Weather Forecasting History

Meteorologists were not living on this planet at the very beginning of its existence. Computers and electricity were certainly not available during the Middle Ages. Weather forecasting history would have to wait an exceptionally long time until well-educated men and women could play around with such modern lifesaving devices. According to the fine folks at , astrologers were able to forecast the weather by observing the moon and how the planets were aligned. I remember from long ago, in elementary or junior high school, that ancient mariners also used the heavens as their navigational tool.

I want to provide something old and something new in the form of an adorable and popular little animal. He’s very popular on the second day of every February. The day is known as Groundhog day. The place is called Punxsutawney and that city is located in Pennsylvania. According to the Valdosta Daily Times, a storekeeper in Pennsylvania made a reference to a local groundhog’s fascination with his shadow. If the creature saw his shadow, he would pop back inside and take a six week nap but if clouds prevented him from seeing his shadow ~ that would be good news. Everyone enjoys watching local news segments that feature the little critter named Punxsutawney Phil as viewers eagerly await his famous prognostication. If you’re wondering who the shopkeeper was, the site didn’t mention his name. Don’t feel too bad. The groundhog’s name wasn’t revealed either. But the year was 1841.
Since I’m already on the topic of animals, I’ll gently guide you to another very informative website,, which features some intriguing information. It claims that sharks can predict storms. A dedicated woman named Lauren Smith has worked with these amazing creatures and she feels scientists should consider monitoring their behavior in order to discover more information about bad weather fronts. I like this natural means of weather forecasting. I can’t wait to see the final outcome of this woman’s research involving these sharks.

An early and eminent weather forecaster named Alfred Wegener barely lived fifty years on this vast planet. He filled his life with scientific discovery though. According to this website,, Mr. Wegener had earned his Ph.D. in astronomy in 1904. He also loved geophysics and he was very interested in the brand new fields of meteorology and climatology. This talented man utilized balloons in order to track air circulation. He was forced to fight in WWI but he was injured so he was able to serve his country in its military weather forecasting service. He found life a bit frustrating after the war ended but then his life took him on a pleasant journey. He accepted a newly created professorship of meteorology and geophysics at an Austrian university. Dr. Wegener became famous for his theory on “continental drift”. He was a brilliant man of science whose legacy still lives on. His body of research is still as sound as ever. Current researchers are building on the foundation he laid so long ago.

A fascinating site,, provided some major illumination for me. I had known about Isaac Cline for months now. I do lots of research just before, during and after Hurricane season. Since the season runs from the first of June until the thirtieth day of November, I’m constantly reading scientific articles involving weather and I’m also watching news reports, specials and regular programming on The Weather Channel. Weather has been an obsession of mine since Hurricane Rita hit our area in September of 2005. Up until that point in time, I was only mildly interested in events pertaining to weather. I slipped off track. Back to Mr. Cline. He was the meteorologist who was with the U.S. Weather Bureau in Galveston, Texas. Not in 2005 or 2008. But in 1900. September of 1900 when 6,000 perished due to Isaac Cline’s arrogance.

Part of the problem wasn’t Mr. Cline’s fault. Those men lived in a very different era. Words like “tornado” and “hurricane” were probably considered too frightening to use in the presence of refined men and women. The U.S. Weather Bureau did not like natural disasters because those occurrences made the meteorologists look ineffective. Those men did have some scientific tools at their disposal but they may have viewed their positions as jobs. Not as positions of authority. Their Cuban counterparts, according to this wonderful site, were well-trained and they were dedicated to their jobs. This combination proved to be very effective. The Cubans had a good track record regarding their forecasting abilities.

Back to Mr. Cline’s dilemma. He was forced to downplay negative weather. To appease the masses. Those poor people probably would have preferred a very healthy dose of “pure truth” so they could make preparations for evacuations. Mr. Cline suffered due to his stupidity though. He lost his pregnant wife to that horrible catastrophe. Although some proclaimed him a hero during Galveston’s horrific ordeal ~ others probably did not feel that way. In the future, he did fight against his superiors in order to protect people in New Orleans. According to this site,, Mr. Cline successfully predicted the Great Flood of 1927. It wasn’t his fault that publishers did not want to print his bulletins. He hadn’t predicted this major event a few hours ahead of time. He gave them two weeks notice. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, soon to be President of the United States, praised Isaac Cline for saving thousands of lives with his forecasting expertise.

Weather Forecasting history has been and will always be littered with famous people. Most of them are not seeking fame or fortune. They share a love for science and for the thrill of discovery. This special breed of men and women also love helping others. Before, during and after catastrophes have devastated their regions. Often these well-educated and dedicated individuals are able to save many lives while carrying out their daily routines.