NWS Chicago Office

NWS Chicago:

Picture of WFO Chicago

Brief History of the National Weather Service in Chicago

The first Federal weather office was established in Chicago on October 15th, 1870, under the jurisdiction of the Army Signal Service. Observations have been taken continuously since that time, except for a fourteen day period in October 1871 immediately following the Great Chicago Fire.

Professor Increase A. Lapham, noted for his effort to establish a national weather service in the country, was specially assigned to the Chicago office in November of 1870, as a forecaster. He has the distinction of having issued the first storm warning ever sent out by the Weather Service on either the Great Lakes or the oceans. His warning was issued on November 8th, 1870 (and it turned out to be correct!).

Picture of Prof. Increase A. Lapham

During the greater portion of the period prior to 1891, general forecasts and storm warnings for the Great Lakes were issued at Washington, but with the transfer of the weather agency from the Signal Service to the Department of Agriculture, various small forecast districts were established. The Chicago office at first was assigned nothern Illinois and northwest Indiana. In May 1894, the small forecast districts were merged into a few large ones, with the Chicago office's new forecast area extending from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains!


Anchorage, AK Fairbanks, AK Juneau, AK Seattle, WA Portland, OR Spokane, WA Pendleton, OR Medford, OR Boise, ID Eureka, CA Sacramento, CA Reno, NV Elko, NV San Francisco, CA Hanford, CA Los Angeles, CA Las Vegas, NV San Diego, CA Phoenix, AZ Honolulu, HI Guam Missoula, MT Great Falls, MT Glasgow, MT Billings, MT Pocatello, ID Riverton, WY Salt Lake City, UT Grand Junction, CO Cheyenne, WY Rapid City, SD Bismarck, ND Denver, CO Pueblo, CO Flagstaff, AZ Tucson, AZ Albuquerque, NM El Paso, TX Amarillo, TX Lubbock, TX Grand Forks, ND Aberdeen, SD Minneapolis, MN Duluth, MN Sioux Falls, SD North Platte, NE Goodland, KS Hastings, NE Omaha, NE Topeka, KS Dodge City, KS Wichita, KS Pleasant Hill, MO Des Moines, IA Springfield, MO Norman, OK Tulsa, OK Fort Worth, TX Little Rock, AR Shreveport, LA Midland, TX San Angelo, TX San Antonio, TX Corpus Christi, TX Brownsville, TX Lake Charles, LA Marquette, MI Green Bay, WI Gaylord, MI Milwaukee, WI Chicago La Crosse, WI Quad Cities, IA Lincoln, IL St. Louis, MO Grand Rapids, MI Detroit, MI Northern Indiana, IN Indianapolis, IN Paducah, KY Louisville, KY Memphis, TN Jackson, MS Mobile, AL New Orleans, LA Birmingham, AL Nashville. TN Caribou, ME Burlington, VT Portland, ME Buffalo, NY Albany, NY Boston, MA Binghamton. NY Cleveland, OH Pittsburgh, PA New York, NY Philadelphia, PA State College, PA Wilmington, OH Sterling, VA Charleston, WV Wakefield, VA Blacksburg, VA Jackson, KY Knoxville, TN Raleigh, NC Greer, SC Newport, NC Wilmington, NC Columbia, SC Atlanta, GA Charleston, SC Jacksonville. FL Tallahassee, FL Melbourne, FL Tampa Bay, FL Miami, FL Key West, FL San Juan, PR Houston, TX


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.