National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hurricane Awareness Tour stop #1
McAllen, TX

May 7, 2018 Sunday, May 6th Determine your risk

Hurricane Awareness Tour Coming to McAllen for First Time!

NWS logo image Airport logo image USAF Hurricane Hunters logo image
Event Info The Planes Directions Who's Coming

2017 was the busiest Atlantic Hurricane Season for United States and its territories in terms of landfall and impact. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were sampled hundreds of times by Hurricane Hunter Aircraft. Did you ever want to know how the brave men and women known as Hurricane Hunters fly into and around these wicked storms? Perhaps you’ve always wondered how one of these aircraft, a US Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, outfitted to fly into the heart of a hurricane, survives the intense winds and rain. Or, how another crew measures critical data over and around the hurricane in another aircraft, the NOAA Gulfstream G-IV SP, to determine how intense a storm may become, in order to help improve forecasts? Maybe you're interested in meeting the dedicated pilots and crews who fly the missions, and some of the specialists who use the data to provide information that ultimately might save your family’s lives?

If you’re interested in answers to these questions and more, please come to the cargo area on the north side of McAllen/Miller International Airport during the afternoon of Monday, May 7th. Ask questions of the flight crews, the hurricane forecasters, and others who play vital roles in monitoring and predicting these storms. Visit special equipment used by Rio Grande Valley emergency officials to keep you safe prior to, during, and after a hurricane. Walk through the vendor exhibits from local emergency management agencies, disaster relief organizations, utility companies, and much more. Admission is FREE, and plenty of parking will be available. Click here to download a printable flyer!  A Spanish flyer is available here.


Event Information

What: 2018 Hurricane Awareness Tour

Where: McAllen/Miller Int'l Airport, Cargo Facility
2201 Uvalde Avenue, McAllen, TX  78501

When: Monday, May 7th, 2 PM to 5 PM

Admission: FREE!

Things To Do: 

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

About the Planes

C-130 image

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 Gulfstream IV-SP (G-IV) - "Gonzo"

NOAA’s Gulfstream IV-SP (G-IV) jet is a high-tech, high-flying, and high-speed platform used for hurricane forecasting and research. It is a sophisticated twin-engine jet piloted by NOAA Corps officers and crewed by NOAA civilian engineers and meteorologists. The G-IV flies around and over developing tropical cyclones to create a detailed picture of the surrounding upper atmosphere. It a range of nearly 4,000 nautical miles and a cruising altitude of 45,000 feet.

G-IV image

Directions & Parking

Please note: Parking is in a remote lot.  McAllen Metro shuttles and trolleys will run continuously between 1:30 and 4:40 PM to the facility, and return trips will run until 6 PM.

From Interstate 2:

  1. Exit 10th St/2nd St./Main St. (Exit 142)
  2. From the East (Pharr/San Juan): Continue on Frontage one block past 10th Street. Turn right; the parking lot is on the right where the old McAllen Civic Center used to be. 1300 S. 10th St.
  3. From the West (Mission): From the Frontage, make the U-turn at 10th Street. Turn immediately right; the parking lot is on the right where the old McAllen Civic Center used to be. 

Directions from Interstate 69C (Edinburg):

  1. Exit at Junction for Interstate 2 in Pharr,  Westbound (toward McAllen)
  2. Follow Interstate 2, Exit 10th St./2nd St./Main St. (Exit 142)
  3. Continue on Frontage one block past 10th Street. Turn immediately right; the parking lot is on the right where the old McAllen Civic Center used to be.
McAllen Hurricane Awareness tour shuttle parking and map to facility

Map of parking area for tour and shuttle route. Click to enlarge.
City of Weslaco/EMTF-11/CBRAC Evacuation Ambulance
The World Famous City of Weslaco and Emergency Medical Task Force Region 11 (Texas) Evacuation Ambulance, or AmBus for short, is one of four additional displays. The AmBus saved many lives during Hurricane Harvey; read the New York Times Article.

Hidalgo County Mobile Command Unit

City of McAllen "VacTor" truck used for rapid drainage clearing

City of McAllen High Velocity Pump used for drainage clearing

Who's Coming?

Other Displays on the Tarmac
  • City of Weslaco/EMTF-11/CBRAC Evacuation Ambulance (AmBus, Above)
  • Hidalgo County Mobile Command Unit (Above)
  • Cameron County Morgue Trailer
  • City of McAllen "Vac-Tor truck" and Velocity Portable Pump (Above)
Enterprise and Partner Displays in Front of the Facility
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Texas Division of Emergency Management, Region 3/District 21
  • Texas Department of State Health Services
  • South Texas Emergency Care Foundation
  • American Red Cross of South Texas
  • Salvation Army of McAllen
  • Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley
  • Rio Grande Valley Amateur Radio
  • Hidalgo County Health Department
  • Cameron County Health Department
  • Hidalgo County Emergency Management
  • Cameron County Emergency Management
  • City of Edinburg Emergency Management
  • 2-1-1 Texas of the RGV
  • Texas Department of Insurance
  • McAllen Hospital System
  • South Texas Cajun Navy
  • Walmart of McAllen
  • Walgreens of Weslaco
  • Costco of Pharr
  • DLJ Commercial Roofing, LLC
  • Holden Shutters
  • KRGV Channel 5 News
  • KGBT CBS Channel 4 News
  • KTLM-40 Telemundo of the Rio Grande Valley
  • KURV 710 AM Radio
  • ...and more to be announced!