The weatherman who saved D-Day

Hello my Dear Amy’s Garden readers! My name is Lydia Tyndall and this is another Miscellany article. James Stagg is my favorite meteorologist and my favorite person involved in D-Day! This article about him is my favorite article that I ever wrote for the Miscellany. I worked very hard on it and am proud of it.


The Weatherman Who Saved  D-Day

The D-Day invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 gave the Allies a foothold in Europe, and it eventually led to the demise of Nazi Germany. This invasion could have ended in disaster had it not been for the intervention of a British meteorologist named James Stagg.   

As World War II raged in Europe, Brittain and the United States began making plans for a massive invasion called D-Day. Led by general Dwight Eisenhower, troops would cross the English Channel and storm the beaches of German-occupied France.

Optimal weather conditions were vital for the success of the invasion. Fog or clouds would make it challenging for bombers to see their targets, and rough seas could overturn landing craft. It would be important to have a meteorologist to advise Eisenhower on weather conditions. James Stagg, a civilian, was given that role in late 1943.

Stagg’s first job was to help determine what type of weather would be ideal for the invasion. He quickly realized that what he considered perfect weather would not arrive soon, but he did discover that early June held the best chances of favorable conditions. Partially because of his input, D-Day was scheduled for June 5, 1944. 

On June 2, Stagg listened to the weather reports from other British and American meteorologists over the phone. In just thirty minutes he was expected to present an agreed-upon forecast for the next five days to Eisenhower, but the meteorologists could not agree on anything. While the British forecasts showed a storm coming into the English Channel, the Americans predicted clear skies. Stagg sided with his countrymen. He knew stormy weather could mean the failure of D-Day and even worse, more soldiers killed. At his meeting with Eisenhower, Stagg advised  waiting for better weather. 

Postponing D-Day was not an easy decision. A full moon and low tides were necessary to remove coastal obstacles placed by the Germans. This left a narrow window of time for the invasion to take place. By Sunday the weather still looked ominous, and Eisenhower was forced to cancel it for Monday. If the forecast did not improve by that evening, the invasion could not take place for another two weeks due to the tidal and lunar requirements. 

As Stagg was pouring over weather charts on Sunday, he noticed a break in the storm that might give Allied forces just enough time to launch the invasion on Tuesday, June 6th. The fate of the invasion revolved around the accuracy of his forecast, but Stagg was confident and reported his prediction to Eisenhower.  

 The D-Day landings took place on June 6, 1944. Stagg’s prediction was correct; the storm did let up long enough for a successful invasion, and the Allies took the beaches at Normandy and continued moving inland. 

Stagg’s forecast is often considered one of the most important in history. It saved the lives of countless soldiers and helped guarantee the success of D-Day. Victory for the Allies was now within reach.  


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