Hilger resident awarded for decades of weather records

Deb Hill
News-Argus Managing Editor
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
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Hilger’s Helen Kendall recently was recognized for 40 years of recording the weather for the National Weather Service.
Photo courtesy of National Weather Service

For 1,400 days, rain or shine, Helen Kendall of Hilger has reported the weather.
A member of a small but dedicated group, Kendall is a weather observer for the National Weather Service. Using weather station instruments provided by the Service, Kendall sends data about the temperature and precipitation every day.
“When I first started, there was a tape we used to take off and send in, but now they use something like a debit card. My daughter, who lives next door, uses her cell phone to send the data in,” Kendall said.
The Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Program, known as COOP, was started in 1890 with a mission to provide observed meteorological data to help measure long-term climate changes and to support forecasts, warnings and other public programs of the Service.
Observations used to be taken by volunteers, but now many of the instruments used at the sites automatically record temperature and precipitation. Those readings are sent daily to the NWS by volunteers such as Kendall.

There are about 8,500 volunteer weather observers across the country, collecting official weather records.
Recently Kendall was presented with a 40-year Length of Service Award from the National Weather Service in Great Falls for reporting information from her weather station. However, the records from her station date back to 1939.
“I started when the elderly lady near us had to stop doing it, and she asked her son to do it, but he didn’t like it. He asked me, and I said, ‘sure, that sounds interesting,’” Kendall recalled. “I didn’t really think that I’d be doing it for 40 years.”
Presenting the award to Kendall was Matt Moorman, observing program leader at the NWS office in Great Falls.
“This program is truly the nation’s weather and climate observing network of, by and for the people,” Moorman said. “We have volunteers on farms, in urban and suburban areas, National Parks, seashores, and mountaintops. The data are truly representative of where people live, work and play.”