Presidents and Weather

They have been among the most influential men for more than two centuries. But only a handfull had a savvy about the weather. TC spotlights those few chief executives who made his "presidential" weatherman's list.

A Tribute to Weather Savvy Presidents

When it comes to topics for my blog, I always enjoy recounting stories of our most weather savvy presidents. In this age of frivolous party politics, fortunately, this prose is non-partisan.

Where else to start than with George Washington who led our troops thru the harsh winters of the 1700s? As the General of the Colonists army, Washington is best known for his daring crossing of the ice-clogged Delaware River in the middle of a driving snowstorm that fateful Christmas in 1776.

I grew up about 20 miles from Washington’s Crossing Pa and to this day every Christmas there is a live re-enactment of this brazen maneuver that caught the Hessians off guard and saved the Colonists from the tyranny of the Brits!

The heroic efforts of his troops at Valley Forge and in Trenton New Jersey during the winter of 1777 are well documented. The story of Washington waiting for a cold wind to freeze over the muddy roads before moving his otherwise trapped troops against Cornwallis is a true classic.

Simply stated, had Washington not been a devotee of Early American weather, chances are we would still be under British rule. I don’t know about you, but I am sure glad a queen at Buckingham (with guards dressed in kilts) is not telling me what to do.

Thomas Jefferson too was a sort of weather wizard. It was Jefferson who kept a daily weather log at Monticello in the old Virginia Territory. From blinding snowstorms to searing heat, Jefferson documented the daily weather in northern Virginia.

One of my favorite presidents is U.S. Grant. The man from Point Pleasant Ohio penned into existence the National Weather Bureau, what you and I know as the present National Weather Service.

Grant was a war hero, having led the Union troops to victory over the Confederate army and his nemesis, General Robert E. Lee. It was Grant who saw the need for a centralized weather bureau to speed up business and industry in the Reconstructive Era of the U.S.

In 1870 Grant signed an ordinance that would lead to formation of the National Weather Service.

Then there is Harry Truman, the gentleman from Jefferson City Missouri. Truman would begin every day with a personal briefing from a member of the NWS complete with weather charts. Foregoing international politics in favor of fronts and pressure patterns, Truman would grille his morning weather briefer on the conditions in Washington and his hometown before turning his attention to the world at large. My kind of guy!

So on this President’s Day 2009, I salute all the chief executives who paid close attention to the weather. No doubt, President Obama will be the first to take the Global Warming issue to heart. And since he likes to shoot hoops, who knows his day at the White House may well start with a glance at the USA Today’s national weather map!
Read More Blogs
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability