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About the National Hurricane Center

Bill Proenza, Director
Ed Rappaport, Deputy Director
Ahsha Tribble, Executive Officer

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) maintains a continuous watch on tropical cyclones over the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific from 15 May through November 30. The Center prepares and distributes hurricane watches and warnings for the general public, and also prepares and distributes marine and military advisories for other users. During the "off-season" NHC provides training for U.S. emergency managers and representatives from many other countries that are affected by tropical cyclones. NHC also conducts applied research to evaluate and improve hurricane forecasting techniques, and is involved in public awareness programs.

NHC also contains the Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance Coordination, All Hurricanes (CARCAH) unit. It is a small three person unit, an Operating Location of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Hurricane Hunters) out of Keesler Air Force Base near Biloxi, Mississippi. CARCAH's mission is to coordinate all aerial reconnaissance requirements at NHC (Atlantic requirements) and at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (Central Pacific requirements), then task the flying units to meet these requirements.

Data from the reconnaissance aircraft (normally a WC-130) is fed directly to CARCAH via satellite down link. It is quality controlled then provided directly to the hurricane specialist for use in the forecast and warning process. It is also entered into the world weather networks.

During the winter season, CARCAH also coordinates the aerial reconnaissance requirements in support of the National Winter Storms Operations Plan, which provides for flights off the U.S. east coast and over the Gulf of Mexico when severe winter storms are expected. The data is again received at CARCAH and quality controlled before it is submitted to the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. It is then included in their suite of computer weather prediction models.

Learn more about what's involved in making a Hurricane Forecast.

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Page last modified: Wednesday, 21-Feb-2007 20:23:13 GMT