President signs comprehensive weather research and forecasting bill into law

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April 18, 2017

The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R.353) was signed into law by President Trump on April 18. This law prioritizes U.S. leadership in weather forecasting and research by authorizing new forecasting programs and support existing programs. The bill primarily focuses on authorizing and supporting weather research initiatives for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS).

H.R.353 directs NOAA to prioritize ‘weather research to improve weather data, modeling, computing, forecasting, and warning for the protection of life and property’. The law directs NOAA to establish a tornado improvement and extension program, and to reward grants to the nonfederal weather research community. The bill includes an extensive section that allows the NWS to incorporate commercial weather data into its operational weather models and forecasts.

The bill also revises and reauthorizes the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (H.R.312) through Fiscal Year 2021. This reauthorization instructs NOAA to support and maintain tsunami warning centers throughout the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.

Sources: Library of Congress