Willis Busenitz honored with Dick Hagemeyer Award

Busby resident contributes 45 years of service to Weather Service program
Thursday, November 8, 2018
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Willis Busenitz and his wife Nadine receive the Dick Hagemeyer award at their home in Busby, Monday. The award is granted by NOAA to an observer for 45 years of service. From left, Sean Wink, Chief of Systems & Facilities Divisiont, Nadine Busenitz, Willis Busenitz, Keith Meier, Meteorologist-in-Charge at the NWS Office in Billings.

NOAA’s National Weather Service has presented Reverend Willis and Nadine Busenitz of Busby, Montana, with the agency’s prestigious Dick Hagemeyer Award for 45 years of outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observing Program. The award was established in honor of Dick Hagemeyer (1924-2001) whose career spanned 51 years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Reverend Busenitz has provided timely, accurate and dependable weather data that has totaled nearly 17,000 observations during his 45-year period of service to the nation.

Sean Wink of the National Weather Service Western Region and Keith Meier, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Billings, presented the award to Reverend Busenitz during a gathering at his home in Busby on November 5.

Reverend Willis Busenitz began reporting daily observations at his home on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation back in August of 1973, and there has never been a missed daily observation, unless in the event of a total equipment failure. His wife Nadine acts as his backup when he is forced to travel for work.

The cooperative station in Busby is one of only five cooperative observers in Big Horn County, and weather data from this station is vital to the area.

Reverend Busenitz has experienced a variety of weather in his 45-year history. This area experiences extreme temperatures, including a -52° low in December of 1983, to a 109° high in July of 2002. Annual average precipitation since 1948 is 13.55” making it a very dry region. Here are some of Busenitz’ statistics on precipitation: Daily Max Snowfall of 18” in March 2002. Daily Max Rainfall of 3.75” in March of 1988.

The Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since its inception more than a century ago. Today, over 10,000 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature, which help to develop an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts, and heat and cold waves.