Karen Rotherham
Ewing Cooperative Weather Observer
Receives 30 Year Length-of-Service Award     

     On January 27th, Karen Rotherham of Ewing, in Holt County, was honored by National Weather Service North Platte Meteorologist, Bill Taylor. Mrs. Rotherham received a 30 Year Length-of-Service Award, and a 30 Year Pin, for her fine work in taking the cooperative weather.

     Karen began providing the temperature, precipitation and snowfall data to the National Weather Service, beginning January 1, in 1981. Mrs. Rotherham took over the observing mantle from a long time Jefferson Award winning Cooperative Observer and close neighbor, Leona Jefferies.  Mrs. Jefferies was awarded the Jefferson Award in 1997.

     One year, Leona Jefferies sister and husband were going on a trip to Spain, and Leona found out she could fly for free with them.  She said to Karen Rotherham “I can’t go to Spain because I need to do the weather.” Karen remarked “I will go in your place to Spain – or – I can do the weather!” This is how Mrs. Rotherham became involved with the Cooperative Observer Program as the backup observer for Mrs. Leona Jefferies, and was trained by one of the best observers in the nation. Back in those days, maximum and minimum thermometers were housed in a white housing, known as a Cotton Region Shelter, and had to be spun to be reset each day.          

     Karen and her husband Jerry took meticulous observations each day, containing temperature, precipitation, snowfall and snow depth information. The daily records that they provided have been responsible for maintaining a daily weather log of temperature and precipitation data that is published by the National Climatic Data Center, and the High Plains Climatic Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Karen frequently contacts the National Weather Service during severe weather, or heavy rainfall or snowfall events. Karen is employed by the Ewing Public School System. Her volunteer efforts have directly benefitted the surrounding community, by providing a collection of official temperature, precipitation and snowfall data for Ewing and Holt County. The historical climate record for Ewing extends back to January 1, 1892 – or 119 years thus far!

     Data provided by cooperative observers is used by the National Weather Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Geologic Survey, and numerous others both in the public and private sectors.  This data eventually becomes a permanent part of the climatic record for the local area, and the nation. 

     Karen and Jerry Rotherham’s observations have provided the National Weather Service with a rapid source of observational data.  
     There are over 300 official volunteer cooperative weather observers in Nebraska and nearly 12,000 nationwide.

Bill Taylor presents 30 year Length-of-Service Award to Karen Rotherham of Ewing, Nebraska
(Bill Taylor, NWS North Platte Meteorologist, presenting award to Karen Rotherham of Ewing, Nebraska)

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Steve Carmel

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