NOAA 03-R299-61
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marilu Trainor
12/16/03
NOAA News Releases 2003
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TWITCHELL DAM OBSERVER RECEIVES NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AWARD

Sandy Nott, a volunteer Cooperative Weather Observer at Twitchell Dam, received the “John Campanius Holm Award” today from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). The award is a national honor for her dedication to observing and reporting weather observations. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Dan Keeton, meteorologist in charge of the Metropolitan Los Angeles NWS forecast office in Oxnard, presented the prestigious Holm award to Sandy Nott on Dec. 16th.

“We are pleased to recognize Sandy Nott as one of our nation’s top cooperative weather observers,” said Keeton. “For more than 40 years, Sandy and her late husband, Wilbert, have been dedicated to the weather readings for temperature, precipitation and evaporation at Twitchell Dam.”

Keeton said Wilbert Nott worked for the Corps of Engineers (COE) as a surveyor building Twitchell Dam and then accepted the operations and maintenance supervisor position at the dam in 1961. Sandy Nott helped take the weather observations. After Wilbert had a stroke in 1985, she took over the both the operations and maintenance supervisor position at the dam and the official weather observing responsibilities. Wilbert passed away in 1998.

Sandy Nott’s accurate and timely weather reports play a critical role in defining the climate and rainfall patterns at the dam, near Santa Maria, Calif., Keeton said. “Her observations have been important and we appreciate her support of the NWS forecasting and warning programs in southern California.”

Sandy Nott has maintained an entire collection of weather equipment entrusted to her by the NWS, and consistently reports accurate, reliable weather observations during extreme heat, drought and flooding conditions. During Sandy’s rare absence from the dam, or when she is unable to take an observation, her two grandsons, Edward and Albert, help her complete each daily reading.

The Twitchell Dam weather observations are used by the NWS and several other agencies including the COE, United States Bureau of Reclamation, local media and Santa Barbara County. Nott is well known for her reliable weather observations and people often call her for the past, present and future weather.

Taking evaporation weather observations has been part of Nott’s primary daily ritual every morning. “At my age, it is something I really look forward to every morning,” said Nott.

The Cooperative Weather Observer Program is a nationwide network of 11,000 volunteers, who record temperature and precipitation each day. NWS Western Region Director Vickie Nadolski, added, “The evaporation information collected by Sandy and other weather observers become part of the nation’s historical weather and climate archive. Sandy has a long distinguished record as one of our observers and the Holm award is one of the most prestigious awards presented each year by the National Weather Service. Sandy’s award is one of only 19 Holm awards presented nationally each year. This is a great honor and we salute her years of service to the agency.”

The cooperative weather program was established in the 1890's to provide data to the former U.S. Weather Bureau. However, weather records from some stations across the country have even longer histories. Such notable American pioneers as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson maintained weather records. Jefferson kept an almost unbroken record of weather observations from 1776 through 1816, and Washington took his last weather observations just a few days before he died.

The award is named for John Camapanius Holm whose weather records, taken without benefit of instruments in 1644 and 1645, are the earliest known recorded observations in the United States.

According to Keeton, “Sandy Nott is very conscientious and detailed oriented, especially when it comes to weather observing. The National Weather Service can continuously count on her to have the forms filled out accurately and completely every month.”

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather and flood forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NWS operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

NOAA National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program: http://www.coop.nws.noaa.gov