34° 10′ 55.12″ North Latitude
118° 34′ 28.11″ West Longitude
791′ (241 m) Above Mean Sea Level
Modified Köppen Classification Climate Type: Csa
Station established July 01, 1949
by A. Lee Haines
The Los Angeles Pierce College Weather Station was founded under the direction of the late A. Lee Haines on July 1, 1949, just 2 years after the college was founded. Professor Haines taught botany here at Pierce, which was then known as the Clarence W. Pierce School of Agriculture. At the time, the college had an all-male student population of just over 100 students, most of whom lived on campus in dormitories. For 18 years Professor Haines sent his daily observations to the Weather Bureau before it was renamed in 1967 to the National Weather Service. Professor Haines retired 4 years later and passed on his responsibilities to another professor.
That professor was James Vernon, Professor of Geology and Meteorology, who took over as Station Manager in 1971. In 1974, Professor Vernon obtained funding from a grant awarded to Pierce College from the National Science Foundation (NSF), funding of which was used to expand the station’s capabilities and upgrade its equipment. By the time Professor Vernon retired, the student population at Pierce had grown to over 25,000 and the weather station’s paper archives stretched back nearly 4 decades.
In 1987, William H. Russell, Professor of Geography and Meteorology took over as the Weather Station Manager. For 10 years Professor Russell recorded daily observations from the station’s cotton region shelter and evaporation sub-station and sent his reports in to the National Weather Service office in Oxnard, California.
In 1997, Professor Russell hired Steve Woodruff to perform the daily weather observations at the station. From October 1997 through October 2004, Steve recorded daily observations 7 days a week without missing a single day. Near the end of 1998, Steve began to digitize these data and create a webpage (the starting point for making the weather data freely online). In November 2004, Professor Russell and Steve coordinated to obtain grant funding to purchase the station’s first automated weather station: Campbell Scientific’s, MetData1. Steve reprogrammed the station to report data for every 10-mintues, which was unprecedented at that time for any station in the Los Angeles basin.
In 2009, the Pierce College Weather Station was awarded $85,000 with the help from Mark Pracher, Steve Woodruff, Professor Russell, Professor Craig Meyer, and Congressman Brad Sherman. This money helped update the automated weather equipment with many new sensors that are rare for co-op stations in this country.
In 2012, Dr. Jason Finley, Professor of Geography and Meteorology, took over for Professor Russell as the current Weather Station Director. Professor Finley joined the College in 2008 (full-time in 2011). With the help from Professor Russell, Steve Woodruff, and Devin Lussier (recent weather station volunteer), Professor Finley continues to maintain the current weather equipment, send reports to the National Weather Service and the Los Angeles County of Public Works, and updates webpages and data to the new website displaying the latest automatic weather equipment. Since 2013, Devin has been instrumental in helping with website development and maintenance, along with equipment and grounds maintenance. Professor Finley also secured three faculty grants ($1000 each) to continue updating the station, as well as help coordinate funds through the Foundation to secure a plaque at the Weather Station for the late Professor Russell who passed way suddenly in May 2014. In 2017, most of the new, automated weather instruments were replaced (through money from Pierce) to maintain the station.
Dr. Finley continues to coordinate site visits for students and the community, so feel free to email the station if you would like a tour!
For more information on meteorology classes and other weather information, the department’s meteorology webpage: http://www.piercecollege.edu/departments/anthropology_geography/meteorology.asp