Slow Season for Hurricane Hunters

The 2013 hurricane season was the slowest since 1966 for Air Force Reserve Command’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler AFB, Miss., according to a Dec. 17 release. The squadron, known as the hurricane hunters, flew a total of 34 missions for the National Hurricane Center, during the 2013 season, which ended Nov. 30—a significant decline from its average of 100 missions, said Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, 53rd WRS chief meteorologist. The Reservists deploy from their home base to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, from May to December so they can be closer to the action. Now that the season is over they are packing up to go home, according to the release. Storm taskings on the Atlantic side of the US are typically flown from St. Croix or Keesler; whereas, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, handles Pacific-based storms, states the release. “We need to be close to the storm to be able to respond quickly,” said Talbot. “To do this, we have to make sure we have enough personnel, aircraft, and parts to run around the clock operations to accomplish the mission at our forward operating location.”