Waging War on Winter Wonderment

Probing the skies of the northern Pacific, a lone, specially equipped Gulfstream IV aircraft operating from Yokota AB, Japan, is steadily expanding the US government’s ability to predict harsh winter weather over the United States. “By expanding our reach to Japan, we are able to gather data upstream of winter storms, thereby gaining more lead time . . . to prepare for the impacts,” explained flight director Jack Parrish of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Along with Air Force WC-130Js that temporarily operate from JB Elmendorf, Alaska, during winter months, NOAA’s Gulfstream helps plot weather movement “where there normally aren’t the capabilities otherwise,” said Parrish. Normally based at MacDill AFB, Fla., the Gulfstream will stay at Yokota through February. It will then move to Honolulu, gathering similar modeling data from the South Pacific. (Yokota report by A1C Lynsie Nichols)