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A Storm from nowhere few days after D-Day in June 1944

The worst storm in 40 years and meteorology is silent.
By :, April 2010 

                   Revised  20. June  2013

 Soon after the landing of troops on the shores in the Normandy since 06 June 1944, an unexpected storm lashed across the English Channel on 19 June 1944 lasting for three days. From Britain to France the operation and supply area for the invasion was severely effected. 800 ships and floating units were beached or lost, more than the German army managed to take out during the entire campaign. It was the most severe storm in June for  40 years has been claimed. The weather maps do not show the event. The Met services did not foresee the event, and modern science is still speechless; no interest, no research, no explanation. That should not be accepted any longer, as the event is presumably a perfect example what sudden excessive activities at sea can do with the regional weather, in a sense that it may have significantly increased the windy weather. During the days before the 19 June the water body of the English Channel had been revolved in an unprecedented manner, by transport, naval control, gun fire, bombing, depth charging, and sinking ships. That is just the stuff weather can be made, and meteorology should at least be willing to learn from such events.  


 D-Day, the landing of the Allied Troops at the shore of the Normandy in France on the morning of the 6th of June 1944. It was one of the most decisive turning point during WWII to defeat Germany within the next 10 months in April 1945. Naturally the weather forecast was crucial. US and British weather units did it separately and often very controversial. However on D-Day the weather ran not against the landing operation, which  initially involved more than 150’000 men and 7’000 ships, 1’200 naval vessels, 850 merchant ships, and about 5’000 transport units as landing or ancillary crafts. The British Met-Office claims that its service is a major landmarks in their history with the annotation[1]

Fig. 1: Surface Map, D-Day June 6, 1944[2]

 “The weather was crucial to the Allied Forces’s success for the D-Day landings in June 1944. General Eisenhower’s chief meteorologist, Group Captain John Stagg, a Met Office forecaster, advised of a narrow ‘weather window’ for the operation to go ahead: "probably the only day during the month of June on which the operations could have been launched," President Truman later said.” 

Luckily the weather did not hamper commencement of the invasion according long-term planning, so there is no need to come up with a judgement whether the weather men had been of a service as claimed. But as they failed to forecast a severe storm only two weeks later, the skill may not have been as high as they wish others to assume.  

Weather maps and Sea activities

 One can only wonder that researchers have been so reluctant to investigate the weather situation around the 19 June 1944 and where the great storm came from. The weather maps indicate nothing exceptional. The air pressure over the English Channel is with 1020 hPa fine, and the pressure difference between Scotland  (1025) and North Italy (1005) is hardly anything that generates strong wind pattern. Nowhere over the North Atlantic loomed one or two storm centers as on D-Day (see Fig above). 

        source of maps :


18 June 1944

19 June 1944

20 June 1944


Source:  Seewarte; 19 June 1944, 08:

 But what is difficult to assess are the uncountable activities above and under the sea surface in the ocean region from Ireland to the southern Biscayan and along the entire English Channel to Dover. In the two weeks after D-Day the Allies constructed two artificial harbours out of 600,000 tons of concrete between 33 jetties within just 3 days, and had 15 km of floating roadways for the discharge of men and vehicles.  The US troops build “Mulberry A” at Omaha Beach; the British “Mulberry B” at Arromanches (later called Port Winston) respectively. Before June 19 the Allies could used the installation to land about 500’000 men, 100’000 vehicles, and 400’000 tons supplies.

Source: US Federal Government, Public Domain

 Although the landing operation itself was expressive the sea area from the West of the English Channel to Dover was packed with ship operation for transport and military actions. The Allies employed more than 1’200 naval ships, the Germans another 200. In addition the Germans started to evacuate their naval bases at Cherbourg, Le Havre, Brest, either to fight the enemy, or to move ship, persons and material to safer ports in Norway or Germany. Many thousand sea mines are dropped form ships and bombers. Bombing missions are flown. There is ship to ship, or ship to air bomber, or shore to ship shelling many hundred times per day. 

From D-Day to the 19th June the sea in a wider area of the Normandy shores was churned and turned up-side-down. The sea surface got colder. Sun warmed water was exchanged with deeper and colder water, while the mid June sun supplied a lot of sun ray to the surrounding land masses. That presumably build the ingredients for the making of a devastating storm which start on June 19 and lasted for three days  by which the “Mulberry A” port at Omaha Beach was so completely wracked that its further use was abandoned, while the damage at “Mulberry B” could be repaired fairly soon. 

 No concern. No interest. No lesson learned.

 A unique weather event occurs at the most crucial military operation of all time, but science is silent. There was no interest than, nor during the last decades to shed any light on the event, why it had not been observed in advance, what caused it, any why did it last for three days in a months which is not known for its storminess. The event caused enormous losses, and severely hampered military operation, which Met services seem not interested to see. One should call this ignorance and behaviours irresponsible. To ‘move on’ immediately after the Great Storm might be understandable in June 1944, but completely unacceptable since the debate on climate change started two decades ago. That would not only be required for  historical reason, but to ensure that weather and climate  research does not fail to investigate well observed events that could tell a lot of weather system. 

If the Met Office is so proud on its service with regard to the D-Day weather forecast, it should be ashamed that the most severe storm for 40 years in the English Channel, from June 19-21, is still not fully assessed, investigated, and thoroughly explained.   

In DEUTSCH am 20. 06. 2013 

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