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NOAA HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS CAMPAIGN GOES AIRBORNE FOR GULF COAST AND FLORIDA RESIDENTS

NOAA image of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Miss., showing tractor trailers and huge rolls of newsprint destroyed and scattered in the storm’s wake.April 28, 2006 With the impact of a record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season still etched on the coastline from Texas to Florida, and recovery on the minds of its residents, forecasters from the NOAA National Hurricane Center will join the aircrew from the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center on a hurricane hunter aircraft tour from May 1 - 5. The five-city, five-day mission will increase hurricane awareness and encourage preparedness in vulnerable coastal and inland communities along the Gulf coast and Florida. (Click NOAA image for larger view of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Miss., showing tractor trailers and huge rolls of newsprint destroyed and scattered in the storm’s wake. Click here for high resolution version. 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 hurricane hunter, nicknamed "Miss Piggy," to meet emergency managers, media and the public. Cities on the route include Brownsville, Tex.; Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex; Mobile, Ala.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Tampa, Fla.

NOAA image of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in Bay St. Louis, Miss."The brave men and women who fly into the heart of the hurricane are our sentinels in the storm," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "They, and their U.S. Air Force Reserve Command counterparts, gather data critical to producing more accurate forecasts vital for warning the public." (Click NOAA image for larger view of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

"Working in partnership with federal, state and local emergency managers and the media—we can help educate the public," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. "But the public should also take responsibility for preparing themselves to recognize and respond appropriately to severe weather threats."

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Katrina taken Aug. 28, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. EDT as the storm raged as a Category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico, a day before it slammed into the Gulf Coast."Educating the public is our continuing mission," said Max Mayfield, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center. "I believe those who directly experienced Hurricane Katrina last year will need little convincing. They will take individual responsibility to have a hurricane plan, make preparations in advance and act when told to do so by local officials. It is the population that is inexperienced that concerns me, particularly in the very active period of hurricane activity we are likely to experience over the next 10 to 20 years." (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Katrina taken Aug. 28, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. EDT as the storm raged as a Category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico, a day before it slammed into the Gulf Coast. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

The NOAA National Hurricane Center will continue its hurricane hazard education campaign during national Hurricane Preparedness Week from May 21-27.

Tour Schedule
Mon., May 1: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, Brownsville, Texas (media tours, (local time) 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.; public tours, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Tue., May 2:Beaumont-Port Arthur Southeast Texas Regional Airport (media tours, 2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.; public tours, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Wed., May 3: Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile, Ala. (media tours, 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.; public tours, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Thu., May 4:Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Fla. (media tours, 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Fri., May 5:Tampa International Airport, Tampa, Fla. (media event, 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

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.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 61 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Hurricane Preparedness Week

NOAA National Hurricane Center

NOAA Aircraft Operations Center

NOAA Satellite Images of 2005 Storms

NOAA Hurricanes Page

Media Contact:
Dennis Feltgen, NOAA National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622 ext. 127