Remembering D-Day's untold story: How weather impacted military operation

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The author, Paul Gross, is a meteorologist for our news partner in Detroit. Read on as Gross touches on how meteorology played a role in D-Day. The documentary, included in the video player above, was researched, written and produced by Gross, as well.

In the early 1990s, I spent three-and-a-half years researching the meteorology behind history’s greatest military operation.

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Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, marked the turning point of World War II, and the weather aspect of this story not only is fascinating, but was untold at that time.

Every meteorological aspect of the mission -- the highly inefficient invasion weather forecast process, which will never be repeated as a result, the communication of the forecast, General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s decision to launch the invasion despite very marginal weather conditions, how those conditions so adversely affected our troops and the frightening story about what would have happened had Eisenhower played it safe and delayed the invasion due to the weather -- will make you realize that it was almost a miracle that this critical military operation succeeded.

The documentary I researched, wrote and produced, was deemed so historically significant that it is now part of the official D-Day archives at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, as well as the British Meteorological Archives. It was also named to the permanent collections of the Museums of Television and Radio History in Chicago and New York.

The entire documentary is posted here for you to view and, while television graphics have certainly changed a great deal since 1994, this story is just as compelling today as it was then. I still get goosebumps when I watch it.

All the commercials have been edited out, so your entire viewing time is only about 24 minutes. This is a vital part of world history that is rarely talked about, and it all came down to the weather.

About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.