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Utilities and businesses that used fresh water encouraged the bureau to expand river and flood services. Flood warning systems were adequate, but precipitationrelated streamflow measurements remained underfunded—a significant deficiency during the great drought of the early 1930s. 19 Although the latter task was eventually passed to the US Geological Survey, the Weather Bureau was apparently viewed as an all-purpose collector of earth science data, weather-related or not. The fastest-growing forecasting and data-collection effort during the interwar period supported aviation.
A Stagnant Atmosphere ■ 17 the weekly National Weather and Crop Bulletin presented the previous week’s meteorological data and the weather’s effect on vegetation, stock, and farm work. The bureau collected specialized data for corn, wheat, cotton, sugar, and rice states. ) It published data on fruit frost for tobacco, fruit, truck, and alfalfa seed districts. Fruit-frost warnings were important to citrus growers in California and to orchardists in Oregon and Washington—such warnings enabled them to heat their orchards by burning oil in smudge pots and thereby save their crops from a hard freeze.
Reichelderfer also visited weather offices all over Europe (including France and Germany), writing enthusiastically detailed accounts of their operations. He sent these reports (marked “Restricted”) via diplomatic pouch from the US Embassy in Paris under naval intelligence cover sheets. Upon Reichelderfer’s return, one of his new Norwegian colleagues traveled to the United States to lecture Navy aerologists.