A Brief History of the
National Weather Service Office
The National Weather Service has its beginnings in the early history
of the United States. Weather has always been important to the citizenry
of this country, and this was especially true during the 17
The beginning of the National Weather Service we know today
started on February 9
, 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant
signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War
to establish a national weather service. This resolution required the Secretary
to provide for taking meteorological observations at the
military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points
in the States and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern (Great)
Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of
the approach and force of storms
After much thought and consideration, it was decided that this agency
would be placed under the Secretary of War because military discipline
would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy
in the required observations. Within the Department of War, it was assigned
to the Signal Service Corps under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General
Meyer gave the National Weather Service its first name:
of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.
Ulysses S. Grant
Later that year, the first systematized, synchronous weather observations
ever taken in the U.S. were made by "observing-sergeants" of
the Army Signal Service at 22 stations and telegraphed to Washington. An
agency was born which would affect the daily lives of most of the citizens
of the United States through its forecasts and warnings.
The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the
Benefits of Commerce opens a
Office at 4 Exchange street.
office moves to Boyd's Block , Middle and
office moves to the Custom House.
office moves to the First National Bank Building,
57 Exchange Street.
Department of War takes Signal Corps' Division
of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefits of Commerce and transfers it
to U.S. Department of Agriculture. The newly created civilian agency is
U.S. Weather Bureau.
U.S. Weather Bureau
is transferred from U.S.
Department of Agriculture to U.S. Department of Commerce.
office moves to the
Portland City Airport, second floor of Administration Building.
name of building changed to General Aviation Terminal in October 1968.
Name of the Airport changed to Portland International Jetport in September
Weather Bureau begins process of modifying Navy
Radar to Weather Bureau specifications. In November, Weather Bureau opens
a Meteorological Observatory at Brunswick Naval Air Station to operate
and maintain the weather radar.
U.S. Weather Bureau
National Weather Service establishes a Forecast
Office at the Main Post Office Branch on Forest Avenue in Portland.
Weather Service Meteorological Observatory
at BNAS closed and employees moved to Forecast Office in Downtown Portland.
New Weather Radar installed at Portland Jetport.
NWS Forecast Office moved from Post Office in downtown
Portland to Jetport and consolidated with existing Weather Balloon /Surface
Aviation Observing Unit.
National weather Service installs "state of the
art" Doppler Weather Radar in Gray Maine.
The ASOS (Automated Surface Observing System) Unit is commissioned at the Portland Jetport.
Weather Observations are now automated and taken by sophisticated computerized equipment.
The NWS Forecast Office and remaining Observing
Unit moves to a new facility in Gray. This new facility is colocated with
the existing Doppler Weather Radar Site.
National Weather Service installs second "state
of the art" Doppler Weather Radar near Houlton Maine. This second
radar is operated remotely by the Forecast Office in Gray.
National Weather Service Office in Caribou becomes a
Forecast Office and assumes all responsibilty for Northern and Eastern Maine
as well as Houlton Doppler Weather Radar.
Created by Eric Schwibs