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Lake Charles Station History Beaumont Station History

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Lake Charles Weather Station History

 

On October 28, 1887, a newspaper article appeared in the Abbeville Meridional, declaring that a state weather service was being organized within Louisiana by Mr. R. E. Kerkam, of the U.S. Signal Corp Office in New Orleans. Local observers were recruited throughout the state, and a call was made to all schools, hospitals, and others interested to take cooperative observations throughout the state.

The purpose of this new weather service was to give the public the actual weather conditions mainly in support of crops and harvesting. The observations were also to be used by engineers in support of building canals and sewers. They were also supposed to help the medical field by studying the effects of the weather on disease and the use of preventive remedies. The exercise was supposed to be "very agreeable and instructive". Twenty states already had weather services at that time, and "Louisiana should not neglect a matter of such importance to her people." (Abbeville Meridional, 10/29/1887, pg. 1) The observation site was established at Dr. W. A. Knapp's Drug Store, located at the corner of Ryan and Pujo Streets.

The next site to report for the Federal Government in Lake Charles started taking voluntary weather observations at the old post office in January 1893, located at the time on Pujo Street; the Weather Bureau supplied it with the forms necessary. During periods where observations are voluntary, or taken with cooperation with individuals in the area, stations move around every so often; Lake Charles was no exception. The site moved with the post office to their new headquarters on Ryan Street on September 12, 1893.

By July 1919, the observation site was moved to 323 Woodruff Street. It was then moved to the foot of North Ryan Street in November 1930. Until 1937, the site recorded high temperature, low temperature, and 24 hour precipitation. Thereafter, hourly observations began at a new site, located at 1036 Kirkman Street.

The U.S. Weather Bureau then established what is known as a first order weather observation site and an office (part of the Department of Agriculture at the time) at the Old Calcasieu Parish Airport, 3.3 miles east of the previous location, on February 12, 1939. The observations included temperature, dew point, wind direction, speed, and pressure information.

Over the years, the name of this site changed from Calcasieu Parish Airport to the Lake Charles Air Base on January 30, 1942. The name then changed to Chennault Air Force Base during 1958.

On November 22, 1961, the office was moved southwest 7 1/2 miles to the Lake Charles Regional Airport, where it has stayed until present day. The U.S. Weather Bureau changed its name to the National Weather Service in 1969 and was placed within the newly formed Department of Commerce in 1970. The office was located in the airport's control tower until 1971, then moved to separate buildings on the airport property to the east in September 1979 (now the Airport Administrator's Building), and then next door to the current office in February 1996.


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