The Defense Department and other uniformed services provide hurricane protection for the homeland by monitoring, tracking and forecasting hurricanes. If and when a hurricane impacts a region, uniformed services personnel participate in search and rescue activities and, later, with recovery and hurricane mitigation efforts.
Hurricane response is an all-hands-on-deck effort.
Hurricane specialists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is one of the uniformed services, study satellite imagery and computer models to make hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions forecast advisories that go to emergency managers, the news media and the public.
Key data come from NOAA satellites that orbit the Earth, continuously observing storms from start to finish. Polar-orbiting satellites fly over the storm about twice a day at a lower altitude, carrying microwave instruments that reveal storm structure.
The Space Force, in partnership with NASA, tracks these satellites. Also, U.S. Space Command and the Space Force protect these satellites from potential adversaries.
If there's a chance a cyclone will threaten land, NOAA's National Hurricane Center sends Air Force Reserve and NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft to fly through a storm to take detailed observations. NHC hurricane specialists also analyze a variety of computer models to help forecast a tropical cyclone. Each storm is different, and no one model is right every time, so the specialists’ experience with different models is crucial to making the best forecast.
When a tropical cyclone threatens the U.S. coast, NHC confers with meteorologists at NOAA's National Weather Service forecast offices closest to the path of the storm to coordinate any necessary watches and warnings.
The uniformed services support the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with state and local responders when a hurricane strikes. These Defense Department efforts are coordinated by U.S. Northern Command. In the Western Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam and other U.S. territories, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command coordinates DOD efforts.
Some examples of this support:
Uniformed services personnel also assist other nations when deadly and destructive hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones strike overseas.
In turn, allies and partners have assisted Americans at home and abroad.