WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Hurricane Tour Arrives

Posted April 30, 2007

That's not a reference to a hurricane taking a tour of course, but instead to a "Hurricane Awareness Tour" being carried out up and down the Atlantic coast by members of the National Hurricane Center (including the new Director there, Bill Proenza, and two of their hurricane specialists, Dr Richard Knabb and Michelle Mainelli) along with local and regional emergency management personnel, emergency responders, local National Weather Service personnel and others with educational and informational material relating to tropical storms and hurricanes, along with preparedness and safety measures applicable to dealing with those storms.

The centerpiece of the tour, and perhaps the big draw for many visitors, is a P-3 Orion NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that will be available for inspection. This is one of several aircraft types (including NOAA Gulfstream IV and Air Force Reserve WC-130 Hercules) that are used to fly reconnaissance missions into and around active tropical cyclones for purposes of gathering observations that can be used in the short term to precisely fix the position of the the storm, measure its intensity, and improve the accuracy of official track and intensity forecasts, and in a longer term sense, to conduct research that will improve our understanding of the physical and thermodynamic properties of these systems.

We're fortunate to have the tour planning a stop in North Carolina, as they will be spending the day in Elizabeth City, at the Coast Guard Air Station there, on Thursday May 3rd. The public is welcome to attend, and you can find much more information if you're interested in a trip over there in a NOAA press release at


You can also read more about the Coast Guard Air Station at



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