By Barry Matulaitis, Staff Editor
FARMINGTON — The National Weather Service (NWS) has recognized Farmington resident Dennis Pike, who has been keeping weather observations for more than 50 years, with the Thomas Jefferson Award.
The award is presented to Cooperative Weather Observers who have unusual and outstanding accomplishments in the field of meteorological observations.
“To do it 52 years at a high quality, there’s very few people that have done it that long and that well,” noted Hendricus J. Lulofs, Meteorologist in Charge at the NWS in Gray.
“It’s been very fulfilling,” said Pike.
He remembered starting as a weather observer on July 13, 1966, taking over from previous observer Charles Preble, who retired.
“Basically, they needed a new participant,” said Pike. “They were looking and couldn’t find anyone.”
He was living in West Farmington when he started, but in September 1966 moved to his current residence on Fairbanks Road in Farmington. There, he has maintained his weather station, recording daily high and low temperatures, precipitation, and wind speed.
Technology has greatly changed the way he collects data, he said.
“Everything is now digitized, except for one element, precipitation,” said Pike.
He takes his observations at midnight each day.
“If you do it at 7 or 8 in the morning, your high for that day is the high for the previous day,” he said. “Around 1987, I switched from 8 a.m. to midnight.”
Significant weather events that he’s experienced include the Flood of 1987, and the Ice Storm of 1998. However, compared to other parts of the country, it could be worse, said Pike.
“We have been fortunate about hurricanes impacting this area,” he pointed out. “We’ve had a few storms that have taken down trees and so forth.”