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Weather Services in the United States - 1644 TO 1970

The first weather observations in the New World are made by the Reverend John Campanius at the Swedes' Fort, near the present site of Wilmington, Delaware.

Benjamin Franklin deduces the northeastward movement of a hurricane from eclipse observations at Philadelphia and Boston. This is the first recorded instance in which the progressive movement of a storm system as a whole is recognized.

Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and James Madison (not the president) at Williamsburg, Virginia take the first known simultaneous weather observations in America.

The Board of Regents of the State of New York establishes a State Climatological network at the 30 academies under its control.

The Pennsylvania State Legislature makes the first appropriation of public money for weather services in the United States. Grants $4,000 to the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia to establish meteorological stations in each county.

Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury publishes the first of his marine temperature, wind, and current charts.

Joseph Henry inaugurates the Smithsonian Institution's telegraphic network of weather observers "to solve the problems of America's storms."

Ebenezer E. Merriam publishes a series of local weather forecasts in the New York daily newspapers based largely on telegraphic weather reports.

William Ferrel publishes a mathematical model of the general circulation of global winds and ocean currents. Revised in 1860 and 1889.

Cleveland Abbe inaugurates a weather reporting and warning service for Cincinnati. On September 1, he publishes his first Weather Bulletin; on the 22nd, his first forecast.

On February 2, Congressman Halbert E. Paine introduces a Joint Congressional Resolution requiring the Secretary of War to establish a Government meteorological service. The Resolution is signed by Ulysses S. Grant on February 9.

The Army Signal Service's new Division of Telegrams and Reports fro the Benefit of Commerce begins operations as the Nation's weather service on November 1. On November 8, the first "cautionary storm signal" is issued for Great Lakes shipping by Increase A. Lapham.

Cleveland Abbe makes first official public weather forecasts (probabilities) on February 19.

The first newspaper weather map is published in the New York Graphic.

The US Weather Bureau is established in the Department of Agriculture by the transfer of the civilian meteorological service from the Army Signal Corps on July 1.

On September 30, the fist Washington Daily Weather Map is published by the Weather Bureau. The series is still being published (weekly).

The Weather Bureau begins regular kite observations. The last flight is made in 1933.

The Weather Bureau experiments with wireless communication between Hatteras and Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

Beginning of the Weather Bureau's current program of free balloon meteorological observations.

Daily radiotelegraphy broadcasts of Weather Bureau marine bulletins by Navy radio stations at Arlington, Virginia and Key West, Florida

The Weather Bureau and the Navy initiate daily airplane soundings at Washington, D.C.

The Air Commerce Act makes the Weather Bureau officially responsible for weather services to civil aviation.

The Weather Bureau begins regular early morning airplane observations at Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, and Omaha on July 1.

The first official Weather Bureau radio meteograph (radiosonde) sounding is made at East Boston Airport on August 17.

The Weather Bureau initiates automatic telephone weather service in New York City.

All military and Weather Bureau airplane observation stations are converted to radiosonde observations.

C.G. Rossby and MIT colleagues develop a mathematical technique to forecast the movement of planetary waves.

The Weather Bureau is transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Commerce on June 30.

Colonel Joseph P. Duckworth and Lieutenant Ralph O'Hair of the Army Air Forces make the first known airplane penetration into the eye of a hurricane.

Irving Langmuir and Vincent Schaefer of General Electric succeed in modifying clouds by seeding them with dry ice. First attempt is made on November 13, in the Berkshire Mountains.

Fawbush and Miller, Air Weather Service meteorologists, issue first tornado warning on March 25.

The World Meteorological Organization is established. Weather Bureau Chief Francis W. Reichelderfer elected as first president.

The Weather Bureau organizes a severe local storms forecasting unit, which moves to Kansas City, Missouri in 1954.

The Weather Bureau's' National Meteorological Center at Suitland, Maryland begins operations in March.

The Weather Bureau's first WSR-57 modern weather surveillance radar is commissioned at Miami on June 26.

On April 1, TIROS I, the first fully equipped meteorological satellite, is successfully launched.

In his State of the Union address, President Kennedy invites all nations to join with the United States in developing an international weather prediction system.

The Weather Bureau's Project Mercury support group participates in the first US man-in-orbit spaceflight (John Glenn), made on February 20.

Project Stormfury, a cooperative hurricane modification program, is initiated under the direction of ESSA's National Hurricane Research Laboratory.

The Weather Bureau becomes a component of the new formed Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) on July 13.

The national operational weather satellite system is formally established on March 5, when NASA transfers control of ESSA 2 to the National Environmental Satellite Center. The system requires two satellites in orbit at the same time, one with picture storage capability, the other with automatic picture transmission (APT) equipment.

Implementation of the World Weather Watch begins.

Barbados Oceanographic and Meteorological Experiment (BOMEX), the first project of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP), is conducted off Barbados during May, June, and July.

October 3 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) is established by Richard M. Nixon by a Presidential decree.