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Welcome to the Paleofuture blog, where we explore past visions of the future. From flying cars and jetpacks to utopias and dystopias.

Foolproof Weatherman of 1989 (1939)

Foolproof Weatherman of 1989 (1939)

The September 17, 1939 Montana Standard (Butte, MT) ran an article titled, "Foolproof Weatherman of 1989." Excerpts along with the article in its entirety appear below. My apologies to Pittsburgh.

Weather for November: First to tenth, rainy with some snow or sleet; tenth to twentieth, mostly fair, with frost and probably a severe freeze in the northern part of the state; twentieth to thirtieth, unsettled, clearing toward end of the month; Thanksgiving Day certain to be fair and only moderately cool.

Guesswork prophecy from an old-fashioned patent medicine almanac? No: official forecast, dated July 1, 1989 from the Weather Bureau headquarters in your home state. Based strictly on scientific analysis of exactly observed conditions months in advance, and made possible by improvements in instruments and mathematical methods that will come during the next 50 years.

We have the word of veteran weathermen that this kind of forecast is within the bounds of imaginable possibility, to come in the lifetime of our younger children.

A few months ago, the then chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau, Dr. Willis R. Gregg, wrote to all the leading meteorologists, both in government service and in universities throughout the country, asking them to take a holiday for a moment from the forecasting - to tell what they thought it might be like, half a century hence.

The article goes on to describe the push-button future of weather forecasting.

Looking ahead 50 years on our own account, we may vision the future chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau sitting in his laboratory. A screen is on the wall. He pushes a button, and sees a clear sky above the smoky pall of Pittsburgh (or maybe there won't be any smoke above Pittsburgh by then). He pushes another, and sees clouds scudding over Chicago, driven by a strong northwest wind. Another, and the screen blurs blind white; there is a raging blizzard at Medicine Hat. And so on, across Alaska and Siberia.

1939 Sept 17 Montana Standard - Butte Montana paleofuture.jpg


Alpha the Robot (1932)

Alpha the Robot (1932)

Rocket to the Moon (1967)

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