Technology has transformed weather forecasts, storm detection, and just about every facet of meteorology.
Well, except for one, perhaps.
The National Weather Service Cooperative Observation network has been in place since the 1860s, and in some of those locations the residents still gather the information the way folks did when the Civil War was still vivid in the nation’s memory: go out to a rain collection device, write down how much precipitation fell, and then send it to a central office.
In times past, the reports may have been sent by telegraph with a paper copy mailed at the end of the month, state climatologist Mary Knapp said.
Nowadays, observers use a standard 8-inch manual gauge to report and record their observations. Many observers report online, with some reporting using a cell phone. Forms are stored in electronic format, although paper backups often are still maintained.