Judy Family Heritage Award


Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D., will honor three generations of Morris K. Judy’s family in a ceremony marking their 114 years of volunteer weather observations. NOAA’s National Weather Service is recognizing “Heritage” volunteer observers for more than 100 years of service.

“Cooperative observers, such as the Judy family, are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Satellites, high-speed computers, mathematical models and other technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the nation in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But, without the accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States.”

Greg Harmon, meteorologist-in-charge, Sioux Falls weather forecast office, and Donald Morin, cooperative observer program manager, will present the Family Heritage Award to Judy family descendants at a ceremony on July 3, 2006 at the Sioux Falls office.

 “Volunteers like the Judy family are crucial to National Weather Service operations,” Harmon said. “Of more than 10,000 volunteer observers around the country contributing to the daily collection of weather data needed to maintain forecasting parameters and climatological records, only a select few have been in operation for 100 years or more.”

Beginning in the 19th century, Morris K. Judy and his descendents have provided the nation’s weather forecasters with precipitation and temperature data for the Forestburg 3NE observing station, beginning only a year after the observing program began in 1890. Since the station was created, four Judy family members have maintained the unbroken record of weather observations from the site.

Morris Judy established the original observing station in May 1891, about three miles northeast of Forestburg, and kept records until January 1909. Morris ceded duties to his son, Sherman S. Judy, who gathered daily data from 1909 to 1971, spanning 62 years. Sherman Judy was presented the Thomas Jefferson Award, the most prestigious NOAA award for cooperative observers, in 1960, the award’s inaugural year.

Sherman Judy’s son Raymond took over duties on Aug. 1, 1971, and remained the official observer until his death in 1997. Raymond’s wife, Marion, became the official observer on March 5, 1997, and continues to hold the position today. Marion said she intends to pass observation duties on to her son, Mark, or to a son-in-law.

Over the 114 years of volunteer service, the Judy’s equipment, replaced occasionally with newer, more up-to-date equipment, has remained in the same location, except for one move of less than 100 yards for a rain gauge.

 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather-and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and more than 61 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.


Photo: (L-R) Central Regional Director Lynn Maximuk, Heritage Award recipient Marion Judy, and Sioux Falls  Weather Service Office MIC Greg Harmon

Judy Family Heritage Award


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