BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – The Hurricane Hunters are in action as weather data collecting missions started on Wednesday.
The first Hurricane Hunter flight tracking what’s now called Invest 92L left from Keesler Air Force Base at noon on Wednesday.
According to Lt. Col. Sean Cross, the first flight stayed at low altitude looking for what he called the birth of the storm. Once a potential closed circulation is found, the mission will change for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron.
“Then we will go into an alpha pattern, which we’ll fly a triangle in the sky. It takes us about an hour and 40 minutes to fly that triangle,” Cross said. “Then we’re actually tracking the lowest center of pressure of the storm. We take all of that information and send it over a satellite uplink to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and they plug all of that data into the model for future forecasting.”
Ultimately, the missions help better define the intensity of storms.
“We do have satellites out there that do an amazing job, but it doesn’t matter how expensive and how glamorous those satellites are. You still can’t pinpoint the lower center of pressure until you put a manned aircraft inside the storm,” Cross said. “You still have to go old school, they just don’t have the technology to figure that out yet.”
The flights will continue on a regular schedule until the storm makes land fall.
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