May 7, 2001 — The nation's East Coast, which has experienced its share of deadly and costly storms, will be the focus of a hurricane public awareness tour May 7-11. A team of hurricane forecasters from NOAA will visit emergency managers, media and students in five East Coast cities to increase awareness and preparation for the coming hurricane season that starts June 1. (Click NOAA image to find out more about NOAA's WP-3 "Orion" aircraft.)

The team, dispatched by NOAA's National Hurricane Center, will use NOAA's WP-3 "Orion" aircraft as a tool to brief state emergency managers and the media on hurricane preparedness and reach out to local students and the public in storm-vulnerable Portsmouth, N.H., Dover Air Force Base, Del., Washington, D.C., Florence, S.C., and Opalocka, Fla.

Within 50 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, "There are an estimated 48 million people now living in harm's way," said Max Mayfield, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center. "About 85 percent of this population has never felt the direct effect of a major hurricane," he added. Mayfield said the below-normal hurricane activity of the 1970s and 80s encouraged an explosive building boom along both coasts. "The lack of significant storm activity led residents to assume their locations were safe or if their community was near a land-falling storm, the encounter was indicative of a direct hit."

Mayfield cautioned an upturn in hurricane activity since 1995 puts coastal populations at an increasing risk for a storm strike. "Regardless of size, any tropical storm or hurricane can inflict damage and loss of life," Mayfield said. He added while the United States did not experience a land-falling hurricane in 2000, "the averages are bound to catch up with us."

NOAA's hurricane awareness team reflects the agency's involvement in the science behind the storms—from research to forecasting and warning. "Joining NOAA personnel and aircraft are men and women from the U.S. Air Force Reserve who also fly into the storms to measure a hurricane's vital signs. "Add an informed public to this partnership and we've got an outstanding combination," said Mayfield. "We want to share what we know so people can do their part to plan, prepare and take appropriate action when the time comes."

The tour alternates visits to the East Coast and Gulf Coasts annually to bring the hurricane awareness message to at-risk communities. "We can help reduce losses caused by these powerful storms through public education and information," said Mayfield.

NWS recently asked its state partners to participate in "Hurricane Awareness Week," May 21-25, 2001. NWS has also initiated a program to provide life-saving information at the National Hurricane Center home page. The public is invited to visit the site to learn more about the threats of hurricanes and safety measures to protect lives and property.

The following is the itinerary for the 2001 East Coast Hurricane Awareness Tour:

Location (Airport) Arrival Date
Aircraft Tour Date
Departure Date MacDill Air Force Base
Tampa, Florida
  May 6, 2001
11:00 am
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Pease International Trade Port
Sunday, May 6
3:00 pm
  Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Pease International Trade Port
Monday, May 7
Aircraft Tours:
VIP/ Media
9:00-10:00 am
Public 2:30-4:30 pm
May 8, 2001
7:30 am
Dover, Delaware
Dover air Force Base
Tuesday, May 8 9:30 am
Aircrat Tours:
10:00 am-2:00 pm
VIP/ Media
2:30 pm-3:30 pm
Public 2:00pm-5:00pm
May 9, 2001
7:30 am

Washington, D.C
Reagan International Airport

General Aviation Terminal
Wednesday, May 9
9:30 am
Aircraft Tours:
Invited Students
9:30 am-2:00 pm

VIP/ Media Tours
2:00 pm-3:00 pm
May 10, 7:30 am Florence, South Carolina
Regional Airport
Thursday, May 10
9:30 am
Aircraft Tours:
Schools 10:00am-2:30 pm
2:30 pm-4:30 pm
VIP Tours
4:30 pm-5:30 pm
May 11, 2001
7:30 am
Miami, Florida
Opa Locka Airport
Friday, May 11
9:30 am
Aircraft Tours:
10:00 am-3:30 pm
VIP/ Media
3:30 pm-5:00pm
May 11, 2001
5:30 pm

Relevant Web Sites
Hurricanes: Nature's Greatest Storms

NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center

NOAA's National Hurricane Center

Highlights of Hurricane Season 2000

Hurricanes 2000 — Climate summaries and satellite images

Archived NOAA satellite imagery of historical events

Atlantic Tropical Events 2000 — NOAA satellite imagery

Media Contact:
Frank Lepore, NOAA's National Hurricane Center, Miami, Fla., (305) 229-4404 or Robert Chartuk, NOAA's National Weather Service Eastern Region, (631) 244-0166



This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004

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