(L - R) Pierce Reeder, former cooperative observer and former mayor of Leola, Ark.; James Riggan; and, Leola Mayor Paul Orr. (Photo: WFO Little Rock)
(Nov. 17, 2010) - The National Weather Service forecast office in Little Rock has honored cooperative observer James Riggan with a special plaque for his work at the weather observation station in Leola, Ark. Riggan was recognized for his record breaking observations during a particularly wet 2009.
Using an eight inch rain gauge, Riggan measured the most rain in a calendar year ever recorded in the state of Arkansas. His annual total was 100.05 inches of rain, breaking the previous record of 98.55 inches recorded at New Hope, Ark. in 1957.
Riggan took over as the official National Weather Service cooperative observer for Leola in 2001. He is one of nearly 11,000 volunteer observers who 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.
"James Riggan 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 Renee Fair, meteorologist-in-charge of the Little Rock forecast office. "We are pleased to honor him with this special recognition and thank him for his commitment."
Weather records retain their importance over time. 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 and 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 National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the programís inception more than a century ago.