Choctaw Indians initially occupied the area that is now Jackson, but the land was ceded to the United States on October 18, 1820 by the Treaty of Doaks Stand, negotiated by Andrew Jackson and Thomas Hinds. The area was originally called LeFleur’s Bluff, after the French trader Louis LeFleur, who established an Indian trading post in the early 1800s at what was to become downtown Jackson. The city was named for General Andrew Jackson and incorporated as a town by the State General Assembly on January 21, 1823.
The first known weather observations recorded at Jackson were taken on June 1, 1849 by female students of Mrs. Susan S. Oakley at the Oakland (Ladies) Institute. The observations were part of a Smithsonian Institution program. Weather observations from 1849 to 1931 were primarily taken by individual citizens as part of the Smithsonian, Army Medical Department, and Signal Service/Weather Bureau Cotton Region, Voluntary, and Cooperative Observing Programs, with the stations moving at relatively frequent intervals. Observations at Weather Bureau stations did not begin until 1931.
The first routine observations were taken at Hawkins Field beginning in 1931 when the Weather Bureau Airport Station was opened in Jackson. The Weather Bureau office was closed in June 1935 due to budget restrictions during the Depression era. During this time, aviation weather observations were taken at the airport by employees of the U.S. Department of Air Commerce (which later became the Commerce Department) and by cooperative observers. The Weather Bureau office reopened at Hawkins Field in Jackson in December. From the late 1930s into the 1950s, forecasts for Mississippi were issued from New Orleans, Louisiana while the Weather Bureau Airport Station in Jackson issued warnings for a smaller section of the state. On July 8, 1963, the Weather Bureau Office (WBO) was established in the terminal building of the Allen C. Thompson Field at the new Jackson Municipal Airport.
During the 1960s, forecasts for south Mississippi continued to be made from the forecast office in New Orleans, while forecasts for north Mississippi were made in Memphis, Tennessee. The Weather Bureau Airport Station at Jackson continued to take observations at Hawkins field while the Weather Bureau Office at Thompson Field issued local warnings and forecasts for the local area adapted from forecasts from New Orleans.
In July 1970, the name of the Weather Bureau was changed to the National Weather Service. The Jackson office became a Weather Service Office (WSO) and continued to issue local warnings and adaptive forecasts.
On April 1, 1972, the office in Jackson was charged with forecasting for much of the state of Mississippi and the name was changed to the National Weather Service Forecast Office (WSFO).
To provide more efficient warnings after the implementation of the new Doppler radar network, National Weather Service Forecast Offices were assigned responsibility for counties and parishes depending on radar coverage and distance and were designated as Warnings and Forecast Offices (WFO). For the first time, Jackson was assigned responsibility for counties and parishes outside of the state of Mississippi and became WFO Jackson. Areas transferred to the Jackson WFO office forecast area on April 4, 1995 included nine parishes in northeast Louisiana and two counties in southeast Arkansas, as well as most of the counties previously assigned to the former office of WSO Meridian and one from the former office of WSO Tupelo.
Much of this history is comprised of information from research done by Mr. Murray W. Smith, prepared in 1949 and Gary Grice, prepared on 2006.