, a storm that is still expected to make landfall late today or early tomorrow on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a hurricane, according to the National Weather Service. And that’s just the kind of critical information the National Research Council cited in a report published last week urging the National Weather Service to continually reassess its technology and capabilities, even though the agency completed a major modernization project in 2000. “Accelerating improvements in technology and scientific fields require continued modernization,” say the report authors.

Challenges that require the agency to continually stay up to date, according to the report, include:

  • Keeping pace with advances in science and technology;
  • Meeting expanding user needs;
  • Partnering with other weather-, water-, and climate-related institutions.

The report recommends prioritizing capabilities that can only be provided by the National Weather Service, including collecting and integrating weather observations, weather watches and warnings.

>>Read more NewPublicHealth coverage on public health preparedness.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.