Cooperative Observer Receives Public Service Award

Shelley Edwards of Spencer, Indiana has been awarded the United States Department of Commerce Public Service Award. Edwards a volunteer weather observer in The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observation Program (Co-op), earned the award on the eve of his 25th year of service in that program.
Edwards was cited for his service during the epic flooding of June 2008 that struck Spencer and parts of central and southern Indiana.  In the days just prior to the flood, Edwards insured several rain gages in the Spencer area were operational and although his office and observation site were eventually flooded, he still managed to obtain rainfall and river readings and provided the Indianapolis National Weather Service office with timely and critical updates on the flooding.
At a ceremony at the Indianapolis National Weather Service (NWS) office on August 15, 2008, Edwards was presented not only the Public Service Award but also received an award for his long years of service in the co-op program. That program consists of a network of over 11,000 stations across the nation that gathers data for day to day forecasts and warnings, as well as for publication and research.  Volunteers from all walks of life observe and report daily maximum and minimum temperatures, 24 hour precipitation amounts, including snowfall and snow depth, soil temperatures, evaporation readings and river levels. The program dates back to the late 1800s and the data it has provided has defined the climate of the country.
Albert Shipe, Service Hydrologist with the NWS said, “Shelley is known throughout Spencer for his river and weather expertise. Over the years he has kept not only the Weather Service’s equipment operational but other rain gages as well. The information he collected during the flood played an important role in our flood operations. Although 10 inches of rain flooded his lab and much of Spencer, the gages that he kept operational measured one the biggest and most intense rains ever in Indiana recorded history. This data will be used in the U.S. Geological Survey’s report on the great flood and will also be used by at least one engineering firm.”

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