NOAA Preps for 2017 Hurricane Season

NOAA Plane Image

NOAA Preps for 2017 Hurricane Season

Before satellites were used to find and track storms, military aircraft made regular reconnaissance flights to check for severe tropical weather. Although satellites are the preferred way to monitor for storms, they cannot provide information on the interior barometric pressure of a hurricane or accurately provide wind speed information. The information gathered from Hurricane Hunter flights into storms aids forecasters in making predictions that help people prepare.

The Atlantic Hurricane season begins on June 1, and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s planes are being moved to their new home base to prepare. Currently, the Hurricane Hunter aircraft is housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL. The Air Force realized they needed the hangar space and informed NOAA that they had to move the aircraft. On May 1, the planes will be moved to Lakeland, FL. During their two-year stay at MacDill, two of the Hurricane Hunter planes received upgrades to their engines, wings, and radar.

The aircraft’s new home is a $17.5 million project. The new hangar built to accommodate the large aircraft includes a science lab, an operational hub, and a maintenance shop. Construction on the new hangar began on December 5 to meet the deadline set by the Air Force. The new, bigger hangar is necessary to allow for the Hurricane Hunters to house their nine aircraft.

The Tropical Meteorology Project does not issue its first formal hurricane forecast until early April. Initial outlooks for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, however, suggest that there is a 60% chance for an above-normal hurricane season, 30% chance for a near-normal hurricane season and a 10% chance of a below-normal hurricane season. The average Atlantic hurricane season has about 12 named storms. 

Are you prepared for hurricane season? Our knowledgeable agents can help identify steps you could take in order to protect yourself from severe weather.

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