NOAA 2004-R295
Contact: Patrick Slattery

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Recognizing 47 years of service to America, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Hamilton, Colo., resident Ethal M. Jordan a 2004 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer Program. The award is the agency’s second most prestigious and only 25 are presented each year nationwide. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Satellites, high-speed computers, mathematical models and other technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the Nation in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But, without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States. We cannot thank Mrs. Jordan enough for her years of service to America.”

Douglas Crowley, meteorologist in charge at the NOAA’s Grand Junction Weather Forecast Office will present the award during a ceremony to be held at 1:00 p.m. August 21 at the Hamilton Community Center. Program manager Becky Klenk of the Grand Junction office nominated Jordan for the award.

The NWS Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, some 11,700 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature.

Jordan established the Hamilton station April 1, 1957, reporting daily precipitation data to the NWS. Her records have helped establish climatology parameters for the central Yampa River Basin and northwest Colorado.

Weather records retain their importance as time goes by. Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts and heat and cold waves. At the end of each month, observers mail their records to the National Climatic Data Center for publication in “Climatological Data” or “Hourly Precipitation Data,” both published by the NCDC.

The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up as part of the newly established U.S. Weather Bureau, created in an 1890 Act of Congress. Many of the stations have even longer histories. The award is named after John Campanius Holm, whose weather records - taken without benefit of instruments in 1644 and 1645 - were the earliest known recorded observations in the United States.

Many historic figures have also maintained weather records, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations between 1776 and 1816, and Washington took weather observations just a few days before he died.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National 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.

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