NOAA History Banner
gold bar divider
home - takes you to index page
about the site
contacts
noaa - takes you to the noaa home page
search this site
white divider
   
arrow A Nation at War
arrow WWII
arrow Technology Tales
 


the weather bureau record of war administration part 10

Page: left arrow 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 click for next page


Service "A", the hourly teletype reporting system, was practically the only means available for the transmission of aviation weather reports for operations in the United States until the middle of 1944 when special Army circuits were installed. As the Army established new air bases in the United States for training purposes, weather reporting stations were also established and the number of hourly weather reports in the United States increased very rapidly, placing a heavy load on the Service "A" system. Transmission time on Service "A" was extended from 30 minutes each hour to 45 minutes each hour, and upper air data and terminal forecasts were added to assist the military services in their training operations.

The Weather Bureau maintains a hurricane circuit along the Gulf Coast during the hurricane season-approximately June 15 to November 15. This circuit was extended into several Army and Navy bases along the Gulf Coast and in the southern states. One outstanding use of this circuit was to bring reports into New Orleans, Louisiana, where the Weather Bureau in early 1943 had established a special unit for the preparation of intercontinental weather bulletins. Reports for the use of this unit were transmitted over the hurricane circuit from Miami, West Palm Beach, Brownsville and other collection points in the area for broadcast over the WEK radio station. During the winters of 1942-43 and 1943-44, the hurricane circuit was continued beyond the normal season in order that the flow of meteorological data might continue uninterrupted. Following the establishment of Service "O", which also served this area, it was unnecessary to a seasonal communications system.

Meteorologists Assigned to Specific War Duties.-Selected personnel were assigned to duty in the various war theaters and elsewhere, as forecasters, research workers, advisors and instructors. Insofar as possible the requests were complied with. In filling these assignments a careful balance had to be maintained between essential civilian and military needs, account being taken of reduction in Weather Bureau personnel as a result of the draft or enlistment. Selection of Weather Bureau personnel for assignment was based on specific requests by the Armed Forces, and on judgment of the Bureau as to the experience and other qualifications of its personnel when no specific requests were made. In the paragraphs immediately following are listed the assignments together with a brief summary of accomplishments.

On specific request by the Army the head forecaster of the Chicago Forecast District was assigned to the training program for tropical weather forecasters being carried on at the Institute of Tropical Meteorology at San Juan, Puerto Rico. Selection was based upon the wide experience of this official as forecaster in general and, in particular, upon his experience with the weather of tropical North America and the Caribbean region. He was stationed in San Juan during the period July 1 to November 30, 1943, and again for two weeks in February 1944. Between June 1944 and February 1945, this official was assigned to Headquarters, 10th Weather Squadron, operating in the China-Burma-India Theater. His station was mainly in Calcutta, India, where he prepared forecasts for B-29 bombing operations in southeast Asia.

The forecaster of the Miami Forecast District was selected for assignment during the spring, summer and early fall of 1945 to the Tropical Weather Unit, Howard Field, Panama Canal Zone. At this Unit he served as an instructor in tropical synoptic meteorology and participated in hurricane and other types of weather-reconnaissance flights.

The head forecaster of the Los Angeles Forecast District was selected to serve during the summer of 1944 on a forecast instruction team operating in the USAAF 1ST Weather Squadron in the western United States. The selection was based upon his experience as a forecaster in this region, and on his background as an instructor in various university meteorological courses. His work consisted of teaching Army meteorologists forecasting principles as applied to the western United States, with emphasis on upper air analysis, the coastal stratus problem, and improvement of surface map analysis. From the fall of 1944 through the spring of 1945 this official was selected for assignments to Headquarters, 10th Weather Squadron, CBI Theater, at Calcutta. One month was spent at the Weather Central in Chengtu, China. In addition to instructing Army meteorologists in new methods of forecasting and weather analysis, his work here consisted of preparing forecasts for bombing and other military operations and assisting in the organization of a local-forecast program for severe storms in northeast India. Later, during the summer and early fall of 1945, this forecaster was assigned to the Tropical Weather Unit, Panama Canal Zone. His work at this Unit consisted of instructing Army meteorological classes on the Weather of southeast Asia, conducting a research program, and participating in hurricane and other types of weather-reconnaissance flights.

During the summer of 1941 the Army found it essential that a meteorologist experienced in aviation forecasting be assigned to Gander, Newfoundland, to assist in and coordinate the forecasting program for the ferrying of Hudson bombers and other plans across the North Atlantic. One of the forecasters of the Weather Bureau serving at the Forecast Center in New York, was selected for this work because of his airline and Weather Bureau forecasting and organizational record. He spent three months on the assignment.

Because of the successful and efficient way in which he accomplished his work at Gander he was selected in May 1942 to open and be in charge of the station at Goose bay, Newfoundland, where forecasts were issued for the ferrying of fighters and bombing planes to the British Isles. The later assignment lasted four months.

