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NWS Jacksonville – About Us

NWS History

The National Weather Service has its beginning in the early history of the United States. Weather always has been important to the citizenry of this country, and this was especially true during the 17th and 18th centuries. Weather also was important to many of the Founding Fathers. Colonial leaders who formed the path to independence of our country also were avid weather observers. Thomas Jefferson purchased a thermometer from a local Philadelphia merchant while in town for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He also purchased a barometer — one of the only ones in America at the time — a few days later from the same merchant. Incidentally, he noted that the high temperature in Philadelphia, Pa., on July 4, 1776 was 76 degrees. Jefferson made regular observations at Monticello from 1772-78, and participated in taking the first known simultaneous weather observations in America. George Washington also took regular observations; the last weather entry in his diary was made the day before he died.

During the early and mid-1800’s, weather observation networks began to grow and expand across the United States. Although most basic meteorological instruments had existed for over 100 years, it was the telegraph that was largely responsible for the advancement of operational meteorology during the 19th century. With the advent of the telegraph, weather observations from distant points could be “rapidly” collected, plotted and analyzed at one location.

Visit https://www.weather.gov/timeline for a full timeline of the history of the NWS.

NWS Mission

Provide weather, water and climate data, forecasts, warnings, and impact-based decision support services for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

NWS Vision

A Weather-Ready Nation: Society is prepared for and responds to weather, water, and climate-dependent events.

NWS Jacksonville Office History

Through the years the U.S. Weather Bureau/National Weather Service Office has been located at various sites in the Jacksonville area. Weather Records were begun by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1871. Previous to that temperatures were recorded by reliable observers from 1829, and rainfall from 1851. Judge F. Bethune kept records from 1829 until 1833, and Dr. A.S. Baldwin kept records from 1838 through 1872. Breaks in the record occurred during the Indian Wars and the Civil War.

Currently, the NWS Jacksonville office is located on the southwest side of Jacksonville International Airport and has been at this location since Jan 19, 1995. NWS Jacksonville has forecast and warning responsibility for 29 counties total, 14 across Southeast Georgia and 15 across Northeast Florida. NWS Jacksonville also has marine forecast and warning responsibility for adjacent Atlantic coastal waters between Altamaha Sound, Georgia and Flagler Beach, Florida out to 60 nautical miles.

Visit https://www.weather.gov/jax/history_office for a full list of NWS Jacksonville office locations and information about each site.