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Raleigh Wake Squadron participates in Hurricane Awareness Tour

CAP recruiting booth
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Lt Col Jay Langley (L to R) stands with the members of his event recruiting team: 2d Lt Colin Garr, 2d Lt Dawn Stange (North Carolina Wing Recruiting and Retention officer), C/SSgt Sam Jones, 1st Lt Alex Ramos and C/CMSgt John Thomas. Photo Credit: 1st Lt H.J. Bentley III, CAP (click image to view full size)
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Great public turnout at RDU event

5/14/2017––On Wednesday, May 10th, hurricane experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aviation Operations center in Florida and Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi stopped in at the Raleigh Durham airport to help raise awareness about the importance of preparing for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.

Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina Department of Emergency Management officials, FEMA staff, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the American Red Cross, and several local NOAA National Weather Service forecast offices were on hand to answer questions and provide hands-on demonstrations to the public.
During the event, members of the Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron showcased CAP aircraft actually used during Hurricane Matthew assessment flights. Lt Col Jay Langley, squadron commander of NC-048, stated that, "it was a great opportunity to help the public learn about CAP and all the amazing things that we do." More than one thousand people came to participate in the Hurricane Awareness Tour, creating the perfect recruiting opportunity for the Raleigh-Wake Composite squadron. 
Gracia Szczech, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region Four, was on hand as part of the awareness team said, “Civil Air Patrol has been our initial go to organization for obtaining situational awareness, and they have been a great partner.” “We look forward to working with them in the future.”  
Along with other hurricane specialists, Warren Madden from the Weather Channel and Dr. Rick Knabb, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center, will travel on the two aircraft when they visit as part of its efforts to build hurricane awareness in the 26 most hurricane-prone states. The NOAA team will tour five East Coast cities in the United States and one in Canada showcasing an Air Force Reserve Lockheed WC-130J hurricane hunter aircraft and the NOAA Gulfstream G-IV aircraft, both of which are used in hurricane tracking and forecasting.
The team emphasized that hurricanes of any strength, even tropical storms, can be and are life-threatening. “People have to realize there is a big big difference between how busy the hurricane season might or might not be overall and how bad it might be where you live, so you need to have a plan in place,” said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, located in Coral Gables, Florida. Knabb added, “a lot of people around the country and around the world can learn a lot from what happened here in North Carolina following Hurricane Mathew and realize just how heavy and damaging and deadly rising water can be.”  
As North Carolina learned from both hurricanes Matthew last year and Fran in 1999, the dangers of raising water, both storm surge on the coasts and river flooding from heavy rains many miles inland can be deadly. “I urge everyone in the state of North Carolina to have a plan in place,” said Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina’s Division of Emergency Management. “We’re committed to providing the people of North Carolina with the information they need to act.”
Szczech encouraged people to begin preparing now for the start of hurricane season, and said a good start is to find out if they live in a hurricane evacuation zone, “so download the FEMA App today, I did for my mother's zip code and you should too.”
The WC-130J is one of ten specially configured aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force Reserve from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, located at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. When flying hurricane missions, USAF Reserve air crews fly directly through the eye of the storm several times, remaining in the storm environment for up to 16 hours each flight. They collect and transmit collected data by satellite directly to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center so that forecasters can analyze and predict changes to the hurricane’s path and strength.
The NOAA Gulfstream G-IV is part of the agency's fleet of highly specialized research and operational aircraft. The G-IV is operated, managed and maintained by the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. It flies at high altitude around and ahead of a tropical cyclone, gathering critical data that feeds into hurricane forecast models.
NOAA has conducted the hurricane awareness tour for more than 30 years, alternating between the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. The tour was followed by NOAA’s hurricane hazard education campaign during National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 24 to 30 being held at the Campus of ECU in Greenville. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1.