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Hurricane Hunters deploy to U.S. Virgin Islands

7/17/2008 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFPN) -- Hurricane Hunters have deployed from the Air Force Reserve Command's 403rd Wing here to a forward operating location on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to be in position for storm flights.

After Citizen Airmen of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew missions into Hurricane Bertha recently, the National Hurricane Center again has called on them to provide critical data on a new storm system brewing just east of the windward islands.

The C-130J Hercules aircrews are investigating the strong tropical wave which is a westward-moving disturbance gaining a significant amount of convection in the past 24 hours. Heavy showers and gusty winds are sweeping over Barbados as the system approaches. Other windward island locations can expect similar conditions soon.

Satellite images and surface data indicated that the area of low pressure located 225 miles east of the islands had become better organized and that it could become a tropical depression.

The Hurricane Hunters will be flying a mission into the disturbance to provide information to NHC forecasters. Data gathered through aerial reconnaissance is more accurate and gives forecasters a better picture of what is going in inside the disturbance.

Follow-on flights may be scheduled depending on the needs of the NHC.


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