On a typical summer afternoon thunderstorms will be seen in the skies surrounding this site. So common they are often ignored, thunderstorms are nevertheless vital to the State's economy. They provide most of Florida's annual rainfall, but lightening and strong winds from occasional severe storms can be costly. It was here in the summer of 1946 that scientists used weather radar, aircraft penetration flights, balloon soundings and an extensive network of surface instruments to gather - for the first time - observations which led to an understanding of the structure and life cycle of thunderstorms. This site was chosen because the frequency of thunderstorms in Florida is higher than anywhere else in North America. The Thunderstorm Project was conducted by U.S. Weather Bureau, Air Force, Navy and NACA (forerunner of NASA). Scientists working at the University of Chicago analyzed the resulting data. Theories they developed from observations made here in 1946 - and in the Ohio Phase of the Project the following summer - remain the cornerstone of our understanding of thunderstorms and related weather such as hail, strong winds, heavy rain and tornadoes.