Huntsville’s National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) is celebrating 20 years of service here in the Tennesee Valley. Saturday, January 14, 2023 marks 20 years since the founding of the WFO in Huntsville.

As a government entity under the Department of Commerce, the Huntsville forecast office provides, 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. The office is responsible for 11 counties in Alabama and 3 counties in Southern Middle Tennessee.

Prior to 2003, the Tennesee Valley was covered by two separate weather offices. The Birmingham office covered the counties in North Alabama, while the office in Nashville covered the counties in Southern Middle Tennesee.

It was 20 years ago, Congressman Bud Cramer sought Congressional legislation to establish a weather forecast office in Huntsville. After a decade of uncertainty, $3 million was allotted in the 2002 Fisical Year budget for the weather office.

The office was built on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building. John Gordon was selected as the first Meteorologist in charge of the Huntsville office, and the first forecast was issued on January 14, 2003.

Since then, the weather forecast office in Huntsville has served us through several major weather events including the tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011. During this time the office has also trained hundreds of weather spotters that have assisted with gathering and reporting weather information across the area.

To this day, the Weather Service office in Huntsville supports research operations with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX). Being located on the campus of UAH has allowed the office to train and develop future meteorologists.