History of Federal Weather Service in the Quad Cities

May 24, 1871... Office began on the third floor of the First National Bank Building at Second and Main Streets in Davenport.

April 1, 1890... Office moved to the third floor of the Masonic Temple at Third and Main Streets in Davenport. Station elevation was 613 feet.

November 3, 1896... Office moved to the second floor of the Post Office Building at Fourth and Perry Streets in Davenport. Station elevation was 606 feet. (Official wind records made at Moline Airport January 1, 1929 to December 31, 1933.)

September 4, 1931... Moved to the sixth floor of the Union Bank Building at Third and Brady Streets in Davenport. Station elevation was 661 feet.

September 26, 1933... Moved to the third floor of the Post Office Building at Fourth and Perry Streets in Davenport. Station elevation 619 feet.

October 1, 1936... Opened new office on the northeast corner of the Moline Airport.

December 27, 1939... Moline office moved to the second floor of the Administration Building of the Moline Airport (renamed Quad City Airport in 1954). Station elevation 589 feet.

February 28, 1953... Davenport City Office closed.

August 30, 1977...The Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR 74C) was commissioned this date at the Quad City Airport in Moline, Illinois. It was later dedicated on September 13, 1977.

April 4, 1961... Moved to the second floor of the Terminal Building (renamed Airport Annex in 1986) of the Quad City Airport. Station elevation 589 feet.

February 5, 1991... The Weather Service was relocated to the south side of the Quad City Airport. 7501 68th ST, Milan, IL 61264-3266. Station elevation 589 (Ivory Tip 584.807 ft). Additional Note... The local warning RADAR was left behind at the old location until April of 1991. RADAR operations were conducted at the old location into April of 1991. From the last part of April into the month of May 1991, RADAR was relocated to its new location at the Rock Island county FEMA site. RADAR observations were conducted at the new location from that time forward.

October 27, 1993... A formal groundbreaking ceremony was conducted at the Davenport, Iowa Airport, to mark the beginning of construction of a new Weather Forecast Office (WFO). Meteorologist in Charge (MIC) James F. Meyer of Weather Service Office (WSO) Moline, Illinois, joined several local and state dignitaries in turning the symbolic first shovelsful of earth for the project.

August 1, 1994... New National Weather Service Office at the Davenport, Iowa Airport accepted. No staff on hand at this time with the actual physical move occurring at a later date.

September 19, 1994... Part time operations started at the new National Weather Service Office in Davenport, Iowa. Charles Fenley, the new MIC, arrived on September 6 and new office furniture arrived on September 12. Management staff working between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM. Full time operations not expected until early 1995.

November 2, 1994...WSR-88D tower dome was raised and placed on the tower platform at 355 PM. South winds of 18 to 25 knots made this a tricky task. Martin Ray, UNISYS Field Engineer, said "It's all downhill from here." RDA, RPG, and PUP arrived on November 8.

January 13, 1995... WSR-88D was accepted (handed over to the NWS) from Unisys.

February 16, 1995... Upper Air equipment was moved from Peoria, Illinois to the new Davenport, Iowa NWS location during the week of the 13th. The first flight was launched on February 16 at 5:00 p.m. LST (00Z 2/17/95).

February 20, 1995... Full time warning and Short Term Forecast operations officially started at the new NWS facility at the Davenport Airport as of midnight LST.

February 22, 1995... All remaining equipment at the Moline, Illinois office was moved to the Davenport, Iowa office. This included the NOAA Weather Radio console which operates the Rock Island, Illinois transmitter. All surface observational equipment, and several Interns and HMTs, remained at the Moline office to take surface observations. This is required until ASOS is commissioned.

February 23, 1995... The NOAA Weather Radio console from Waterloo, Iowa was brought over to the Davenport, Iowa office and turned into the Cedar Rapids, Iowa console. (Des Moines, Iowa NWS office switched their Cedar Rapids NWS over to the Waterloo circuit).

March 1, 1995... The County Warning Area (CWA) for the new Quad Cities NWS office expanded from the 12 county CWA (from Moline, Illinois) to 34 counties.

March 6, 1995... The Dubuque, Iowa NOAA Weather Radio console was moved from Dubuque to the new Quad Cities NWS office. This brought our total NWR consoles up to a total of three.

April 1, 1995... Hydrologic responsibility was assumed on this date over the 34 county Hydrologic Service Area (HSA).

July 1, 1995... The Moline, Illinois Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) unit was commissioned and taking the official surface weather readings at the Quad City Airport. All remaining NWS staffing at Moline office transferred to the new Quad Cities (Davenport) office.

September 1, 1995... Dubuque, Iowa ASOS commissioned on this date. National Weather Service staffing remained through October 15, 1995. No official NWS presence after October 15, 1995.

September 7, 1995... WSR-88D commissioned as the official National Weather Service radar.

November 1, 1995... Terminal Aviation Forecast (FT) for Moline, Illinois assumed by the new Quad Cities NWS office.

December 1, 1995... Terminal Aviation Forecast products for; Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Burlington assumed by the new Quad Cities NWS office.

January 1, 1996... Transcribed Weather Broadcast Text Products (CHITWB216, CHITWB217, CHITWB303 and DSMTWB305) assumed by the new Quad Cities NWS office.

February 7, 1996... The old WSR 74C radar located at old NWS location was decommissioned this date. All of the equipment (except the tower) was sold to private sources in June of 1996.

August 1, 1998... NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) "Console Replacement System" (CRS) was officially activated this day as of midnight LST. This will usher in CRS, and it's computer voice capabilities, as the new voice of the NWS.

October 1998... The last of 5 new Senior Forecasters arrived on station to complete the forecast staff.