In 1943 the Army Weather Forecasters' School at Grand Rapids, Mich., found themselves strongly in need of a man wit a broad background of meteorological experience and training. From the many men considered for the work one serving at Weather Bureau Washington Office, was chosen because of his outstanding ability as a teacher and his knowledge of meteorology. He was placed in charge of the weather -forecasting and map analysis courses from January through September of that year.

Early in 1944 a request was made by the Navy and the national Defense Research Council that the Weather Bureau conduct a study of the relations between weather and radar operations. An official of the Weather Bureau Washington Office was selected to conduct the investigations because of his intimate knowledge and experience in electronics. Approximately six months were spent o the project and a report of the investigation was published.

It was found necessary that the U. S. Army Engineer Corps establish a river forecasting service in the European Theater of Operations in connection with offensive action by the ground forces. An expert weather forecaster with proper background was requested of the Weather Bureau to participate in this service. Choice was made of the head forecaster of the Washington Forecast District and formerly Chief of the Weather Bureau's Hydrometeorological Section, because of his excellent record as a forecaster and his background in hydrometeorology. He was stationed near Paris from late 1944 through the spring of 1945 dealing essentially with problems associated with quantitative precipitation forecasts.

The Army Weather Central which was established in the Pentagon Building, Washington, D. C., was faced with many problems which could be overcome only through the assistance of a practical meteorologist of Long experience. The meteorologist chosen for the required work was the district forecaster for the Washington Forecast District, who, with many years' experience as a Weather Bureau forecaster, has been rated as one of the outstanding forecasters in the weather service. He was assigned to the Weather Central from May 1942 to March 1945, his work concerning itself mainly with map analysis, preparation of prognostic charts, and preparation of aviation forecasts for the area in and around North America. He was called upon to prepare forecasts for special flights such as were made by the Secretary of War, General Arnold and other top-ranking officers and officials.

Need was found by the Army Weather Service for the technical assistance of an experienced meteorologist to prepare a weather forecasting manual to deal with highly specialized chemical warfare needs. A hydrometeorologist serving at Washington was chosen for the assignment, who had a broad meteorological background and who was considered particularly suitable because of his specialized knowledge of the physics of air turbulence in the lowest levels of the atmosphere. His knowledge, gained through research on evaporation from snow and other surfaces, could be directly applied to the problems of poison gas diffusion immediately above the earth's surface. He was stationed in the Pentagon Building, Washington, for approximately one month in the spring of 1944.

During the later stages of the war in Europe it was found necessary that a Weather Bureau official with a both administrative and technical background be loaned to the Army Weather Service. A Washington official was given this highly important assignment. From the spring of 1944 to the fall of 1945 he acted as a consultant to the staff of the Director of Weather Services of the U. S. Strategic and Tactical Air Forces in Europe, and also as liaison official between the U. S. Weather Bureau and the Meteorological Office, Air Ministry, London. In these positions he served as an advisor on problems of both technical and administrative nature.

The problem of aircraft icing is recognized to be of prime importance to nearly all phases of aviation operations. Realizing its significance, the Army requested the NACA to inaugurate a research program early in the war. Need for the services of a trained and experienced meteorologist soon became apparent. A university-trained meteorologist of the Washington office was selected to participate in the program, one who had considerable experience as an airway forecaster and as research worker. He was assigned for the periods October 1942 to May 1943 and September 1943 to April 1944, to the Minneapolis Weather Bureau station for the purpose of acting as a full-time consultant to the Army and NACA in the aircraft-icing investigation. For three months prior to this assignment he was on loan to the Army preparing a report on the climatology of the Southwest Pacific Ocean region. Subsequent to the aircraft-icing assignment he has been conducting research on long-range forecasting for the Navy, on Navy funds.

Greatly increased military air traffic between the U. S. and Alaska necessitated the assistance of a meteorologist having long experience with the weather of the Pacific Northwest. During the early months of 1942 an official of the Anchorage, Alaska, Weather Bureau office, was detailed to Edmonton, Alberta, to collaborate with the Army, Northwest Airlines and the Canadian Meteorological Service, in the establishment, organization and operation of a consolidated air forecasting center.

In the event of another war in the future, it is believed that trained, experienced, and in some cases highly specialized meteorologists from the Weather Bureau should be requested by and made available to the military weather services at the outbreak of war. In order to accomplish the above it would be necessary that the personnel quote of the Weather Bureau be considerably expanded as soon as possible in order that a sufficient number of competent men could be released at the start of another war.

The practice of assignment of Weather Bureau personnel as "technical consultants," in uniform and under the general jurisdiction of the Theater Commander, appears to be quite satisfactory. While on military detail, however, the grades of the consultants should be raised to a level consistent with those of regular technical civilian employees of the Army and Navy, since a request for such a consultant implies recognition of the high professional level of the man whose services are sought. It is believed that administration would function most smoothly were the salary and per diem of the consultants paid by the Weather Bureau, the latter being reimbursed by the military agency concerned. An allowance should be made for expenses such as purchase of uniforms and traveling equipment.



- Top of Page -


Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer