Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1954: A Major Meteorologist Comments On a Miami Cold Snap

(Audio begins around the 30 second mark)
"In early February 1954 Miami was feeling the effects of a cold snap, with late-night temperatures dipping to the high 40s. TV station WTVJ followed the story to weather forecaster Grady Norton at the Lindsey Hopkins Vocational School and followed him to the building's roof, where Norton consulted his instruments and gave a forecast.

That makes for an amusing old weather clip, but you never know who you'll meet when you're digging around looking for amusing old weather clips. Grady Norton, as it happens, was an important figure in what was, in Florida, a very important field: Tracking and forecasting hurricanes.

Norton was inspired to research hurricanes after witnessing the catastrophic Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928. He was a well-known forecaster when he came to Miami in 1943, moving with the hurricane warning office from Jacksonville. Norton had already forecast the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and served as the chief forecaster until he died later in 1954 after a long night forecasting Hurricane Hazel, which struck Haiti, the Carolinas and Canada in October.

Although the National Hurricane Center was not established until after his death, Grady Norton laid much of the groundwork for the Center and his forecasts were credited with saving many lives. "Grady Norton Robbed Hurricanes of Victims" was the headline of Grady's obituary in the Sarasota "Herald-Tribune." And it was true.

This video and audio is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives."