A Hurricane Hunter Here?

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WP-3 Orion
Mike Moss

Each year, the NOAA and its National Hurricane Center conduct a Hurricane Awareness tour that involves bringing a group of emergency management specialists and hurricane forecasters together at a series of locations near the Atlantic or Gulf coasts to remind people about the upcoming hurricane season and actions that can be taken to minimize the threat to life and property from these storms.

A centerpiece of the tour, and perhaps the major draw for many visitors, is a WP-3 Orion NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that will be available for inspection by the public. This is one of several aircraft types (including the 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 two stops in North Carolina this year, as they will be spending the day at the Raleigh-Durham airport on Wednesday May 6th, and then the next day, Thursday May 7th, at the Wilmington airport. The public is welcome to attend at both events, and you can find much more information through the links I've included to a NOAA press release, a local event flyer and a detailed description of the Orion, if you're interested in going out to see the aircraft and meet with some of the weather and preparedness personnel there. If you can't make it the the event yourself, we'll have both Elizabeth Gardner and Nate Johnson of the WeatherCenter out at RDU, so watch for their reports on the air and on the web!

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