Northern Illinois University (NIU) is home to a National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Weather Station. The DeKalb-NIU station has been operating on NIU grounds since 1966 (now located west of Anne Glidden Road south of the NIU REC Center. Prior to that the station was operated five miles northeast of De Kalb in Sycamore from 1888 to 1965. Combined this represents a climate record which exceeds 100 years-important in terms of understanding regional climate variability.
Daily observations of temperature (maximum and minimum), precipitation, snowfall, snow cover, soil temperatures, and evaporation (April 1 to October 31) are made by a student weather director each day at 7 am. These observations are then transmitted to the NWS and a report of the data (and local forecast) recorded on a message machine (815-753-1623). The weather director is responsible for maintaining the weather equipment, keeping the climate records, answering local climate questions, and developing a monthly climate summary. The climate records are kept in the NWS laboratory in Davis Hall. The faculty advisor for the weather director is Walker Ashley. The weather director position has been supported by NIU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, NIU's Office of Operations, Finance and Facilities, and external supporters.