Rain, wind and snow: Epping clan reports it all
Epping farmer Charles Sanborn, center, leans on his rain gauge while chatting with Hendricus Lulofs, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, and James Brown, hydrometeorological technician. Sanborn’s family was honored Wednesday for providing weather observations to the weather service for the last 40 years. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
It all started in 1973 when Richard F. Sanborn began observing weather and reporting temperatures, precipitation amounts and other vital information to the National Weather Service.
And at 71, Charlie, his wife, Judy, and their daughter, Mary Hoelzel, continue to keep a close eye on the weather.
On Wednesday, members of the National Weather Service’s office in Gray, Maine, presented Charlie Sanborn with a Length of Service Award recognizing the family for 40 years of weather observations.
Weather observing is a daily job, but Sanborn loves it, even when he has to tromp through snow to reach his instruments.
“I enjoy doing it, I really do. It’s just part of the day. It’s like getting up and brushing your teeth,” he said.
When he’s unable to take the readings, Sanborn relies on his wife and daughter to do the work.
“When you think about it, 40 years is a long time for a family to be dedicated to it. This is every day, about the same time, and when it’s 20 below out and nobody else really wants to do it, they’re still going out and doing it. It’s a big commitment,” said Hendricus Lulofs, meteorologist in charge at the Gray office.
“As time goes on it’s going to be less and less likely that we’ll be giving out 40- and 50-year awards,” he said.
“It’s folks such as Charlie that really partner with the government in the weather world to help make our forecasting process and our warning process as accurate as it can be. Without volunteers like this we would be in a much more difficult situation to do what we do,” Lulofs said.
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