NOAA 2006-026
Contact: Frank Lepore
NOAA News Releases 2006
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


Hurricane specialists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service and emergency managers are scheduled to begin a six-day, five-city tour of the Caribbean region March 13, to raise public awareness of the Atlantic hurricane threat. They will visit Mexico, Nicaragua, Curacao, Grenada and Puerto Rico.

The team of specialists from the National Hurricane Center will travel aboard a U.S. Air Force Reserve Command WC-130-J “Hurricane Hunter“ Hercules aircraft. The “Hurricane Hunters” of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron are designed to gather position and intensity data by flying directly into the storm and to relay vital information from the core of the hurricane to the forecasters.

Hurricane specialists will work with local officials and the media to raise awareness of the threat posed by hurricanes in the region. The team will also discuss lessons learned from the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season with Caribbean meteorological and emergency management officials and the public.

“Forecasting hurricanes requires cooperation and coordination across borders. Our meteorologists need the weather observations taken by World Meteorological Organization member countries, reconnaissance aircraft, and satellites to issue the timely and accurate forecasts emergency managers and the public need to make good decisions,” said Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Such cooperation furthers our ability to reduce the loss of life and property from disasters and to improve weather forecasting – benefits outlined in the Strategic Plan for the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).”

Max Mayfield, director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, said the team was responding to the public awareness needs identified by NOAA’s partners in the region. “The 2005 Atlantic hurricanes caused significant loss of life and economic damage throughout the region. We are sharing what we learned and experienced with our neighbors. The battle against hurricanes is really won by raising awareness before the season starts,” he said. “Once the forecast is issued, people must heed the warnings of their local government officials.”

The U.S. Air Force Reserve WC-130-J aircraft will be on display for the public and school children during the following hours (all times local):

Aircraft on Display
Mon, Mar 13 Homestead AFB  
Mon, Mar 13

Chetumal, Mexico

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tues, Mar 14


Managua, Nicaragua
Managua Int’l

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Wed, Mar 15


Hato Int’l

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Thurs, Mar 16


Point Salines Int’l

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fri, Mar 17 Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sat, Mar 18 Return to Homestead AFB  

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. CommerceDepartment, 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 our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Additional background information is available on the Web:

NOAA National Hurricane Center:

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron:

WC-130 aircraft fact sheet: