Hurricane Field Programs gears up to fly Sam, recaps missions so far this year

All three NOAA heavy aircraft are deploying to St. Croix today in preparation for missions into what is now Tropical Storm Sam. AOML/HRD plans to collaborate with the Office of Naval Research Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensification (TCRI) field campaign to fly P-3 and G-IV aircraft missions into Hurricane Sam in the central North Atlantic. The aim of these missions will be to conduct experiments to study tropical cyclone intensity change and rapid intensification, to provide data to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, and to collect observations for NOAA’s Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system (HWRF) forecast model.

AOML/HRD is also collaborating with AOML/PhOD and the Navy on Saturday afternoon to deploy 2 ALAMO floats ahead of the storm from the NOAA-P3. These floats will measure temperature, salinity, and pressure in the upper 300 m of the ocean, profiling every 1-2 hours for several weeks.  The data collected and transmitted will be used to understand the ocean’s interaction with tropical cyclones and improve coupled hurricane forecasting models.  For more information on ALAMO floats and NOAA’s pre-season P-3 tests last spring, please visit this link:

Just before the deployment, HRD held a series of meetings to discuss accomplishments so far this season. There have been 31 P-3 flights and 19 G-IV flights so far this year. Data from nearly 1500 dropwindsondes were transmitted off the aircraft for use by hurricane specialists and ingestion into numerical models worldwide. In addition, 154 analyses of Doppler radar data obtained during the flight were created and sent to hurricane specialists, with the data being assimilated into regional tropical cyclone models to improve model initialization. You can find the slide decks with more information at

For details about upcoming aircraft missions, please see NOAA’s official Plan of the Day.

For the latest information about tropical cyclones and other weather systems, please visit the NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center.

Media inquiries should be directed to AOML Communications (, Monica Allen (301-734-1123) or

DISCLAIMER: The above discussion is intended to provide a brief summary of recent and future HRD Hurricane Field Program Operations. Any use of this material beyond its original intent is prohibited without permission of the HRD Director, Frank Marks (

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