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Hurricane Hunter visits Grand Cayman

Local News 16 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Hurricane Hunter visits Grand Cayman

A Hurricane Hunter aircraft will be in Grand Cayman on Wednesday April 19th, on a regional tour to educate and prepare people for the 2023 hurricane season. The visit is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) and the United States Air Force Reserve’s annual tour of Latin America and the Caribbean, during which they advise on their role in assisting countries in hurricane regions.

Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Jamie Rhome, who will be in Cayman said “we are excited to be face-to-face with community members to discuss specific risks people face during a major hurricane, especially the dangers of water and storm surge.” During the visit, the Acting Director of the NHC along with other high- level representatives of the NHC will meet with Premier Wayne Panton, who in addition to his Ministerial Responsibilities for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, is the current Chair of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization. In anticipation of the meeting, the Premier said, “On behalf of the Cayman Islands Government, I am pleased to welcome the visiting representatives of NOAA and the United States Air Force Reserve to our islands. As we look ahead to another Atlantic hurricane season, it is reassuring to know that our region has the technical support of the experts at the National Hurricane Center. These relationships are incredibly important to improving our national disaster preparedness and resiliency.”

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, an elite United States Air Force Reserve Unit form the crew of the Hurricane Hunter aircraft and they will showcase the WC-130J Hurricane Hunter on 19 April, 2023 to a number of scheduled school groups from both public and private schools in Grand Cayman, and they will share their experiences of flying through hurricanes.

There will also be a number of educational booths and displays set up by local agencies, including Hazard Management Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands National Weather Service, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Cayman Islands Airports Authority and the Cayman Islands Regiment, with representatives from these entities discussing their role in hurricane preparedness and response with those in attendance.

The Hurricane Hunter is only here for a relatively short visit, so while the aircraft will not be open for general admission, the public will be able to tune in to Radio Cayman’s For the Record Show on 19 April from 7:30 am and then Talk Today Show from 12:15 pm, to hear from the Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center Jamie Rhome and other senior meteorologists and forecasters including Daniel Brown, NHC’s Senior Hurricane Specialist in charge of Warning Coordination. The public can of course call in and ask questions on these radio shows as well.

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 is sent in real time via satellite from the aircraft directly to the NHC for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters.

All the events are being coordinated by the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) and Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI). HMCI Director, Dani Coleman said the work of the National Hurricane Center was of critical importance, with hurricanes being the number one threat to life and property in the Cayman Islands, “We appreciate the work of the brave and intrepid crews on these Hurricane Hunter aircraft who fly directly into these hugely powerful storms and help keep us informed and prepared for all significant threats.”

Director General of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, John Tibbetts also added his gratitude for the visit and the work of NOAA and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, “Every year we work in close partnership with the National Hurricane Center and to have the senior leaders of the NHC here in the Cayman Islands is a great opportunity for us. They will certainly inspire the students who get to tour the aircraft and meet with these top experts. We hope the public will also take the opportunity to tune in to Radio Cayman on 19th April to hear about the latest developments in hurricane forecasting and risk analysis from the Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center, including some information that has significant implications for the people in the Cayman Islands.”

For additional information, please contact Simon Boxall, HMCI Communications, Public Awareness and Training Officer on Simon.Boxall@gov.ky or Tel, (345) 244-3145

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