NWS Honors the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association

National Weather Service Honors the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association with a 100 Year Length of Service Award for Volunteer Weather Observing
Recognizing 100 years of dedication, NOAA’s National Weather Service will honor Montrose’s Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association with a 100 year Length of Service Award for outstanding dedication in the Cooperative Weather Observer program. The Water Users records are some of the most complete in western Colorado.
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Doug Crowley, Meteorologist In Charge of NOAA’s Grand Junction National Weather Service office. “Numerous technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the Nation in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States. We cannot thank the Water Users enough for so many years of service to America.”
Crowley and NWS staff members will present the award at 11 a.m., April 5, at the Water Users office in Montrose.
            The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Weather Observer Program is a unique partnership between the National Weather Service and citizen volunteers in every U.S. state and territory. The cooperative observer program has given scientists and researchers continuous weather data since the program’s inception in 1890. Today, more than 10,000 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature.
            The Water Users Association began observing on January 1, 1911, reporting daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth, to the National Weather Service.  Site reports have provided important data to NOAA forecasters and hydrologists and climate scientists. Over the years, the Water Users have provided approximately 36,500 daily reports to the National Weather Service.
Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts and heat and cold waves. At the end of each month, observers send their records to the National Climatic Data Center for publication in “Climatological Data” or “Hourly Precipitation Data.”
            The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up in the 1890s as a result of an 1890 act of Congress that established the U.S. Weather Bureau. Many of the stations have even longer histories. John Campanius Holm’s weather records, taken without benefit of instruments in 1644 and 1645, are the earliest known recorded observations in the United States.
            Many historic figures have maintained weather records, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations between 1776 and 1816, and Washington took weather observations just a few days before he died. The Jefferson and Holm awards are named for these weather observation pioneers.

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