Hurricane Forecasters Bring Preparedness Message to Atlantic, Mexico and Caribbean

Public invited to tour Air Force Reserve “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft

March 10, 2010

A USAF Reserve C-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft is readied for visitors during the 2009 CHAT stop in Nassau, Bahamas.

A USAF Reserve C-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft is readied for visitors during the 2009 Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour (CHAT) stop in Nassau, Bahamas.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve will host a series of public events from March 18 to 27 in six coastal communities in Bermuda, Mexico and the Caribbean to urge residents to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.  

Tours of the Air Force Reserve Command’s WC-130J “hurricane hunter” aircraft will be available to residents and have an opportunity to meet U.S. National Hurricane Center director Bill Read; deputy director Ed Rappaport; senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila; Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch meteorologist Jorge Aguirre-Echevarria; and personnel from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the 403rd Wing.

“After a relatively quiet 2009 season, we don’t want people to get complacent.  We want coastal residents to be ready for the next hurricane season, and that’s why we’re on this awareness tour before the season begins on June 1,” said Read. “We want to save lives through awareness and preparedness.”

 More than 11,000 people visited the Hurricane Hunter aircraft during the 2009 CHAT stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 More than 11,000 people visited the Hurricane Hunter aircraft during the 2009 CHAT stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Since 1944, military air crews have been flying directly into the core of tropical cyclones to gather critical weather data. Today, the data are sent from the aircraft via satellite directly to the National Hurricane Center for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters.  There were 38 Atlantic missions flown by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron last year, another five in the eastern North Pacific and eight in the central North Pacific.

“The squadron is the only remaining military unit in the world which routinely flies into tropical cyclones to aid in the United States Hurricane Warning Program,“ said Lt. Col. Jonathan Talbot, Chief Weather Officer for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron.

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

NHC Director Bill Read answers questions from the Bahamian media at a stop in Nassau during the 2009 CHAT.

NHC Director Bill Read answers questions from the Bahamian media at a stop in Nassau during the 2009 CHAT.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

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.