Helmley Honored by National Weather Service for 20 Years as Local Observer

Mike Helmley


Mike Helmley, pictured above at left, cooperative weather observer for Kiowa KS, was presented with a 20 year length of service award on Wednesday, August 3rd, by Jesse Lee, Observing Program Leader for the National Weather Service in Dodge City. Jeff Hutton, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, was also in attendance.

The Kiowa station was started in November of 1891. There was a long break from 1895 until 1938 when there were no observations. The station was started up again in 1938 by Adolph Meixner.

Mr. Helmley took over the station from the City of Kiowa in 1996 and has been recording temperature, precipitation and snowfall data since that time.

The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, around 10,000 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.

Satellites, high-speed computers, mathematical models and other technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the nation in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by dedicated volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States.