Our History

Our History

Beau Dodson & The History of The Weather Observatory

I have been studying weather since I was eight years old. It is a passion. It is in my blood and family! My great uncle, Robert Dodson, was a meteorologist and war hero. The United States Air Force named an award after him – The Dodson Award. You can read more about this award by visiting this web-site. The passion for weather is difficult to explain. The sound of thunder, the wind rustling the leaves in the trees, the first snowflakes of winter, the first rainbow of spring. Watching the billowing cumulus clouds on a warm summer’s day. Waiting for that first clap of thunder. The pitter patter of raindrops outside my window.

I love weather! The atmosphere fascinates me. I am driven to try and understand what makes the atmosphere work.


Located in Massac County, Illinois the Weather Observatory is nestled on top of a hill overlooking surrounding farmlands. The observatory is owned by Beau Dodson who grew up on the land first purchased in 1888 by his family. His great grandfather built a home on the property in the early 1900s which eventually was torn down in the late 1990s.


The area where the observatory has been built is no stranger to severe weather.  It was struck by a tornado in the 1950s which caused the property to lose almost every structure.  Beau’s great grandfathers house sheltered his mother while the tornado passed over.  The house was turned and twisted on its foundation but survived the extreme winds.


Beau lived on the farm between the years of 1970 and 1988. In 1988 the farm was lost during the farm crisis that swept the country leaving many farmers bankrupt. In 2007 Beau returned to visit the property on Christmas morning only to find a realtors lock on his old home place. The family living there having moved out Beau took the opportunity to purchase the old home place back from a regional bank.


Having studied weather since he was eight years old, Beau had been looking for a place to buy or build a house that had a view of incoming weather. That dream was realized in 2009 when he rebuilt on the family homestead. Building a complete weather center with instruments and weather cameras he opened this web-site for others to view and learn more about local weather conditions and events.


The house is equipped with a complete emergency operations center with generator backup in the event of severe weather.  Beau broadcasts his weather information to emergency management in Ballard and McCracken Counties of western Kentucky where he first got involved with emergency management.  He tracks severe weather using Gibson Ridge radar software and other computer data made available through subscription weather sites and the National Weather Service.  You can listen to and view all of this online through this web-site.

Late 2009

In late 2009 Beau moved into the home and observatory.  This web-site was built in order to allow others to share in the weather experience.  Visitors can view live weather data from atop the hill.  There are also tower cams available for viewing, streaming NOAA Weather Radio, streaming emergency management information, a weather blog that discusses weather at the site, interactive weather radar, forecasts, and other data.  Beau also has several other web-sites with weather photography, historic storm reviews, and breaking weather news.