National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy rain in the Central U.S.; Unseasonable Warmth in the East

Imelda remnants swept up with a cold front will produce heavy rain that could cause flash flooding from portions of the South Plains to the Great Lakes. Lorena remnants combined with a cold front will bring thunderstorms with heavy rain, and some severe storms with hail and damaging winds to Arizona Monday. Strong winds in northern California will bring increasing fire weather threats on Monday. Read More >

 

History of the National Weather Service in Boise, Idaho

A complete history of weather observations in Boise, Idaho is available here.
 

Post Hospital and post surgeon

Boise Barracks Post Hospital circa 1890s. Photograph from The History of Medicine (NLM), No. A01048.

1864 - On February 1st, Fort Boise Post Surgeon Adam H. Cochrane started taking meteorological observations. Although the accuracy of this data is still in question because of the instruments available at the time, some of the observations are still used in the climatic record for Boise.

 

 

overland hotel

U.S. Signal Service station at the Overland Hotel. Photograph from the Boise Rotary Club.

 

1877 - On May 21, Sergeant Barnet E. Light of the U.S. Army Signal Service was order per S. O. No. 62 to establish a station at the Overland Hotel at 8th and Main Street in Boise City, Idaho Territory and commence weather observations on July 1. Weather observations were sent daily via telegraph and monthly via U.S. Mail. The office was moved to the third floor of the Overland Hotel April 16, 1878.

 

 

diargram 1887

Diagram of the U.S. Signal Service Station in the Davis Building. Source: U.S. Signal Service Inspection Report dated 1887.

1880 - On September 1, the U.S. Signal Service Station and weather observations were moved to the second floor of the Davis Building adjoining the Overland Hotel between 8th and 9th street on Main Street. The office was in the back room of the second floor rented from J. S. Hatch for $25.00 a month with the front rooms being used by Doctor H. L. Dausman.

 

 

Perrault Building

Perrault-Fritchman Building. Illustration Source: Elliott, W.W., and Company, 1884: History of Idaho territory, showing its resources and advantages: with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, residences, farms, mines, mills, and hotels, business houses, schools, churches, & from original drawings. Ye Galleon Press, 302 pp.

1888 - The U.S. Signal Service station was moved to the second floor of the Perrault-Fritchman Building at Capital and Main Street in Boise on January 1, 1888.

 

1890 - The U.S. Signal Service station was closed July 1, 1890 two days before Idaho became a state. The office was moved to Baker City, Oregon where it was deemed to be more useful to the forecasters in Washington D.C.. Weather Observations continued at the Boise Barracks Post Hospital by the Post Surgeon.

 

1891 - On July 1, U.S. Congress transferred the U.S. Signal Service's Weather Bureau to the Department of Agriculture. The new U.S. Weather Bureau did not fund a Boise office from July 1st, 1890 to November 30, 1898.

 

 

sonna building

In the background, the U.S. Weather Bureau office in the Sonna Building. Photograph from the Idaho State Historical Society.

1898 - On September 29, the Chief of the Weather Bureau, Professor Willis L. Moore, order Samuel M. Blandford to “proceed from Salt Lake City, Utah to Boise, Idaho, to establish and assume charge of a weather bureau station at the latter point." Source: (Climate and Crop Service of the Weather Bureau, 1898). The office was opened on the third floor of the Sonna Building at 9th and Main Street in Boise on December 1st.

 

 

federal building

U.S. Federal Building circa 1920. Postcard from the NWS Boise Photo Archives.

1905 - On March 16, The Weather Bureau and weather observations were moved to the fourth floor of the Federal Building at 8th and Bannock.

 

 

BOI airport

First Boise Aiport downtown. Photograph from cityofboise.org.

1931 - Weather observations were also taken at Boise's first airport where Boise State University is located today from October 13, 1931 to December 18, 1939. Pilot Balloons were also launch from the airport until June 1935 when it was transferred back to the city office.

 

 

Raob building 1956

The balloon inflation building built in September of 1954 at Gowen Field. Photograph from NWS Boise Photo Archives.

1939 - Upper air soundings (weather balloon flights) started at the Boise International Airport on September 1.

 

 

Boise Airport at Gowen Field. Photograph from NWS Boise Photo Archives.

1939 - The U.S. Weather Bureau moved to the Boise Airport Building at Gowen Field on December 19. Weather observations have been taken at the current airport since December 19.

 

1940 - The U.S. Weather Bureau is transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Commerce on June 30.

 

1967 - On January 1, U.S. Weather Bureau was renamed the National Weather Service, under the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA).

 

 

Instruments at the old Administration Building at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). Photograph from NWS Boise Photo. Archives.

1969 - On June 5, the National Weather Service office moved to the old administration building on the Boise Interagency Fire Center (BIFC) Campus (now known as NIFC).

 

 

Raob building

The balloon inflation building at NIFC. Photograph from the NWS Boise Photo Archives.

 

1969 - On August 9, the weather balloon Inflation building was moved to the NIFC campus and the Weather Bureau Radiotheodolite (WBRT-57) system was installed.

 

1970 - National Weather Service in Boise, Idaho becomes a Weather Forecast Office on June 22nd. The Boise Forecast Office was responsible for issuing the official weather forecasts for Idaho south of the Salmon River. Fire weather and agricultural forecasts will continue to be issued by the Boise office. Source: ESSA News Vol 6, #25 June 19, 1970.

 

 

NWS Boise office

NWS Boise Office.

 

1993 - On July 21, the National Weather Service Office moved to it's current location on the NIFC campus.

 

 

boise radar

NWS Boise's WSR-88D Radar. Photograph from NWS Boise Photo Archives.

 

1993 - The first weather radar in Idaho, the advanced WSR-88D Doppler radar, was installed in Boise on September 23rd. This was the 47th 88D installed in a new national network. The WSR-88D Radar was commissioned in January 11, 1995.

 

 

forecast offices

Map of forecast offices across the United States.

1999 - Modernization of the National Weather Service in Oregon and Idaho was completed. Weather Service Offices (WSO) in Lewiston, Twin Falls and Idaho Falls Idaho and Burns, Oregon were closed. Modernized Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) in Boise, ID, Pocatello, ID, Pendleton, OR, Missoula, MT and Spokane, WA took over forecast responsibilities for Idaho and Eastern Oregon. WFO Boise's forecast area covers southeast Oregon and Southwest Idaho. WFO Pocatello's forecast area covers Eastern and South Central Idaho. WFO Missoula's forecast area covers Central Mountains of Idaho. WFO Spokane's forecast area covers the Idaho Panhandle.

 

2000 - The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) was commissioned on April 6th. It allows assimilation of radar, satellite, surface and upper air observations, and computer model guidance into one workstation.

 

2006 - The Radiosonde Replacement System (RRS) was installed at WFO Boise in October. The new system uses GPS to track the balloon as it rises through atmosphere collecting temperature and wind data.

 

2012 - On September 13th, the doppler weather radar (WSR-88D) was upgraded to Dual Polarization.

 

2013 - On November 20th, the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) was upgraded to AWIPS II. It allows assimilation of radar, satellite, surface and upper air observations, and computer model guidance into one workstation.