False Alarms in Limon– Military Developed Hurricane Naming and steering Project Stormfury, Cirrus and Baton

Here is some history of hurricanes.

Later, latitude-longitude positions were used in the naming process. However, this cumbersome identification method was confusing during radio communication and more subject to error, according to NOAA. The United States nixed it in 1951 in favor of a naming system based on the phonetic alphabet (including names such as Able, Baker and Charlie) developed by the military.


Hurricane Otto recently went through Costa Rica. The shopping season was canceled on Black Friday even though the weather was nice in Limon. News reports said the hurricane hit Limon but it did not.



Project Stormfury was an attempt to weaken tropical cyclones by flying aircraft into them and seeding with silver iodide. The project was run by the United States Government from 1962 to 1983.


Project Cirrus was the first attempt to modify a hurricane. It was a collaboration of the General Electric Corporation, the US Army Signal Corps, the Office of Naval Research, and the US Air Force.[1] After several preparations, and initial skepticism by government scientists,[6] the first attempt to modify a hurricane began on October 13, 1947 on a hurricane that was heading west to east and out to sea.[5]

An airplane flew along the rainbands of the hurricane, and dropped nearly 180 pounds (82 kilograms) of crushed dry ice into the clouds.[1] The crew reported “Pronounced modification of the cloud deck seeded”.[5] It is not known if that was due to the seeding. Next, the hurricane changed direction and made landfall near Savannah, Georgia. The public blamed the seeding, and Irving Langmuir claimed that the reversal had been caused by human intervention.[6] Cirrus was canceled,[5] and lawsuits were threatened. Only the fact that a system in 1906 had taken a similar path, as well as evidence showing that the storm had already begun to turn when seeding began, ended the litigation.[5] This disaster set back the cause of seeding hurricanes for eleven years.

The objective of Project BATON was the analysis of the life history of thunderstorms. A Department of Defense research activity supported by the Advanced Research Project Agency, Project BATON sought to expand understanding of storm physics as an aid to weather forecasting, fire prevention, and, possibly, for artificially controlling the weather. Dr. Helmut Weickmann, as an employee of the U.S, Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory, and Dr. Paul McReady of Meteorology Research, Inc., were joint leaders of the Project BATON team.[9]

During the 1962 July–August storm season in Flagstaff, Arizona, the scientists, selected “guinea pig” storms, and seeded them with chemicals. Effects were thoroughly analyzed from the ground and from the air with time-lapse motion picture cameras, stereo still cameras, storm radar, lightning detectors, and airborne heat sensors. Among the agents inserted in selected clouds were “condensation nuclei” which temporarily increased the number of water droplets in the cloud, and pulverized dry ice, which turns a portion of the cloud to fine snow crystals that remain aloft. The utilization of these agents facilitated study of a storm’s characteristics.[9]

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