NOAA 2006-R260
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2006
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Mable Zink a recipient of the agency’s Edward H. Stoll Award for 50 years of outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer Program.

“Technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the nation—better forecasts and warnings,” said Lynn P. Maximuk, director of the National Weather Service Central Region, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. “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 owe Mrs. Zink greatly for her many years of service to America.”

Maximuk and Steve Schurr, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Valley, Neb., will present the award to Zink during a luncheon at the Sterling Senior Center on June 14 at noon. This award is named after Edward Stoll, who served as a cooperative observer for 76 years and was the first to attain 50 years of service.

Raymond and Mable Zink established the Sterling, Neb., observing station behind their hardware store on June 28, 1956, reporting daily precipitation data to the National Weather Service. They moved the equipment to their home in 1966. Raymond Zink passed away in 1988, and Mable Zink has continued as the volunteer observer since then.

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, more than 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.

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 NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center for publication in “Climatological Data” or “Hourly Precipitation Data.”

The National Weather Service is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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 our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Weather Service:

NWS Cooperative Observer Program: