Cooperative Observer Program

Middle Tennessee COOP Program

"From its inception, the National Weather Service has relied heavily on cooperative weather observers for establishment and maintenance of the nation's climatic database. It follows that appointing, training, and keeping good observers is a very high priority."

The Cooperative Observer Program is older than the United States, dating to the pre-Revolutionary War colonies. Farmers like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and scientists like Ben Franklin were always interested in the weather. Many kept detailed daily records and these records are part of the continuing study of our weather. This interest in weather followed settlers into the Tennessee and Cumberland Valleys.

Continuous official weather records in Nashville date back to the 1870's. Several other sites in Middle Tennessee can trace their records prior to 1900: Carthage, Clarksville, Cookeville, Dickson, Dover/Ft. Donelson, Franklin, Lewisburg, McMinnville, Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, and Waynesboro.

A typical COOP SiteAll Cooperative Observers keep daily precipitation records. The same instrument, the Standard or 8" Rain Gage, has been used for most of the recorded history. This information is used to determine normal values and set record amounts. (Such information was very important during the summer of 1999 to determine the severity of drought conditions and issuance of crop insurance.) Maps showing seasonal departures and related normals are available at the Southern Region Climate Center. There are also 16 sites in Middle Tennessee that have an automated precipitation gage that records hourly rainfall. All sites record snowfall.

Most observers also keep temperatures readings: the 24 hour high and low readings and the temperature at observation. Most sites are equipped with an electronic Maximum/Minimum Temperature System that has replaced thermometers. This instrument is accurate to 0.3o Fahrenheit.

Four special stations in Middle Tennessee are very involved in collecting weather information. Continuing the tradition of Thomas Jefferson and the early farmers, the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Stations at Crossville (Plateau), Lewisburg (Dairy), Neopolis/Spring Hill (Field Crops) and Springfield (Highland Rim) collect temperature, precipitation, evaporation, wind, and soil temperatures. This data is used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its weekly crop updates.

Historical records for all cooperative sites are available at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. They can be reached by telephone at (828) 271-4800. Daily records and climatological normals are available in the climate data section of this website, and at the National Weather Service Interactive Weather Information Network.


 

 

Cooperative Weather Observer Stations in Middle Tennessee
Station County Year
Established
Elevation
(ft MSL)
Allardt Fentress 1949 1675
Bethpage Sumner 1953 560
Brentwood Williamson 1995 707
Byrdstown Pickett 1998 880
Carthage Smith 1883 515
Celina Clay 1903 540
Centerville Water Plant Hickman 1939 660
Centerville 4 NE Hickman 2000 740
Cheatham Lock & Dam Cheatham 1936 392
Clarksville Sewage Plant Montgomery 1854 382
Clarksville Water Plant Montgomery 1967 496
Coalmont Grundy 1999 1856
Columbia Maury 1948 650
Cookeville Putnam 1884 1090
Crossville Experiment Station Cumberland 1912 1810
Crossville Airport Cumberland 1953 1867
Dickson Dickson 1884 780
Dover/Ft. Donelson Stewart 1892 475
Dover Stewart 1965 400
Eagleville Rutherford 1999 1025
Edgar Evins Marina De Kalb 1974 642
Fairview Bowie Nature Center Williamson 2001 820
Fall Creek Falls State Park Van Buren 1999 1790
Forrest Hills (Dyer Observatory) Davidson 2001 1130
Franklin Sewage Plant Williamson 1879 655
Gainesboro Jackson 1975 487
Hartsville Trousdale 1998 511
Hohenwald Lewis 1998 980
Jamestown Fentress 1951 1690
Joelton Davidson 1999 820
Kingston Springs Cheatham 1941 517
Lafayette Macon 1954 975
Lawrenceburg Lawrence 1954 870
Lebanon 3 W Wilson 1909 535
Lebanon 7 N Wilson 1956 510
Lewisburg Marshall 1888 787
Linden Perry 1962 498
Livingston Overton 1961 975
Lobelville Perry 1997 445
McMinnville Warren 1883 940
Manchester Coffee 2000 1070
Monterey Putnam 1904 1860
Mt. Pleasent Maury 1953 778
Murfreesboro Rutherford 1882 550
Nashville Berry Field Davidson 1937 580
Neapolis (Spring Hill) Maury 1975 700
North Springs Jackson 1957 570
Old Hickory Lock & Dam Davidson 1954 460
Old Hickory NWS Wilson 1974 590
Pickett State Park Pickett 1999 1625
Portland Sumner 1952 794
Port Royal Montgomery 1961 447
Pulaski Giles 1957 634
Rock Island Warren 1904 870
Shelbyville Bedford 1951 760
Smithville De Kalb 1971 890
Smyrna Rutherford 1941 550
Sparta White 1940 1020
Springfield Robertson 1938 745
Tennessee Ridge Houston 1999 722
Thompson Station Williamson 2001 760
Tullahoma Coffee 1883 1022
Vanleer Dickson 2000 645
Warner Park Nature Center Davidson 2000 625
Wartrace Coffee 2001 1014
Watertown Wilson 2001 630
Waverly Humphreys 2000 749
Waynesboro Wayne 1884 750
White House Sumner 2001 820
Woodbury Cannon 1954

750

 

The Cooperative Observer Program is beginning a modernization program that will see many new instruments put into the field. The program in Middle Tennessee has expanded to include at least one site in every county and an increasing concentration around population centers. A new system is being implemented that allows observers to input their data daily into the National Weather Service computer systems. This allows forecasters to know what is going on across the region and not just at airports.

Two observers were honored in middle Tennessee with the John Campanius Holm Award. This award is given for exemplary participation in the cooperative observer program. Only 25 awards are given out annually across the country. Mary King of Dover received the Holm Award in 2000, and Geraldine Moore Young of Woodbury in 2001.

NWS Cooperative Observer (COOP) Basics

Information for Local Coop Observers

Local reports from the Middle Tennessee Area

 

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