Howard and Patricia Romsdal were recent recipients of the Richard (Dick) H. Hagemeyer Award. This award was established in honor of Richard (Dick) Hagemeyer (1924-2001) whose career with the National Weather Service spanned 51 years. Early in his career he served as a Cooperative Program Manager and was an ardent supporter of the Cooperative Observer Program. The award is given to National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observers for 45 years of service.
Howard volunteered to record rain and snowfall reports for the Bradshaw area in December of 1963 after the previous observer, Ivan Pohl moved away. Mr. Pohl had been an observer for a little over 3 years. Other previous observers include Mr. A.E. Hudnall and Mr. John Otte. In the beginning, Howard and Patricia never gave a thought as to how long they would be recording the weather. They just did it every morning along with raising a family and going to work. Forty-five years later, they are amazed at how fast time went by. They might also be amazed to know that during this time, they recorded over 16 thousand observations. The observations totaled over 1200 inches of rain and over 1400 inches of snow. The driest year was 1974 with only 14.95 inches of precipitation, followed 10 years later (1984) with the wettest at 39.69 inches. The year 1992 had the least amount of snow with only 15.5 inches while 1983 came in with 58.5 inches of the white stuff. One thing we do know, every year is different when it comes to rain and snow across Nebraska. Howard and Patricia recalled several occasions when rainfall amounts varied a great deal from one side of town to another, even from one street to another. With the addition of the NeRAIN observers, you can really see how much variation there is across a county.
The data collected from cooperative observers has spanned over 100 years and has helped establish the climatic database for the United States. The information garnered from over ten thousand observers nationwide is routinely used at local, state and national levels by many businesses and industries. Once the observer records the precipitation and reports it to their National Weather Service office it is collected at the end of month and forwarded for quality control and archiving at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Copies are also forwarded to the state climatologists. This data is used to derive the "normal" temperatures and "normal" precipitation records for an area. Locally, the data from cooperative observers are critical in the support of forecast and warning operations.
Presenting the award was Steven Eddy, the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service Office in Hastings, Nebraska and Marla K. Doxey, the Data Acquisition Program Manager for the Hastings Office.
In the attached picture, from left to right: Steven Eddy, Howard and Patricia Romsdal