LITTLE MOUNTAIN — For the past 55 years Margaret Sease Jayroe, 91, has reported the weather for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service through the Cooperative Observer Program. Jayroe continues a family tradition that started with her grandfather, Dr. John Sease in 1893.
According to nws.noaa.gov, the Cooperative Observer Program has more than 8,700 volunteers taking observations on farms, in urban and suburban areas, National Parks, seashores and mountaintops.
In honor of the many decades Jayroe has reported the weather, she received recognition from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and from the state of South Carolina. NOAA representatives presented Jayroe with the Benjamin Franklin Award, which is given to a cooperative observer completing 55 years of service.
Hope Mizzell, state climatologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Land, Water and Conservation Division, presented Jayroe with a letter from Governor Henry McMaster.
“It is with great pleasure that I send congratulations to you on receiving the Benjamin Franklin Award from the National Weather Service. For over 55 years you have faithfully continued your family’s legacy of volunteer service as a cooperative weather observer. Your daily reports have contributed significantly to a greater understanding to the weather events and extremes that affect our lives, and impact our environment, businesses and communities. We are grateful for your dedicated service to our state,” Mizzell read.
The weather station in Little Mountain was established in 1893 and has been located in the yard of the Sease House, built by Dr. John Sease. Before Jayroe took over the weather station, it was maintained by her aunt, Elberta Sease who took it over from her father, Jayroe’s grandfather, Sease.
My grandfather started it, it was in his name. When he died it was in his daughter’s name, my aunt. When she died it was put in my name,” Jayroe said.
Jayroe explained that Congress passed a law that records of the weather should be kept. So when it came time to find someone in Little Mountain to do the job, they looked for someone who would live there for many years.
“They said, alright here is an old country doctor, he just built a house and he already has two kids, he is going to be here a while,” Jayroe said. “Sure enough, everyone who has lived in this house has died in this house, with a few exceptions. He (Sease) died here.”
Jayroe said that she took over the responsibility after her aunt passed away because it had always been their family’s responsibility.
“I was the one who came home to live with her,” she said.
During her time, Jayroe said the most memorable weather event she observed was a tornado.
“I came home, and I always watched the thermometer when there are tornadoes, because if it (the thermometer) goes down I feel safer. I came home and you could tell the thermometer was going down so I didn’t worry too much,” she said. “I walked out on the street and this girl who had a beauty salon down the street walked up. We were talking and I looked off and there was a tornado. I watched it come down what I call Broad River, about that time I heard a noise and there was another one, that was the one that took off the roof of the gym at Mid-Carolina High School.”
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.