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Thunderstorm Research Project

Thunderstorm Project Begins Observations
Thunderstorm Project Goes Into Winter Quarters
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thunderstorm project goes into winter quarters

by C. O. Schick

Unlike any other group, the Thunderstorm Project people leave Florida to seek winter quarters. The operational portion of the Project folded its wings in Orlando September 20. Special equipment mounted in Black Widow P-61 airplanes for this Project was removed during the week of September 23. The SCR-658 and SCR-584 units, as well as meteorological equipment used in the surface stations, will be dismantled during the two weeks following the closing of the project.

Much data has been compiled during the operative season. From May 1 to September 20, rain fell over our network on 111 days. Ninety-one storms were chosen for detailed analysis. The SCR-658 stations (radiosonde-rawin) made 435 releases and the SCR-584 stations (radar-rawin) made 289 releases. The P-61’s flew missions with a total of 554 traverses through thunderstorms, 17 through convective cumulus clouds and 11 on other assorted types of flights.

The surface and upper air personnel had many interesting experiences during the summer. Manifold frogs, snakes and rats accidentally or deliberately found their way into automatic recording instruments. A frog, jumping up and down in a rain gage, gave a very queer trace. Radiosonde balloons encountered a number of unusual meteorological conditions. One balloon was tossed up and down between 14,000 and 17,000 feet for 32 minutes within a thunderstorm. Quite a few balloons were forced down due to heavy rain and icing conditions.

During our airplane operations, one pilot reported heavy snow while flying a thunderstorm. Another plane was tossed over on its back twice during single traverse of a thunderstorm. Super-cooled water was encountered on numerous traverses.

During the winter the Analysis Section will continue to work with the compiled data – both surface and upper air – with hopes of greatly increasing the knowledge of thunderstorms before next summer’s operations. This work will be done in the office of the Thunderstorm Project in Chicago, Illinois.

Personnel who have collected surface data this summer are being transferred elsewhere within the United States – heading for all parts of the country until they are recalled to the Project next spring. Some of them will continue to make rawinsonde observations throughout the winter months at regular Weather Bureau upper air stations. Radar personnel, plus members of the SCR-584 stations are being organized to set up the Weather Bureau’s first Storm Detection Program. This Project is being organized in Washington.

The second phase of the Thunderstorm Project will begin October 1. The Army portion of the Project is under the Air Material Command at Wright Field, with the operating area located in the vicinity of the Clinton County Airport, Wilmington, Ohio. During the winter months, the administrative force of the Thunderstorm Project will lay plans for next year’s operations.

In: “The BREEZE”, Volume 3, No. 9, October 10, 1946. Pp. 3-4.

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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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