Posted at 3:30 PM
Deputy Commerce Secretary Bruce Andrews traveled to Kansas City, MO, yesterday to meet with National Weather Service (NWS) employees and talk about how important their work is to both help American businesses and save lives and property.
Speaking at the National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) Conference, Deputy Secretary Andrews talked about businesses that have used NWS data. For example, Dunkin Donuts uses weather information to plan their inventory. Their franchises use weather data to predict how much coffee will be sold and to better inform both day-to-day planning and where to close down stores in advance of an extreme weather event.
Hotel booking services use NWS guidance to help them know where to expect a surge of last minute bookings from stranded travelers. Major retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, and Target rely on data and information to manage their inventory and quickly adjust their stock in stores around the country.
The two industries that rely on NWS employees and the services and products they provide more than any other are the agriculture industry and the airline industry. These industries survive or thrive on the back of forecasts, preventing ruined crops and lost travel days. The work NWS has done to provide increasingly accurate and more sophisticated weather forecasts saves money for both of these industries.
While touring the NWS Regional Headquarters in Kansas City, Deputy Secretary Andrews learned more about the day-to-day work of NWS employees. He met with some of the researchers and other employees who work at the Aviation Weather Center, the National Weather Service Training Center, and the Operations Proving Ground housed there.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) NWS employees’ work is central to the Commerce Department’s mission, and it is a key part of the department’s data priority in the “Open for Business Agenda.” NOAA’s data powers a multi-billion dollar weather enterprise, but only a small fraction of the whopping 19 terabytes of data is collects and produces every day is easily available to the public.
Commerce plans to launch a public-private initiative to unlock the economic potential of all NOAA data in order to support current businesses, like Dunkin Donuts and Target, and to support the creation of new companies, industries, services and products. The department will continue to supports NOAA and NWS’ dedicated employees who work to produce weather and climate information that touches every American and informs business decisions every day.