February 17, 1999... National Weather Service Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa), began forecasting for 21 zones (counties) in eastern Iowa and 13 zones (counties) in northwest Illinois. The first official Area Forecast Discussion, Zone Forecast Product and CCF product were prepared by forecaster Mike McClure.

March 15, 1999... Actually during the week of March 15, the new Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) was installed at National Weather Service Quad Cities. AWIPS is the next generation computer workstation for the NWS and replaces the Automation of Field Operations and Services (AFOS) computer work station. AFOS will not be totally out of the picture until AWIPS is officially commissioned around the turn of the new century.

November 17, 1999... Warning and forecast responsibility for Scotland and Clark Counties in northeast Missouri transferred from NWS St. Louis to NWS Quad Cities, bringing the total number of counties covered by NWS Quad Cities to 36. 

January 27, 2000... CRS commissioned.

March 27, 2000... AWIPS commissioned.

February 8, 2000... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed near Princeton, Illinois. Began broadcasting at 5:45 PM. This is the first of many expansion transmitters in our county warning area to be installed. 

March 10, 2000... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed in West Burlington, Iowa. This transmitter is part of the Iowa Weather Radio expansion project.

March 28, 2000... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed near Fairfield, Iowa. This transmitter is part of the Iowa Weather Radio expansion project.

March 29, 2000... AFOS powered down for the last time.

April 25, 2000... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed near Medill, Missouri. This transmitter is part of the Iowa Weather Radio expansion project.

June 1, 2000... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed near Macomb, Illinois. This transmitter is part of the Iowa Weather Radio expansion project.

November 16, 2000... Zone Forecasts expanded from 5 days to 7 days.

October 2, 2001... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed near Maquoketa, Iowa. This transmitter is part of the Iowa Weather Radio expansion project.

October 4, 2001... New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter installed near Freeport, Illinois, bringing the office total to 10 transmitters and county warning area coverage to near 100%.

January 1, 2002... First Digital (Numerical) Forecast issued by this office.

January 22, 2002... First Fire Weather Spot Forecast issued from this office.

May 1, 2002... First Graphical Forecasts posted to the internet by this office.

June 20, 2002... New computer voice (known as "Craig") first aired on the 10 NOAA Weather Radio stations operated from this office. Craig broadcast the tone alert test.

November 3, 2002...State of Illinois Cooperative Observer Appreciation Day.  NWS Offices in Chicago (LOT), Lincoln (ILX), and the Quad Cities (DVN) partnered with national, regional, and state officials to recognize the efforts and contributions of cooperative weather observers in Illinois.

February 24, 2003...Jim Belles begins as the new MIC of WFO Quad Cities. 

May 9, 2003...First news conference hosted by WFO Quad Cities for tornado outbreak anticipated the next day.

June 19, 2003...Updated computer voice known as "Tom" first broadcast on 10 NOAA Weather Radio stations operated by NWS Quad Cities.

August 20, 2003...A 77 mph wind gust hit the northwest corner of the office at 7:01 PM, peeling back part of the roof.  Service backup was initiated for about 18 hours.

November 12, 2003...Inaugural meeting of Partners Committed to Excellence at the WFO.  This group of individuals represent a cross section of WFO partners an customers who provide key feedback for operations, planning, and improvement.

 July 17, 2004...NWS Quad Cities recognized the efforts and contributions of area cooperative weather observers during a Cooperative Observer Appreciation Day picnic.

June 16, 2005...Stephan Kuhl begins as the new MIC of WFO Quad Cities

October 15, 2005...First NWS Quad Cities Open House.  352 visitors signed in.

January 25, 2006...New NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter began broadcasting from Delaware County, Iowa.  This site is part of the Iowa Weather Radio Expansion Project, and is the 11 station with programming from the NWS Quad Cities office.

January 4, 2007...New Amateur Radio tower erected at our office, effectvely doubling the range of direct ham radio communications from the office.

April 23, 2007...NWS Quad Ciites launched a local incident Support group to provide improved services to local incidents.

October 1, 2007...Warnings issued by the National Weather Service shift from county-based to storm-based.  This means that the area warned is now defined by the individual storm rather than county or other political boundaries. NWS Quad Cities issued its first storm-based warnings on Oct. 2!

November 5, 2007...First official release of a weather balloon with a Global Positioning radiosonde at the office.  (Radiosonde Replacement System was installed to upgrade upper air observing equipment during the previous weeks.)

February 21, 2008...NWS Quad Cities received a Bronze Recognition for Performance Excellence at the Iowa Governor's Recognition of Performance Excellence Celebration in Des Moines.  This award was approved by the Iowa Quality Center, and recognizes the office for successfully applying National Baldrige Quality Program Criteria to improve operations.

April 2008...NWS Quad Cities received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service during the Iowa City tornado outbreak of April 13, 2006.

April 2008...NWS Quad Cities received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service during the ice storm of Feb 23-25 and blizzard of March 1-2, 2007.

June 12, 2008...Through software upgrades, NWS Quad Cities Doppler radar (WSR88D) began providing Super Resolution radar data.

April 1, 2009... Severe thunderstorm warning criteria raised to quarter-sized hail (1 inch diameter).  (Wind criteria of 58 mph remains unchanged.)

March 24, 2012... Dual Polarization Radar. The Quad Cities' "Dual-Pol" radar upgrade added the ability to view both horizontal and vertical shapes of objects it detects.

Spring of 2012... Fischer-Porter automated rain gauges installed.  Accuracy improves from nearest 0.10 to 0.005 inches.  Good-bye to paper tapes.

 



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