need arises in the future to provide intensified weather forecast
and warning service to shipping on the Great Lakes, it appears that
the use of radio facsimile equipment with scrambling attachment, which
is showing marked development at the present time, might be used to
transmit confidential advices to ships at sea in wartime and also
satisfy security requirements.
height of the war production in the winter of 1944-45 there were serious
shortages in fuel, particularly natural gas, so that it became necessary
to ration fuel even to industry. Overall controls were established
by the Government and the fuel was apportioned among the plants that
had the greatest need from a military viewpoint.
the demands for gas supplies varied considerable with fluctuations
in weather conditions, some fore-knowledge of weather over the most
of the northeastern part of the United States were essential in planning
the distribution of gas. Consequently, special forecasts were prepared
by the Weather Bureau Office in Washington for use by the Chief Gas
Dispatching Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia. These forecasts
were consulted in planning the distribution of gas to the various
regions of the northeast for the next several days.
1945 the American Water Operators were supplied special three-weeks
predictions of expected temperature and precipitation trends, flood
expectancies, and ice conditions for several key cities on the Mississippi-Ohio
River system. Forecasts were issued by the Extended Forecast and River
and Flood Sections of the Weather Bureau in Washington, D.C., and
telephoned to the Washington office of the Operators. This information
was used in determining possibilities of floods occurring and when
breakup of ice could be expected in the spring.
Coals, Inc., being concerned with fuel distribution over most states
east of the Rocky Mountains, was supplied special twice-weekly fuel
consumption forecasts which were telegraphed this concern during heating
seasons. Forecasts were prepared in a simple code indicating expected
fuel consumption to be much below normal consumption, slightly above,
slightly below, or normal consumption. In addition, all warnings of
cold waves, strong winds, heavy snows, or any conditions likely to
affect coal consumption and distribution, including degree-day data
for the area concerned, were furnished to the Company.
of iron ore at the lower end of the Great Lakes waterways were becoming
low during 1945 due to the enormous demand of the war-expanded steel
industry. The War production Board wished to use the remaining stockpiles
as rapidly as possible, consistent with the possibility of replenishing
them through movement of ore from the Upper Lakes. The Weather Bureau
was asked for and made a prediction as to the opening date of navigation
on the Lakes.
were assembled for key ports on the Lakes which included current ice
thicknesses as compared with previous season, departures from normal
temperatures for the current season, the indicated temperature trend,
and information on opening dates during past seasons. After careful
study of all available material, the prediction was furnished and
subsequent events showed that the forecast was highly successful,
the opening date occurring within a few days of the predicted date.
apparent shortly after our entry into the war that efficient use of
existing transportation facilities was mandatory if our war efforts
were to continue unhampered. The Office of Defense Transportation,
in coordinating transportation facilities, requested the Weather Bureau
to provide special weather service therefore.
state forecasts were plotted daily together with particular attention
being given to predications of severe weather likely to hamper transportation.
A statement was then prepared giving both existing weather and predicted
conditions over the entire country and furnished the Office of Defense
Transportation daily which was relayed to a number of transportation
centers throughout the United States.
after the system of daily advices to the Office of Defense Transportation
was established, the Weather Bureau received a request for similar
service from the Agricultural Adjustment Agency of the Department
of Agriculture. This Agency required daily weather forecasts and warnings
to facilitate the coordination of agriculture problems, including
movement of perishable farm products, effect of frosts on the agricultural
economy movement of harvest workers into labor-short areas, and other
problems. The Weather Bureau made arrangements to prepare and furnish
such information daily with emphasis being placed on frost occurrences
over the entire country, cold waves, floods, and weather conditions
that may affect planting and harvesting operations.
of the Alcan Highway involved major weather problems. The Canadian
Meteorological Service in collaboration with the Weather Bureau provided
large amounts of past weather data for use by Public Roads engineers
in selecting equipment and for planning the construction of this highway.
Arrangements were also made for the collection of weather reports
form construction crews at regular intervals along the highway. These
reports were of value to military flying over the air route which
paralleled the highway to Alaska.
Bomb project as carried on at Hanford, Washington, was vitally affected
by weather. One of the important problems to be decided was the question
of release of poisonous gases from smokestacks. A special weather
unit was maintained by the project to indicate the conditions under
which these gases could be released without danger to the surrounding
country. Precipitation, Wind, temperature and air stability forecasts
for 24 to 48 hours were required. However, until the establishment
of the weather station by the project, forecasts and warnings were
supplied by Airport Station, Seattle.
of the absence of reports from merchant ships at sea, due to radio
silence, it became urgent that some means be devised for locating
and tracking tropical storms. The Weather Bureau collaborated with
both the Army and Navy in development of hurricane reconnaissance
flights. As a result actual flights into hurricanes by military aircraft
for the purpose of securing reports on the position and intensity
of the storm, were inaugurated. The aircraft are equipped with the
latest meteorological instruments and in some instances flew directly
into the center or eye of the storm to determine its exact position.
