Clinton County Historical Society Welcome

Thunderstorm Project Historical Marker

Dedicated Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thunderstorm Marker Dedication

The marker is located at the Lytle Creek Greenway on Davids Drive, Wilmington. Pictured above (L-R): Scott Hickman, Lori Kersey Williams, Mike Kurz, Kay Fisher, Lt. Col. Robert S. Wacker, Mayor Randy Riley, Ken Haydu

The Thunderstorm Project

Thunderstorms were widely recognized as aviation’s most serious weather hazard.  In 1945, Congress mandated and funded a large-scale, multi-agency meteorological study to investigate the causes and characteristics of thunderstorms.  The Thunderstorm Project was a cooperative undertaking on the part of four federal agencies: The Weather Bureau, Army Air Force, Navy and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the precursor to NASA). 

The first phase of the project was carried out near Orlando, Florida.  The project was then moved to the Clinton County Air Force Base (present site of the Wilmington Air Park) for the second phase of study, May—September 1947.

As part of the study, pilots from the CCAFB All-Weather Flying Division of the Air Material Command flew a vertical stack of 5 radar-equipped airplanes (spaced approximately every 5,000 feet from 5,000 to 25,000 feet altitude) simultaneously penetrating thunderstorms and passing over a surface network of weather stations that monitored the surrounding environment. 

The storms were detected and monitored by a large surface radar which also provided guidance for planes and balloon releases.

Significance

Ohio Historical Marker

The Ohio Historical Marker program was designed to identify, commemorate and honor important people, places and events that have contributed to our State’s rich history.  This program, administered by the Ohio Historical Society, is an educational tool, informing residents and visitors about the significance of Ohio’s past. An Ohio Historical Marker for the Thunderstorm Project was dedicated on May 5, 2013.  The marker is located on Davids Drive in Wilmington.

More about the Thunderstorm Project in Ohio by the National Weather Service Forecast Office.

More information about the Ohio Historical Marker program.