Forecasting natural disasters
It’s a global effort to keep people safe from hurricanes and one of the most important agencies for forecasting these natural disasters is the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command located right here in South Mississippi. Meteorologist Payton Malone went out to Stennis Space Center and has the story.
When most people think of Stennis Space Center, space exploration and technology come to mind, but this site serves another important mission. Researchers and employees use all types of equipment and vehicles, including what you see at the Naval Meteorology Oceanography Command Center, for its role forecasting natural disasters and hurricanes to help save lives and keep people out of harm’s way. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Chief of Staff Captain Ron Shaw said, “We worked with getting ocean data from our autonomous vehicles and also satellite data working with other agencies and then our command in Norfolk, the fleet weather center there, worked closely with the National Hurricane Center on forecasting tracks for these storms.”
The watercraft based out of South Mississippi are used every day to help map Coast lines, but in the case of a natural disaster they can be deployed anywhere across the globe within 72 hours to help enable relief efforts. Senior Chief Aerographer’s Mate Jose Morales said, “We collect information using side scan sonar and single beam sonar and we identify any underwater obstructions to ensure that watercraft can travel in and out of the harbor safely.”
Just one of the many tasks carried out by this special group known as the Fleet Survey Team in the wake of devastation Hurricane Irma unleashed on Florida a few weeks ago. “I led a team going to Key West. We were onboard USS Iwo Jima and we launched out to survey a couple piers and a ramp,” said Morales.