As the mercury rose and fell each day and rain drenched Cecil County every so often one person carefully observed the changing Elkton weather. That gentleman, H. Wirt Bouchelle, trudged out to the backyard of his home at 6 p.m. each evening to check the temperature, note the day’s highs and lows, and read the rain gauge.
The summer day he launched his nearly fifty year career as a volunteer observer for the National Weather service was an unusually comfortably one by Chesapeake Bay standards. The thermometer climbed to a comfortable 77 degrees while overnight it fell to 66 degrees on July 22, 1927. There was no precipitation. Almost Fifty years later on November 30, 1976, the aging weather observer dutifully took his last observation. That chilly autumn day, the temperature never climbed above freezing, the mercy just hitting thirty degree. Overnight it fell to a frigid 12 degrees, but at least it didn’t snow.
Over the year’s he recorded the weather extremes here. The highest temperature was on 106 degrees on July 10, 1936 and the lowest was 14 below zero on Feb. 9, 1934. The largest amount of precipitation, 6.05-inches, was dumped on Elkton on June 27, 1938. On January 30, 1966, he noted the record for snow-fall, 20-inches.
Born near Mechanics Valley, he moved to Elkton in 1908 to become a rural letter carrier. He delivered mail by horse and buggy that year. In 1915, he was appointed the assistant postmaster and served in that capacity until he retired in 1968. At the suggestion of County Extension Agent Tom Bartilson he began making those backyard weather observations in 1927, giving us a valuable historical record of day-to-day conditions in Cecil County. He died at the age of 90 on July 19, 1979.
His daily observations are available through the Utah State University Climate Center. It is something I use as a research source while writing articles. Click here to reach the database. The database contains plenty of other data reporting stations, which are helpful too.