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NWS Awards Arkansas Ham Top Honor

04/30/2009

In late March, officials at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Little Rock, Arkansas, awarded Brother Anselm Allen, WB5JLD, the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for his service as a Cooperative Weather Observer. Named for the third President of the United States -- who kept an almost unbroken series of weather records from 1776 to 1816 -- the award is the highest and most prestigious award bestowed on Cooperative Weather Observers; only five Jefferson Awards are conferred each year. Cooperative observers are trained by the NWS to provide temperature (air and soil), precipitation and river data on a daily basis.

In addition to Allen's outstanding support of the National Weather Service, he is also an Amateur Radio operator and is active on local nets. Allen is only the second observer to receive the Jefferson Award in the Little Rock County Warning Area.

The NWS has trained more than 11,000 people to take weather observations on farms, in urban and suburban areas, National Parks, seashores and mountaintops, giving the NWS a true weather picture representative of where people live, work and play. Formally created in 1890 under the Organic Act, the Cooperative Observer program has a twofold mission: To provide observational meteorological data, usually consisting of daily maximum and minimum temperatures, snowfall, and 24-hour precipitation totals, required to define the climate of the United States and to help measure long-term climate changes; and to provide observational meteorological data in near real-time to support forecast, warning and other public service programs of the NWS.

Volunteer weather observers provide data that are invaluable in learning more about the floods, droughts, heat and cold waves. The data are also used in agricultural planning and assessment, engineering, environmental-impact assessment, utilities planning and litigation. Information gathered by Cooperative Observers plays a critical role in efforts to recognize and evaluate the extent of human impacts on climate from local to global scales. -- Information provided by the National Weather Service, Little Rock



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