These reconnaissance flights by aircraft supplied the necessary information
for the weather maps on which are based the forecasts, and were a
large contributing factor to the excellent record made by weather
forecasters hurricane warning service during the war years. In fact,
the operations are considered so essential to an adequate hurricane
warning service for the protection of our coastal areas that they
will be continued during the 1946 season, even though arrangements
for reports from surface ships are being renewed.
of the battle areas of the world involved types of climates for which
equipment had never been specifically designed. The Quartermasters
Corps engaged in an extensive program for testing and developing equipment
suitable for these special climates. The Bureau collaborated in many
problems of this kind through assignment of personnel or by supply
of instruments and special data.
for the invasion of the continents of Europe and Africa became more
certain it was necessary for the military to have accurate knowledge
of the swell and wave condition on the coast where the landings would
be made. The Bureau collaborated with oceanography institute to make
available to the Army and Navy the experience and data from several
sources in forecasting swell conditions at the point most likely to
storage, and shipment of enormous quantities of food by the Government
was a major problem during the war. Weather vitally affected all three
phases of this program and the Weather Bureau was in constant touch
with the War Foods Administrator in Washington, supplying daily, weekly,
and monthly forecasts of weather over the entire United States.
Weather Service.-A history of the development of weather service
in Alaska, particularly airway weather service, prior to the war is
essential to an evaluation of the contribution of the Weather Bureau
to the successful prosecution of the war. The following except from
the report of the Alaskan Resources Committee of December 1937 briefly
outlines the history of weather service in Alaska prior to that data:
meteorological observations were begun at Sitka by Russian missionaries
in 1828. The meteorological work at Sitka was taken over by Russian
Government officials in 1842 and continued until 1867 when the Territory
was acquired by the United States. However, aside from this record
and a couple of others of a fragmentary nature made at mission stations,
there appears to have been no efforts during the Russian occupancy
to make systematic weather records.
after the organization of the United States Weather Bureau under the
Signal Corps of the Army, by the Joint Congressional Resolution, February
9, 1870 (16 Stat., L., 369), weather observations were begun by the
surgeons at several army-post hospitals. Thereafter, a few additional
stations were established, with 13 in operation by 1890, but these
early records were made generally near the coast and no data became
available for the interior until the 80's and then only fragmentary
activities in Alaska necessarily could not begin until it was possible
to secure current daily observations from scattered places in the
Territory by cable, telegraph, and radio. Local forecasts for Juneau
and vicinity were first issued in 1917, and were extended later to
the area traversed by the Alaskan railroad to Fairbanks and the Tanana
Valley. In May 1919 Juneau was designated as the district forecast
observation obtained by radio was from Nome on November 1, 1907, followed
by Eagle on June 24, 1909, Kodiak and Dutch Harber on May 1, 1915,
and St. Paul on August 8, 1915. Prior to these dates observations
were secured regularly from places on or contiguous to the Seattle-Alaska
cable. When the forecast service began in 1917 observations were available
at Juneau daily or twice daily from 10 places in Alaska.....
there were 13 stations transmitting synoptic observations daily, or
twice daily, in Alaska. The first service for aviation was inaugurated
in the same year, with an appropriation of $26,695.00. For several
years thereafter no material change was made in the service to aviation.
plans for an expansion began as a cooperative movement early in 1936
on the part of the Department of Interior, War Department, Post Office
Department, and Department of Agriculture (Wether Bureau), involving
plans for the relief and development of Alaskan aviation. While the
request for funds for this project by the Department of Interior for
the improvement of territorial possessions was not approved by the
Bureau of the Budget in that year, these plans were, in general, followed
later when funds became available.
as to the need of aviation and general weather service within Alaska
was included in a report to the Congress, as requested in the concurrent
Congressional Resolution No. 24, approved August 21, 1937. This report,
by the Alaskan Resources Committee, entitled, "Alaska-Its Resources
and Development" was presented to the President in December 1937 for
transmission to the Congress. The staff report on "Meteorology and
Climatology," prepared by representatives of the Weather Bureau and
a number of the Army Air Corps, proposed a weather-reporting service
consisting of four airway district forecast centers, 7 upper-air reporting
stations, and 82 additional synoptic reporting stations. The committee
pointed out that the advantageous use of weather reports is dependent
upon the ability of the Weather Bureau to organize meteorological
observation stations and the effectiveness and expedition with which
observations can be obtained form such stations. Hence adequate communication
facilities, particularly radio, are vital in carrying out a meteorological
program in Alaska. This committee indicated the necessity of full
cooperation by radio stations, personnel of the Signal Corps (Army),
Navy, and Bureau of Air Commerce (later C.A.A.).
1938 an interdepartmental committee was organized for the purpose
of putting into effect recommendations submitted by the National Resources
committee with respect to weather service in Alaska. A Weather Bureau
representative served on that committee, and at the first meeting
on May 2, 1938, plans were drawn up for nine primary airports and
21 secondary landing fields, with the Weather Bureau presenting an
estimate for consummation of the project.
evidence of fruition of plans of the Interdepartmental Committee was
the transfer of $131,500 from the Army Air Corps to the Bureau for
use in establishing five radiosonde and pilot balloon stations in
Alaska, namely, Point Barrow, Nome, Bethel, Anchorage and Ketchikan.
The War Department considered data from these stations as essential
for accurate forecasting in Alaska for activities of the Army Air
Corps. They were established before the close of the fiscal year 1941,
increasing the number of radiosonde stations to seven, since two had
been previously established at Fairbanks and Juneau. At the request
of the Secretary of War the Weather Bureau set up in its budget for
the fiscal year 1942 funds for continued operations of these five
of the Army Air Corps, outlined "The Minimum Requirements for Safety
of Air Corps Operations in the Fairbanks Area," with respect to weather
service, and listed the need for 18 additional stations for hourly
reporting from 7:30 to 19:30 o'clock with 13 additional stations reporting
at 3-hourly intervals, plus a continuance of reports from existing
stations within the Territory. He further indicated that additional
airway weather service would be required as soon as communication
facilities would enable transmission of reports from other points.
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