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Severe Weather Port Study Effort Expands into Africa
U.S. Navy ships operating throughout the world face environmental phenomena such as strong winds, high waves, storm surge, restrictions to visibility, and thunderstorms, all of which can be hazardous while stationed in ports and maneuvering in and
U.S. Navy ships operating throughout the world face environmental phenomena such as strong winds, high waves, storm surge, restrictions to visibility, and thunderstorms, all of which can be hazardous while stationed in ports and maneuvering in and out of ports.

Because the U.S. Navy recognizes this as a serious concern to ship captains, the Marine Meteorology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, California, evaluates the severe weather suitability of numerous ports around the world. It documents the results in the form of Severe Weather Port studies, which are sent directly to the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, and provide decision-making guidance for ship captains, as well as environmental information for operational forecasters.

The port studies, available on the World Wide Web and in CD form, are widely used by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the small boating and maritime communities throughout the world.

With the development of Africa Partnership Station, the severe weather port study effort has broadened to include African ports of interest. Several port studies have already been completed (see Mindelo, Cape Verde for example: http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/port_studies/medports/africa/Mindelo/index.html).

Currently, African ports are included in the "European Severe Weather Port Guide," http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/port_studies/medports/index.html), however, as additional ports are studied, an "African Severe Weather Port Guide" will be produced and become a vital element to the Marine Safety & Security goals of U.S. Naval Forces Africa and U.S. Africa Command. The ultimate goal is to document port conditions throughout Africa, to ensure that the global maritime community has essential information on environmental hazards in each port, enabling them to safely operate in African ports.

Sources: Naval Research Laboratory, Marine Meteorology Division, Monterey, CA; and Current Actions Branch, Operations & Logistics Directorate, U.S. Africa Command

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Christopher L. Gabriel is a Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) officer, Current Actions Branch, Operations and Logistics Directorate, U.S. Africa Command.

Contributing author: Mr. Sam Brand, Science Applications International Corporation/Naval Research Laboratory, Marine Meteorology Division, Monterey, CA
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