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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release July 28, 2011

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

Forecast calls for “Fair” weather discussion Aug. 20

Historical Library program looks at history, impact of weather on Iowa State Fair

(DES MOINES) – The Iowa State Fair draws about one million people to the State Fairgrounds each year, and weather often plays a major role in the fair-going experience.

With that in mind, State Climatologist Harry Hillaker and Meteorologist Craig Cogil of the National Weather Service will explore the history and impact of weather on the Iowa State Fair during the next Historical Discovery Discussions program at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 20, 2011, in the State Historical Library & Archives Reading Room at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.

The program is free and open to the public. Weather and state fair photographs from the State Historical Library & Archives collection will be on display. To register or for more information contact Librarian Susan Jellinger at susan.jellinger@iowa.gov or 515-281-6897.

Hillaker is bureau chief of the Climatology Bureau under the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Since 1991, he has been a “one-man-show” behind Iowa’s state climatologist’s office, which was established in 1875 and is America’s oldest continuously operating state climate service.

Hillaker collects, processes and publishes climate data for hundreds of locations across Iowa. After earning his master’s degree in geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Hillaker joined the state climatologist’s office in Iowa at age 24 as a contract employee.

Today, a network of 500 weather stations across the state, from the Iowa Department of Transportation, airport sites, county weather stations, school net sites, and the Iowa State University agronomy department, allows Hillaker access to detailed reports about air temperatures, humidity levels, visibility levels, wind speeds and more, often on a minute-by-minute basis. He actively fields calls from the media, attorneys and insurance agencies regarding weather patterns.

Cogil is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Johnston. The National Weather Service is a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Like Hillaker, Cogil interacts with the media to provide statistics on weather patterns, potentials for disaster and historical data. He is also involved in the issuance of severe weather watches or warnings by NWS Johnston.

Additional information about the history and impact of weather on the Iowa State Fair can be found in Cogil’s “Iowa State Fair Weather History Report” at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/data/pdf/Iowa-State-Fair-Weather.pdf

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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