SHOUT 2016 Hurricane Rapid Response Launches Global Hawk Towards Hurricane Matthew
NOAA UAS Program coordinates Science Flight #7 from NASA Armstrong, CA.
Following a 9.7 hour reposition flight from NASA Wallops to NASA Armstrong on September 28th, NOAA’s UAS Program re-established the SHOUT Hurricane Rapid Response posture to support Hurricane Matthew operations. With 48 hours notice, the team launched NASA’s Global Hawk at 1956 PDT October 4th for seventh science flight of the SHOUT 2016 campaign towards Hurricane Matthew.
Of note, SHOUT HRR continued to minimized the number of deployed personnel and took advantage of having Global Hawk Operation Centers (GHOC) at both East and West Coast sites. For the Hurricane Matthew events, the flight crews are all located at Armstrong where they are home based while the payload personnel and science teams are conducting their operations from Armstrong, Wallops or remotely. This has greatly increased operational flexibility while decreasing costs.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 1700 EDT October 4th, "When a hurricane is forecast to take a track roughly parallel to a coastline, as Matthew is forecast to do from Florida through South Carolina, it becomes very difficult to estimate impacts this far in advance. For example, only a small deviation of the track to the left of the NHC forecast could bring the core of a major hurricane onshore, while a small deviation to the right could keep all of the hurricane-force winds offshore. It will likely take another day or so for the potential impacts of Matthew in the United States to clarify."
On October 5th, the Global Hawk collected data East of Florida in close support with the manned aircraft in the vicinity to be used by the NHC and landed safely back at California at 2040 PDT after a 24.7 hour mission dropping 62 sondes. Our next flight is scheduled for 1900 PDT October 6th.