National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Thunderstorms And Locally Heavy Rainfall Possible Over Portions Of The Plains

A few severe thunderstorms will be possible over portions of the Plains and Upper Midwest on Tuesday. In addition, locally heavy rainfall and flooding could pose a concern for low lying, urban, and poor drainage areas.

The National Weather Service has its beginning in the early history of the United States. Weather always has been important to the citizenry of this country, and this was especially true during the 17th and 18th centuries. Weather also was important to many of the Founding Fathers. Colonial leaders who formed the path to independence of our country also were avid weather observers. Thomas Jefferson purchased a thermometer from a local Philadelphia merchant while in town for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He also purchased a barometer — one of the only ones in America at the time — a few days later from the same merchant. Incidentally, he noted that the high temperature in Philadelphia, Pa., on July 4, 1776 was 76 degrees. Jefferson made regular observations at Monticello from 1772-78, and participated in taking the first known simultaneous weather observations in America. George Washington also took regular observations; the last weather entry in his diary was made the day before he died.

During the early and mid-1800's, weather observation networks began to grow and expand across the United States. Although most basic meteorological instruments had existed for over 100 years, it was the telegraph that was largely responsible for the advancement of operational meteorology during the 19th century. With the advent of the telegraph, weather observations from distant points could be "rapidly" collected, plotted and analyzed at one location.