How weather conditions saved the D-Day invasion | WJMN

(WFRV) – It is one of the most important days in the history of the world. The D-Day mission or codenamed “Operation Overlord” changed the course of WWII as the Allies invaded the beaches of Normandy and claimed victory over the Nazis. The following year, 1945, World War II would end.

What many people don’t realize is that forecasting was difficult and crucial for the invasion. Meteorologists had no satellites to check and relied heavily on surface observations and prior knowledge in the 1940s. Most forecasts made over a day were considered educated guess.

On June 4, 1944, a strong depression spread over Ireland and Scotland. This storm system raised questions about the D-Day invasion.

The weather setup for the initial invasion date of June 5, 1944, had a cold front right off the beaches of Normandy. This created low clouds and winds of over 25 mph in the English Channel, which would have made the invasion very difficult.

Thanks to the hard work of Allied meteorologists, forecasters found a very short window where the invasion could take place the next day. On June 6, the cold front receded, while a stronger system lingered just to the west.

German forecasters had not anticipated this weather break, which made the invasion even more surprising. They did not have access to some of the surface observations that the Allies used to determine brief periods of quieter weather.

Weather conditions after June 6 would have delayed the invasion by several weeks, and by then the Germans might have realized that an attack was imminent.

According to the History channel, US and UK forecasters had differing views on the forecast. Captain James Stagg, who was the meteorologist in charge of the British Royal Air Force, advised General Dwight D. Eisenhower to postpone the invasion until June 6. The weather wasn’t perfect to start on June 6, but the rest is history when conditions eased. at the top.

Dale D. Schrum