Hurricane Hunters make a rare visit to the Star City

By  | 

Hurricane experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) visited Roanoke-Blacksburg airport on their five-stop U.S. East Coast tour.

Flying aboard a USAF Reserve WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft along with the NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft, the pilot, crew and team of meteorologists are hoping to raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclones threats and the danger of being caught without a plan.

"We picked Roanoke because of the impact these tropical storms are having on areas away from the coast," says Ken Graham, Director of the National Hurricane Center.

Southwest Virginia has seen first-hand over the years how vulnerable we are to inland flooding.

Michael Brennan works at the National Hurricane Center where forecasts are put together using data from the aircraft. "We are waiting for every piece of data to come in from the hurricane hunters so we can update the track and intensity."

Before forecasting hurricanes, Brennan was a student at Cave Spring High School, and WDBJ7's first weather intern.

"It's here where I caught the weather bug," he admits. "I experienced the flood of 85 along with Hugo."

Aside from touring the planes, much of the conversation centered around identifying our risk and coming up with a plan in the event of a hurricane event.

"Most of the deaths in recent years come from people driving through flooded roads in their cars," said Graham.