Horace R. Byers
Director, Thunderstorm Project
in Orlando, Florida, the Thunderstorm Project is well
underway. Though its field headquarters are located in
Orlando, the Project headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois,
under Region Three. At the present time, there are 54
automatic recording surface stations, approximately one
mile apart, south of Orlando in an area 7 miles wide by
13 miles long. All of these stations are serviced once
daily with the double register, the rain gauge, microbarograph
and hygrothermograph charts being changed every 24 hours.
There are also six Army 658 raob-rawin stations located
just outside of the area. This Army equipment is operated
by Weather Bureau personnel. Communication between all
of these upper air stations, headquarters in Orlando,
and the controlling radar station located west of Orlando
is carried on by means of the Project’s radio network.
with the detailed microanalysis of the usual surface and upper
air meteorological information, the project has nine P-61’s
(the Black Widow) and three gliders assigned to it in order
to get better information as to what takes place in a thunderstorm.
These planes have instruments to record vertical currents, new
electronic temperature measuring instruments, radio altimeters
and radar scopes, which will be photographed, and it is hoped
that the electrostatical field recorders will be received some
time this summer.
a modified P-61 which was used in the Thunderstorm Project
maps are being plotted and drawn for every 5 minutes during
the time of all thunderstorms or large convective showers.
There were twenty such periods in May which is far above
the climatological average. Some of the thunderstorms
recorded so far have been small cloudbursts with up to
five-tenths of an inch or rainfall recorded per five minute
period. The total rainfall recorded for any one storm
has been approximately 2 inches in one hour. Upper air
analysis of raobs and rawins started on May 27 and the
airplanes are scheduled to begin flying through storms
the first part of June. Data received from all sources
will be analyzed.
the field headquarters in Orlando, another sub-field headquarters
has been organized at Station 26 in the surface network,
on Lake Tohopekaligia where 3 temporary Army buildings
have been erected. This serves as headquarters for the
personnel that service the surface network, the personnel
working on the 658 stations, and the personnel working
on the 654 stations. Besides the 3 buildings, there is
a 658 rawin and 1 of the mobile radiosonde stations located
there. It is a well organized station, even to the nice
beach for off-duty swimming a short distance down the
station is far from the nearest drinking water supply,
and the need for a well was felt. The equipment for a
pump type well consisted of pump, pipe, and a driving
point. The latter caused Mr. L. M. Dye, meteorologist
in charge of the Observations Section of the Project,
some embarrassment. It seems that after driving the pipe
and point approximately 8 feet into the ground, they decided
to move the pump to a new location. The pipe came out,
but not the driving point. At Mr. Dye’s suggestion,
the men dug a small hole so that the point could be reached.
However, this hole was quite narrow and the Meteorologist
in charge of the Observations Section volunteered to be
lowered by his ankles head first. This happened a bit
more rapidly and violently than intended, and even though
he did recover the pipe point, Mr. Dye had a hard time
explaining to everyone just how he got that coating of
sand during the middle of the day.
“The BREEZE”, Volume 3, No. 6, July 10, 1946.