Today in science: Happy birthday Albert J. Myer | 9/20/2019 | Deanna Conners
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A historical weather map for September 1, 1872, produced by the US Signal Service. Image via NOAA Photo Library.

Today, September 20, marks the birthday of General Albert J. Myer (1828–1880), who helped to establish the United States’ National Weather Service. The National Weather Service is the U.S. federal government agency responsible for issuing weather forecasts and dangerous weather alerts such as hurricane warnings. These efforts have saved countless lives over the years.

General - Albert - J - Myer - Chief

General Albert J. Myer, Chief Signal Officer, US Army. Image via Library of Congress/Wikipedia.

General Myer was born in Newburgh, New York, on September 20, 1828. He and his family moved to Western New York in 1934, and he received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Buffalo Medical College in 1851, where he studied sign language. Later, he joined the U.S. Army in 1854 and helped to devise a system for communicating across long distances known as wig-wag signaling. In such signaling, a person moves a flag around in a coded manner, and this method was used widely on both sides in the Civil War. Thereafter, the U.S. Army established the Signal Corps and appointed Myer as the Chief Signal Officer. In 1867, President Andrew Johnson nominated Myer to the rank of Brigadier General, and his appointment was approved by the U.S. Senate in 1868.

US - Weather - Bureau - Act - Congress

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress in 1870 to formalize the process of using signaling technology to warn ships on the Great Lakes and at sea of the approach of dangerous storms, among other activities. The bureau was first assigned to the Signal Corps under the command of General Myer....
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