Vincentians will have an opportunity to learn more about hurricane preparedness and how scientists collect hurricane information when members of the U.S National Hurricane Center and the crew of the WC-130J “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for a two-day visit, beginning today, Thursday May 8.
The main objective of the mission will be to educate residents of vulnerable communities in SVG about hurricane preparedness and heighten awareness for the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which begins on June 1.
The Hurricane Hunter aircraft will arrive at E.T. Joshua Airport at 5 p.m.
Today, Members of Parliament, senior government officials and members of the media will have the opportunity to tour the aircraft, while the public will have the opportunity to tour the aircraft on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m.
The tour also targets 3rd and 4th form geography students.
Person interested in touring the aircraft on Friday must first register with the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).
The mission will be led by Rick Knabb, director of the U.S National Hurricane Center and includes Lixion Avila, senior hurricane specialist, Glady’s Rubio, tropical analysis and forecast branch meteorologist; and Air Force Reservists from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (WRS), 403rd Wing, and Keesler Air Force Base.
“This tour will offer an opportunity to learn how scientists collect hurricane information and is an opportunity to help communities to prepare for a hurricane to reduce the human and economic toll,” Knabb said
The Hurricane Hunter provides data vital to tropical cyclone forecasting. It usually penetrates hurricanes at an altitude of approximately 10,000 feet to collect meteorological data in the vortex, or eye, of the storm. The aircraft normally flies a radius of about 105 miles from the vortex to collect detailed data about the structure of the tropical cyclone.
The information collected makes possible advance warning of hurricanes and increases the accuracy of hurricane predictions and warnings by as much as 20 per cent. Collected data is relayed directly to the National Hurricane Center, in Miami, a Department of Commerce weather agency that tracks hurricanes and is responsible to provide warning services in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
This visit will be coordinated by NEMO, the Airports Department and the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Air Force Reserve as part of the preparation for the 2014 hurricane season.
Earlier this month, the aircraft offered tours to the public in three cities in Mexico and will do the same in Puerto Rico on Saturday.