LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says its famed Hurricane Hunter aircraft are moving from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, about 30 miles east of its current location.
NOAA announced the new home Wednesday for its two Lockheed WP-3D Orion "hurricane hunter" aircraft, along with its Gulfstream IV-SP. The planes fly in and around tropical storms to measure their intensity and forecast their path.
The Air Force told NOAA earlier this year that it needs the hangar space at MacDill and told the agency to move by July 1, 2017. NOAA operations will officially begin in Lakeland on May 1. NOAA will be leasing over 100,000 square feet of space that includes a $13.1 million build out for hangar, office and shop space.