Hurricane Hunters don’t get a vacation during the winter

It may be winter, but there’s no rest for the Hurricane Hunter squadrons and the men and women who pilot them. 

What You Need To Know

  • Hurricane Hunter aircraft were used to track the Jan. 29 nor’easter
  • The first flight into an eye of a hurricane was in 1943
  • Hurricane Hunters help track storms over the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans

Hurricane Hunters are aircraft that fly into storms and take measurements like wind speed and atmospheric pressure. Meteorologists input this data into weather models and help make forecasts for hurricanes and other storms more accurate.

Some of the aircraft only record weather information from sensors onboard the plane, while others release dropwindsondes. 

Dropwindsondes are small packages that have weather sensors on board. They report atmospheric conditions as they fall to earth.

Meteorologists mainly use them in sparsely populated areas, like the ocean. This information can play a big role in helping forecasters figure out where a storm will go or how strong it could become. 

2020 was the most active hurricane season on record, and that meant a very busy season for the crews of the Hurricane Hunters. They also had to navigate the complications of COVID-19.

You might think that they were going to get a break now that winter is here, but that’s not the case. Hurricane Hunters help track winter storms.

Just like with hurricanes, these planes fly into the storm and take measurements. 

The winter missions for the Hurricane Hunters happen in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Also, Hurricane Hunters are sent to the Pacific Ocean.

They often fly between Hawaii and the West Coast to investigate atmospheric rivers. So it may be winter, but there’s no rest for the tireless crews of the Hurricane Hunters. 

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