One of the most often ask questions to the Watauga Roads facebook page is “What does SPSRNK mean” when certain weather statements are issued or posted.
SPS is the National Weather Service abbreviation for a Special Weather Statement. The last three letters give the office ID from which the statement is issued for.
RNK is the office ID for Blacksburg, VA which serves Watauga, Ashe & Wilkes counties in their forecast region.
GSP is for the Greenville-Spartanburg, SC office which includes Avery & Caldwell counties.
MRX is for the Morristown, TN office which includes Johnson County, TN.
So why can't the Special Weather Statement be SWS? When ask that question on the WataugaRoads facebook page an official with the NWS Blacksburg office replied:
“We couldn't make the product ID be SWS as we have another product called a Severe Weather Statement, which is a follow-up product to update information in our severe thunderstorm warnings after they have been issued. Thus, we had to use different abbreviations to avoid confusion: SPS for Special Weather Statement, and SVS for Severe Weather Statement.”