February 5 is National Weatherman’s Day! The day was created to celebrate meteorologists, the men and women who predict those fickle forces of nature.
National Weatherman’s Day is observed on February 5 to commemorate the birthday of John Jeffries, one of the first people in America to begin observing the weather in a scientific way. Jeffries was born in 1744 and began inspecting weather patterns in 1774. In 1784, he took weather observations in a balloon for the first time over London. On this trip into the sky, he took with him a thermometer, a barometer, and a hygrometer to the height of 9,000 feet.
By the 19th century, observing networks had formed in different countries around the world, teaming up those studying atmospheric science to make more accurate assumptions of weather patterns and how they would effect the Earth. In the later part of the 20th century, the invention of computers revolutionized weather observation, making weather forecasts much more precise.
While most people only think of weathermen and women as the people who help us determine how we should dress every day based on their forecasts, their jobs have an invaluable importance. Weather forecasters closely study raw weather data and numerical computer models to give up forecasts and warnings that could save our lives. Firefighters depend on spot forecasts to control wildfires, and emergency officials are able to contain hazardous chemical spills due to forecasters’ reports. The extensive climate records kept by weather services also help architects, engineers, utility companies, and insurance companies properly do their jobs. Technological growth has improved weather warning times drastically over the years, allowing meteorologists to give those who may be in danger enough time to reach safety.
Celebrate today by educating yourself on the science behind meteorological forecasts and observing the weather yourself. Happy Weatherman’s Day!