Hurrican Hunter visits the Turks and Caicos Islands

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A US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft touched down at Providenciales International Airport on Thursday as part of a Latin America and Caribbean hurricane awareness tour.

The aircraft, nicknamed Hurricane Hunter, is one of ten that is assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the US Air Force based at Keesler AFB in Mississippi.

Used for penetrating hurricanes, the aircraft carries a minimum of five crew on its aerial weather reconnaissance missions and collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to collect pertinent data on impending storms.

Dr. Richard Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center, who is touring with the Hurricane Hunter crew encouraged a small gathering that was on hand to visit the aircraft to prepare in advance for the next hurricane season which starts on June 1st.

The Governor Dr. John Freeman, representatives from the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, airport employees and students from several schools were granted tours of the aircraft.

Glendell DeSouza, a representative from the Caribbean Meteorological Organization travelled to the Turks and Caicos Islands to be a part of the proceedings.

A typical weather reconnaissance mission lasts about 11 hours, covering almost 3,500 miles collecting and reporting weather data as often as every minute. The aircraft penetrates hurricanes at an altitude of about 10,000 feet to collect data which contributes to the accuracy of hurricane predictions.