NOAA Hurricane Hunters risk their lives to keep public informed

Reporter: Dylan Federico Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

They risk their lives and fly into the eyes of hurricanes.

In fact, NOAA Hurricane Hunters are the only organization allowed to actually fly into thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes.

And they do so to bring back data in order to help cities prepare for what’s coming.

“We like to believe we are one piece of the puzzle,” said Jack Parrish, senior flight director with NOAA Hurricane Hunters.

Everything in the airplane is strapped well down, Parrish said.

“It is certainly no commercial flight,” Parrish said.

Parrish’s team is made up of scientists. They are crucial for the improvement of hurricane forecasts.

“We remember Hurricane Charley near the Fort Myers area, how rapidly it evolved and it made that turn for Fort Myers,” Parrish said.

Once inside the storm, a device called a dropsonde is let go from the plane.

“The whole idea for NHC (National Hurricane Center) is map out wind field and when you go into center and right in the middle of it and drop an instrument,” Parrish said.

The team does that on the strong sides and weak sides of the storm.

The data gathered is used to improve weather models and help forecast the strength and movement of a hurricane.

“When your spaghetti models look like an octopus that’s not good,” Parrish said.


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