New Weather Station

New Weather Station
New Weather StationSet back from one of the city’s busier streets is a historic treasure. As you drive along Akin Road, you see a home built of limestone that was quarried from the land. This house was built in 1856 by Daniel Akin who moved from his native New York to Minnesota to homestead 260 acres near Farmington. Not only is the Akin home a treasure, but the family that inhabited the home is as well. 

In 1888 the US Weather Bureau called for volunteer observers to measure and record data and provide monthly reports back to the agency. Daniel Akin was one of the first Minnesotans to enter the program and recorded his first observations in April of that year. In his monthly reports, Daniel added a lot of detailed remarks showing his keen interest in monitoring the natural world around him. His detailed observations of weather and phenology are priceless to climatologists even of today. 

Jerome Akin in 1970 What makes the Akin observations even more unique is that the observations did not just stop with Daniel. In 1911 his son, Elmin, took over as the official weather observer and continued to record observations until 1919. Once again, the baton was passed to his son Jerome Akin (pictured on the right in 1970). Jerome has one of the longest records and served as official observer until 1985. His daughter Kathryn also helped log thousands of observations during this time and took over for a brief time after his death. The records did not stop there, but continued as Kathryn’s husband, Jerome Stoffel, took over as official observer in 1985 and continued until 2010 when the family moved away. This makes the Farmington observation station one of the oldest and continuous running stations in the country, 122 years of continuous record.

When new technology recently become available the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prioritized Farmington as a site in which it would like to reestablish the station so it could continue this impressive record. The new equipment allows for automated measurements of temperature and precipitation at an established station. It involves a weighing rain gauge and a temperature sensor that are connected to a cellular transmitter to provide the data back to NOAA. The weather data is then available in real time.

NOAA approached the city with the hope to restart a cooperative (COOP) weather station much like they have done in other communities. Farmington will be the fifth COOP station installed in Minnesota. Working with the Public Works Department, they were able to site a location on city property that met the needs of NOAA. Portions of the weather station equipment was installed in late 2020. Communications equipment will be installed in mid-2021, and the readings will be available shortly thereafter on their website. Keep an eye on the link below for Farmington’s new weather station data: https://www.weather.gov/crh/ccoop.
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