Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Weather Museum Considered In Asheville, N.C.

Thought that today I would share some shiny happy news considering the unpleasantness in the news. Asheville, North Carolina is not only one of the coolest, hippest medium sized cities in the US, it is also a center for weather research. Some local denizens want to honor this with a brand new tourist trap!

ASHEVILLE — This month, 150 years ago, William M. McDowell began dutifully recording the daily temperatures and atmospheric pressure at his home south of Asheville, becoming the Smithsonian Institution’s first official weather observer.

With the growth of downtown Asheville, adding new skyscrapers and buildings through the 20th century, volunteers took to the rooftops to follow in McDowell’s footsteps, recording the daily weather.

A century and a half later, Asheville is still at the heart of the weather world, with observations from radar and satellites around the globe feeding into the National Climatic Data Center, which houses the world’s largest storehouse of weather records, including McDowell’s first handwritten observations.

Now, Steve Doty, a retired NCDC meteorologist, and other civic leaders want to see Asheville celebrate its place in weather history, perhaps by creating a new multimillion-dollar museum and tourist attraction for the area.

Asheville is rather important in the climatology field now and historically. I am hoping the museum idea gets off the ground. My one suggestion would be an exhibit where an animatronic Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel can get battered by different climate conditions by the guests pressing buttons.