WASHINGTON - With hurricane season just around the corner, hurricane experts are traveling the east coast showing off their Hurricane Hunter aircrafts to the public.
FOX 5's Mike Thomas was at Reagan National Airport Tuesday when four of the Hurricane Hunter planes made a stop. The aircraft are used each year to fly directly into hurricanes and are vital for scientists to collect data on the storms and accurately forecast their movements and strength.
Experts from the NOAA and the U.S. Air Force are using the trips to raise awareness about local threats from tropical cyclones and about the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.
"Today is really about preparedness, about being prepared for the upcoming hurricane season. It's part of a week-long effort by NOAA to make sure the nation is as prepared as it can be for the Hurricane season that starts June first," said acting NOAA administrator, Ben Friedman. "Winds in hurricanes can reach 150 miles per hour or more, enough to send a toothpick like a two by four, enough to lift a car and put it in a tree, enough to destroy a home."
Maybe even more dangerous then hurricanes are the storm surges that come with them, Friedman said. One of the most devastating storm surges was seen in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. "While we can't stop a hurricane, we can predict hurricanes, we can prepare for them. The time to prepare is now, not when the Hurricane comes but now before the Hurricane season starts."