NOAA 2003-R206
Contact: Marilu Trainor
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Alice and Bob Rickman of Grangeville, Idaho, received the Thomas Jefferson Award today from the NOAA National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Service) in recognition of their forty-seven years of service observing and reporting weather through the Cooperative Weather Observer Program. James Campbell, deputy director for NOAA Weather Service Western Region and Bruce Bauck, meteorologist-in-charge from the NOAA Weather Service forecast office in Missoula, Mont., presented the award to the couple at a special ceremony in Grangeville. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the Commerce Department.

“The Rickmans’ award was one of seven Thomas Jefferson honors granted nationally in 2002 by the NOAAl Weather Service,” said Campbell. “They provide a valuable service to our agency, our nation and the people who rely on their information. They’ve given dependable, accurate and timely weather observations that have defined the climate around north-central Idaho since May 1955. In I993, the Rickmans were awarded another cooperative observer honor, the John Companius Holm Award. We estimate they have taken more than 17,000 observations during their tenure.”

The Cooperative Weather Observer Program was established in the 1890s to provide data to the newly formed Weather Bureau, predecessor to the NOAA Weather Service. Today, the program comprises more than 11,000 volunteer observers, who record temperature and precipitation data daily.

“You have distinguished yourself by joining such notable American pioneers as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who maintained early weather records. President Jefferson kept an almost unbroken record of observations from 1776 through1816. President Washington took his last weather observations just a few days before he died,” Campbell told the Rickmans.

Campbell further noted, “Alice and Bob personify the conscientious and unselfish weather observers imagined by Thomas Jefferson when he envisioned a weather network across the United States. Clearly, they deserve the recognition this award bestows for their life long contribution to the nation’s climate record and their community.”

NOAA Weather Service Missoula’s Data Acquisition Program Manager, Stan Krenz, said, “Cooperative observers record weather at the same time every day and enter data for temperature, precipitation, snowfall and snow depth. The Rickman’s have recorded 564 months of data which are now a permanent part of the nation’s climate record.”

When significant weather occurs, the Rickmans report conditions to forecasters in Missoula. These reports are crucial to the office’s forecast and warning verification program for north-central Idaho, specifically the Camas Prairie region. In addition, their snowfall data has been the primary source of verification for winter weather advisories and warnings. They have been the sole weather source for the Idaho County Free Press since 1955.

Data collected by the Rickmans benefit other federal, state, and local agencies including the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service which use the information to assist in water and irrigation management.

NOAA National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Service) is the primary source of weather and flood forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA Weather Service 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. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

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