Herbert W. Rahmlow, 72, retired special assistant to the chief of the engineering division of the National Weather Service here, died of cancer Aug. 16 in New Port Richey, Fla.

A resident of Arlington for more than 30 years, he moved to New Port Richey after his retirement in 1972.

Mr. Rahmlow joined the National Weather Services in La Crosse, Wis., in 1937. During the hurricane season of 1939, he spent several months at Swan Islands, West Indies, where he provided the first radiosonde observations of hurricanes.

A year later, he inaugurated the Atlantic Weather Project on the first patrol of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Duane. He was transferred to Washington in 1941.

Mr. Rahmlow helped develop the Weather Service's Reconditioning Center in Joliet, Ill. It reconditions upper-air measuring instruments. He also helped establish the TechnicalTraining Center in Kansas City. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal.

He was born in Appleton, Wis., and received a degree in geology from Lawrence College there. He took graduate work in agriculture, education and radio engineering at the Universityof Wisconsin and other institutions.

Mr. Rahmlow began his federal government service with the Department of Agriculture in Michigan in 1933.

He is survived by his wife, Lavina, of New Port Richey; a son, Bruce of Arlington; a daughter, Bonnie Dennison of Springfield; a brother, Edward C., of Appleton, and five grandchildren.