Weather by Telegraph

How Weather Predictions are Made - An Explanation of the Principles on Which Forecasts are Based.
The progressive farmer and the cotton plant. (Raleigh, N.C.), 18 April 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


Spring is just around the corner! In the last couple of weeks, Chapel Hill and the East Coast have been abuzz about the weather. With all of our modern day radar and forecasting technology, the elements are still unpredictable. What resources were available 100 years ago to predict the weather? The above article from the April 18, 1905 issue of The Progressive Farmer and the Cotton Plant discusses some of the tools and techniques U.S. government forecasters used to predict the weather in 1905. It touts forecasters’ 80 percent accuracy rate in calling the weather.

Since its inception in 1886, The Progressive Farmer has transformed from a local newspaper to a country life oriented magazine with a strong web presence. The online weather briefing delivered by today’s Progressive Farmer includes numerous forecasts as well as indices for drought and crop moisture.



Apartheid amendment fails to catch on

On this day in 1915: The N.C. Senate rejects Clarence Poe’s plan for a “Great Rural Civilization.”

Fearing that the migration of young people into the already crowded cities was undermining society, Poe — the influential editor of the Progressive Farmer — drafted a plan that strangely foreshadowed Floyd McKissick’s ill-fated Soul City experiment of the 1970s.

While visiting the British Isles in 1912, Poe had interviewed a white South African, who persuaded him that apartheid offered whites the best opportunity to help blacks.

Framed as an amendment to the state constitution, Poe’s plan empowered voters in a rural district to prohibit land sales to persons of the minority race. Although this provision would not force anyone to leave, Poe believed that ultimately the countryside would be dotted with quiet, pastoral villages, either all-white or all-black.

Although Poe enlisted such influential allies as Josiah Bailey, later a U.S. senator, and Julian Carr, the Bull Durham magnate, his plan stirred hornets’ nests of protest across the South.

After the 1915 General Assembly, more concerned with the World War raging in Europe, votes down the proposed amendment, the “Great Rural Civilization” will not be heard of again.