Welcome to the Alaska Region of NOAA's National Weather Service
Aimee Devaris, Acting Director
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) Alaska Region provides weather, hydrologic, climate forecasts and volcanic ash and tsunami warnings for the state of Alaska and its surrounding waters.
Alaska is the largest state in the country. At one-fifth the size of the combined Lower 48 states, the land mass is 570,374 square miles, or about 365 million acres. Alaska's nearly 47,000 miles of coastline is about two-thirds of the total U.S. coastline. Alaska, also known as the "Great State" and the "Last Frontier," holds many records and unique landmarks such as North America's biggest earthquake - the 9.2 magnitude Good Friday Earthquake of 1964, the nation's greatest concentration of glaciers, North America's tallest mountain - Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet, and the nation's farthest-north city - Barrow. Since the Aleutian Island chain passes through the international date line, Alaska also has both the easternmost and westernmost land in the U.S!
Alaska, like the rest of the nation, has become increasingly sensitive to the weather and other environmental hazards. In particular, weather, water, and ice conditions play a central role in operations and daily life in Alaska, and the climate is an ever-present concern.
Approximately half of Alaska's population (722,718) lives in the Anchorage metropolitan area. Only the state of New York has a larger percentage of residents living in a single city, which means most support to decision makers with statewide interests occurs in Anchorage. Across the rest of the state, communities are generally distributed along or are dependent on coastal waterways and river systems for transportation, access to goods and services, and subsistence activities such as fishing and hunting.
Similar to its environment, the NWS Alaska Region is diverse in its employees and programs. We have an outstanding team of scientists, IT specialists, engineers, maintenance technicians, and administrative professionals working several forecast centers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, and a number of remote weather stations covering the expansive state. We provide vital continuous operational support to our employees, customers, and partners through a variety of services. Some of our unique services include:
- Operation of the U.S. Tsunami Warning System via the West Coast and Alaska Warning Center (WC/ATWC) in Palmer, AK. The WC/ATWC provides tsunami warnings and information and leads tsunami hazard mitigation efforts through preparedness, education, and training for the Canadian coastal regions and ocean coasts of all of U.S. States except Hawaii.
- Operation of the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, which manages the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) - one of only nine such centers worldwide. The Anchorage VAAC's forecast and warning responsibilities extend from the North Pacific to the Arctic including far eastern Russia.
- Forecast operations within the region's marine forecast and warning area, which spans from the Canadian Border to the Russian Border and from Dixon Entrance (55 degrees North latitude) north. This includes the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, and the Arctic coastal and offshore waters.
Staff members of the NWS Alaska Region are dedicated to delivering climate, weather, and water warnings and forecasts in support of our mission to protect lives and property and enhance the economic interests of our Nation. This team of dedicated professionals, in collaboration with our critical partnerships with media, emergency management and academic communities, supports the NWS vision of a "Weather Ready Nation."
Thank you for your interest in NOAA's National Weather Service.