Deming Wins Weather Service Award

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Anna Mae Deming is not a contemporary of American colonist John Campanius Holm, the man for whom the award bestowed on her by the National Weather Service was named.

But she has been observing and reporting Payson's weather longer 53 years than the award, which was first presented in 1959, has been in existence.

Deming was presented the prestigious honor Saturday night at the Northern Gila County Historical Society's annual banquet. A surprised Deming, a member of the society, was surrounded by family members who had trekked to Payson no doubt on her promise of perfect weather in the Rim country to help her bask in the glow of recognition for a long and storied career.

"Mrs. Deming has taken observations continuously for the past 53 years in all types of weather, including blizzards, heavy rains, droughts, and severe thunderstorms," said presenter Michael Campbell, meteorologist in charge of the NWS's Flagstaff office. "She is also an official NWS storm spotter, and her reports help define what weather patterns have occurred in the Payson area.

"Over 11,000 cooperative observers routinely take daily weather and climatological observations in the United States," Campbell told those in attendance at Mario's Restaurant. "(This) award is reserved for the very best observers.

"(Deming) calls our office to the minute every day. We can set our clocks by it."

The Cooperative Weather Observer Program is a nationwide network of volunteers who record temperature and precipitation each day. That information becomes part of the nation's historical weather and climate archive.

Deming, who holds a civil degree in meteorology, began her career with the U.S. Weather Bureau June 1, 1948 at Payson's first weather station located on top of Indian Hill. When the full-time weather bureau closed, the equipment was relocated to Deming's home.

There it remains to this day and, Deming hopes, a few days more.

"Now let me keep going," she said in her acceptance remarks.

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