Weather observer receives Length of Service award

An Oklahoman was recognized today for 30 years of exceptional volunteer service as a weather observer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service.

On Tuesday, National Weather Service (NWS) representatives presented Letha Crispin of Taloga, Okla., with a 30-year pin and certificate for her outstanding achievements in the field of meteorological observations during a Taloga Kiwanis Club meeting at the Taloga Christian Church.

As a cooperative observer, Crispin reports temperature and precipitation measurements daily to the NWS Forecast Office in Norman. These reports become part of a record published monthly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center and provide long-term climate information for NOAA researchers.

Crispin’s measurements are used by forecasters in their day-to-day operations. Also, when called upon, she provides for forecasters real time observations of weather as it is happening at any time of the day or night.

In addition, she reads the Canadian River stages with a wire weight river gage mounted on a bridge just north of Taloga, providing information used by the Norman office’s hydrologic program and the NWS River Forecast Center in Tulsa to issue river forecasts and flood warnings. The daily precipitation totals she reports are also used to verify rainfall estimates from the WSR-88D radars in Oklahoma.

“For more than 30 years, Mrs. Crispin has provided an invaluable service to both the National Weather Service and her community,” said Dennis McCarthy, meteorologist-in-charge of the Norman office. “The data she collects are used in determining the probability for and severity of flooding along the Canadian River in west central Oklahoma. While most cooperative observers serve as backup river observers to the telemetered gages at river sites, she is the primary and sole source for river data at that site.”

More than 300 people in Oklahoma and 11,000 across the nation participate in the National Weather Service’s cooperative observer program, which began about 100 years ago. Their information provides a historical climatological record for the United States.

An employee of the OSU Extension Service, Crispin is active in the Taloga Kiwanis Club and is a member of the Taloga Christian Church. She and her husband Ronnie have two children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.