NWS Tucson Weather Support to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (115)

Glenn Lader, NOAA/NWS Tucson, Tucson, AZ



The National Weather Service (NWS) continues to migrate toward the provision of Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS) to federal, state, tribal and local agencies. One key federal agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP), is tasked with securing nearly 2,000 miles miles of the U.S./Mexico border and frequently conducts operations with only basic weather information. The NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Tucson leveraged its proximity to the International Border and its relationship with the Tucson Sector of the USCBP Office of Incident Management (OIM) to explore ways the WFO could transform weather information into weather intelligence for USCBP operations for better decision making. A number of WFO Tucson meteorologists deployed to OIM and met with USCBP officials in order to learn about their operations, vulnerabilities to weather, and critical weather thresholds, with the end goal of developing customized products and services aligned with the needs of several departments within the agency. While this process is ongoing, a combination of on-site and remote IDSS resulted in products and services that improved the decision making process of the USCBP, and allowed them to better accomplish their mission of protecting lives in southeast Arizona, including those of the thousands of agents within the Tucson Sector.