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Cayman to take part in regional hurricane exercise

Local News 06 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Cayman to take part in regional hurricane exercise

On Wednesday 19th April, NOAA National Hurricane Centre specialists will be in Cayman from 8:30am to 2:00pm at Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International Airport, helping residents to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, which begins on 1st June.

The NOAA specialists will be joined by the U.S. Air Force Reserve and will be hosting a series of events across the region to help communities in Mexico and the Caribbean prepare for upcoming storms.

NHC Acting Director Jamie Rhome, along with several hurricane specialists, will be on-hand to discuss hurricane preparedness, resilience and how people can become “weather-ready.” Tours of the Air Force Reserve Command’s WC-130J “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft will highlight how scientists collect data about hurricanes.

Mr Rhome said last year’s Hurricanes Fiona, Ian, Julia and Lisa were some of the most deadly and damaging hurricanes to strike the Caribbean.

“We are excited to be face-to-face with community members to discuss specific risks their communities may face during a major hurricane, especially the dangers of water and storm surge,” he said.

Events around the region will be taking place as follows:

17 April, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Mérida International Airport, Merida, Mexico
18 April, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Chetumal International Airport, Quintana Roo, Mexico
19 April, 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman Islands
20 April, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – San Isidro Air Base Airport, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
21 April, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Providenciales International Airport, Turks and Caicos Islands
22 April, 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Rafael Hernández International Airport, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Lt. Col. Kaitlyn McLaughlin, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron chief meteorologist, said it was important for everyone to plan ahead; from individuals, business, to local governments.

“By relaying the data we gather from the storms to the NHC, who can then provide a greater accuracy of forecasting where a hurricane will strike, it ensures the public has the most up-to-date information to make the best decision; to stay or evacuate,” she confirmed.

Joining the above will be: NOAA NHC senior hurricane specialists Robbie Berg and Daniel Brown, and Dr. Nelsie Ramos from NHC’s Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch; U.S. Air Force reservists from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi; and Ashley Lundry, chief of programmess at NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Centre.

During hurricanes, military air crews fly state-of-the-art WC-130J aircraft directly into the core of the storm to gather critical data for forecasting a hurricane’s intensity and landfall. The data are sent in real time via satellite from the aircraft directly to the NHC for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters.

During the 2022 hurricane season, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew 109 missions into 13 named storms in the Atlantic and east Pacific basins, including Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in the Atlantic and Hurricanes Agatha, Kay, Orlene, and Roslyn in the east Pacific.

The NOAA Hurricane Hunters, stationed at the Aircraft Operations Centre in Lakeland, Florida, also fly missions into tropical cyclones to gather data to support storm forecasts and research. Their Lockheed WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft are piloted by NOAA Commissioned Corps officers and crewed by NOAA meteorologists, technicians, and researchers.

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