U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

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Press Releases


Ross Returns from Hurricane Irma Inspection on Hurricane Hunter

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Washington, September 8, 2017 | comments

LAKELAND, Fla. – Sept. 8, 2017 – U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15), Senior Deputy Majority Whip, provided the following statement after returning from his flight on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunter WP-3 aircraft to inspect Hurricane Irma:

“This is a massive storm that could do serious damage to the State of Florida, Gulf Region, and Southeastern United States. We Floridians are resilient and knowledgeable when it comes to hurricanes and other natural disasters, but we cannot let our guard down. We must remain vigilant and prepared. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying informed, obeying evacuation orders, and preparing our homes and families for this hurricane. Protecting lives is our first and only focus at this moment.

“I took this flight on the NOAA Hurricane Hunter so I could better understand the process behind bringing Floridians and all Americans accurate and up-to-date weather forecasts when they need it most. On this flight, I witnessed first-hand the selflessness and dedication of the NOAA employees who risk their lives to gather this life-saving information. With Hurricane Irma barreling its way toward our shores and additional weather events forming in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, it is clear that their work is absolutely critical and deserving of our full support. I cannot thank them enough for never hesitating to respond to these dangerous events. My colleagues and I will fight to ensure NOAA has the necessary tools and resources to continue conducting this important and necessary work, as well as provide our great state and its people with the resources and manpower needed for preparedness and recovery.

“I also want to thank our local and state leaders, especially Governor Scott, for being on the front lines of this storm and working night and day to protect every single life in Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with all of my fellow Floridians as we take the necessary precautions before this storm arrives. Whatever happens, I know our Florida will rebuild and move forward. Stay safe, and may God bless!”

NOAA and Hurricane Hunters

  • Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, located in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, is the new home of NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) and a nine-plane fleet, which includes three Hurricane Hunters.
  • NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), which oversees the AOC, provides a vital service to the State of Florida and the U.S. by flying into tropical storms and hurricanes to measure their intensity and forecast their paths.
  • The AOC at Lakeland Linder serves as the main base for NOAA’s OMAO aircraft fleet and provides capable, mission-ready aircraft and professional crews to the scientific community.
  • Data collected during hurricanes by these aircraft help forecasters make accurate predictions about a hurricane and help hurricane researchers achieve a better understanding of storm processes, improving their forecast models and, ultimately, our safety.
  • Rep. Ross worked tirelessly on NOAA’s relocation to Lakeland Linder ever since NOAA announced plans to vacate its hanger at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa by July 1, 2017. The decision to relocate to Lakeland Linder was announced by NOAA last November and the move was completed this June.



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