Throughout the past half-century, there have been several attempts at establishing a local chapter of the American Meteorological Society in the North Florida region. Oftentimes, these chapters would be active for several years, only to fold as interest waned, likely an offshoot of the predominantly student-based nature of each chapter. Luckily, our chapter has been reestablished for almost a decade now.
The drive to establish the North Florida Chapter was spearheaded by Dr. Phil Cunningham, a former Associate Professor in the Florida State University Department of Meteorology, in early 2002. The predecessor to the chapter held a general interest meeting in February 2002, featuring a speaker from the Mt. Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. During the summer, the necessary paperwork was filed with the national AMS and the North Florida Chapter was established as a local chapter serving the Tallahassee, FL and surrounding regions.
Since its inception, the chapter has grown immensely and participated in a wide array of activities, both social and professional. With a dedicated set of leaders and an ever-expanding membership, the chapter hopes to buck the precedent set by older chapters and permanently establish a presence within the North Florida, South Georgia and Southeast Alabama regions. Our activities planned for the upcoming year are designed to accomplish that very goal.
To understand where we are today and where we are going in the future, an understanding of our past is essential. Our history may be short, but in just eight years, the chapter has accomplished a lot. From the start, our main goal has been to begin working with the local community and thus striving to make the global community better. With help from strong leadership provided by Stephanie Abrams our chapter was well on our way to achieving our goals since our inaugural year. This allowed us to increase our efforts to provide the chapter with a wide array of accomplishments. This ultimately led to being awarded with being honor of being on the Chapter Honor Roll in 2003-2004 by the National AMS. The 2004-2005 chapter year brought continued prosperity to the chapter, with the chapter being named the Local Chapter of the Year by the national AMS, while the 2005-2006 chapter year was another successful, building year for the chapter. Our most recent year, 2006-2007, made great strides in membership and activities. In the 2007-2008 year, FSU became StormReady in large part due to the efforts of our chapter and then-AMS President Charlie Woodrum. In response, we were awarded again with Chapter of the Year in 2007-2008. For the second time in two years, the chapter was honored with the distinction of Chapter of the Year in the 2008-2009 year due to those efforts and the inception of WeatherFest, a local festival developed in conjunction with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. In the 2009-2010 year, the chapter continued to strive to keep the accomplishments of the past going while trying to improve outreach to K-12 students in the form of science fairs, and the general public by the use of broadcasting our meetings live. In doing so, the National AMS has awarded us Chapter Honor Roll for the 2009-2010 year.
In 2011, we became a part of the National Weather Association because of our commitment to operational-based meteorology along with research-oriented meteorology. This partnership was done under the leadership of former President Jonathan Belles. As of late 2011 we are now the North Florida Local Chapter of the American Meteorological Society / National Weather Association. Mr. Bruce Thomas, the President of the National Weather Association for the 2012-2013 years spoke at the annual banquet welcoming our chapter to their association.
Additional programs and activities are planned for this 2012-2013 chapter year. For information regarding chapter activities, please visit the Events page for current information.
(Special thanks to Bradley Schaff and Max Tsaparis for updating the history up to our current year)