Hurricane Hunters Show Off Technology

The weather reconnaissance unit brought its new C-130J airplane to Hancock County for a little show and tell on Thursday. More than 1,000 people turned out for a chance to see the equipment and the people who bring us vital information about hurricanes.

"When we go to a storm, we're measuring winds, temperature, pressure, sea surface temperature, and a lot of the information they can use in real time to put into their computers so they can come up with the forecast," Hurricane Hunter Doug Niolet said.

"Our data makes the forecast 25 percent more accurate than just looking at satellites alone," Maj. Val Hendry said.

That extra 25 percent is very important because issuing a hurricane warning has a major financial impact on the Coast economy.

"It's about $750,000 to $1 million a mile for a hurricane warning," Niolet said.

In addition to getting an up-close look at the weather plane and its equipment, people who came out got some hurricane preparedness tips. They also got to climb aboard "Lil Bill," the unit's miniature hurricane tracker.

Still want to know more? The Hurricane Hunters have tons of info on their Web site, including pictures, stories about what they do, and information on the 2001 hurricane season. Check out their site at

You can also get tons of great hurricane info in our WLOX 2001 Hurricane Center , including current satellite images, and tips on how to prepare for a hurricane.