NWS Bismarck Office History

Serving North Dakota for over 130 years!

The Bismarck Weather Office began official observation duties on September 15, 1874 from a two-room house on the corner of Main and Third streets (not shown).

As part of the Signal Corps, the office moved four times, ending up at Camp Hancock (pictured above left). When the civilian U.S. Weather Bureau was created under the Department of Agriculture in 1891, the office was moved to the First National Bank building (pictured above right). In 1894, it moved back to Camp Hancock.
In 1939, the office was moved to the terminal building at the Municipal Airport. Radiosonde balloon observations of the upper atmosphere began from this location on July 7th of that same year.
In 1970 the Weather Bureau's name was changed to "The National Weather Service" and the agency became part of NOAA. A new office was built in 1973 on the southwest side of the airport. While at this location, the WSR 74-C radar was commissioned, NOAA Weather Radio was installed, and the office entered the computer age with the installation of AFOS (Automation of  Field Operations & Services).

The National Weather Service began a  modernization program in 1990.  A new building was built in 1994 next to the old one. This building was specifically designed to house not only the employees, but also radar equipment and numerous computers. Since the move, the WSR 88-D Doppler radar and the Automated Surface Observation System were  commissioned, NOAA Weather Radio was computerized,  and   AFOS was replaced by AWIPS (the Advanced Interactive Weather Processing System).

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