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2nd longest station record worldwideDate: March 24, 2021

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recognized the Downtown Charleston climate site as a Centennial Observing Station in September 2020. Downtown Charleston is one of only eight stations in the country, 234 in the world, to receive this designation. The observing station was also identified as the second longest station record worldwide, with the first informal observations taken in 1738 by Dr. John Lining. Beijing, China holds the longest station record, which began in 1724.

Centennial Observing Stations provide quality-controlled, long-term meteorological observations that are not only vital for weather forecasting, but also for understanding the variability and change of Earth’s climate. In addition, the records provide a unique perspective on the evolution of instrumentation and weather observing methods.

“It’s official, Charleston holds the second longest weather observation station record in the world, and the longest station record in the United States, dating back to the Colonial Era of our country’s history,” said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., Director, NOAA’s National Weather Service and United States Permanent Representative for the WMO. “This site has provided observations for many significant events, including the winter storm of February 1899, Hurricane Hugo in September 1989, and the October 2015 floods.”

Continuous observation records did not begin at the Charleston site until the mid/late 1800s. Automated observations continue at the site today, which is located on the dock of the Charleston Branch Pilots’ Association on the south side of Waterfront Park. 

"It is exciting to see Charleston recognized for its longevity of weather observations adding to the city’s rich history." said Michael Emlaw, Meteorologist-in-Charge, Charleston Weather Forecast Office. 

To view the history of weather observations in the Charleston area, check out this timeline.

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