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NWS Newport/Morehead City, NC

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Office History

Hatteras Station
U.S. Weather Station on Hatteras Island, circa 1903
Courtesy North Carolina Division of Archives and History

The first US Weather Bureau Station in North Carolina was established by the Signal Corps, US Army on August 16, 1874 at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse keeper's quarters as a weather reporting station and commercial telegraph office. A second Weather Office was set up at the Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station from January 2, 1875 to 1904. It was established for the purpose of facilitating the repair of the telegraph line connecting Cape Hatteras and Cape Henry. Other Stations added later included: Cape Lookout 1876-1904; Portsmouth 1876-1885; Beaufort Inlet 1878-1886; and Wash Woods 1878-1888.

When the Wright Brothers received weather data from the US Weather Bureau and found Kitty Hawk posessed the winds they were looking for, they wrote to the weather office at Kitty Hawk. Joseph J. Dosher at the Kitty Hawk Weather Office answered the Wright Brother's letter and had a good relationship with them for three years. Orville walked to the Kitty Hawk Weather Office late in the afternoon of December 17, 1903 and sent a telegraph to his father detailing the successes of the day.

In need of larger quarters, a new Hatteras Weather Bureau Station was built in Hatteras Village in 1901/1902. The lower floor housed the Official in Charge of the office and his family. The second floor had a large observation room and a ladder leading to the walk on the roof. The station was equipped with telegraph communication to the District Forecast Center in Washington D.C. Hourly checks were made of temperature, humidity, wind velocity, solar radiation, precipitation and pressure. The station issued coastal forecasts and warnings for the area. Warnings were communicated by using weather flags on a pole outside the station.

NWS Modernization

The Cape Hatteras site served for over 100 years, but in the mid 1980's NOAA's National Weather Service embarked on a modernization based on new technologies. The newly developed Doppler radar was the keystone of the modernization. Newport was selected as the location to serve as the base for the new Doppler radar because Hatteras was too vulnerable to destructive tropical storms and hurricanes.

NWS Building Photograph
The New NWS Building Near Completion in Newport

Ribbon Ceremony Photograph
The Deputy Directory of the NWS, Local Congressman, and Mayor of Newport
Tying the Ribbon to Officially Open the New Office in Newport, in 1994.

In 1994, the Newport/Morehead City Weather Service Office opened and the Doppler radar became operational. In 1999, the modernization was completed with the delivery of new state-of-the-art computers.

Keeping alive a proud tradition that began over 100 years ago, the dedicated men and women of NOAA's National Weather Service in Newport will continue to provide weather and water forecasts and warnings, and climate data and forecasts for the people of eastern North Carolina well into the future.

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National Weather Service
Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office
533 Roberts Rd, Newport, NC 28570
(252) 223-5737
Page last modified: September 15, 2008
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