Today we have the Weather Channel, AccuWeather, and Scalia Lab. Back in the 1920s through the 1950s, we had Mrs. N. C. France. Her official title was Weather Observer. She lived by the East Bridge on the Hocking River. This was a great place to note the rise and fall of the river. These were the days before the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers rerouted the Hocking River. Flooding in Athens was a yearly occurrence and people needed to know when the floods were coming.
Mrs. France communicated with other weather observers upstream. Together, they were roughly able to predict flooding in the area. This was important to many drivers and truckers. They needed to know when to stay off of the road. Others, who lived in the flood zone, needed to know when to evacuate their homes. Mrs. France had a very important job. During flood season, her phone would ring off the hook. Lives depended on her.
During other parts of the year, Mrs. France’s job was relatively calm. She would record temperatures, check her rainfall equipment, and document the depth of the river. She would report this info to her employer, the U.S. Weather Bureau.
People would call Mrs. France to ask if it were safe to plan a picnic for the weekend. She wasn’t able to predict the weather, but she could tell you, with a smile, how much it rained last weekend.
If anyone has any memories or comments about Mrs. C. N. France, please drop me a note. I will add it to my files. John Halley firstname.lastname@example.org