National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Storms in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains Saturday; Increasing Heat Across the South

Scattered severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds, large to very large hail and a couple of tornadoes will be possible Saturday afternoon in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains. Stronger storms may produce heavy to excessive rainfall. Simmering heat will impact areas from the Southwest to the Gulf Coast and Southeast this weekend. Heat indices may exceed 100 degrees. Read More >


After the war, H.D. used the GI Bill to find a job. In November 1945, he went to the Job Placement Center for Veterans in Atlanta and took a job in the United States Weather Bureau as a Meteorological Aid. In Atlanta, Georgia at the airport, H.D. learned the proper methods for taking official weather observations. When he completed training in early 1946, he was assigned to the Weather Bureau Airport Station (WBAS) at Russell Field in Rome, Georgia to be an observer. On his first day of work, he met a lady who immediately caught his eye. Her name was Mary Jo Rogers and she too was a Meteorological Aid. The two courted and decided to get married on August 10, 1946.

H.D. enlisted in the Naval Reserves in January 1948, and attended weekend and yearly sessions in Atlanta. He studied Aerology courses and learned how to draw and analyze weather maps and make flight forecasts. After a two year period, his ranking was changed from Chief Machinists Mate to Aerographer, Chief. In 1949, H.D. got a promotion to "Hydroclimatic Inspector" at the regional Weather Bureau office in Atlanta. Although his job was based out of Atlanta, it required him to travel throughout the Southeast to maintain the weather instruments at substations and establish new stations. As a matter of fact, one of the substations that H.D. was responsible for was run by another future Alabama weather legend, Mr. J.B. Elliott. In late 1950, the Atlanta office closed and H.D. was transferred to Montgomery, Alabama, to do a similar job. He enjoyed having a higher-paying job, but the tremendous amount of traveling it required was considerably overwhelming.

In 1954, H.D. completed a set of extension courses from Penn State College, so that his grade could be changed to Meteorologist (General). In September 1955, H.D. was called to Washington D.C. by the Weather Bureau Central Office for a special assignment. He would install river gauges along the Connecticut River and appoint observers to take readings. The job was completed in late October.

Wanting a job with less traveling, H.D. frequently asked his bosses about forecasting jobs at the WBAS offices. They ignored him until June 1958 when he submitted a letter of resignation. Almost immediately, he was given an observer/forecaster position at the WBAS in Montgomery at Dannelly Field.

After having had the position in Montgomery for only one month, H.D. was transferred to Huntsville to establish a first-order Weather Bureau office at the Huntsville Airport (the old airport location near the Huntsville Municipal Golf Course). H.D. was given the task of finding a location for the office, getting it built, having the necessary equipment installed, and starting routine, round-the-clock observations. H.D. coordinated with Huntsville city officials to get some of this work done, but much of it he had to supervise himself. Once the office was up and running, H.D. was given the position "Local Forecaster-Briefer," working under the office's first Meteorologist-in-Charge (MIC), Baker Williams. The office was equipped with a WSR-3 radar.

In mid 1960, H.D. shifted his civil service appointment to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal in the aerophysics branch of the Physical Science directorate. He helped prepare and fire ASP meteorological rockets in advance of Pershing test firings, so that wind and atmospheric density information could be used to determine missile launch angle. A couple years later, H.D. was trained to use a computer system that converted world-wide radiosonde data to upper air density profiles. This too was used to determine launch angles. In 1963, he was given the responsibility of representing the lab at the Meteorological Working Group. Here, agencies presented and discussed new advancements and research. Also in 1963, H.D. was elected and ordained as a Deacon at the Huntsville Park Baptist Church.

The WHNT Years

Mary Jo releases a weather balloon at Russell Field in Rome. Photo taken in 1946.

H.D. checking weather instruments at the Rome WBAS. Photo taken in 1947.

H.D. studying weather maps while working on Redstone Arsenal with the Army. Photo taken in 1964.