Hancock County Prepares Residents For Hurricane Season

The 2004 Hurricane Season is a little more than two weeks away, that's why Hancock County leaders want to make sure residents are prepared in case severe weather strikes the area.

Leaders are doing just that with a special two day Extreme Weather Fair at Stennis International Airport.

It's called an extreme weather fair, and extreme rainfall fell over the event off and on, but that didn't stop the exchange of information about the services and technology available to residents before during and after a major storm.

Craig Harvey Vice President of a company called N-Vision Solutions showed off a new computerized product his company is marketing.

"This is a react system, a real time emergency management coordination tool. It uses real time data in times of crisis. In this case it would be able to model floods," Harvey said.

The computerized NASA technology is currently being marketed to municipalities across the nation.

"A call can go out in advance and say you're highly susceptible to flooding four the next 4 hours sand bag or leave," Harvey said.

One of the biggest attractions at the fair is the P-3 NOAA Weather research plane.

It's basically a flying laboratory.

"What we do is fly into the hurricanes at what we call mid altitude which is one of the roughest part of the hurricane. There are a number of computers systems that are constantly recording data from different instruments all over the aircraft," said flight director Marty Mayeaux.

Mayeaux says the plane is similar to the ones used by the Air Force Hurricane Hunters but the crew's mission is different.

" We're more on the research end of collecting more information about the dynamics of the storms how they develop where as the Air Force Hurricane Hunters give real time data of where the storm is and support the Hurricane Center in finding out where that storm is going to go next," Mayeaux said.

Seven year old Emma McRaney of Diamondhead was impressed by NOAA's P-3.

"I never knew there were so many buttons and levers on a plane and I didn't know it went through hurricanes," she said.

Organizers say learning what's available to keep you and your family safe during severe weather is what the fair is all about.

The Extreme Weather Fair continues Sunday May 16th from 10 am until 3 PM .

The event is being held at Stennis International Airport near Hancock High School in the Kiln.

The Fair is hosted by the Gulf coast Community Foundation and the American Red Cross.