“Hurricane Hunters” use Niagara Falls Air Base to survey Tropical Storm Hermine

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hurricane hunters have been tracking Hermine from the sky. They fly right into the storm to send back valuable data.

When most airplanes avoid a hurricane or tropical storm – the Hurricane Hunter’s plane and it’s 5 member crew fly right into it. For the next several days, crews will fly hundreds of miles from Niagara Falls to Tropical Storm Hermine.

The specialized C-130 with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron from Keesler Air Force Base is one of three planes being hosted here in Niagara Falls because of the air station’s perfect location.

1LT Leesa Froelich, one of the Hurricane Hunters, said, “It’s far enough away from the actual storm, having good weather here, and having C-130 support, so having a C-130 squadron here it helps us out.”

Typically, the plane has two pilots, a a navigator, a weather officer, and a load-master during a hurricane hunter mission. The pilots work with the navigator to steer the plane into the storm to collect weather data.

1LT Froelich said, “The reason that we are out there is try to find the exact center of the storm, there’s multiple reasons, satellites can only tell us so much, so we go out there to try and find the exact storm location so we can input that into models so we can determine where that storm is going to go.”

Once they get to the center of the storm, the crew drops a tube into the ocean which records data like wind speeds and air pressure.
The valuable information is then sent back in real time to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

“Right now we probably anticipate missions through Thursday, we are still unsure. We are going to keep doing 6 hour fixes. So we are in the center of that storm every 6 hours.”

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron said they will keep flying until Hermine is no longer a threat to land.

 

 

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