LIVERMORE FALLS — Harold Souther is legendary for his quality and accurate record-keeping of weather data and phenomena.

The spry 92-year-old was recently presented the Dick Hagemeyer Award from the National Weather Service for 45 years of accurate and consistent weather observations.

“I’m a historian,” the Livermore Falls resident said. “I report the weather we have.” 

The award was one of several he has received from the National Weather Service. Hendricus J. Lulofs, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Gray, said Hagemeyer was very active in the Cooperative Observer Program at the beginning of his National Weather Service career “which Harold is part of.”

Souther started keeping official weather observations in January 1971, when Olfo Farrington, who had been the Livermore Falls weather observer, decided to go to Florida. He mentioned he had kept a weather diary for many years.

“I said I’d do it for a year,” Souther said. “Now, here I am.” 

At 7 a.m. each morning, he phones in his readings to the NWS. The readings include the previous day’s high temperature, and the low temperature that morning, as well as precipitation since 7 a.m. the previous day. In the winter, snow depth and the amount of snow that fell are also recorded.

“We’d love to procure wind equipment, but we don’t have the money for it,” NWS hydrologist Tom Hawley said.

There are 45 weather observers in the Gray area and 35 in the Caribou weather region.

“Observers come and go a lot more than they used to because they’re so transient,” Hawley said.

Souther has lived in the same house on Souther Road his entire life, surrounded by the fields of Souther Farm. The house dates from before his family settled in town, back to the first half of the 19th century.

Souther witnessed the 1936 flood, the forest fires of 1947, the flood of 1987, and the 1998 ice storm. Asked about memorable snowstorms, he cited a multiday storm in February 1969 that left 3 to 4 feet in the area.

“Rumford had 47 inches and I think we had about the same,” Souther said.

He also recalled the total eclipse of the sun one summer day in 1932.

“The hens had all gone to roost at 3:30 in the afternoon,” Souther said with a laugh.

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