Burdett Bevan, Tooele, still gets excited about keeping weather records for the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service - even after 40 years.
"I enjoy taking the weather. I grew up doing it as a boy. I was only about 10 years old when my father first started taking the readings," said Bevan, 76, who was recently presented the Jefferson Award, highest honor given to a volunteer weather observer.The award was presented by William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge, and Dean Hirschi, cooperative program manager for the Weather Service in Utah, at a luncheon in Tooele.
Named after Thomas Jefferson, the award to Bevan is one of only five given nationally in 1988. Jefferson is credited with making the first known meteorological observations with instruments in this country. He took observations from 1776 to 1816.
The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has approximately 11,600 volunteer observers across the country. The observers use government instruments each day to record high and low temperatures, precipitation and snowfall.
Bevan's wife, Anna, and son, Ned, also of Tooele, assist Bevan by taking weather readings and telephoning information to the Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
"Bevan's observations are meticulous. The information is received in a timely fashion . . . And he takes excellent care of the weather equipment. In fact, if the thermometers are off by just a degree this really concerns him. The data has been even more essential in the past decade because of the rise of the Great Salt Lake. (Tooele) is one of the 10 key stations in forecasting the level of the lake," Alder said.
Weather observations in Tooele have been taken by the Bevan family since 1908. From 1896 to 1908, Isaac Elkington, kept records in Tooele, and John A. Bevan, Burdett Bevan's uncle, was an observer from 1918-1920, and Amos Bevan, Burdett Bevan's father, from 1924 to 1948.
Burdett Bevan is a retired Tooele County Road Department equipment operator, and still enjoys farming, ranching and gardening. He has a cabin in nearby Settlement Canyon of the Oquirrh Mountains and also takes monthly weather readings for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service.
Bevan said that when his father was away from home that he used to take the weather readings.
"Between my wife, son and I, we have never missed a day of taking readings in 40 years," Bevan told the Deseret News.