Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey Operation Christmas Child begins Nov. 14 Mental Health levy on tomorrow’s ballot Wanda L. Nixon David Rogers Robert “Bobby” Leonard Keneth Waters Commissioner Worley seeks re-election Republican challenger vies for Commissioner’s seat Charles Cooper Thelma J White Kayleigh L Crothers AEP Ohio employees support Breast Cancer Awareness Month WUHS holds annual Beta Club and Honor Society inductions When Saturday mornings belonged to the kids of the house Senior Profile: Gloria Purdin Green-White Night, OHSAA Meeting at WUHS on Nov. 9

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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