After the first commercial telegraph line in 1845, William C. Redfield suggested the telegraph might be good for delivering storm warnings. In 1847, the first storm warnings, were delivered via telegraph to Barbadoes, Carlisle Bay from a barometer at Bridgetown.
A storm in the Black Sea on November 14, 1854 during the Crimean War enabled Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, co-discoverer of the planet Neptune, to procure Emperor Napoleon’s consent for the first national telegraphic weather service, beginning February 17, 1855, in France.
The arrival of the French maps and the beginning of weather services throughout Europe, Turkey, and India inspired Joseph Henry to urge the establishment of an American national weather service.
The Civil War also marked an important turning point for the diffusion of meteorological work among many institutions. Originally, several institutions were supported by small budgets due to the financial stress of the war on the Unites States. Later, once the war was over, more money became available for larger and more complex meteorological institutions.
Due to the humanitarian, economic, and scientific appeal of Lapham to create a national weather service, an Act of Congress was passed on February 9, 1870 and signed by President Ulysses S. Grant directing the Secretary of War to take meteorological observations and give warnings of the approach of storms. This was the birth of the National Weather Service.
Initial funding for Myer’s new division were: Year ending June 30, 1870, $15,000; 1871, $50,000; 1872, $102,451; 1873, $250,000. In all over $1 million dollars was appropriated to the study of weather.