Hurricane Awareness Tour Returns > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article



National Hurricane Preparedness Week is dedicated to promoting public knowledge of what to do before storms arrive.


A central part of National Hurricane Preparedness Week is the Hurricane Awareness Tour and although hurricanes form every year, this was the first HAT since 2019.


The tour included the Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron and NOAA hurricane fighter jets. The 53rd WRS’ WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft along with NOAA’s Beechcraft King Air 350 CER, Gulfstream IV-SP and WP-3D Orion aircraft attracted hundreds of people to each HAT event.


A number of government agencies and HAT partners took part in the events which allowed officials, as well as national and local media representatives, to meet Hurricane Hunter crews and tour the aircraft in the purpose of promoting hurricane preparedness and awareness before the start of the 2022 hurricane season.


For the past few years, the HAT has alternated tours between five or six cities along the East Coast or along the Gulf Coast region, but the 2022 tour hosted two events near Washington DC and in New York. Scheduled stops this year were Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington DC, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Big Apple.


David Bibo, Deputy Associate Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Office of Response and Recovery, spoke at both events and noted that the schedule makes hurricane preparedness a priority.


“With less than a month to go before the official start of hurricane season, we encourage everyone, not just those along the coast, to identify your risks, make a plan, and stay informed about what’s coming. could happen,” he said.


Bibo encouraged everyone to sign up now for emergency alerts with the apps available on the FEMA website, including the FEMA app, and use Ready.gov to better understand what people should have in their emergency kits, how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.


As the leader of the HAT, Kenneth Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center of NOAA’s National Weather Service, who was accompanied by several NHC hurricane experts, emphasized the preparedness message.


“It’s Hurricane Awareness Week, so let’s use this week to prepare, to spread the word so everyone knows there are resources. Together, we can be ready for hurricane season” , said Graham.


Graham also explained how NOAA, FEMA, the Hurricane Hunters and other agencies have worked so hard to keep people away from hurricanes, and yet the Hurricane Hunters fly directly into storms to get the data needed to save lives. lives.


“You are our heroes, absolute heroes going towards these storms. I can tell you that the data they provide us with is critical to improving our models by 10-15% in trajectory prediction and 15-20% in intensity projections,” Graham said.


The dedication to storm data collection was echoed by Major Christopher Dyke, an air reconnaissance weather officer with the 53rd WRS who gave tours from the WC-130J aircraft. “We are flying continuously despite a storm. For each flight, we spend six to eight hours weaving through a storm. Whatever gives us the best data,” Dyke said.


While Dyke has experience on the HAT, this was the first time for 1st Lt. Nate Wordal, a 53rd WRS pilot on the tour. Wordal joined the squadron last year where he had his first hurricane season as a Hurricane Hunter. He said he enjoys meeting people curious about his unique work.


“It’s great to represent what we do to the public,” Wordal said. “It’s even better when our profession influences people and encourages them to prepare for hurricane season, not just this year but every year. Nothing beats being ready. »


While seeing hurricane fighter jets and talking to their crews was a big draw for the hundreds of visitors each day to the Hurricane Awareness Tour, the big message was hurricane preparedness.


For more information on hurricane preparedness, including tips on how to be prepared for severe weather, you can visit Ready.gov, FEMA.govand NOAA.gov. There are downloadable apps that are helpful in preparing yourself and your loved ones.