The National Weather Service (NWS) has been tasked with the issuance of severe weather watches and warnings designed to protect life and property. We are also responsible for issuing river and lake forecasts as well as climate outlooks. To this end, the collection of timely and accurate surface weather data is vital. In addition to the protection of life and property, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (of which the NWS is a part) has been given the job of maintaining a database of climatic weather information. This too is used by the NWS in preparing medium and long range forecasts.
One cornerstone in the monitoring and production of NWS products is the Cooperative Observer Program, also termed the COOP Program. The COOP Program is the backbone of the United States Climatological database. COOP observers may act as both weather observers and severe storm spotters, phoning in reports of hazardous weather in the winter and summer. Being an NWS Cooperative observer can be a challenging job, as we ask folks to report to us daily, or as close to daily as possible. The NWS supplies and maintains the equipment and provides the necessary training. The only other requirement is that NWS Observers report to us via an internet based web form, or via a telephone-based system.
This network is comprised entirely of volunteers: men and women in all walks of life; farmers and ranchers, business owners, stay at home dads and moms - the list is quite varied. The NWS Cooperative Observer is the unsung hero of the NWS, performing a vital task.
Our need for observers is constant. Some of the men and women who have done this job have done so for 30 years or more. While there is not a great deal of physical activity or stress involved, recording precipitation - especially snowfall and snow depth - can be a challenge as we age. Not all observers leave the program due to age - changes in family life, new jobs, retirements - many folks come and go with the season.
Today we focus on the wonderful city of Warroad Minnesota. For many years - since 1907 in fact - someone has taken the mantel of Cooperative Observer in the Warroad area. The latest family of observers is no longer able to fulfill the requirement. So the NWS is looking for someone - a dedicated individual, a family or business - to step up to take this vital job. At a time when the Lake of the Woods is at record levels, having regular reports from Warroad is of even greater importance than usual. For the History as well as the Climate Record - please consider becoming a volunteer observer to carry on the long standing tradition of Official NWS Cooperative Weather Observer in Warroad Minnesota.
Additional details may be found on the Grand Forks NWS web page at
Or feel free to contact Mark Ewens, Data Acquisition Program Manager at Mark.Ewens@noaa.gov or call at 701.795.5198