Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak

Rhonemus honored for 35 years as weather observer

Long-time Adams County resident Roger Rhonemus was recently honored by the National Weather Service for his 35 years serving as a weather observer, presented his award here by NWS Service Hydrologist Julia-Dian-Reed. Provided photo.
Long-time Adams County resident Roger Rhonemus was recently honored by the National Weather Service for his 35 years serving as a weather observer, presented his award here by NWS Service Hydrologist Julia-Dian-Reed. Provided photo.

Many memories come from watching the weather

By Patricia Beech

Some years ago, Roger Rhonemus of West Union was a politician, a servant of the people, with an appointment book overflowing with obligations, duties and commitments. His time truly was not his own, yet, but each and every day he took the time to regard the world around himself and record his observations – and he does so to this day. He is one of 8,700 volunteers who from “farms, towns, seashores, and mountaintops” daily record weather observations for the National Weather Service (NWS).

“It’s funny how you end up doing what your parents did,” Rhonemus says. “My Mom would write the temperature on the calendar every day, and how many inches of rain fell. So, I just naturally kept track of how much rain we had, even though you couldn’t do anything about it.”

For over three decades he has provided weather data to the NWS, and in recognition of his years of service, on May 5 he was presented a 35-Year Length of Service Award for his daily recordings of precipitation and Brush Creek water levels.

Rhonemus began recording weather data in 1973 when he was 16 years old. “We lived on a farm on Brush Creek and it was just normal to pay attention to the creek,” he said. “When it got up over the road where we lived, we had to walk home so we always paid attention to it.”

He explains that a nearby neighbor began keeping the records following the great flood of 1937, “When he died, my sisters took over for a while, and when they stopped, I started doing it.”

According to the NWS, the data collected by people like Rhonemus is used in variety of ways, including to help measure long-term climate changes.

The network of data collectors was set up by an act of Congress in 1890, but weather recordings began long before that. The earliest known observations in the U.S. were recorded in 1644-45. Subsequently, many notable historical figures maintained their own weather records. According to the NWS, “George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all maintained weather recordings. Jefferson kept an almost unbroken record of observations between 1776 and 1816, and Washington took his last observation just a few days before he died.”

Since leaving politics, Rhonemus says he spends more time in nature and farming, and worries less about appointments.

His work for the NWS has allowed him to closely observe nature around Brush Creek. “It’s fascinating to see all the wildlife. I’ve seen beaver, deer, turtles, and gar swimming across it. It’s an exceptionally healthy waterway and I hope it stays that way.”

Because his farm borders Brush Creek, Rhonemus pays close attention to the creek.

“When you farm along a creek, you learn to deal with things like flooding that you can’t do anything about,” he says, adding that it’s important to be prepared. “I watch the weather signs as a farmer. Growing up we learned all of the natural signs – if the sky is red at night you’ll have nice weather, or if it’s red at dawn, or the maple leaves are turned over, you know it’s going to rain.”

Not all of Rhonemus experiences with Brush Creek have been about measurements and gauges. In 1996 he was standing on the old iron bridge on St. Rt. 348 when he heard a loud roaring sound on the creek. “There was a wall of water eight feet high coming right at me,” he recalled. “The water was churning, throwing logs around. I stayed on the bridge till it got there, cause not many people will ever see a flash flood like that, it was fascinating.”

While the flood of ‘96 was his most fascinating experience, he calls the flood of 1997 the greatest disaster of his lifetime on Brush Creek.

“My gauge is 32. 04 feet above the bottom of the creek, and in the 1997 flood the water was about 35 feet high so my gauge was three feet under water,” he says, “The headwaters from that flood caused erosion and did a lot of damage.”

According to Rhonemus the first big flood he remembers was in 1964, driven by backwater from the Ohio River:

“It wasn’t as bad as ‘97, because the Ohio River was full and pushed back into low lying areas, but in ‘97 it was headwaters, and erosion is worse with headwaters. In ‘97 we had 12 inches of precipitation in one day, which is 25% of our total year’s precipitation in one day. While ‘64 didn’t do as much damage, in ‘97 we lost a lot of infrastructure we probably wouldn’t have lost with back water, it was a challenge putting everything back together.”

Observers like Rhonemus record their observations daily and electronically send those reports to the NWS by telephone or computer.

Their observations and the data they provide are invaluable in learning more about the floods, droughts, heat and cold waves that affect all of us. According to the NWS website, the volunteers’ collected observations are also used in agricultural planning and assessment, engineering, environmental-impact assessment, utilities planning, and litigation. Coop data plays a critical role in efforts to recognize and evaluate the extent of human impacts on climate from local to global scales.

Or, as Rhonemus says, “I make my living from the soil and the water and I want to take care of them as best I can.”

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