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Eugene McAlexander of Beaconsfield recently completed 30 years of service as a National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observer. Eugene began his 30 year tenure as an official weather observer in May of 1989. Eugene provides the National Weather Service with temperature and precipitation information on a daily and monthly basis for the city of Beaconsfield.
The weather information Eugene provides the National Weather Service becomes a permanent part of the climatic record for the local area and nation. This data is used extensively by many sectors including the National Weather Service, State Climatologists and numerous others in the public and private sectors. These records continue to acquire greater value with the passage of time. As concern increases about the effect of human activities on global climate, these unique and irreplaceable observations will be vital for the detection and description of any changes in climate.
There are nearly 300 volunteer cooperative weather observers in Iowa and nearly 12,000 nationwide. Observers are located at homes, farms, municipal facilities, utilities, dams, parks, radio and television stations, and many other locations.
Individual observers have taken daily measurements for decades with successive family generations providing records of over 100 years. The family in Iowa with the longest record was the Stern family of Logan from January 1860 to November 1960. The observer with the longest record in Iowa was Earl V. Slife of Hawarden. He began observing August 10, 1926 and retired July 3, 1993 (66 years, 10 months, 23 days). The Beaconsfield weather station has reported weather information to the National Weather Service since May of 1951.
The nation owes a sincere debt of gratitude to the cooperative weather observers who have quietly and steadily built up what amounts to a priceless national treasure in the finest tradition of volunteer service in their country. The United States Government, the National Weather Service, State Climatologist, community and others greatly appreciate this service and thank Eugene for 30 years of a “job well done”.