Ray Diederich rates this season's snow and cold

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"Weather observer for 50 years, Ray Diederich rates this season's snow and cold

NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- While this winter has been one of the coldest on record, it has not produced an extreme amount of snow.

Ray Diederich, 72, is a North Ridgeville resident and a cooperative weather observer with the National Weather Service who has been keeping measurements for the National Weather Service for over 50 years.

His reports show that the average December temperature of 23.096 degrees Fahrenheit was the coldest since the winter of 1989-1990, when the average temperature was 19.10 degrees Fahrenheit. This winter, there have been 20.6 inches of snow. The average snowfall total in a season is 41 inches, Diederich's reports show.

This year's snowfall total is similar to last year's, though that does not mean a new trend is starting.

''I've never seen a trend that you can count on,'' he said.

One winter storm that he remembers clearly is the 1978 blizzard, which paralyzed Northeast Ohio.

''I think we had about 12 inches of snow,'' he said. ''We've had some big snows here and then other periods of none,'' said Diederich.

Reports of his average snowfall from 1949 to the present show low amounts in the area are around 20 inches, while high amounts range at 65 inches.

Friday night's [1-26-01] snowfall blanketed the area with about 2.8 inches of snow, he measured.

As a weather observer, Diederich's duties include using his thermometers, barometric pressure and rain gauge among other items to take daily records of the minimum and maximum temperature, the rain or snow and taking account of the general weather conditions, such as wind and sunlight.

The sunlight is measured on a scale from one to six, with six the brightest, he said.

Diederich said his interest in weather was piqued when he had a conversation with his dad Audoen, who started J.P. Diederich Sons Inc. Greenhouse in 1924.

Then he heard about becoming a cooperative weather observer, a volunteer position he has done since April 1949.

Loyala Diederich picks sunflowers from a field in front of Diederich's Greenhouse on Center Ridge Rd. in North Ridgeville.

Diederich is now the president of his family's greenhouse.

''Not enough nerve to quit,'' is the reason he gives for continuing for over 50 years.

Diederich taught himself how to study the weather, taking only two meteorology courses while he served in the Army.

In addition to compiling information for the National Weather Service, Diederich fields inquiries from the public ...

If Diederich is unable to take readings, he said his sister Loyola or any of his three nephews Christopher, Terrence and Tom can fill in for his absence.

''I'm not sure if they're interested in it full-time,'' he said of his nephews.

While winter may have only two months left, the end can not come soon enough for Diederich.

''I like summer weather,'' he said.

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-12-01, By Jeff Mohrman

``NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- Ray Diederich choked back tears Friday as he and his sister were named the city's citizens of the year at the North Ridgeville Corn Festival.

"It's really an honor when your friends and neighbors nominate you for something like this," he said.

Loyala and Ray Diederich

Diederich and his sister, Loyola Diederich, received Golden Kernel awards during the opening of the 27th annual Corn Festival. The Diederichs work together at the family business, J.P. Diederich and Sons Greenhouse in North Ridgeville.

Ray Diederich is best known as a weather observer with the National Weather Service and supplies weather information to The Chronicle-Telegram. Loyola Diederich is a member of North Ridgeville Visitors Bureau and North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce. Both are active members of St. Peter Catholic Church in North Ridgeville.

They received the honors at the gazebo in South Central Park.

In addition to plaques proclaiming the honor, each received proclamations from the state Senate and House of Representatives honoring them among Ohio's outstanding citizens. They also received baskets of gifts from the festival's committee, including corn-shaped salt and pepper shakers, corn-cob holders, mugs and caps.

Loyola Diederich smiled as she said the honor was really a surprise.

"To whoever nominated us, we thank you. To everyone else, a special thank you," she said ... ''

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