National Weather Service Northern Indiana Celebrates 20th Anniversary
This year the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) celebrates its 150th anniversary as a government agency. The NWS Northern Indiana location in Syracuse recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, having opened to serve the public in August of 1999. Michael Lewis, a warning coordination meteorologist, has worked in Syracuse for the last 12 years, and he says that serving the area has been his favorite part of working for the National Weather Service.
“With 122 weather centers in the United States, there are a lot of opportunities to move if you want to,” Lewis says. “I’ve moved all over the country. I can honestly call northern Indiana my home. In this area, with the influence of the lakes, we have a lot of unbelievably challenging weather here. There’s a crazy diversity of weather here, more than anywhere else I’ve lived. The weather here is some of the most challenging, difficult and interesting weather. Every day brings something new and something you’ve never seen before.”
The staff at the Syracuse-based facility provides weather information for northern Indiana, southern Michigan and northwest Ohio, overseeing a total of 37 counties. Most of those counties are in Indiana, in addition to five in Michigan and eight in Ohio. With 122 weather stations across the United States, Syracuse is lucky to have a weather center according to Lewis. There are only two centers located in the state of Indiana, and a total of six centers provide weather information for the state.
In his position as a warning coordination meteorologist, Lewis works closely with community partners to keep residents safe. Doing so is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“My role here is to work with those partners to identify the ways we can deliver our services differently and adapt our services to their needs, in addition to what our agency can do based on what our partners are requiring,” Lewis explains. “I’ve never met a more honest and passionate group of people.”
The weather center staff works to give back to the community in other ways as well, including food and blanket drives after severe weather affects local residents.
Because the NWS exists to serve the public, the staff at the Northern Indiana facility welcomes visitors. The facility can typically accommodate tours Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The center is closed on federal holidays.
The National Weather Service’s Northern Indiana office is located at 7506 East 850 North in Syracuse. The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more info or to schedule a tour, call 574-834-1104 and visit facebook.com/pg/NWSNorthernIndiana.