• Media Contact
  • Dennis Feltgen, NOAA
    305-443-1933 (cell)
  • Major Chad Gibson, U.S. Air Force Reserve
    53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron

Hurricane Forecasters Bring Preparedness Message to Mexico and Caribbean

Public Invited to Tour “Hurricane Hunter” Aircraft

March 10, 2008

NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve will host a series of public events the week of March 23rd in five coastal communities in Mexico and the Caribbean to urge residents to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.  

The public, school groups, and media are invited to meet with National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read, Senior Hurricane Specialist Lixion Avila and personnel from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. They may also tour the Air Force Reserve Command’s WC-130J “hurricane hunter” aircraft. 

“The Caribbean experienced two landfalling category five hurricanes last season,” said Read. “We don’t know for sure what will occur this year, but we can protect our communities through preparedness and awareness.”

Air crew from the Air Force Reserve squadron fly their aircraft directly into the core of tropical cyclones to gather hurricane data. This year all Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft are equipped with the Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer, a new generation remote sensing instrument designed to provide detailed surface wind information in real time. This capability will allow forecasters at the National Hurricane Center to improve the analysis of surface intensity and the overall structure of the storm.

“The information collected by the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters is critical to those that may be in the path of an impending storm,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Moss, commander, 403rd Wing. “Our ultimate goal is to continue to be an integral part of the effort to save lives in those areas.”

Locations and times for the public for tours are listed below (all times are local):

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.