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History of the
National Weather Service in Shreveport

    The National Weather Service in Shreveport is now located on Hollywood Avenue.  It's the 14th move in 134 years of operation. The last move took place in 1995.  As in all previous moves, this one from the Old Airport Terminal Building is a short one - less than one air mile.  Doppler Radar and the Upper-Air equipment are collocated with the office. The Shreveport office forecast and warning responsibility covers 48 counties/parishes across the four-state area:  Northwest and Northern Central Louisiana, Northeast Texas, Southwest Arkansas and a part of Southeastern Oklahoma. 

    The first three weather observers began on September 2nd of 1871. They were assigned to the 74th Calvary of the U.S. Army and their names and ranks are as follows:

  • Sgt. Frank Fletcher
  • Sgt. Hugh Coyle
  • Sgt. James O'Doyd
   Private A. M. Geissinger during December 12, 1872 was the first person assigned by the Signal Corps specifically assigned to the Shreveport office. He was a Northerner, and consequently was refused stage coach transportation from Monroe to Shreveport. The railroad line from Monroe to Vicksburg to Shreveport (then Vickburg, Shreveport, and Pacific Railroad) had yet to be constructed, hence the stage coach.

   The first official U.S. Weather Bureau under the USDA observer's name was M. J. Wright in 1891. He did not even serve one year at the Shreveport office.

   Sgt. Hugh Coyle as listed above died at his desk on duty from the great yellow fever outbreak of 1873 in Shreveport!

    In 1890, by executive order, the organic act established daily weather observations at all Signal Corps posts.  The act also made the government responsible for all storm warnings.  On July 1, 1891, the US Weather Bureau was founded under the direction of the Department of Agriculture.  Many of the older weather observers were discharged from the army and transferred to the Weather Bureau to continuity.

    A milestone for the legal community occurred in 1892 when, for the first time, weather records were used in court in Shreveport for a murder trial.

    The observing site remained in downtown Shreveport at various locations in and around the old Post Office until 1941.  On October 6, 1941, the Weather Bureau moved to the Airport Administration Building at the Downtown Airport.  Due to the growing aviation concerns, the Weather Bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce by Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 30, 1940.  The first aviation observations in Shreveport were actually taken in 1937.  The next move occurred on July 6, 1952, to the Greater Shreveport Municipal Airport (renamed Regional Airport in 1971).  Our latest move was February 2, 1995 (Groundhog Day).

    Through the years, the Weather Service has gone from one daily surface weather map to hourly weather observation, twice daily upper air observations, radar, satellite and computer models.  The first upper air observations in the Shreveport area were at Barksdale AFB in 1951.  These were transferred to the Regional Airport in 1956, then to Longview, Texas, in 1975 and now back to Shreveport in 1995.  The original tracking equipment is still with us.  The first radar was a World War II surplus WSR-1, which went into operation in 1953.  This radar was later upgraded and the old radar was de-commissioned in October 1995.  Also, communications have gone from telegraph to teletype to the current computer system which arrived in 1981.  The late 1970's saw the advent of the NOAA Weather Radio.  Now warning are available to the public in only a matter of seconds after the decision is made to warn.

    Being on the fringe of tornado alley, the National Weather Service in Shreveport has been in the forefront of service to the public.  In 1948, Shreveport was one of the first offices of organize a Severe Storm Network for both river reports and local storms.  The first film about tornadoes - their development and warning- was developed by the Weather Bureau in Shreveport in conjunction with United Gas Company in 1955.  In 1972, Shreveport was recognized with the most comprehensive storm network which included ham radio operators and local officials in every county and parish.  During the past 30 years, the Weather Service in Shreveport has received five NOAA Unit Citations.  With the new technology, we should continue in the forefront.

    Numerous folks have served with the Weather Service in Shreveport through the years.  Mr. Garza is the 10th Meteorologist in Charge.  W.C. Cronk was in charge of the office for the longest time (1907-1937) when he had to retire at the age of 70.  The employee with the longest tenure in Shreveport was Mr. Charles Hayes, who, with the exception of graduate work at FSU, was here from 1945-1982 (37 years).

DATES
LOCATION
Sep 2, 1871 to Oct 3, 1871  
Brooks House
Oct 3, 1871 to Dec 16, 1871 
Southern Hotel
Dec 16, 1871 to Oct 4, 1874  
National Hotel, Milam St.
Oct 4, 1874 to Aug 28, 1875  
Begel's Bldg., corner Texas and Marshall Sts.
Aug 28, 1875 to Dec 1, 1880
Martin Bldg., corner Milam Street and Martin's Alley
Dec 1, 1880 to Apr 17, 1888  
Rendall's Building,
207 Milam St.
Apr 17, 1888 to May 1, 1910 
Post Office & Customs House, Texas and Marshall Sts.
May 1, 1910 to Feb 1, 1913    
Majestic Theater Building,
Milam and McNeil Sts.
Feb 1, 1913 to Jul 14, 1931  
Post Office Building,
Texas and Marshall Sts.
Jul 14, 1931 to Aug 19, 1932 
  Slattery Building, Texas and Marshall Sts.
Aug 19, 1932 to Oct 6, 1941  
Federal Building, Texas and Marshall Sts.
Oct 6, 1941 to Jul 6, 1952   
Airport Administration Building, Downtown Airport
Jul 6, 1952 to Feb 2, 1995  
Great Shreveport Municipal Airport
(renamed Regional 1971)
Feb 2,1995 to present 
5655 Hollywood Avenue

 


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