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Contact: Ron Trumbla
News Releases 2005
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Recognizing 27 years of dedicated service to America, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Shreveport, La., resident Billy Andrews as a 2005 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 this year to deserving cooperative weather observers from around the country.
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of the NOAA 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 Billy Andrews enough for his years of service to America.”
Armando Garza, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in the Shreveport, La., will present the award during a ceremony on December 7.
The National Weather Service’s 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.
Andrews is being recognized for consistently providing accurate and timely weather observations. He has taken and reported observations during the most hazardous and extreme weather conditions and has shown unusual effort to continuously provide them despite illness, emergency absences or equipment problems. In addition to his outstanding service as a cooperative observer, he has served the National Weather Service as a very reliable storm spotter.
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.”
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. Many of the stations have even longer histories. John Campanius Holm’s 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. The Jefferson and Holm awards are named for these weather observation pioneers.
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