How the National Weather Service uses new and old technology

The mission of the National Weather Service is to issue accurate and timely forecasts. It operates 122 weather forecast offices across the United States. It is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government.

At the office on Long Island, the NWS staff uses the latest weather tools and technology to track weather across the tristate.

First up is dual-polarization radar, a state-of-the-art technology that scans the sky pinpointing the location and strength of a storm. Dual-pol uses horizontal and vertical scans to differentiate between different sizes of raindrops, hail or other types of atmospheric particles.

From sophisticated to simple: weather balloons have been used for decades and are still being used today. The balloons are launched twice a day all over the world at the exact same time to give meteorologists a good representation of what is happening in the atmosphere.

When the balloon goes up into the air, an instrument called a radiosonde records temperature, relative humidity, wind, and pressure data through the different levels of the atmosphere. That weather data is then transmitted back to the NWS and fed into weather models.

The newest high-resolution models update every hour and can pick up even smaller scale weather events. Through these models, forecasting techniques have improved over the years, allowing the NWS to provide up-to-the-minute watches and warnings.


Read the Fox 5 Weather Blog

View the Fox 5 Weather Tools

Get the Fox 5 Weather App


Nick Gregory @NickGregoryFox5

Mike Woods @MikeWoodsFox5

Audrey Puente @AudreyPuente

Samantha Augeri @SamanthaAugeri