All Weather News

Hurricane Hunters: Up Close & Personal

4 May 2017, 4:32 am

Ever wonder what it’s like to fly into the heart of a hurricane? You can talk to those who do, and examine their aircraft as the hurricane preparedness tour kicks off next week.

In an effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation, NOAA’s hurricane experts will tour six eastern cities in the U.S. and Canada to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for the upcoming hurricane season.

The tour will include a U.S. Air Force Reserve WC-130J hurricane hunter aircraft, which flies directly through the eye of a storm, the NOAA G-IV aircraft, which flies ahead of a storm, and at two stops, the NOAA WP-3D Orion research aircraft.

“Now is the time to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season – have your supplies ready and know where you will go when safe shelter is needed,” said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, who will lead the tour. “With advanced planning, communities can better take a hit from nature and recover more quickly. Don’t wait for a storm to threaten – by then it may be too late.”

“The Hurricane Awareness Tour is an important outreach mission,” said Lt. Col. Kaitlyn Woods, 53rd WRS senior meteorologist. “Not only does it highlight the mission of the 53rd WRS and how we work with the National Hurricane Center to improve forecasts, but it also educates the public and children who can take severe weather preparedness messages back to their families.”

Staff from local emergency management offices, FEMA, non-profit organizations, such as the American Red Cross, and several local NOAA National Weather Service forecast offices will join various stops on the tour. Also on the tour is the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) which has the ongoing #HurricaneStrong campaign to re-energize and inspire hurricane readiness by increasing public awareness and action before the next storm strikes.

NOAA has conducted the hurricane awareness tour for more than 35 years, alternating between the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts. The tour is part of NOAA’s hurricane hazard education campaign, coinciding with National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1.

Public tour schedule (all times 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm except Gander):

Sun., May 7: Gander International Airport, Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, 10:30 am to 3:00 pm
Mon., May 8: Long Island MacArthur Airport, N.Y.
Tue., May 9: Reagan National Airport, Washington, D.C. (ends at 4:30 pm)
Wed., May 10: Raleigh-Durham Intl. Airport, Raleigh, N.C.
Thu., May 11: Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando, Fla.
Fri., May 12: Opa Locka Executive Airport, Opa Locka, Fla.

For more information: NOAA.gov

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