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National Weather Service Glossary

This glossary contains information on more than 2000 terms, phrases and abbreviations used by the NWS. Many of these terms and abbreviations are used by NWS forecasters to communicate between each other and have been in use for many years and before many NWS products were directly available to the public. It is the purpose of this glossary to aid the general public in better understanding NWS products.

You can either type in the word you are looking for in the box below or browse by letter.

Dam
In hydrologic terms, any artificial barrier which impounds or diverts water. The dam is generally hydrologically significant if it is:
1. 25 feet or more in height from the natural bed of the stream and has a storage of at least 15 acre-feet.
2. Or has an impounding capacity of 50 acre-feet or more and is at least six feet above the natural bed of the stream.