A wealth of weather knowledge

Tucker Smith checked the amount of precipitation which had accumulated in his rain gauge. A weather enthusiast, Smith has daily weather data dating back to 1980.

LEWISBURG — After carefully checking how much precipitation had been collected in his rain gauge from an overnight rain storm, Tucker Smith turned toward his home and pointed to a device attached to the top of his chimney.

Smith noted that the device collects the daily temperature, wind speed and atmospheric data. That information is transmitted by a wire to a small electronic device located inside of his home.

At 11:55 each night, Smith checks the electronic device to see what the high and low temperatures of the day were.

He carefully records all of the weather data for the day on a spreadsheet.

As he looked through a file, Smith noted that he has the sheets with his daily weather logs back to 1980. His love of weather dates back to childhood.

Smith, who is 79, became interested in weather when Hurricane Hazel struck the United States in 1954.

“I was really interested in weather, especially hurricanes,” he said. “I always follow them. It’s interesting to see how they form.”

Smith still has his first barometer, which was purchased by his parents in the 1950s.

“It tells you the air pressure,” he said, while explaining what a barometer does.

If the barometer has a reading of 30 or higher, Smith said the weather should be nice. If a reading of 29.8 or below is reached, storms will be forming.

After Hurricane Agnes blew through Pennsylvania in 1972, Smith said he was contacted by Union County Emergency Services about recording the daily weather conditions from his home near Lewisburg.

Since that time, Smith has carefully recorded the weather data which he collects. To this day, he still turns in a monthly spreadsheet to the county.

Smith also tracks the rain and snowfall totals for the year.

In 1980, he recorded 31.67 inches of rain. Last year, Smith recorded 63.45 inches.

“In 2011, we had 71.52 (inches of rain),” Smith said. “That was 25 inches above normal.”

He has noticed an upward trend in rainfall over the last several years.

Since 2012, the following amounts have been recorded: 2012, 39.13 inches; 2013, 37.04 inches; 2014, 38.69 inches; 2015, 35.96 inches; 2016, 30.79 inches; and 2017, 41.42 inches.

While Smith recorded a high of more than 100 inches of snow in 1994, 43 inches were recorded last year.

He believes the increased precipitation over the last several years can be attributed to a warming of the atmosphere.

In addition to providing his monthly weather data to Union County, Smith said others who know he’s a weather enthusiast have contacted him for information he’s recorded.

Last year, he said the ground’s keeper at the Bucknell Golf Club inquired about how much precipitation he had recorded.

“Several years ago, a building contractor called me about how much precipitation we had,” Smith recalled. “He couldn’t get in to dig foundations. He wanted to know where we stood (with precipitation amounts).”

Smith grew up in the Lewisburg area. After losing his job when Pennsylvania House Furniture closed its doors, he worked cleaning offices.

He and his wife, Lynda, have been married for 55 years. Smith said his wife has also taken an interest in the weather data he collects.

Over the years, Smith has also paid close attention to the weather when he has traveled to various areas of the country.

A few years ago, he visited Truckee, Calif., in June and noticed there was snow on the ground. He was told a winter storm had dropped 6 feet of snow on the area.

“I would like to experience that once, to see that much snow (fall) at one time,” Smith said.

Given the wet weather which fell across the area last year, Smith said it’s a bit difficult to predict what the weather will be like for the rest of the year.

Through the end of June, Smith had recorded 25.44 inches of precipitation as falling in 2019.

In June, he recorded 4.52 inches of rain. The high temperature for the month was 94, on June 29. The low was 42, on June 4.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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