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NOAA HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS CAMPAIGN GOES AIRBORNE FOR
EAST COAST RESIDENTS

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Ivan taken at 3:36 p.m. EDT on Sept. 15, 2004, before the eye of the massive storm made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico.April 29, 2005 With the start of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season just a few weeks away, forecasters from the NOAA National Hurricane Center will join the aircrew from the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center on a "hurricane hunter" aircraft May 2-6 for a five-city, five-day mission to increase hurricane awareness and encourage preparedness in vulnerable coastal and inland communities of the East Coast. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Ivan taken at 3:36 p.m. EDT on Sept. 15, 2004, before the eye of the massive storm made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico. Ivan was one of four hurricanes to strike the state of Florida in 2004. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)

The team of hurricane experts, aided by local NOAA National Weather Service officials, will ride a WP-3 Orion four-engine turboprop, nicknamed "Miss Piggy," to meet emergency managers, media and the public. Cities on the route: Bangor, Maine; Baltimore, Md.; Richmond, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

NOAA image of NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV-SP hurricane hunter aircraft in flight three years ago."Every hurricane season, brave men and women board 'hurricane hunter' aircraft from NOAA and the Air Force Reserve to fly into storms and gather data that is critical to producing accurate track and intensity forecasts of the storm," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. "I invite the public to meet and greet the best of the best and take to heart their important safety messages." (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV-SP hurricane hunter aircraft in flight three years ago. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)

With this tour, Max Mayfield, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center says, "Our objective is straightforward: increase awareness of the hurricane threat for a population relatively inexperienced with hurricanes. Most importantly, we want to share lessons learned last year when four hurricanes affected Florida."

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Ivan taken at 4:15 p.m. ET on Sept. 15, 2004, just hours before making landfall on the USA Gulf Coast."The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season was among the most devastating on record," adds Mayfield. "More than 3,100 lives were lost in Haiti, the second largest Atlantic toll in three decades. In the United States, 60 direct deaths were associated with tropical storms and hurricanes." (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Ivan taken at 4:15 p.m. ET on Sept. 15, 2004, just hours before making landfall on the USA Gulf Coast. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)

At least 92 indirect fatalities occurred last year in Florida alone. Factors leading to such deaths included carbon monoxide poisoning from inadequate ventilation for generators, fires from improper use of candles and traffic accidents due to toppled street lights and stop signs.

"One lesson that bears emphasizing is that loss of life both during and after the hurricane can be prevented with education and a little common sense," Mayfield said.

Dean P. Gulezian, director of the NOAA National Weather Service Eastern Region adds, "Inland flooding and poor human judgment continues to be a lethal combination." Last year, the remnants of the small hurricane, Gaston, dropped more than 12 inches of rain in the Richmond, Va., area causing eight deaths. Five of these were motorists that attempted to drive through flooded roadways.

The NOAA National Hurricane Center will continue its hurricane hazard education campaign during national Hurricane Preparedness Week from May 15-21. Information is now available online.

Tour Schedule
(Approximate arrival times all EDT)
Monday, May 2: Bangor International Airport (access through Polk Street)
School Presentation-Tour 10:00 a.m.; Public access at 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 3: 9:30 a.m., Martin State Airport, Baltimore Md.
Wednesday, May 4: 9:00 a.m., Richmond International Airport, Richmond, Va.
Thursday, May 5: 9:30 a.m., Charleston International Airport, Charleston, S.C.
Friday, May 6: 9:30 a.m., Jacksonville International Airport, Jacksonville, Fla.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA National Hurricane Center

NOAA Aircraft Operations Center

NOAA Hurricane Preparedness Week

NOAA Hurricanes Page

NOAA 2004 Satellite Images

Media Contact:
Frank Lepore, NOAA National Hurricane Center, (305) 229-4404, Pager, (800) 759-8888, #1579600; or Marcie Katcher, NOAA National Weather Service Eastern Region, (631) 244-0149