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The Thunderstorm Project 1946-1949

The summer of 1996 marked the 50th anniversary of the Florida phase of the Thunderstorm Project. A second phase of the project was carried out in Ohio in the summer of 1947. Results derived from this pioneering field study in 1946-47 formed the basis of our scientific understanding of thunderstorms, and much of what was learned has been changed little by subsequent observations and theories. The Thunderstorm Project was a cooperative undertaking on the part of four U.S. government agencies: the U.S. Weather Bureau, the U.S. Army Air Force, Navy, and National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (which later became NASA).

Scientists from several universities participated in the initiation, design, and conduct of the Thunderstorm Project. Data which were collected-for the first time from systematic radar and aircraft penetration of thunderstorms-formed the basis of many published studies that are still frequently referenced by mesoscale and thunderstorm researchers. The official project summary "The Thunderstorm" (Byers and Braham 1949), a book published by the Government Printing Office, is probably the best known of these.

The initial phase of the Thunderstorm Project was carried out in central Florida over an area adjacent to the site of present-day Walt Disney World. Because of the pioneering significance of the project and its important contributions to the understanding of our environment, a permanent historical marker was erected to commemorate the project and all who contributed to its success.

Meteorologists from around the country contributed to the marker, the text of which is shown below. It is located in St.Cloud where the Florida phase of the project was headquartered.

Historical research of The Thunderstorm Project still continues today. For more information, please contact Dan Smith.


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