FORECASTING THE WEATHER AND STORMS
To one who will study this chapter and carefully follow the charts as they successively illustrate the text, the daily weather map will become an object of pleasure and profit. Sometimes the problems presented by the map are so simple that one possessed of the most elementary knowledge of its construction can accurately forecast the character of the coming weather; and again, the most expert forecaster is unable to clearly foresee the impending changes.
Weather maps differ as much as do the members of the human family; no two are precisely alike, although they may be similar in their fundamental characteristics. Some are so radically dissimilar from others that it requires but a glance to learn that similar weather cannot follow both. While but less than a century ago we knew not whence the winds came nor whither they went, we are now able, through the aid of daily meteorological observations and the telegraph that joins our places of observation by an electric touch, to trace out the harmonious operations of many physical laws that previously were unknown, and that determine the goings and the comings of the winds, and the sequence in which weather changes occur; but in weather forecasting it will never be possible to attain the accuracy acquired by astronomers in predicting the date of an eclipse or the occurrence of other celestial events.
The Beginning of the American Weather Service. --Although American scientists were pioneers in discovering the progressive character of storms and in determining the practicability of forecasting the weather, the United States was the fourth country to give legal autonomy to a weather service. Only an international institution, embracing all the countries of Europe, could equal the service of the United States in extent of the area covered. Furthermore, forecasts for the countries of western Europe can never cover the time in advance or attain the accuracy of those made for the region east of the Rocky Mountains on the American continent,