Dear Tom,
How far back do Chicago’s weather records extend?
Bruce Cullings

Dear Bruce,
Chicago’s official weather records began on Nov. 1, 1870, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Signal Service in the Department of War. The National Weather Service was first called the “Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.” It was established by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into existence by President Ulysses S. Grant on Feb, 9, 1870. The Chicago office was one of twenty offices that began operation in the United States. The agency was renamed the Weather Bureau in 1890 and transferred to the Department of Agriculture, then to the Commerce Department in 1940. Its name was changed to the National Weather Service in 1970.