The Northland’s National Weather Service

NORTHLAND UNCOVERED: The Duluth branch National Weather Service is making history in the Northland

DULUTH, Minn. – 2019 may be the year we see historic temps in the Northland, but what’s the history behind the guys making that call?

Before they were called the National Weather Service, the U.S. Weather Bureau landed in Duluth in 1855. Along with being one of the biggest shipping ports, Duluth’s spot on Lake Superior and it’s crazy weather made it the perfect location to review outdoor conditions.

“In 1870, we became one of the first 24 offices to be officially in the forerunner of the national weather service,” meteorologist Mike Stewart said.

At first it was nothing more than an observation office, but as weather technology changed so did the bureau.

“Right around 1895 we moved into the old post office through the beginning of the new century,” Stewart said.

And in 1940, observations moved to the Duluth International Airport.

But location wasn’t the only thing changing.

“Radar became highly used in World War 2, and that’s where it really exploded the use of that and helped with our weather forecasting. Especially in the 50’s, as we put more radars out in the field,” Stewart said.

But Stewart says no machine beats the classic ways of calculating weather.

“Humans are much better than machines because we can actually see in the measuring of the snow.”

The NWS has been in their current location off Miller Trunk Highway for 23 years and have rarely seen temps like what they’re seeing in January 2019.

“This is on the order of something we only see maybe every 5 to 10 years at the least, so it’s going to be pretty historic in comparison to what we’ve experienced here in Minnesota,” meteorologist Geoffrey Grochocinski said.

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