DEC-14-‘96 SAT 09:31 ID: PARKS+REC-FORT ROSS TEL NO:707 847 3601 #508 P02
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FAX NO. 408 856 1747
On Wednesday, December 18, 1996, the National Weather Service presented a 25-Year Length of Service Award to the staff at Fort Ross State Historical Park. The award honored the 25 years that the state park has served as a National Weather Service sponsored cooperative weather station.
High and low temperature and rainfall is recorded daily at the park. The data is sent to the Weather Service and published as part of the nation’s permanent climate record. This cooperative effort has been ongoing with the State Parks Department since September, 1971.
The staff at Fort Ross is continuing in a long tradition of weather records that were previously obtained by the Call family.
George W. Call first started taking daily precipitation readings here, at what was then the Call Ranch, on November 20, 1874. The station became part of a government sponsored network of cooperative weather stations in 1893. On March 11, 1907, Carlos A. Call, George Call’s son, took over the observing responsibilities. After an astounding 65 years of service, Carlos A. Call retired as a cooperative weather observer on September 1, 1971, at which time the state park took over the station.
In 1939, George Call’s original homemade rain gage - consisting of a six inch in diameter square collector which emptied into a glass jug from which the contents were poured into a measuring tube - was finally replaced by a Weather Bureau standard 8-inch rain gage, which is still in use today. Daily temperature readings were added to the rainfall readings on March 1, 1950.
Even the Call family’s readings were predated by the first known weather records from Fort Ross, which were taken by the Russians from 1837 - 1840. The readings were taken by I. L. Chernykh (also spelled Tchernikh), an employee of the Russo-American Company’s outpost at Fort Ross. These records included measurements of temperature, as well as the number of rainy days, foggy and cloudy days, partly cloudy days, fair days, days with thunder and days with hail each month from 1837-1840, inclusive. He also described the area climate accurately and in great detail in 1841.
The weather station at Fort Ross is one of over 8,000 cooperative weather stations across the nation. This network of volunteer observers provides the nation with one of its primary means of obtaining daily weather records and climatic data. From the long term daily weather record provided by these stations, 30 year monthly averages for temperature and precipitation are updated every ten years.
The information is published and made available to the public by The National Climatic Data Center, a branch of the National Weather Service.