The development of European networks of weather observation stations was accelerated by an event in November 1854 in the Black Sea, when a severe storm destroyed the French fleet (1). Subsequently it was shown by the Director of the Paris Astronomical Observatory that the storm was the same as had been experienced in the Mediterranean Sea the day before. In other words, regular observations upwind would have provided a warning and thereby reduced the damage. Almost immediately then the French government set up its network of stations.
It quickly became apparent that weather transcends national boundaries, and international co-operation became seen as inevitable. This was formalised by an International Meteorological Conference in Vienna in 1873.
(1) Sturman, A. and N. Tapper 1996. Weather and Climate in Australia and New Zealand. (Oxford Univ Press) 476pp.