February 9, 1870
U.S. Weather Bureau Established
In 1870, the Weather Bureau of the United States was established through a joint resolution of Congress signed by President Ulysses S. Grant with a mission to “provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories…and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms.” The agency was placed under the Secretary of War as Congress felt “military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations.” Within the Department of War, it was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Corps under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Myer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce. The agency first became a civilian enterprise in 1890, when it became part of the Department of Agriculture; it would later be moved to the Department of Commerce in 1940.The first Weather Bureau radiosonde was launched in Massachusetts in 1937, which prompted a switch from routine aircraft observation to radiosondes within two years. The Weather Bureau became part of the Environmental Science Services Administration when that agency was formed in August 1966. The Environmental Science Services Administration was renamed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on 1 October 1970, with the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act. At this time, the Weather Bureau became the National Weather Service.