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Family honored for 4 generations of weather tracking

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Jan 31st, 2013 @ 9:03pm

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MANTI — Imagine keeping track of the high and low temperatures and any precipitation every day since the Cubs won the World Series.

Four generations of the Anderson family have been doing that very thing since 1908 and they were recently honored by the National Weather Service for their volunteer work.

"These are records that were made by my dear old dad and this particular one is in January of '69," said Weather Service Volunteer Lee Anderson.

Anderson's grandfather James was the first volunteer weather observer in the Anderson family. His father Les recorded weather data in the same two-block area of Manti. The family's records go back 105 years.

In the 36 years that Anderson has been recording the high and low temperatures and precipitation, he has seen a dramatic change in weather service equipment. For instance, now the data goes directly inside his home.

By the numbers...
January 2013 weather
23.8 inches of snow fell at the Salt Lake International Airport
1,044 traffic accidents accidents
12,000 hours spent by snow plow drivers covering the street with salt
94,924 tons of salt laid down on the streets
$2,470,008 spent on salt
388,940 gallons of fuel to clear the road
$15 million spent to clear the roads
510 snow plows worked around the clock

Until a few years ago, checking the temperatures required a walk into the backyard. Now the only time Anderson has to go outside is to measure precipitation.

His son Rawlin Anderson remembers those days.

"I remember standing on a bucket so I could reach up into the weather station and spinning the thermometer so I could read the high and low temperatures," Rawlin Anderson said.

Rawlin Anderson lives across the street from his dad and has a weather station to carry on the Anderson weather observer tradition.

Even in this era of automated weather stations, the Weather Service still wants the Anderson data. The long-running numbers help determine the averages, and at times are needed in legal cases.

"Our records have been subpoenaed and called into court to establish when the storms were," Lee Anderson said.

He likes to make it clear: he's a weather observer, not a forecaster.

"If I want to know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, I turn on the television and watch channel five news," Lee Anderson said.


Sam Penrod

KSL Weather Forecast