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Water treatment facility recognized for 50 years of weather watching

There’s 50 years of recorded Andalusia weather history that helps the National Weather Service more accurately predict weather and monitor climate change, thanks to one of the city’s utilities departments.

Water treatment facility employees shown include (from left) Timmy Turner, Calvin Watkins, Keith WIlliams of the National Weather Service, Robert Walker, Donna Lewis, Josh O'Neal, Tony Ballard, Bob Deloach and Tony Wambles.

Employees of the city’s wastewater treatment facility were recognized by the NWS Wednesday for having been watching the weather for 50 years.

Manager Donna Lewis said when the city’s wastewater systems were combined in 1987, the weather equipment was moved to the riverside treatment facility. Bob Deloach reports to the NWS daily – 7 days a week.

It is Deloach’s responsibility to manually measure and report rainfall levels each morning. Automatic equipment measures the maximum and minimum daily temperatures and a third piece of equipment electronic records data. Once a month, Deloach uploads data from that equipment to the NWS.

Keith Williams of the NWS said the manual readings are vitally important.

“This is fantastic,” Williams said. “Very rarely do we have community partners for 50 years. With staff and technology changes, we rarely have the same partners for this long.”

Williams said radar measurements are convenient, by the physical recordings done daily help ensure the accuracy of reports.