Most people are probably familiar with this specialty in forecasting, which helps warn car drivers and truckers that road conditions could be hazardous. It also helps prepare local governments to clear streets and freeways, spray road salt or sand, and have law enforcement and emergency personnel ready for emergencies. On the business level, weather forecasts can warn shipping companies, for instance, not to ship perishable products in unrefrigerated or unheated trucks. Shipments by rail also need to be ready for unfavorable weather conditions. Some larger companies rely on private forecasting firms to provide them with timely advisories.
A Coast Guard aircraft drops a hurricane warning announcement down to a sponge fishing boat off the coast of Florida in 1938. (NOAA)