Lecompton The National Weather Service recently recognized a Lecompton couple for 10 years of service as the area's official weather observers.
Leo and Nancy Pollard take measurements for rain or snow each day and call in the results to the weather service in Topeka. They followed the lead of Mrs. Pollard's father, Roland Kraft, who held the post for 20 years.
"We took it over when Daddy died," Mrs. Pollard said.
The couple are among 400 cooperative observers in Kansas, and about 12,000 nationwide.
According to a news release from the Topeka office, information collected by the Pollards is used in flood forecasting and for public information. The data also helps determine "normal" precipitation values for the Lecompton area.
Mrs. Pollard said she plans to continue observing weather, and possibly pass on the tradition to her children some day. The Pollards have four children, and the two youngest ages 7 and 10 enjoy taking the measurements and sharing the findings with their classmates, she said.
The Pollard have no formal training in weather observation, but they enjoy reading about weather-related topics and forecasting methods in books and magazines, said Mrs. Pollard.
Although she couldn't recall reporting any unusual weather over the last 10 years, Mrs. Pollard said she and her husband witnessed a tornado over Perry Lake last year. "We called in a tornado warning, but we didn't see it until it had passed over Lecompton," she said. "We're not trained tornado spotters, but they told us to call if we see anything."
Droughts also take on a new meaning with a daily reminder that no rain has fallen. "You look at the report and see all those zeros, and you think, gee, we really need rain," said Mrs. Pollard.
Lecompton residents know where to call for the latest rainfall measurements. In fact, a Lecompton church calls the Pollards each month to print the figure in its bulletin, Mrs. Pollard said.
"It's kind of neat," she said. "I hope to keep doing it for a long time yet."