|Local weather forecast by
All of the many types of data arrive at a River Forecast Center through
a variety of ways. Here's a look at the different data distribution systems
1. Cooperative Observers and ROSA
Every day at 7 AM local time, over 11,000 volunteer NWS cooperative observers
report their daily data to the nearest Warning and Forecast Office (WFO).
These reports include the maximum and minimum temperatures, the rainfall,
new snowfall, total snow depth and any other relevant weather that happened
within the past 24 hours. The WFOs take all of the observer data from
their area and distribute it to the rest of the NWS over AWIPS, the Weather
Service's computer system.
A new way of collecting observer data, ROSA, the Remote Observing System
Automation system, was developed as a part of the ongoing modernization
effort within the Weather Service. With ROSA, the observers call
a central computer and enter their data with a touch tone phone. This
data is then processed and distributed over AWIPS.
2. GOES Satellites
The GOES, or Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, collects
a wide range of data. The data most commonly associated with the GOES are
cloud images, which aid meteorologists in weather forecasting. The GOES
also collects data being transmitted from data collection platforms on the
earth's surface. The data collected by the GOES includes river stages, precipitation,
temperatures, wind reports, and other useful data. This data is then sent
to a satellite receiving station in Wallops Island, Virginia, and then sent
to NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. After being processed at
Silver Spring, the data is then distributed to the appropriate users.
3. CADAS System
The Centralized Automatic Data Acquisition System (CADAS), is pretty much
what the name says. It is a computer system at Weather Service headquarters
in Silver Spring, Maryland that retrieves data from precipitation gages
and river gages over telephone lines. This data is processed and sent to
the appropriate users.
4. The Telephone
If a forecaster wants a river stage and he wants it now, then he
can call the gage over the telephone. Nearly all river gages can give
stage data over the phone through either a series of tones or a synthesized
voice. Those few gages that don't have any modern recording equipment will
have a human observer assigned to the gage. So, the forecaster will just
call the observer for the latest stage.
Last: The models and the forecasts.