Saturday, March 29, 2008

NAVSO Hosts 2008 Hurricane Planning Conference for Jax Area

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alan Gragg, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

GOES E/W Satellite composite image provided by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, Calif., showing the status of Hurricane Wilma at 4:00 am EST. Wilma, a dangerous category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale, has maximum sustained winds near 125 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles. At 6:30 am EDT the center of Hurricane Wilma made landfall very near Cape Romano, Florida. This position is about 20 miles West of Everglades City, Florida. (U.S. Navy photo)

Blog Note: We aren't far away from the annual DoD Hurrex exercise. Time to start dusty off my hurricane freq list. Keep in mind I provide complete coverage of hurricane frequencies on the sister blog to this one -- the Btown Monitoring Post.

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Representatives of Navy commands and ships from Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville gathered at Naval Station Mayport for the 2008 Hurricane Planning Conference hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) March 27.

The event took place at the Afloat Training Group training center, where attendees received information about how to handle extreme weather situations that might occur in hurricane at-risk locations such as Jacksonville.

NAVSO Meteorology and Oceanography Officer, Lt. Mike Duensing said the purpose of the conference was to increase hurricane readiness for attendees, by helping them prepare for when a hurricane hits, "because eventually, it will happen."

The conference also discussed plans for an upcoming Hurricane Exercise (HURREX 2008), where a hurricane situation is simulated so each command knows what to do in case a hurricane hits the area.

"Readiness is the key thing," said Duensing. "With the HURREX coming up, it's the perfect opportunity (for commands) to prepare themselves, to step through all the procedures."

HURREX 2008 provides ships and shore commands with a training scenario to help with emergency preparedness, evacuation plans, personnel accountability, and recovery.

As storms approach each region, a Naval administrative message will be released with an order to account for personnel, designating a start time for personnel accountability and family assessment procedures.