A joint resolution of Congress signed by Ulysses S. Grant on Feb 9, 1870 authorized the Secretary of War "to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms." This resolution is the start of what we know of today as the National Weather Service.

According the their mission statement, the National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. The National Weather Service is the organization that monitors weather conditions and issues all warnings and watches in case of severe and life-threatening weather.

While the prediction of weather is not an exact science and many predictions turn out to be erroneous, the National Weather Service usually errs on the side of caution and is responsible for saving many lives from weather-related death and injuries.