agency established by many nations to observe and report the weather and to issue forecasts and warnings of weather and flood conditions affecting national safety, welfare, and economy. In each country the national weather bureau strongly affects almost every citizen's life, both through its public weather services and through its specialized services to aviation, space operations, agriculture, maritime operations, and other weather-sensitive activities. In the United States, for example, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), near Washington, D.C., is the keystone of the National Weather Service, preparing most of the synoptic-scale guidance material and long-range forecasts used by local and regional Weather Service offices; it has been designated by the World Meteorological Organization as one of the analysis and forecast branches of the World Meteorological Center, which has global responsibilities as part of the World Weather Watch (q.v.).
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