Kentucky State Climatologist History

Dr. Stuart Foster
State Climatologist for Kentucky

Climatology in Kentucky began formally in January 1889 when the United States Weather Bureau created the Kentucky Weather Service with Frank Burke as its director. The title changed to Climatological Services, Kentucky Section in February 1896. The lineage of Climatologists is:

Frank Burke January 1889 - December 1897
H.B. Hersey January 1898 - January 1905
F. J. Walz February 1905 - May 1929
James L. Kendall June 1920 - October 1943
Ellwood E. Unger November 1943 - January 1949
O.K. Anderson February 1949 - July 1954

Weather Records Processing Center (forerunner of the current National Climatic Data Center) climatologists authored the monthly Climatological Data for Kentucky for a brief period. They were:

Harold S. Lippman August 1954
Jacob T.B. Beard September 1954 - October 1955
J.E. Stork November 1954 -March 1959

In April 1959, the Meteorologist in Charge for Kentucky, who was located in Louisville, was given the additional duty of State Climatologist. He and his successor were:

O.K. Anderson April 1959 - April 1963
Allen Ben Elam Jr. May 1963 - 1973

When the Federal climatology program was disestablished in 1973, Kentucky was one of the states that did not continue the state climatology functions. For a five year period, there was no state climatologist for Kentucky.

No State Climatologist 1973 - May 1978

Recognizing the need for these functions and the opportunity to extend more service to the public, the responsibility for the climatology program was accepted by Western Kentucky University in May 1978 through a Memorandum of Agreement among the University, the National Weather Service, and the National Climatic Data Center. Glen Conner was recognized as the State Climatologist for Kentucky at that time.

Glen Conner May 1978 - July 2000
Stuart Foster August 2000 to present