NOAA 2004-R299-39
Contact: Ron Trumbla

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Recognizing 30 years of dedicated service, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Chireno, Texas resident Billy Joe Metteaur as a 2004 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award. The award is the agency’s second most prestigious and only 25 are presented each year to deserving cooperative weather observers from around the country. NOAA, 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 Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), 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.”

Lee Harrison, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Shreveport, La., will present the award during a ceremony to be held at 11:00 a.m. (CST), Nov. 30, at the Chireno Cafe in Chireno, Texas.

A knowledgeable and conscientious observer, Metteaur’s meticulous record keeping represents three decades of continuous weather history at his station. In addition to the record of his daily observations, his monthly reports include detailed commentary. He is an experienced and reliable storm spotter and is widely recognized as an excellent local resource for relaying regional reports during severe weather events. A retired teacher, principal and school superintendent, Metteaur currently serves as a member of the Chireno City Council.

The NWS Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than 100 years ago. Today, more than 11,000 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.

Weather records become more valuable with age. Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, providing climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. 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.”

The earliest known recorded observations in the United States were made by John Campanius Holm in 1644 and 1645. 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.

The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up in the 1890s as a result of an 1890 act of Congress that established the U.S. Weather Bureau.

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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