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Blue Hill
February 2009
Issue 4
Legendary Meteorologist to Step Down
Vote for Blue Hill Observatory for New Series of US Quarters
Notes from the Observer's Office
WINS Girls Visit the New England Aquarium
About The Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center
Future Events
Legendary Meteorologist to Step Down
Dick Albert Announces Retirement
(Reprinted with permission from

Note: Dick Albert's last television forecast will air on WCVB-TV/DT Channel 5 on Thursday, February 26, 2009. 

Dick Albert: 'It's Been A Wonderful 31 Years at Channel 5, But I Am Eager To Start The Next Chapter Of My Life'

Dick AlbertDick Albert, WCVB-TV/DT Channel 5's longtime co-chief meteorologist, announced his plans to retire from the station at a meeting in the station's newsroom on February 4.  The affable Albert, known as "Dickie" to viewers, joined WCVB in 1978.  In his thirty-one year tenure, Albert was the dean of New England's meteorologists.  In his announcement, Albert said, "My career has been a gift.  I've worked with the best in the business and enjoyed every minute of it."

One of the most recognized and beloved personalities in local television, Albert said, "I'm not going away.  Everyone knows that I am passionate about the weather.  It's not only my vocation, but my lifelong avocation.  As much as I will miss my Channel 5 colleagues and the legions of New England viewers, I will be out in the community, speaking and teaching.  I'm also developing a website, to continue to share my love of the weather."
WCVB President and General Manager Bill Fine said, "Dick Albert's passion for meteorology, coupled with his ability to deliver the most accurate information to New England viewers, is extraordinary and well recognized by all.  He is a valued colleague, friend and mentor. All of us at WCVB will miss his daily presence, as will New Englanders who completely trust and admire him."
Albert has received many accolades in his storied career, including multiple regional Emmys.  He was recognized with the prestigious Silver Circle Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2004.  Albert was voted the second most popular weathercaster in the nation by "Television/Radio Age."  His work has contributed to countless station-wide honors, including Associated Press, RTNDA Edward R. Murrow and National Headliner Awards. 

The University of Michigan graduate has been a frequent guest speaker at schools around the region.  He is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and holds the AMS Television Seal of Approval.  Albert is also a member of the National Weather Association.

In addition to daily forecasting, Albert has worked on children's specials, "Use Your Smarts" and the educational vehicle, "Albert's Weather Wagon."  He has traveled the country, doing many special news series and stories about Mt. Washington's weather, tornado alley, the Blizzard of '78, the 1954 Worcester tornado and New England hurricanes.

Albert and his wife, Mary Ann, are the parents of two sons, Marc and Matt.  They are also the proud grandparents of Heath and Cassie.  He said, "I've been blessed with a wonderful family.  I look forward to spending more time with them and my friends.  I'm also excited to pursue other interests including oil painting, tennis and lifelong learning."

Longtime close friend and co-chief meteorologist Harvey Leonard will take on Albert's duties at 5 and 6pm.   His final forecast will be Thursday, February 26 at 6pm. Viewers are invited to post their thoughts and messages to Albert on WCVB's website,

Use this link to access a video tribute to Dick Albert, online discussions, and other related information:
Vote for Blue Hill Observatory for New Series of United States Quarters
Your vote counts!!

The United States Mint will be launching a new series of quarters starting in 2010 called America's Beautiful National Parks Quarters, which will commemorate one historic site from each of the states and territories over eleven years.

You can vote for the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory to be the selected design for Massachusetts by calling 1-800-227-MASS [6277] through February 26th. Choose extension 5, and when prompted we suggest identifying your selection as "Great Blue Hill Weather Observatory, Milton".

As a National Historic Landmark with unique contributions to the science and education of meteorology, and the relevant issue of climate change, the Observatory is a worthy site. Use the link below to the Governor's Office for more information on this program, and phone in your vote for the Observatory today!
Notes from the Observer's Office
January 2009 Temperature & Wind; December-January snowfall

The temperature in January never made it above 39 degrees, which is a new record for the lowest Monthly Maximum Temperature on record for the month of January.

January Coldest Maximum Temperature (deg F)
1) 39 in 2009
2) 40 in 2003
3) 41 in 1896
    41 in 1948
5) 42 in 1925
    42 in 1941
    42 in 1985

The average monthly temperature of 21.8 degrees was about 25th coldest on record and only coldest since 2004.

Coldest January average temperatures (deg F)
Jan. 1920....15.5
Jan. 1888....16.3
Jan. 2004....17.2
The average corrected monthly mean wind speed of 13.1 MPH was the second lowest for any January on record checked back to 1885. 

