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Tag: weather

Herald of the Storms: Isaac Cline

Today’s post comes from Ashley Mattingly, an archivist at the National Archives at St. Louis.

Photograph of Isaac Cline. (National Archives at St. Louis)

Photograph of Isaac Cline. (National Archives at St. Louis)

During a time when formal scientific weather forecasting was in its infancy, Isaac Cline was a man with a penchant for predicting disasters.

Born in 1861, Cline was a perpetually driven man who joined the U.S. Signal Corps’s weather service in 1882. In 1891, when meteorologists were transferred to Department of Agriculture, Cline moved to the newly created U.S. Weather Bureau.

Cline had a medical degree from the University of Arkansas in 1885, a Ph.D. from Texas Christian University in 1896, and a passion for the study of weather conditions. He spent years observing and writing about the affects of weather and climate on people’s health and mortality.

In 1895 Cline shifted his focus to the practice of more accurately predicting temperature readings to benefit crop production. He also began to focus on disaster prediction, and during the Spanish-American War (1898) he established a storm-warning system along the Mexican coast to help protect the U.S. Naval fleet from hurricanes.

In April 1900, while Cline and his expectant wife, Cora May Ballew Cline, were living in Galveston, TX, with their three children, he successfully predicted the rupture of the Colorado River dam in Austin, TX, saving countless lives.

That September he predicted another impending disaster: a … [ Read all ]

Cloudy with a chance of records

Denver, Colorado, December 20, 2006 (311-MAD-27666)

Denver, Colorado, December 20, 2006 (311-MAD-27666)

Weather has been front-page news across the country for the last couple of weeks. Winter storms have left up to 50 inches of snow in places, and even in Dallas, TX, snow and ice made the Packers and Steelers feel right at home at the Super Bowl.

What’s the outlook for sunshine, snow, or rain in the future? The groundhog may have predicted an early spring, but for a more scientific forecast, we have the National Weather Service, whose birthday is today.

On February 9, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing “meteorological Observations at the military Stations and other Points in the Interior of the Continent, and for giving Notice on the northern Lakes and Seaboard of the Approach and Force of Storms.”

In the National Archives you can find weather-related records in Records of the Weather Bureau (Record Group 27) and Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (Record Group 370).

So, Happy Birthday, Weather Service! Here’s hoping you can give us all good news soon.… [ Read all ]