Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Weather Observations From Pearl Harbor

This is from Hickam Field. As meteorologists are want to do, he did his duty throughout the attack. The word that is highlighted in the observation? "Terrified."

Because the teletypes of the day were so slow, weather observations were numerals, symbols and very few words.*

Kathleen says, "So what did it say?" This is the oldest version of the Airways Weather Code. It says scattered clouds (the circle with the vertical line) at 3,500' above the ground. 99 mile visibility. In the "weather" column where it would normally say "rain" or something like that, it says "obstructions to visibility" (which would have been smoke) and then he added, "terrified." The sea level pressure was 1018.6 millibars, temperature 72, dew point 61, wind east northeast (the arrows) at 6 knots.

ADDITION: An incredibly well done description of the attack, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, here.

SECOND ADDITION: My friend Nate Johnson relays this fascinating story of the man who made these weather observations...who died a few minutes later.

*The same airways weather code was in use six years later during the Woodward, Oklahoma, tornado. I discuss it in detail here.

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