National Weather Service and Aviation
Together Since the First Flight
The Weather Bureau Office in Kitty Hawk was located in the Life Saving Station from 1875 to 1904.
When scouting a location for their attempts at flight, the Wright Brothers knew where to go for their information. They wrote to the US Weather Bureau, the precursor to NOAA's National Weather Service, seeking information on locations with sufficient wind conditions to suit their needs. Kitty Hawk seemed like a good candidate, and they wrote a letter to the Weather Bureau office in Kitty Hawk. They received a prompt and friendly reply from Joseph J Dosher, who staffed the Weather Bureau office, which helped to convince them that Kitty Hawk was the best place to attempt their feat.
Dosher maintained a good relationship with the Wright brothers for three years during their tests. In fact, the telegraph which alerted the world to the historic first flight came from the Weather Bureau. 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.
It was from the Weather Bureau Office in Kitty Hawk, that Orville Wright wired his father
It was years later, on Dec. 1, 1918, that the U.S. Weather Bureau issued its first aviation weather forecast. It was for the Aerial Mail Service route from New York to Chicago. On May 20, 1926, Congress passed the Air Commerce Act, which included legislation directing the Weather Bureau to "furnish weather reports, forecasts, warnings, to promote the safety and efficiency of air navigation in the United States."
The modern commercial aviation industry, which contributes approximately $800 Billion (8%) to the Gross Domestic Product, is almost entirely weather and climate dependant. Today, more than ever, the aviation industry relies on timely and accurate weather forecasts. NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Offices issue almost 2,500 aviation weather forecasts for 537 airports around the nation every day. The local offices also issue nearly 1,300 en route flight forecasts a day. NOAA's National Weather Service aviation forecasts help mitigate air traffic delays, and reduce weather-related aviation accidents.
In the early 1900's, most of the smaller Weather Bureau offices, including Kitty Hawk were closed, leaving Cape Hatteras as the main office for Eastern North Carolina. One of the oldest locations for a Weather Bureau office in the country, Cape Hatteras maintained a Weather Office for over 100 years. Today, NOAA's Newport/Morehead City Weather Forecast Office serves Eastern North Carolina, issuing air, water, and climate forcasts and warnings.
The Cape Hatteras Weather Bureau Office circa 1903
The Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office Today