Hurricane Hunters to visit Roanoke in May as part of Hurricane Awareness Tour

ROANOKE, Va Hurricane experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will visit five U.S. East Coast locations, flying aboard a USAF Reserve WC-130J hurricane hunter aircraft and a NOAA WP-3D Orion aircraft, to raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclones threats and the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.

The 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour is scheduled in Roanoke, VA with a stop at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport on May 8th.

The WC-130J is one of ten such aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force Reservists from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, located at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss. The military air crews fly directly into the core of tropical cyclones to gather data that are critical for forecasting a hurricane’s intensity and landfall. The data are sent in real time via satellite from the aircraft directly to the National Hurricane Center for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters.

The NOAA WP-3D Orion turboprop aircraft is based at NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center at Lakeland Linder Airport in Lakeland, Fla. The aircraft is used primarily by scientists on research missions to study various elements of a hurricane, flying through the eye of the storm several times each flight.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham, hurricane specialists Dr. Michael Brennan and Daniel Brown, storm surge specialist Jamie Rhome, mission specialist Warren Madden, USAF hurricane hunter crew members and NOAA aircraft crew members will be on hand to educate residents of vulnerable communities about hurricane preparedness, and will be available for interviews.

Dr. Brennan was a WDBJ7 Weather intern before moving up the ranks at the National Hurricane Center.

Staff from local emergency management offices, non-profit organizations such as the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), American Red Cross, and personnel from the NWS Blacksburg NOAA National Weather Service forecast office will be part of the team at each stop.

More details will be coming in April.