National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The Hurricane Awareness Tour is coming to Southern New England

for the first time since 2011!

Event Info           The Planes           Who's Coming           Tour Components & Timeline           Directions   

Have you ever been fascinated by hurricanes or wondered how in the world people fly safely into them? Do you have a passion for flying and love viewing various aircraft? Check out this 2-minute video about what it's like to be a Hurricane Hunter then mark your calendar for the 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour in North Kingstown, Rhode Island on May 6th!

Hurricane experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will visit five U.S. East Coast cities, flying aboard a USAF Reserve WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft along with the NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft, to raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclones threats and the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.

The National Hurricane Center Director, Ken Graham, and Hurricane Specialist Daniel Brown, including USAF and NOAA hurricane hunter crew members, will be on hand to educate residents of vulnerable communities about hurricane preparedness and will be available for interviews. Staff from local emergency management offices, non-profit organizations such as the American Red Cross, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), and personnel from the National Weather Service will be part of the team at each stop.

Community groups, media, elected officials, select local schools (schools by invitation only), and the public are invited to participate and tour the aircraft and exhibits. Public tours will be given from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Registration is not required for the public tours. Due to the schedule of the aircraft crew, gates close at 4:30 pm and public tours will promptly end at 5:00 pm. No bags or backpacks allowed inside the event (you can leave them inside your car). 

Hurricane Preparedness Week - May 5-11, 2019

FREE hurricane webinar for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms broadcast LIVE at 10 AM - SIGN UP HERE

Event Info:

What: 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour

Where: Quonset State Airport - 150 Airport St, North Kingstown, RI 02852

When: Monday, May 6th, 2019 2 - 5 PM

Admission: Free!

Things to Do:

  • Tour Hurricane Hunter aircraft
  • Meet the pilots & flight crew
  • Speak with hurricane forecasters
  • Meet local National Weather Service meteorologists
  • Tour emergency vehicles and equipment
  • Walk through exhibits from various agencies & organizations
  • Learn about weather safety & preparedness

About the Planes:

WC-130J - "Hercules"

The WC-130J is a high-wing, medium-range aircraft used in weather reconnaissance missions. This plane is configured to penetrate tropical disturbances and storms, hurricanes and winter storms and obtains data on the movement, size and intensity of these systems. The WC-130J is the weather data collection platform for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. It carries a minimal crew of five: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, aerial reconnaissance weather officer and weather reconnaissance loadmaster. The crew collects and reports weather data as often as every minute.

NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion "Hurricane Hunter"

NOAA's WP-3D is a part of the agency's fleet of highly specialized research and operational aircraft operated, managed, and maintained by the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and based at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, FL. NOAA operates two Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft in order to conduct low-altitude data collection to fill gaps in data not available from ground based radar or satellite imagery. It typically holds a crew of of 8 to 21 people including: 2 pilots, 1 flight engineer, 1 navigator (meteorologist), 2-3 Engineering/Electronic specialists, 1 Radio/Avionics specialist, and up to 12 scientists.


  • NOAA Aircraft Operations Center
  • USAF Hurricane Hunters
  • National Hurricane Center
  • NWS Weather Prediction Center
  • NWS Boston/Norton Weather Forecast Office
  • Northeast River Forecast Center
  • Rhode Island Emergency Management
  • FEMA
  • American Red Cross
  • CoCoRaHS
  • USAA

Special thanks to FlightLevel Aviation for hosting this event at the Quonset State Airport! 

Tour Components and Timeline:

Introduction Presentation and Briefing This portion of the event will run from 9:30 AM until 2 PM, and will be available to government officials, media, and select school groups by invitation only.
USAF Reserve, WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft This aircraft will be on display throughout the duration of the event. Visitors from the public will be able to participate in guided walk-throughs of this aircraft from 2-5 PM.
NOAA's Lockheed WP-3D Orion Hurricane Hunter aircraft This aircraft will be on display throughout the duration of the event. Visitors from the public will be able to participate in guided walk-throughs of this aircraft from 2-5 PM.
Public Safety & Preparedness Exhibits and Displays In addition to the aircraft, several NWS partners will be on hand staffing exhibits and display booths to join us in our effort to promote hurricane awareness, preparedness, and resiliency. Examples of such partners and exhibits include: American Red Cross, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), Southern New England SKYWARN, Rhode Island Emergency Management, the National Weather Service Boston, and many others. This portion of the tour will be available to all visitors and will run through the duration of the event.


Timeline of Events


9:15 AM to 9:50 AM Press conference and event kick-off
9:50 AM - 10:15 AM C130 / WP-3D VIP Tours
9:30 AM - 2:00 PM Student Tours - by invitation only
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM C130 / WP-3D Media Tours
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM Event Open to the Public for Tours - Registration is not required; simply show up
5:00 PM Gates To Enter Event Close


Location and Directions: Quonset State Airport


  • From I-95, follow signs for RI Route 4. Take Exit 7B for RI 403 East toward Quonset.
  • Rt. 403 becomes Roger Williams Way.
  • In 1.3 miles, turn left onto Eccleston Ave., which curves left onto Airport Rd.


We would like to say thank you for the support of

RI EMA, North Kingstown, RI Air Guard, RI Army Guard, RI Civil Air Patrol,
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), FEMA, Red Cross, FlightLevel Aviation, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, 

 and Rhode Island Rentals