Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

May 3, 2011

Weather played a major role in accomplishing bin Laden raid

Bo Zhang
Accuweather.com

State College, Pa. — AccuWeather.com reports weather played a major role in deciding the time for commencing the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the devastating Sept. 11 attacks.



The mission, approved by President Barack Obama Friday morning, had been originally set for late Saturday evening into early Sunday, local time, but was delayed by thunderstorms and high winds.



Showers and thunderstorms were in the area where bin Laden was reportedly living up to about three hours before the operation was to begin. Winds after the storms were gusting more than 30 mph, which would have hampered flight operations into the compound.



The weather improved dramatically Sunday, providing perfect conditions for the mission. The sky was mostly clear, according to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews, with visibility about 3 miles at nearby Islamabad, which kept the helicopters invisible to naked eyes. The wind was light during the time Black Hawk helicopters were low over the northern terrain of Pakistan.



In addition, the moon may also have played an important role in when they decided to strike. The new moon phase Sunday night was beneficial for U.S. Navy SEALs, who were wearing night vision goggles which detect objects by their temperature only, and allow users to see in the absence of light.



The darkness Sunday night well protected U.S. forces, as bin Laden and other people in his compound weren't able to see clearly in the dark.



Weather played a major role in deciding the time for commencing the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the devastating Sept. 11 attacks.



The mission, approved by President Barack Obama Friday morning, had been originally set for late Saturday evening into early Sunday, local time, but was delayed by thunderstorms and high winds.



Showers and thunderstorms were in the area where bin Laden was reportedly living up to about three hours before the operation was to begin. Winds after the storms were gusting more than 30 mph, which would have hampered flight operations into the compound.



The weather improved dramatically Sunday, providing perfect conditions for the mission. The sky was mostly clear, according to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews, with visibility about 3 miles at nearby Islamabad, which kept the helicopters invisible to naked eyes. The wind was light during the time Black Hawk helicopters were low over the northern terrain of Pakistan.



In addition, the moon may also have played an important role in when they decided to strike. The new moon phase Sunday night was beneficial for U.S. Navy SEALs, who were wearing night vision goggles which detect objects by their temperature only, and allow users to see in the absence of light.



The darkness Sunday night well protected U.S. forces, as bin Laden and other people in his compound weren't able to see clearly in the dark.