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The National Weather Service

The National Weather Service (NWS) is a federal agency that falls under the purview of the United States Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NWS offices produce forecasts for every inch of the United States and its territories. Forecasting and research is done at 124 weather offices, 13 river forecast centers, and several national centers such as the Storm Prediction Center and Aviation Weather Center. Click on the following maps for a closer look.

 
NWS Caribou Map
NWS Caribou Forecast Area - Click to Enlarge
Map of Forecast Offices
National NWS Office Map - Click to enlarge
River Forecast Centers
River Forecast Centers - Click to enlarge
NWS Specialized Centers
National Centers For Environmental Prediction - Click to Enlarge

The National Weather Service Mission Statement reads:

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community

Forecasts: The National Weather Service office in Caribou produces forecast information on a variety of weather including: general use, aviation, fire, hydrologic, and marine. Our office provides these forecasts for Aroostook, Hancock, Piscataquis, Penobscot, northern Somerset, and Washington Counties. In addition, we provide our marine forecasts/warnings for the coastal waters from Stonington to Eastport out 25 nautical miles. On any given day the most important products our office issues are hazardous weather watches, warnings, and advisories. These hazardous weather products are designed to provide possibly life saving information when severe weather threatens. Below is a list of links to the various forecasts we provide.

Climate & Upper Air: In addition to providing these forecasts our office collects upper air observation data using radiosonde balloons twice a day, measures ozone, and gathers weather observations from all around northern and eastern Maine to maintain the local/national climate record. You can check out our local climate page here.

Making a Forecast: You may be wondering what kind of tools we use to produce the many forecasts we issue. Weather information is viewed and manipulated on our Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System or AWIPS. This system allows us to view a multitude of different weather information including forecast model output, surface observations, radar, satellite, outlooks, and much more. After analyzing the data we produce our forecasts graphically using our Graphical Forecast Editor or GFE. For a glance at what the AWIPS and GFE systems look like, click on the images below.

AWIPS
AWIPS - Click to Enlarge
Graphical Forecast Editor
Graphical Forecast Editor - Click to Enlarge

Getting the Forecast to You: There are three main methods that our office utilizes to share our forecasts, observations, and climate information with the world. The first is through our website weather.gov/car. Secondly, we issue our routine and hazardous weather products using NOAA Weather Radio. Third, our information is sent directly to your cell phone or email system using the Interactive National Weather Service or iNWS. For links to other websites and services provided by the NWS check out the Links section near the bottom of this page.

Hazardous Weather Product Definitions

The National Weather Service has five main products to keep you informed when hazardous weather threatens.

Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO): This product is issued up to 7 days in advance of the hazardous weather and is designed to give a quick glance overview of what to expect. It can be especially helpful when planning in advance. Check out the latest HWO here.

Special Weather Statement (SPS): This statement is used to convey enhanced information regarding the hazard either ahead of the event, or when the event is expected to change. It is typically used for events that don't quite reach severe criteria. Check out the latest SPS here.

Watches: Watches are issued when the expected hazard is expected to begin soon, but is not imminent or occurring. If a watch is issued for your area you should begin preparing immediately for the hazard.

Warnings: A warning means the hazard is imminent or occurring, and action should be taken immediately to protect lives and property.

Advisories: These products are issued to highlight events that will be more of a nuisance, and that when planned for properly, should not cause a high impact.

For a complete description of the hazardous weather products issued by the NWS in Caribou click here.
Learn About Meteorology

Are you interested in Meteorology? Are you looking for more information on the subject? You can contact us anytime at carwebmaster@noaa.gov to ask weather related questions.

Another great resource is the NWS Jetstream Online Weather School. Yyou may also want to check out the COMET program educational resources.

Kids can check out this Owlie Skywarn NOAA weather and weather safety site for great information as well.


Get Involved

If you're interested in helping our office fulfill our mission, there are several avenues you can pursue.

Skywarn Weather Spotter: You can volunteer to watch the skies and call in to our office when you observe hazardous weather conditions. The first step to becoming a spotter is to attend a free spotter training session in the spring. You can find more information regarding the spotter program here.

Cooperative Observers: Our office manages a group of citizen observers from all around northern and eastern Maine. They take daily temperature and precipitation observations that are transmitted to us and eventually become part of the local and national climate record. Opportunities to participate in this program are limited by availability and location. For more information on the NWS COOP Program check out this link. If you're interested in this program feel free to contact us.

CoCoRAHS Observers: Over the past several years a group called CoCoRAHS sponsored by Colorado State University has been attempting to create a vast network of precipitation observers around the country. In 2009 their program expanded to Maine, and we'd love to have you participate! This program involves daily observations and most likely the purchase of some equipment. If you do sign up with the CoCoRAHS program please let us know. Check out the program here.


Come Visit Our Office

We are always open for visitors and would love to show you, your family, or school group around our office!

If you'd like to come by for a tour please fill out our tour request form, found here.


NWS Weather Links

Here are links to the organization mentioned above and some other weather-related organizations within the U.S. government:

































Home—NWS Forecast Office—Caribou, Maine


National Weather Service
Caribou Weather Forecast Office
810 Main St
Caribou ME 04736
(207) 492-0170
carwebmaster@noaa.gov
Page last modified: March 8, 2010
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