FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Frank Lepore
News Releases 2005
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Hurricane specialists from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and emergency managers will begin a week long, multi-nation campaign on March 13th to share lessons learned from the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season and increase preparedness in hurricane vulnerable countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The team of specialist, flying aboard a U.S. Air Force Reserve Command Hurricane Hunter WC-130 Hercules aircraft, will visit Mexico, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Puerto Rico during a six-city tour.
Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said that the team fulfills both national and international mandates:
“We depend strongly on our regional partners in the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization to acquire and distribute vital meteorological observations. Such cooperation furthers the societal benefits outlined in both the NOAA Strategic Plan and the Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System, the U.S. component of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS) implementation plan to reduce loss of life and property from disasters and improve weather forecasting.”
“The team’s mission is to engage, inform and increase cooperation through face to face meetings with directors of meteorological services and disaster preparedness agencies, and through demonstration of the technology used in tropical cyclone forecasting,” said Max Mayfield, director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and team leader. “When we share information with our regional partners before the season begins, we promote increased efficiency in the flow of vital hurricane warning information among 25 nations.”
The deadly 2004 Atlantic hurricane season brought 15 named storms, nine of which developed into hurricanes. Six of the nine hurricanes were “major” with wind speeds of more than 110 miles per hour (177 kph). Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne proved deadly to vulnerable populations in the western Atlantic. Ivan caused some 92 fatalities—39 in Grenada, 25 in United States, 17 in Jamaica, four in the Dominican Republic, three in Venezuela, two in the Cayman Islands, and one each in Tobago and Barbados.
Hurricane specialists will brief local officials and the media on the general impact of hurricanes in the region. Local meteorological and emergency management officials will assist in answering questions from the media and the public.
The itinerary for the 2005 Latin America-Caribbean Hurricane Awareness tour is shown below - all times are local:
NOAA 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.
On the Web:
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov
Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron: http://www.hurricanehunters.com