Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2005
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


Recognizing more than 48 years of dedication, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Oakdale, Neb., resident Raymond “Swede” Crosier a 2005 recipient of the agency’s Thomas Jefferson Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer Program. The award is the agency’s most prestigious and only nine have been presented this year to deserving cooperative weather observers from around the country. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“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. We cannot thank Mr. Crosier enough for his years of service to America.”

Steve Schurr, meteorologist-in-charge of the Omaha Weather Forecast Office, will present the award to Crosier during a family gathering at Swede’s Lakeside Retreat near Oakdale on July 30 beginning at 1 p.m. Cooperative Program Manager Terry Landsvork of the Omaha office nominated Crosier for the award.

The National Weather Service 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.

Crosier, 78, established the Oakdale station Feb. 1, 1957, recording daily precipitation and temperature data. Though not an official river observer, he also notifies the National Weather Service of flooding on Cedar Creek and the Elkhorn River. Crosier has not missed a single daily report in almost 49 years as a volunteer observer.

Weather records become more valuable with age. 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 changes. 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.

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, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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’s National Weather Service:

NWS Cooperative Observer Program: