The 6 lost Hurricane Hunter missions, Part III: Typhoon Doris, 1953

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:43 PM GMT on June 29, 2009

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The tropics are quiet right now, as the "invest 93" disturbance over the Yucatan Peninsula has dissipated, and no computer models are showing any Atlantic tropical storm formation over the next seven days. Thus, it's a good time to continue with my series on the six typhoon/hurricane hunter missions that never returned.

The third typhoon hunter mission lost occurred on December 16, 1953, during a penetration by a Navy PB4Y-2S (Bu No 59176) into Typhoon Doris. The aircraft was part of a six plane squadron, VJ-1/VW-3, COMFAIRGUAM, based at the Naval Air Station in Agana, Guam (VJ-1 was formed in 1952 at NAS Sand Point, Seattle, Washington, and the name later changed to VW-3). The PB4Y-2S aircraft made its initial penetration into Doris' eye at 200 - 300 feet. As the aircraft radioed back a report at 2245Z, the transmission suddenly ceased. The plane was never heard from again. At the time, Doris was a Category 2 typhoon with sustained winds of 95 knots (110 mph). Again, given the low penetration altitude of the aircraft, it is likely that a downdraft carried the plane into the sea. It's pretty common to get downdrafts that will cause a 300 foot loss of altitude, despite the attempts of the pilot to climb with full power to the engines.

A nine-day long search and rescue operation failed to find any trace of the missing aircraft. Tragically, two aircraft involved in the search and rescue mission crashed, killing 39 more people. The first of these planes was a R4D (DC 3) that crashed into the crater of Agrihan Island, Mariannas, killing all ten crew members. This aircraft was not from the NAS Agana, Guam group. In addition, a B-29 based at Anderson AFB had an engine fail while looking for the missing typhoon hunter aircraft, and crashed during landing into an officer's housing area on Guam. A total of 29 people died in the crash, including at least 11 of the 16 crew members on the aircraft.

The nine crewmen lost during the flight into Typhoon Doris were:

Pilot J. W. Newhall age 39
Co-pilot S. B. Marsden, age 29
Lt. Cmdr. D. Zimmerman Jr., age 35
Ltjg. F. Troescher Jr., age 26
AL1 F. R. Barnett, age 26
AD1 J. N. Clark, age 32
AD3 E. L. Myer, age 20
AL2 N. J. Stephens, age 23
AO3 A. J. Stott, age 23

I got in contact with Austen Doolittle, who was operating the radio set in Guam when the transmission inside Typhoon Doris from the plane's radio operator, Norm Stephens, suddenly stopped. Austen recalled:

Jeff, I appreciate receiving your email, Earl Beech and I were at our second reunion in 55 years the 4th to 8th of May at Pensacola FL. Had a great time. Its important to the members of the VJ1/VW3 to make people aware of what we were doing so many years ago as 19 and 20 year old young sailors. I lost three of my best navy friends in that accident, and to this day I still wonder about the happenstance of my being on base radio that day and receiving the POMAR reports from Norm Stephens. There was an ability to recognize the hand or keying of people you knew, and I know that Norm Stephens was keying that last message to me. When he cut off I knew something had happened, and it really shook me up, and I tried to raise the plane many times until I knew it was not possible. I still have many pictures of Norm, Don Stott and Jim Clark in my album. Thanks for what you are doing, I really appreciate it. I've had a long and fruitful life since then, but I'll never forget that day, and still wonder why I was so lucky.

Austen



Figure 1. Painting of a Navy PB4Y-2S "Privateer" aircraft flown by the VJ-1/VW3 Squadron. Image credit: USS Whitehurst DE-634 web site. Several stories by members of the VJ-1/VW3 Squadron concerning the Typhoon Doris disaster are posted on the web site.

Other sources: http://www.vpnavy.com/vj1_notice.html

Past posts in this series:
October 1, 1945 typhoon
Typhoon Wilma, 1952


I'm back from vacation now, and my next blog post will be Wednesday, when I'll present the July Atlantic hurricane outlook.

Jeff Masters

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1190. cg2916
1:47 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046
1189. gilby715
1:29 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting StormW:
Good morning!

Gonna need a life jacket...4.62" of rain here from 7:00 a.m. yesterday, to 7:00 a.m. this morning...still raining.


i am in lakeland and it seems like when the bad stuff hits polk it hits a wall. tornados in brandon this morning headed my way and its barely sprinkling. i guess we have a force field!!
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 10
1188. Tazmanian
1:28 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting clwstmchasr:
This could be ana

Don't be fooled by the satellite. The conditions in front of this wave are very unfavorable.




hmmm this wind shear map dos not look very unfavorable too me in fac wind shear is vary favorable this about any where there may be a few pake it of 20 to 40kt of wind shear here and there but any way this about evere has favorable wind shear


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
1187. CaneWarning
1:22 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Ya, looks like a rought morning

000
NWUS52 KTBW 011246
LSRTBW

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
845 AM EDT WED JUL 01 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

0815 AM LIGHTNING 6 SW CLEARWATER 27.89N 82.82W
07/01/2009 PINELLAS FL EMERGENCY MNGR

*** 1 INJ *** INDIVIDUAL WAS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING WHILE
INSIDE A MEDAL SHED NEAR LARGO. TRANSPORTED TO HOSPITAL
WITH AN INJURY TO HIS HAND.




000
NWUS52 KTBW 011238
LSRTBW

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
838 AM EDT WED JUL 01 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

0730 AM FLOOD 3 S HUDSON 28.32N 82.69W
07/01/2009 PASCO FL EMERGENCY MNGR

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN PASCO CO. REPORTS FLOODING NEAR
ZIMMERMAN AND RANCH RD SOUTH OF HUDSON. EVACUATING 10
BLOCK AREA.



Yeah I drove in a couple of feet of water this morning.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1186. nrtiwlnvragn
1:21 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting CaneWarning:
Tampa is flooding.


Ya, looks like a rough morning

000
NWUS52 KTBW 011246
LSRTBW

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
845 AM EDT WED JUL 01 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

0815 AM LIGHTNING 6 SW CLEARWATER 27.89N 82.82W
07/01/2009 PINELLAS FL EMERGENCY MNGR

*** 1 INJ *** INDIVIDUAL WAS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING WHILE
INSIDE A MEDAL SHED NEAR LARGO. TRANSPORTED TO HOSPITAL
WITH AN INJURY TO HIS HAND.




000
NWUS52 KTBW 011238
LSRTBW

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
838 AM EDT WED JUL 01 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

0730 AM FLOOD 3 S HUDSON 28.32N 82.69W
07/01/2009 PASCO FL EMERGENCY MNGR

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN PASCO CO. REPORTS FLOODING NEAR
ZIMMERMAN AND RANCH RD SOUTH OF HUDSON. EVACUATING 10
BLOCK AREA.

Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
1185. weathermanwannabe
1:21 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Good Morning; All's Good in the tropical atlantic and who knows what will happen in the next few months but I have a question; in modern history (last 50 years) what is the "least" number of storms in a single season?...........Thanks
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9413
1184. CaneWarning
1:16 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Tampa is flooding.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1182. Ossqss
1:01 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
1172. ph34683

This may help also.

A COMPREHENSIVE GLOSSARY OF
WEATHER TERMS FOR STORM SPOTTERS
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
1181. NEwxguy
12:51 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
That UL is to move into eastern canada,but 2 more lows are to replace that one over the weekend and early next week,a little warmer here the ne,but no summer weather in sight.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15989
1180. ph34683
12:49 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Pulse storms are quickly forming storms that get strong then they die quickly.


Thanks! I'd never heard of them before.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
1179. Stormchaser2007
12:44 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting ph34683:
Is an "ISOLATED PULSE SEVERE STORM" the same as a down burst?


Pulse storms are quickly forming storms that get strong then they die quickly.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
1178. Tazmanian
12:41 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
the ENSO Wrap-Up is update

Summary: El NiƱo event likely

Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
1177. sebastianflorida
12:38 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
I am thinking 2 or 3 storms and 1 hurricane fish storm in 09
Member Since: August 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 719
1176. crownwx
12:38 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Good morning all!!
I took a look at the CFS model forecast for the next few months off of the AccuWeather Pro site and found a couple of interesting things.

July: The UL low looks to lift NE this month into eastern Canada which may allow some warmth into the NE US. Lots of hvy precip off of coast of Africa, but then tapers off the further west you go, which likely means any TWs will "peter out" the further west you go. Lack of precip over much of Caribbean likely due to Columbian low pressure system.

August & September: Found the precip strip up off of the US East Coast interesting, may be a clue to tropical systems paralleling the US East Coast as they track N and NE. Also, there is an area of heavier precip over the NE Gulf of Mexico that is kind of curious. Wondering if this means something? The setup is pretty much the same for both August and September.

October: Area of heavier precip near North Carolina coast and near Cuba.

Looks like Caribbean stays dry for much of the summer and also interestingly the western Gulf of Mexico until September and October.

Thoughts are more than welcome!!

-Rob @ Crown Weather Services
Member Since: December 27, 2004 Posts: 3 Comments: 207
1174. sebastianflorida
12:17 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
No Storms in 09, yewhue!!!! So glad they all fell apar this season!
Member Since: August 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 719
1172. ph34683
12:13 PM GMT on July 01, 2009
Is an "ISOLATED PULSE SEVERE STORM" the same as a down burst?
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
1169. SpicyAngel1072
11:55 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Good morning all 8-)
Member Since: September 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 315
1167. ph34683
11:46 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Morning! Only 3.07" here.

Just got a tornado warning over the radio...
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
1165. IKE
11:29 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Here's what's going on in the tropical Atlantic>>>>yawn.

Day 31.
152 to go and it's over.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1163. Cavin Rawlins
11:08 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Good Morning

First Day of July

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1162. ycd0108
11:07 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Here is the arrival of the seismic signal from the earthquake in the Med.:
http://earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/stndon/wf-fo/index-eng.php?day=1&filter=autoscaled&month=07&st ation=first&tpl_region=swbc&type=network&year=2009&hour=9#SECTION_1

Since it was off shore there should not be too much damage unless it generates a tsunammi. there was an aftershock as well and this thing may not be quite over yet.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 187 Comments: 4742
1160. Bailey1777
9:12 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Anybody see anything coming out of that flare up around 5N - 35W?
1159. Dar9895
7:23 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting Dakster:


Now, come November 30th and no named storm, I might believe you...


Remember 2004
1158. Seastep
5:12 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Got it still... no worries.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
1157. Seastep
5:08 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Interesting since I received no answer on FOYV... switched to my daughter to test something else.

Web Page Blocked by Company A.
We've blocked this web page for daughter because it contains potentially inappropriate content. If you think we've made a mistake, you can ask a parent to allow the web page.

Parents, to allow this web page, please follow these instructions:

1. Log in to your account on this PC, and open SecurityCenter.
2. On the SecurityCenter Home pane, click Parental Controls.
3. In the Parental Controls information section, click Configure.
4. On the Parental Controls Configuration pane, click Advanced.
5. On the Parental Controls pane, click Filtered Web Sites.
6. Type the web page's address in the http:// field, and click Allow.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
1154. TampaFLUSA
5:03 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting BtnTx:
comments regarding Firefox deleted...

No there not
Member Since: June 21, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 1657
1153. Levi32
5:02 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting Seastep:


????


He did the right thing really. I shouldn't have even said that one sentence about FF. The rules state that we should keep to the topic of the blog or tropical weather.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1152. Seastep
4:57 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting BtnTx:
comments regarding Firefox deleted...


????
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
1151. Seastep
4:56 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
FOYF?
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
1150. stillwaiting
4:56 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
FF91:how much rain today,got .28 inches in the last 24,down the shoreline here on siesta key,you live near oldsmar,yes???
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
1149. BtnTx
4:52 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
comments regarding Firefox deleted...
Member Since: October 12, 2001 Posts: 20 Comments: 892
1148. FLWeatherFreak91
4:49 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting Vortex95:
my dad still uses AOL as a browser...
Nice haha
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
1147. stillwaiting
4:44 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting Drakoen:


LOL!


I was commenting that I thought it would be a deep layered ridgea and he was talking about the set-up in about 10-14days as a deep layerd ridge establishes over the SE again,what he's asking I already know,deep layered ridges produce surface divergence resulting in low rain chances and would have high pressure in all layers of the troposphere....FOYF
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
1146. BtnTx
4:43 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting CycloneOz:


I've been running landline imagery for a few years now.

When I found these, I literally fell in love with them.

On the bright side, now that you know what you're looking at...watch the show again! :)

I've been watching it weekly as it's progressed...and I still am mesmerized by the shapes, patterns and movements of our weather systems.

I'm going to keep it as it is this year, and hopefully, next year...I'll get lucky again with some rarely seen / beautiful imagery! (knock wood! :)



Impressive & very unique presentation with superb music!
Member Since: October 12, 2001 Posts: 20 Comments: 892
1145. Levi32
4:31 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting CycloneOz:


You are most welcome. :)

But you guys now working in video too have raised the bar, so I had to step up! ;)


Wow I forgot there was a 2nd sector showing the SE US....that was fascinating. You could see the ridge build over the SE states through the month and the evolution of 93L with the east coast trough taking energy out of it and everything. Very cool.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1143. SomeRandomTexan
4:25 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Good job OZ! thanks for spending all your time for our enjoyment!
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
1141. Levi32
4:20 AM GMT on July 01, 2009
Quoting extreme236:


One formed in the WPAC at about 1.4N


Cyclone Agni reached 0.7N, the closest to the equator any observed tropical cyclone has gotten.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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