was born in the long-whiskered days of the last century. The
exact date has slipped my mind – Illinois wasn’t
keeping vital statistics then. But the place – as I
remember – was at the far end of the apple orchard on
my grandfather’s farm, a couple of miles west of Tuscola,
the old home town of Uncle Joe Cannon. In Coles County, just
south of where I spent my first ten years, Abraham Lincoln
used to split rails. When I was 10, my father bought a farm
in Johnson County, Missouri, where he took his growing family
to live. One of our neighbors just to the west, in Jackson
County, was Harry Truman, at that time growing up on his father’s
was on our farm in Missouri that I first became conscious
of the Weather Bureau. The flour mill at Holden, four miles
away, had a big steamboat whistle that blared out the weather
forecast every morning. Our lives were regulated by that whistle.
Also, I had a schoolmistress who was everlastingly having
us kids write themes on Missouri weather and the subject is
inexhaustible. It aggravated my weather consciousness. Later,
when I was away at school at Springfield, down south in the
Ozarks, the teacher of my physics class took us to visit the
local Weather Bureau office. It was then that the Bureau bug
began to bite in earnest, and it was in Springfield that I
later entered the Bureau.
the year 1922, my ex-neighbor Harry Truman was elected Judge
of the Jackson County Court, and I was boosted from First
Assistant to Official in Charge at Springfield. Ten or twelve
years later he went to Washington as Senator, and I came to
Florida in charge of the Tampa office. Now he is President
– and look at me!
the Tampa Office has been the scene of a good deal of activity
since 1932. An old-fashioned, one-horse city station at that
time, we joined the hurricane network in 1935, added a first-class
airport station in 1938, consolidated both Weather Bureau
stations at the airport in 1941, and topped off with radiosonde
work in 1943. And – this station is the first and only
place in the world to shoot a radiosonde into the “eye”
of a hurricane.
claim a paternal interest in the Florida fruit-frost service.
Only a few weeks after coming to Florida, I raised a hue and
cry for a service similar to that of California. Along came
the December 1934 freeze – and the whole citrus industry
joined in the clamor. The Chief said all we needed was the
money. We got it. And in the following July the Florida fruit-frost
service was born.
I took a hand in bridging the gap between the die-hard High
and Low weathermen and the new Frontagonists. The first FRONTS
on daily published weather maps in this country appeared in
the Tampa newspapers in 1940.
long suit is serving the public. I rarely utter a thing for
a scientific audience, but I have made scores of after-dinner
speeches, hundreds of radio broadcasts, and written thousands
of daily weather stories for the newspapers. During the recent
presidential crisis, the Tampa Daily Times never missed a
front page weather story and the Times radio station never
skipped a broadcast from our office mike.
middle name is Wesley – Wes for short. My favorite sport
is weather forecasting. I have been called the “Hurricane
Hunter” but that title rightly belongs to Grady Norton.
lesser hobbies include books, birds, trees, stars, and National
Parks. My two major hobbies are my wife Eunice and my daughter
“The BREEZE”, Volume 2, No. 5. June 10, 1945.