Pictured above from left to right: NWS Shreveport Observation Program Leader Aaron Stevens, Aaron Barnes, Jessie Fay barnes, NWS Shreveport Meteorologist in Charge Mario D. Valverde.
The National Weather Service has selected Henderson, Texas resident Jessie Fay Barnes to receive the agency’s Thomas Jefferson Award for 2012. The Thomas Jefferson Award is the National Weather Service’s most prestigious honor. There are more than 11,000 cooperative observers across the United States. Normally, no more than 5 Thomas Jefferson Awards are presented annually for outstanding and distinctive achievements. Ms. Barnes has been a volunteer cooperative observer for the National Weather Service for over 39 years.
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Bill Proenza, Regional Director of the National Weather Service Southern Region. “Satellites, high-speed computers, mathematical models and other technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But, without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States.”
“Jessie Fay Barnes is typical of the thousands of cooperative observers who have given generously of their time and energy because of their interest in weather and dedication to our country,” said Valverde. “We honor her with this award and thank her for her commitment.”
Ms. Barnes is being recognized for consistently providing accurate and timely weather observations. She has taken and reported observations during the most hazardous and extreme weather conditions and has shown unusual efforts to continuously provide them despite illness, emergency absences, or equipment problems.
In addition to her outstanding service as a cooperative observer, she has served the National Weather Service as a very reliable storm spotter.
Weather records retain their importance as time goes by. Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts, heat and cold waves. At the end of each month, observers mail their records to the National Climatic Data Center for publication in Climatological Data or Hourly Precipitation Data.
The NWS Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation, and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature.
The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the United States and its territories. It operates the most advanced weather, flood warning, and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property, and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.