January Lowest Wind Speed (MPH)
1) 12.2 in 2001
2) 13.1 in 2009
3) 13.3 in 1984
4) 13.4 in 2005
5) 13.9 in 2008
The peak gust of 48 MPH is second lowest on records for January checked back to 1965 (behind 43 MPH in 2001).  Prevailing wind direction from west at 36% is an unusually high percentage.
The December-January snowfall total of  55.1 inches is the 7th greatest on record.
Dec-Jan Highest Snowfall (inches)
1) 95.8 in 1947-48 [136.0 seasonal total]
2) 72.9 in 1995-96 [144.4 seasonal total]
3) 67.8 in 1922-23 [102.5 seasonal total]
4) 62.0 in 1903-04 [103.4 seasonal total]
5) 61.0 in 2004-05 [119.4 seasonal total]
6) 57.1 in 1945-46 [91.2 seasonal total]
7) 55.1 in 2008-09
8) 49.6 in 1976-77 [81.2 seasonal total]
There were no new daily records in the month of January. 

WINS Girls Visit the New England Aquarium
WINS logoThe Women in Natural Science (WINS) program is an educational initiative of the Blue Hill Observatory geared toward middle- and high-school-aged girls from Boston and surrounding communities.  WINS seeks to inspire girls to learn about math, science, and technology using a natural science curriculum and "hands-on minds-on" learning experiences. 

A group of WINS girls spent a day at the New England Aquarium during February vacation week. 
The girls visited the Amazing Jellies exhibit and asked some great questions, such as, "Do jellies have brains??" (the answer is no, they have loose network of nerves called a nerve net rather than an organized central nervous system).  After being entertained by the penguins, the girls spent most of the morning spiraling up the ramp around the Giant Ocean Tank, admiring sharks, rays, eels, and fishes. 

If your school, church, or community group would like to participate in the WINS program, please contact
Stephanie Radner by phone: (617) 696-0562 or email:  WINS programs make great after-school or weekend activities for girl scout troops, Big/Little Sister groups, Campfire girls, or any other youth organizations with programs for girls.

We would also like to congratulate one of our WINS girls, Nicole Forsyth, whose poem "Ode to the Isle" was recently accepted for publication in Teen Voices.  Nicole's poem was inspired by a WINS trip to Isle au Haut, Maine.  Please follow this link to read Nicole's poem.
 From the Observatory Store
blue hill logoWhat Products Would You Like to Purchase From the Blue Hill Observatory Gift Shop? 

Purchases from the Observatory gift shop and online store benefit all aspects of operations.  If you have seen a product that you think we should sell, please tell us about it.  If we decide to stock your suggested product, you can purchase any quantity of that item for 25% off the retail price.  Please contact Don McCasland with your product suggestions (see contact information below).

New Merchandise Arriving in April!
Don spent an entire day at the Toy Fair in New York City and found a lot of great merchandise.  The educational toys include a wide range of science kits, a collection of geology lessons and materials (including several rocks and minerals kits), and fun toys including Whirl-o Hurricanes. 

To help prepare for the new merchandise, we are having a store-wide clearance. From now until March 27, print and present the coupon below for a 10% discount off your entire purchase including already marked-down merchandise. 

The Observatory gift shop is open from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM on weekends and many holidays.  You can arrange to visit the gift shop by appointment 7 days a week. For more information, to get a product list, place an order, or schedule a visit to the gift shop, please contact Don McCasland by phone: (617) 696-0562 or email:
Print this coupon and bring it with you to the Blue Hill Observatory gift shop and receive a 10% discount off your entire purchase, including already marked-down merchandise. 

Blue Hill Observatory Members save an additional 10% off all purchases.

Print this coupon and bring it with you, or just mention this offer when you come to the gift shop or call to place a phone order (617) 696-0562.
Offer Expires: March 27, 2009
Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center
Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, located at the top of a scenic mountain range south of Boston, is a unique American institution. Founded in 1885 by Abbott Lawrence Rotch as a private scientific center for the study and measurement of the atmosphere, it was the site of many pioneering weather experiments and discoveries. The earliest kite soundings of the atmosphere in North America in the 1890s and the development of the radiosonde in the 1930s occurred at this historic site.

Today, the Observatory is a National Historic Landmark and remains committed to continuing its extensive, uninterrupted climate record with traditional methods and instruments. The recently established Science Center expands this mission by enhancing public understanding of atmospheric science.

We are grateful for the generous support of members, friends, and corporations who make it possible to continue our benchmark climate observations and educational outreach programs.  Please contact Charles Orloff by phone: (508) 776-1879 or email: if you would like to make a donation to the Observatory.
Future Events
Monday April 20, 2009
Patriot's Day Kite Fly and special kite tours of the Observatory.
Hours: 10AM - 4 PM
Kite Tours: $5/adult, $3/youth
Build and decorate your own kite for just $5.   

April is National Kite Month.  BHOSC will be participating in most events.  For a full list of events, please check the NKM website:

Saturday May 16, 2009

Annual Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center Spring Open House.
Hours: 10AM - 4 PM
Admission is free.  There will be many activities throughout the day, including crafts, kite building, self-guided tours, and more.  Check the BHO Events page for updates:    

Monday May 25, 2009
Memorial Day Kite Fly and special kite tours of the
Hours: 10AM - 4PM
Kite Tours: $5/adults, $3/youth
Build and decorate your own kite for just $5.

The gift shop, educational programs, and tours of the Observatory are available by appointment almost every day of the year. Please call ahead (617-696-0562) if there are questionable weather conditions.
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     (617) 696-0562
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