With the 2018 hurricane season fast approaching, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA and the United States’ Air Force Reserve will be visiting Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Friday as part of the Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour (CHAT).
CHAT is an annual tour aimed at raising hurricane awareness across Latin America and the Caribbean and to maintain, as well as expand partnerships among the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), US Air Force and neighbours in the region.
The tour will also include visits to Mexico, Panama and Puerto Rico. The last team of meteorologists and hurricane specialists to visit Jamaica as part of the Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour was in 2001. The event was then hosted at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
National Hurricane Centre director, Ken Graham and several federal hurricane specialists will visit with residents of vulnerable communities and discuss hurricane preparedness, resilience and how they can become “weather-ready.”
Persons will also have the opportunity to tour the US Air Force Reserve Command’s aircraft “Hurricane Hunter.” The NOAA said this will offer an opportunity for individuals to learn how scientists collect hurricane information. The NOAA G-IV jet, which is a high-tech, high-flying, and high-speed platform used for hurricane forecasting and research, will also be on display.
“Last year’s hurricanes Irma and Maria were some of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike Mexico or the Caribbean… Even as recovery from these devastating hurricanes continues, we have to prepare for another season that is just weeks away,” Ken Graham was quoted as stating in a NOAA release.
The eastern North Pacific hurricane season begins May 15, while the central North Pacific and Atlantic basin hurricane season begins June 1.
During hurricanes, the NOAA revealed that the “military air crews fly state-of-the-art WC-130J aircraft 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 tour comes following a recent meeting of top meteorologists from the United States and the Caribbean held in Martinique to discuss the impending 2018 Hurricane Season. Plans and projections were also discussed for what is shaping up to be another above average year of hurricane activity in the region.