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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "Why is Decorah "missing" on all the TV weather reports?"

Posted: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 3:23 PM

Two readers have asked Mr. Answer Person basically the same question: "Why is Decorah "missing" on all the TV weather reports?" and "What happens to the Decorah weather reporting station that it is not able to report data to the National Weather Service? It seems like the Decorah is missing weather information more frequently than any other community when the TV stations show the local conditions."

Mr. Answer Person says: Todd Shea from the National Weather Service Office in La Crosse is just as frustrated as you are—maybe more.  He wants to emphasize that the weather observation equipment at the Decorah Airport is NOT maintained by the National Weather Service.  

A private company holds the maintenance contract on the airport's weather data station.  The Iowa DOT and the FAA are responsible for maintaining the station.

Says Shea, "When the data goes bad or fails, we notice right away as well (because we use the data a lot), but all we can do is call our contact in Iowa for maintenance.  They basically get to the repair as soon as they can but it may be days before it is fixed."

Shea suggests checking the weather data for Rochester, La Crosse or Waterloo, where the National Weather Service maintains the gauges.  But for someone for whom only Decorah weather data will do, the frustrations might continue.

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