National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
History of Our Forecast Office


The early days...


The National Weather Service's presence in the Atlanta area was officially initiated on September 25, 1878. At that time we were under the administration of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and George H. Rohe, Sargeant of the Signal Service was in command of the office. A continuous record of official weather observations was begun on that date. The weather station was located in downtown Atlanta on the fifth floor of the Kimball House at the corner of Pryor and Marietta Streets. The office was equipped with a mercurial barometer, wind vane and anemometer, a dry thermometer, a maximum/minimum thermometer and an 8-inch rain gage.

On January 6, 1883 the weather office was moved to the U.S. Customs House on the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets. A whirling psychrometer for measuring moisture was obtained and put in use on April 1, 1887.


old office pic around 1935
circa 1935
The office was moved to the 7th floor of the Gould Building at 10 Decatur Street on March 15, 1889. Two years later, on May 31, 1891 it was transferred to the Public Building (formerly the U.S. Customs House) on the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets. Within two months it was relocated in the Prudential Building (later called the Grant Building) on the corner of Walton and Broad Streets. The date of establishment there was July 1, 1891.

On August 22, 1901 there was another move - this time to the Empire Building (later called the Atlanta Trust Building and then the C&S National Bank Building) on the corner of Broad and Forsyth Streets. It remained at that location until March 15, 1934 when it was relocated to the Federal Annex between Forsyth and Spring Streets at Hunter Street.

Office opens at the airport...


Weather observations were needed to support the growing aviatation industry. So, a second weather office of the Weather Bureau was established at the Atlanta Airport on November 1, 1928. Continuous observations from that site began on January 1, 1931. Weather records from the airport site became the "official" records on December 1, 1934.
Meanwhile, the office downtown continued in operation until its eventual closure on April 30, 1954.

view from the early airport office
view from the early airport office
hoisting equipment to new office June 1976
hoisting equipment to new office June 1976
The first airport office was located in the old terminal building until April 2, 1962 when it moved into quarters on the second floor of the Southern Airways Company Office Building on Draper Road. On June 2, 1976 the office moved just north of the airport into the penthouse of the CDC (Control Data Corporation) Building (later called the Airport International Center, or AIC Building) on International Boulevard. However, much of the instrumentation, including temperature sensors and anemometers, remained on airport property. The radar was moved to the new site, though.
New facility south of Atlanta...
On February 2, 1992 the office (and radar) was moved a short distance west into the Entrusted Building on Norman Berry Drive. The stay was short, though, as a new facility was built in Peachtree City that was occupied and put into service in April of 1994. The National Weather Service's presence at the Atlanta airport did not end on that date, however. Since official instrumentation remains at the airport, a small unit of weather observers continued to occupy the office at the Norman Berry Drive location until October of 1996. Observation duties were then turned over to private contractors.

Then and Now
Gallery - A set of images comparing/contrasting the office equipment and working environment of "ye olden days" and contemporary times.