Hurricane Hunters Land In Galveston To Raise Awareness

Hurricane season begins June 1, and to make residents aware of it, officials are touring the Gulf Coast with their “Hurricane Hunter” airplanes.


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Hurricane season begins June 1, and to make residents aware of it, officials are touring the Gulf Coast with their "Hurricane Hunter" airplanes.

Crew chief Angel Negron gives me a tour of the G4 Hurricane Hunter by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The jet is tasked with flying near a hurricane that has formed over the water and determining which way it is moving.

"After this airplane started flying in 1997, it improved the track models by about 25 percent," Negron says.

James McFadden manages the hurricane program for NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center.

"We drop sondes around the hurricane and out in the environment away from the hurricane, looking for the steering currents that will drive the hurricane," he explains.

These devices are small tubes with instruments inside. As they glide down with a parachute, they send information, such as temperature, pressure and wind speed, back to the plane.

Visitors at the Scholes airport in Galveston also get to tour a C-130 Air Force plane that actually flies through hurricanes. It delivers the sondes into the storm to determine its strength and potential.

Steven Cooper, director of the National Weather Service southern region, says they do this awareness tour every year – alternating between the Gulf and the East Coast.

"We bring the planes out because it's a good thing to grab, a visual grabber," he says. "We have typically, I think there are about 600 school kids that are coming through today."

Cooper says it's important to get people thinking ahead of the hurricane season so they make preparations and don't get complacent.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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