Historic weather observation site active one again
BY ALYSSA MEIER
One of the oldest weather recording sites in the state will be back on the map this week, as the National Weather Service has approved reactivation of Washburn’s historic observation station.
Nearly 125 years old, Washburn is one of the oldest weather observation sites in North Dakota, NWS Observing Program Leader Richard Krolak said.
“The Washburn COOP site dates back to August of 1893,” Krolak said.
Krolak visited Washburn earlier this month to see if it would be possible to reactivate the Washburn site and once again provide daily precipitation recordings. Krolak said local Clay Carr had been in charge of Washburn’s Cooperative Observer Program, or COOP, from 1996 up until his death in 2011. Prior to Carr, several individuals operated the COOP, including longtime owners of BHG Inc. and the Leader-News, Oliver and Judy Borlaug, who reported Washburn weather conditions starting in the 1950s. Since then, the site has laid dormant, and recording local weather occurrences have been a matter of guesswork.
“When a specific city may not have a COOP site at all, either nearby or surrounding cities are used and the conditions are estimated or interpolated for that location,” Krolak said.
In hopes of bringing back accurate local weather information, Krolak has been working with the Leader-News to reactivate Washburn’s site. Krolak provided snow and rain measuring equipment in early December, and the site was finally approved this week.