Active 2020 storm season has 403d evacuating its aircraft for third time, this time for Hurricane Delta

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Marnee Losurdo
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

It’s not déjà vu! For the third time this year, the Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing relocated its aircraft this year, but this time it was to get out of the path of Hurricane Delta as it makes its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The wing’s 815th Airlift Squadron, a tactical airlift unit, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, or Hurricane Hunters, are relocating their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. The Hurricane Hunters will continue to fly Delta to provide weather information to the National Hurricane Center, which greatly improves their intensity and track forecasts.

Hurricane Delta intensified into a Category 4 today in the Caribbean Sea with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and is expected to impact Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula early Wednesday and make landfall along the Northern Gulf Coast by Friday, with a risk of storm surge,  wind and rainfall hazards from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle beginning Thursday night and into Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Once again, we are moving aircraft as a precautionary measure ahead of these storms for two reasons: first, to protect the aircraft from damage, and second, so we can continue to fly storm reconnaissance missions,” said Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander. “This year has been challenging. This now ties the busiest storm seasons on record, and we are accomplishing the mission providing valuable weather data for National Hurricane Center forecasts, all while mitigating the impacts of COVID. Regardless of what 2020 throws our way, we have been able to get the mission accomplished thanks to our outstanding Airmen who ensure we are always ready.”