Office Tour
History

    The local office of the Weather Bureau was established in Tampa in March 1890, having been moved from Cedar Key, Florida. Pvt. Thomas Considine of the US Army Signal Corps was assigned from Cedar Key to Tampa as the first Official-in-Charge. Observations were taken at 8 am and 8 pm daily and the data was sent by telegraph to Jacksonville. Prior to the establishment of this station, both temperature and rainfall records were kept at Fort Brooke between 1825 and 1858.

    The Weather Bureau office was first located in the Gould Building on the corner of Franklin and Madison Streets. The office moved to the Knight Building in 1892 then again in 1904 when it was moved to the new Post Office Building. The airport station was established in 1938 and in 1941 the downtown office in the Federal Building was consolidated with the airport station at Peter O. Knight field on Davis Island. The office left for Drew Field (Tampa International Airport) on June 6, 1946. In 1975, the station moved to Ruskin, southeast of Tampa, on the east side of Tampa Bay.

    In the early days, the station consisted of the Official in Charge and an assistant. In 1909, a messenger boy was added. In 1924, the messenger boy was replaced by a Junior Observer or Second Assistant. In 1931, with the inauguration of balloon work, two more assistants were added. On March 12, 1943, the station formally requested a radiosonde station be installed and on March 28 of that year, radiosonde observations commenced. At this point, the staff consisted of 10 personnel, 6 women and 4 men. The starting salary for a junior observer was $1,440 per annum.

    Radar observations were started in 1951, using the APS2E radar. This was upgraded to the Weather Surveillance Radar Number 1(WSR-1) in 1956 and the WSR-57 in 1960. When the office in Ruskin was built in 1975, the radar was moved to the new site. Construction of the present day office was started in 1994. With the arrival of Doppler Radar (WSR-88D), the WSR-57 was decommissioned and the new building manned in 1995.

    With the modernization of the National Weather Service, responsibilities increased dramatically. The Office assumed full forecast and warning responsibility for the 15 county area from Levy south to Lee and the coastal waters in November 1999. Ever improving technology is allowing more rapid data processing, inevitably leading to better service for all of our customers.

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