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Hurricane tour calls us to be #HurricaneStrong

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: May 20,  2016

I had the chance to take part in the Hurricane Awareness Tour yesterday at Brookley Field in Mobile. Aircraft was on display from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Air Force (Hurricane Hunters) and the U.S. Coast Guard.

We had a booth on the tarmac at the event. An educator from the Dauphin Island Discovery Hall Programs (which we help support in our education programing) brought her education show on the road.

Steve Sempier (in green) poses for a photo with our new friends from the U.S. Coast Guard (left) and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (right).
Steve Sempier (in green) poses for a photo with our new friends from the U.S. Coast Guard (left) and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (right).

I spent the day with Hazel Wilson of the Discovery Hall Programs and our deputy director, Steve Sempier, and about 300-400 students in grades 4 and 5, who toured the aircraft and learned about being #hurricanestrong.

If you haven't heard, Hurricane Strong is a national resilience initiative to save lives and homes through collaboration with leading organizations in the disaster safety movement. It was explained to me as a program that everyone/every group is welcome to be a part of. And, its social media campaign, including the #hurricanestrong hashtag and pose, allows people and organizations to easily share their hurricane resilience tips and messages while building awareness that everyone should be prepared for hurricane season.

At the tour event, Hazel helped the students create hurricanes using a bowl, spoon, food coloring and water. Students also learned clockwise from counterclockwise and used wind gauges to see wind speeds. Both Steve and Hazel talked about the Sea Lab's animals that were on display: pufferfish, sea sponges, sea snails and hawksbill sea turtles. I also listened to a number of adults talk about their field trips to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab as children and how much they enjoyed them.

Hazel Wilson, left, helps students create and name hurricanes during an activity.
Hazel Wilson, left, helps students create and name hurricanes during an activity.

The event focused on the students, as well as media, community leaders and local residents. It reminded people of these important Hurricane Strong actions:

  • Know your evacuation zone/route
  • Have an insurance check-up
  • Build a disaster supply kit
  • Strengthen your home
  • Help your neighbor

Other groups who took part in the event as exhibitors included the NOAA Office of Coast Survey, Civil Air Patrol, Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Baldwin County EMA, Mobile County EMA, WMPI-TV, U.S. Coast Guard - Sector Mobile and Fox 10 News. The event was organized by NOAA's National Weather Service.

This blog wouldn't be complete without taking the chance to thank the police officer, the event attendees and the group of men in uniform who stopped to help us get Steve's van out of the ditch. A couple of cars had parked him in at the event, and in an effort to get to the road, he drove over a grassy area. The ditch was wet, and his van got stuck. It took several attempts, but once we had so many people helping, they were able to push it out of the ditch as I hit the gas in reverse. Great teamwork!

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