• Media Contact
  • Dennis Feltgen, NOAA
    305-433-1933 (cell)
  • Capt. Heather Garrett, U.S. Air Force Reserve
    403rd Wing Public Affairs 228-377-2056

Hurricane Forecasters Bring Preparedness Message to Mexico and Caribbean

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

March 3, 2011

WC130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

The WC130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft is readied for viewing during its stop last year (2010) in Bermuda.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA.)

NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve will host a series of public events March 21-26 in six communities in Mexico and the Caribbean to urge residents to prepare for the 2011 hurricane season.  

Tours of the Air Force Reserve Command’s WC-130J “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft will be available to residents along with the opportunity to meet U.S. National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read; Senior Hurricane Specialist Lixion Avila; Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch meteorologist Scott Strippling; and Air Force Reservists from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

“The 2010 season was one of the most active on record with the most significant impact occurring across the Caribbean and Latin America. The next hurricane season begins on June 1st and we want coastal residents to be ready for it,” said Read. “Lives and property are saved through awareness and preparedness.”

Visitors who toured the WC130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

Some of the hundreds of visitors who toured the WC130-J Hurricane Hunter aircraft during its stop in Antigua last year (2010).

Download here. (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 in real time via satellite from the aircraft directly to the National Hurricane Center for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters. During the 2010 hurricane season, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew 100 missions in the Atlantic, covering 127 center fix requirements and 15 investigative flights for the National Hurricane Center.

"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, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron chief weather officer.

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

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.