National Weatherperson’s Day: what’s the backstory?

Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 2:00 PM CST
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Every February 5th, meteorologists celebrate National Weatherperson’s Day. It’s the birth date of John Jeffries, who was born in 1744. Jeffries was a physician and was also one of the earliest weather observers in America. He took his first daily observations in Boston in 1774. He’s better known for his balloon flights, though. He and Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English Channel by air in 1785, the first people in history to do that. A year before, Jeffries went up in a balloon over London to take weather observations at higher altitudes.

When you think of a meteorologist, you may think of those of us on TV. However, we make up only about 10% of meteorologists. Do you wonder what all the others do? Many work for companies who make specialized forecasts for other businesses, such as airlines, energy utilities, transportation, and so on. Others work in the government at the National Weather Service or other agencies. There are also researchers who work to figure out the many secrets of weather that we don’t yet understand.

Weather is something that affects every one of us every single day, in some way or another. For those who forecast the weather, making an accurate prediction is just one part of the job. Making sure the people who are using the forecast actually understand it and know what to do with the information is important. After all, what good is a perfect forecast if nobody knows what it means?

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