[Marxism] GOOD NEWS: Forecasters are grateful to Cuba (Miami Herald)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 30 07:43:11 MDT 2006


I'm passing through Mexico City on my way from Cuba back to Los Angeles.
This afternoon I'll be going out to the protest demonstrations and may
get a few photographs. We'll see. This was in today's MIAMI HERALD and
came as a very pleasant surprise. Cuba has long been completely open to
cooperation with the United States on a wide range of issues, and this
is another example, a quite promising development, in my opinion. It's
on simple matters of basic self-interest that a resolution of many of
the long-standing areas of disagreement between the two countries can
begin to be addressed.


Walter Lippmann
Mexico City, Mexico.
======================================================================
("In truth, said John Pavone, who coordinates hurricane hunter flights
for the hurricane center, the Cuban government has never had problems
with helping out U.S. forecasters.")
======================================================================

MIAMI HERALD
Posted on Wed, Aug. 30, 2006	
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/15395162.htm

STORM TRACKING
Forecasters are grateful to Cuba
In cooperation that three years ago would have been unprecedented, 
U.S. military planes flew over Cuba to help scientists track 
Tropical Storm Ernesto.
BY DAVID OVALLE
dovalle at MiamiHerald.com

U.S military planes soared over Cuba this week.

The sorties did not spark any international incidents -- but they did
help South Floridians indirectly prepare for Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Between Sunday and Monday, U.S. Air Force C-130 ''hurricane hunters''
flew into Cuban airspace at least twice a day, sampling storm
conditions such as wind speed, barometric pressure and other
meteorological measurements.

Despite nearly five decades of tension between the United States and
Cuba, storm safety overrode all that.

''We are both in the same business -- we're trying to save people's
lives,'' said Lixion Avila, a Cuban-born hurricane specialist at the
National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade.

On Tuesday, U.S. forecasters publicly thanked Cuba for granting
access to island airspace so they could obtain data vital to tracking
Ernesto.

Forecaster Stacy Stewart, who was tracking the storm overnight,
tossed in a brief note of appreciation in one of his storm
advisories: ``Special thanks to the government of Cuba for permitting
the recon aircraft to fly right up to their coastline to gather this
critical weather data.''

In truth, said John Pavone, who coordinates hurricane hunter flights
for the hurricane center, the Cuban government has never had problems
with helping out U.S. forecasters.

Civilian WP-3D Orion jets operated by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration flew in Cuban airspace for years. But
their capabilities were limited.

The U.S. Air Force has 10 prop-engine C-130s -- but that branch of
the military long had a self-imposed rule barring its aircraft from
the COmmunist island's airspace.

''Fidel always said we could come on down,'' Pavone said. ``But [the
Air Force] wouldn't do it.''

An old reminder of the rule hangs in Pavone's office: a giant wall
map with an offlimits red zone blocked out around the island.

That began to change in 2000 when Max Mayfield became the hurricane
center's director.

One of his goals was to improve communications with Cuban
meteorologists on storm tracking.

''It helps them and it helps us too,'' Mayfield said of hurricane
hunter flights into Cuban airspace.

Mayfield's international influence also may have helped. He chairs
the Regional World Meteorological Organization's Regional
Association, which includes 26 members from Caribbean countries,
including Cuba.

After Mayfield announced last week that he was retiring in January,
he received a heartfelt e-mail of congratulations from José Rubiera,
head of Cuba's Institute of Meteorology.

The U.S. State Department eventually saw it Mayfield's way.

Three years ago, C-130s made their first flights into Cuban airspace
to help track storms. Their use is not uncommon -- they flew during
Katrina last year when it was still a tropical storm.

Now, to request permission to fly weather missions into Cuban
airspace, Mayfield sends a request to the State Department, which
forwards it to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C.

Last Friday, Mayfield sent off the letter, writing that
``interrupting the data flow will be harmful to the track and
intensity forecast process.''

The data helped forecasters gauge Ernesto's prolonged westward dawdle
over the island -- and eventual weakening.

''We knew everything. [Barometric] pressure, maximum wind speed,
wind. . . . We knew everything,'' said forecaster Avila.

Mayfield said he can't remember ever acknowledging Cuba's cooperation
on recon flights in writing, but he sees no problem with what Stewart
said.

''I'm not sure we've ever thanked them in a public advisory, but it
was a nice touch,'' Mayfield said. ``I've certainly thanked them
informally.''





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