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2013 Hurricane & Safety Expo

Hernando Today correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: June 1, 2013 at 01:18 PM

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Hurricane season is rapidly approaching. It's time to learn how to safely prepare for a hurricane and know the proper supplies to gather together.

A wealth of info will be at your disposal at the 2013 Hurricane & Safety Expo on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, hosted by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office Emergency Management section.

Pamela Harris and the team at Emergency Management said they are very excited to bring the public this year's hurricane expo, chock-full of presentations, demonstrations, and learning activities.

A whole team of meteorologists will be on hand from noon to 1 p.m. to discuss severe weather and hurricanes and to answer questions from the audience, including Steve Jerve, chief meteorologist from WFLA News Channel 8, Bobby Deskins, meteorologist from WTSP Channel 10 News, Juli Marquez, meteorologist from Bay News 9, Dave Osterberg, meteorologist from Fox 13, and Todd Barron, meteorologist from the National Weather Service.

Barry Damiano, senior flight meteorologist on board "hurricane hunter" flights from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, based out of MacDill AFB in Tampa, will also be there to discuss all that he does as a meteorologist flying into hurricanes in order to provide better hurricane track forecasts.

Damiano will talk about how the hurricane hunter team uses two different types of aircraft: a Lockheed WP-3D Orion, a 4-engine turbo-prop aircraft; and a Gulfstream G-IV, a twin jet engine aircraft, to collect different types of data about the hurricane.

"With the Gulfstream, we are sampling the environment surrounding the storm, so that we are getting an idea of winds and how it's going to push the storm one way or another, toward land or away from land, "Damiano said.

"With the Orion, we fly inside the storm to get a better idea of the dynamics that are causing the storm to get either weaker or stronger. We are examining the inner workings of the storm."

Obviously, flying into a hurricane is not for the faint of heart. Where some would avoid doing that at all costs, Damiano said that he enjoys being a professional hurricane hunter immensely.

You will also want to stop to listen to John Burnett, from Hernando County Department of Public Works, as he gives a opresentation titled, "Lessons Old and New," from the "no name" storm of 1993 and Tropical Storm Debby, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.

Two very important demonstrations: a fire extinguisher demonstration and a generator demonstration, will be available throughout the day at the expo.

Guests can learn the types of fires that can be extinguished with a typical home fire extinguisher, whether it be a grease fire, a trash can fire or electrical fire; and learn how to safely run, maintain, and store a home generator.

Matt Bolton, from How the Weatherworks, will provide fun, educational, hands-on weather learning activities in the K.I.D. (Kids in Disaster) Korner.

Bolton, a Brooksville resident and member of the American Meteorological Society, has a passion for meteorology, along with a passion for learning and teaching others about weather.

Bolton is the lead forecaster for central Florida area of Foot's Forecast, a national company consisting of high school and college student weather forecasters, under the guidance of meteorologists.

Bolton also just recently received the Dr. Dewey Stowers Merit Scholarship from the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society so that he can further his meteorology studies.

In 2011, as a high schooler, Bolton presented his meteorological research at the National Weather Association annual meeting. He was the youngest person to ever do so.

Bolton will also be presenting more of his further research at this year's National Weather Association annual meeting this October.

Be sure to check out the hurricane simulator at the expo, where guests can walk feel Category-1 hurricane force winds of 75 mph, and the Florida Highway Patrol rollover simulator.

For a preview, check out the simulator videos and photos at

Also, a weather balloon from the National Weather Service will be on display, along with many emergency vehicles and vendor displays about preparedness, response and recovery.

Two generators, donated by Walmart, will be given away as grand prizes to two expo attendees.

Attendance is free at the hurricane expo. Admission is also free to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and all the park's shows for the day.

Kids can enjoy the bounce house, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and face painting at the expo.

Shuttle buses from the remote parking areas will be provided every 15 minutes from the Lowe's in Spring Hill and Nativity Lutheran Church in Weeki Wachee, both on U.S. 19. Parking is free. The hurricane expo is located at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, at the intersection of U.S. 19 and S.R. 50.

For information, contact Pamela Harris in Emergency Management at (352) 754-4083 or visit

Heather Francis is a correspondent for Hernando Today. She can be reached at

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