Weather Alert

WATCHING THE TROPICS

A tropical wave in the western Atlantic is moving northwest and Thursday model runs keep the storm away from the Gulf Of Mexico.

WEATHER ALERT


WATCHING THE TROPICS

WEAR - Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Hurricane Hunters

     
Since hurricane season officially starts today, we are taking a look at how hurricane hunters risk their lives as they collect weather data to help improve forecast models and increase evacuation time.
 
Hurricane hunters fly a plane in through a hurricane to collect weather data that's critical to keep people safe.

There are two groups that do the hurricane hunting. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters and the Airforce Hurricane Hunters.
NOAA flies a P3 and the Airforce flies a C130.

The P3, nicknamed Miss Piggy, has been through 84 storms since 1977. It's an all-weather airplane with three different radars on board.

The C130 is milti-fascited, it's a very stout plane and it's built for combat so that's what makes it able to do the mission that it does.
Not only do they have different planes but they also serve different purposes.

The Airforce does one mission which is hurricane reconnassonce and the P3's do two missions which is hurricane reconnassonce and hurricane research.

They fly at different angles through the storm, which is called an Alpha pattern, looks like an hourglass and they're actually going through all of the different quadrants and are trying to find that theoretical low pressure center.
The C130 is able to fly in the storm at all heights, where the P3 stays closer to the ocean surface.

They can be in the storm at the same time and communicate with them. They have to make sure that as we drop our equipment to get the data, we have to make sure we coordinate with them so we don't drop something on top of them.

This dropsonde is one of the vital instruments on the P3. It drops from one of the holes above me into the ocean where it collects vital and critical weather data.

It sends back atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction back to the plane two times a second.
The data helps the National Hurricane Center better predict the landfall of the mission

Each season and each storm is different but after multiple trips into these tropical cyclones, the crews still have the same thought about the storm.
"It sounds so strange to say that a hurricane can be beautiful because it does so much destruction but just seeing that inside, it's something that I'll never forget."