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Monday, April 14, 2008

Take a Virtual Tour of the National Hurricane Center

A tour of the NOAA National Hurricane Center is now as close as your computer with the inauguration of a new virtual online tour of the famous forecast center.

The Web site, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/nhctour.shtml, provides panoramic views of different areas of the facility, accompanied by audio and text descriptions.

“This is an especially useful tool for students who are learning about tropical cyclones and weather forecasting,” said Bill Read, director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. “It also shows how the different branches of our facility work together for the best possible forecasts.”

Included in the virtual tour are the National Hurricane Center operations, the Tropical Analysis Forecast Branch operations, the Chief Aerial Reconnaissance Coordination - All Hurricanes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency liaison, Media & Seminar, NOAA Miami Regional Library, and the Miami National Weather Service forecast office.

The state-of-the-art tour permits the visitor to move around each room in a circle, stop, back up, and zoom in. The audio feature describes the function of each room with a text window available for the hearing-impaired.

“The center is busiest during the hurricane season, but is staffed every day around the clock during the offseason as well.” said Chris Burr, director of the Tropical Analysis Forecast branch. “Visitors to the site will learn why this is so important, especially for marine interests.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

Press Release - NOAA