Hurricane Forecasters Bring Preparedness Message to Bahamas, Mexico and Caribbean

Public Invited to Tour Air Force Reserve “Hurricane Hunter” Aircraft

March 16, 2009

More than 10,000 people came out to see the USAF C130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft in Ponce, Puerto Rico, March 2008.

More than 10,000 people came out to see the USAF C130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft in Ponce, Puerto Rico, March 2008.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve will host a series of public events the week of March 22 in five coastal communities in the Bahamas, 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, Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch meteorologist Gladys Rubio and personnel from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the 403rd Wing. They also may tour the Air Force Reserve Command’s WC-130J “hurricane hunter” aircraft.

“The Caribbean was hit hard last season by three major hurricanes striking Cuba and two other storms brought devastating floods to Haiti,” said Read. “We want to help save lives through preparedness and awareness before the season begins on June 1.”

Since 1944, air crews from the Air Force Reserve squadron have been flying their aircraft directly into the core of tropical cyclones to gather critical weather data. The data are sent via satellite communications directly to the National Hurricane Center for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters.

The USAF C130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft lands at Guatemala City, Guatemala.

The USAF C130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft lands at Guatemala City, Guatemala, March 2008.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

“The information collected by the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters increases the accuracy of the National Hurricane Center forecast by 10 to 20 percent, which is critical to those in the path of an impending storm,” said Maj. Chad Gibson, chief of Public Affairs for the 403rd Wing. “We will continue to be an integral part of the effort to save lives.”

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

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.