State News

Hurricane hunter, search planes at RDU

Posted May 6, 2009 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2009 9:26 p.m. EDT

— Members of the North Carolina wing of the Civil Air Patrol will display search aircraft during an event that coincides with the display of a hurricane hunter airplane.

The CAP said it will have an open house Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The event comes at the same time a WP-3 Orion hurricane hunter aircraft will be displayed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The hurricane-hunter aircraft is our MRI," said Bill Read, director of the National Hurricane Center. "We can get inside the hurricane and collect highly detailed data, both for operational forecasting and the research to improve our forecasting."

Such forecasts are critical to protecting residents along North Carolina's coast, including the inner coastline along the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, Read said, noting those areas are extremely vulnerable to hurricanes and the surge of water they bring ashore.

The hurricane aircraft also is visiting Wilmington and Key West, Fla., and had previous stops in New Hampshire and New York.