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Monsoon and Heavy Rain This Weekend

Monsoonal showers and thunderstorms may result in flash flooding and debris flows from the Four Corners region and Southwest to the central Rockies through midweek. A tropical wave is expected to move inland in South Texas today and bring widespread rainfall and thunderstorms to the region into Monday. Read More >


Family Heritage Award for Opjorden Family of Milan, Minnesota for 125 years of Service


125 Year Award for Opjorden Family
Pictured L to R at Award Presentation: Pete Boulay (State Climate Office), Dan Luna (NWS), Luther Opjorden (Milan Coop Observer),
Michelle Margraf (NWS), Luigi Romolo (State Climatologist), Kenny Blumenfeld (State Climate Office)


Luther Opjorden of Milan, Minnesota was presented with the prestigious Family Heritage Award by the National Weather Service on December 11th.  The award recognizes the Opjorden family for their dedication to taking weather observations on their farm every day for 125 years for the national Cooperative Weather Observer network. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also recognized the family with a letter thanking them for their service to the state and nation. 


This nearly unprecedented family legacy has encompassed three generations. It began on August 7, 1893 when O.K. Opjorden started taking weather observations at his Milan farm.  He took daily measurements for 28 years before passing on the duty to his daughter, Ragna Opjorden, in October of 1921.  Her brother, Torfinn Opjorden, took over the observations in January of 1925.  Fifty seven years later in May of 1982, Torfinn turned the weather station over to his son, Luther Opjorden.  Luther has continued the family tradition of taking daily measurements, with his wife, Martha, on the farm for the past 36 years.   


The Family Heritage Award is not the first award the Opjorden family has received for their exceptional service.  Torfinn Opjorden received the John Companius Holm Award for outstanding accomplishment in the field of meteorological observations.  This award is given to 25 observers each year nationwide out of a network of nearly 10,000 stations.  In 1975, Torfinn was also honored with the most prestigious national award for cooperative weather observers, the Thomas Jefferson Award, given to only 5 observers each year nationwide.  Also, Luther Opjorden received the Minnesota Centennial Service Award at a ceremony at Ft. Snelling in 1990, and the Centennial Cooperative Weather Station award in 1991, presented by Marilyn Quayle at a special event in Washington, D.C.


The National Weather Service owes a debt of gratitude to the Opjorden family for their remarkable commitment to maintaining weather records for the Milan area.  The nearly unprecedented 125 year long record of daily climate data on the same family farm is an exceptional treasure of Minnesota’s weather history and the United States climate archive. The observations their family continues to provide will be a priceless resource for generations to come.