National Weather Service - Weather Forecast Office
The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office at Taunton, Massachusetts operates 24 hours daily to provide a wide range of weather services to southern New England. The Southern New England Weather Forecast Office provides warning and forecast services for most of Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, all of Rhode Island and Cheshire and Hillsborough counties in Southern New Hampshire. Besides public weather services, the Weather Forecast Office at Taunton provides marine, aviation, fire weather, and hydrological forecast services. Additional hydrologic information is provided by the co-located Northeast River Forecast Center.
Public warnings and forecasts are issued for 38 zones in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Warnings are issued for a wide range of phenomena that include tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, coastal floods, high winds, and winter storms. Public forecasts range from the next couple of hours to the next seven days.
The Southern New England Weather Forecast Office also issues marine forecasts, warnings, and advisories for the coastal waters from the Merrimack River, Massachusetts to Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Members of the marine community, both commercial and recreational, benefit from the services provided by the NWS at Taunton.
The aviation community is also served by the National Weather Service. In addition to Logan International Airport, this Weather Forecast Office prepares aviation forecasts for eight other airports across southern New England.
Fire weather forecasts are also made for the southern New England. These forecasts are used by federal and local agencies that deal with brush fire control.
Other products include short term forecasts, weather summaries, special weather statements and river stage conditions.
Products from this office are sent by high speed computer circuits and become available to a wide range of users include media such as TV, radio, newspapers and Internet-based weather providers.
The greater Boston area is rich in meteorological history. The official weather records for the city of Boston go back to October 20, 1870, at the Old State House Building on State and Devonshire Streets. Weather records began being kept at the airport, then known as the Boston Airport, in October 1926.
The national headquarters of the American Meteorological Society is located on Beacon Street in Boston. The weather observatory at Blue Hill has a history of weather observations dating back to February 1, 1885.
Universities and research institutions such as M.I.T., Harvard, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Bridgewater State College, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have been an active part of the area's meteorological community.
New England is well known for its changeable weather, especially during the winter months. Snowfall averages 42 inches per year in Boston with some western suburbs up to 70 inches per year. Major winter storms, such as the Great Blizzard of February 1978, will long be remembered by New Englanders. Although the winter months keep forecasters constantly viligant in southern New England, the spring, summer, and fall months can also be challenging. Spring may bring flooding from heavy rains and rapid snow melt from the mountains. Summers, while usually pleasant, are also the peak season for thunderstorms and even tornadoes. The late summer and early fall months are the period of concern for hurricanes.