NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI (CBS) – Luckily, most of us have never had to feel the fury of a major storm, but Hurricane Hunters do just that.
Hundreds of people lined up today in North Kingstown, Rhode Island to get an inside look. Two planes and hurricane officials were in town for the 2019 Hurricane awareness tour on Monday.
WBZ’s Sarah Wroblewski got an inside look at an aircraft nicknamed Kermit. It is jam packed with high tech tools that help provide a better forecast as a pilot and team of scientists fly directly into the center of a hurricane.
“It’s like going to your favorite amusement park and riding a roller-coaster ride over and over,” explains Lieutenant Commander Rob Mitchell.
He has been flying Hurricane Hunters for six years now. “We limit our missions to about eight hours so we can fly the mission, get home, change crews and continue the cycle to provide that critical up to date information,” Mitchell says.
Crew members drop instruments attached to a parachute into a tropical cyclone over a dozen times each mission. Each instrument collects data along the way like wind speed, pressure, and temperature.
“Well the Hurricane Hunters really give us all this vital information, they can fly right into the center of the storm, give us direct measurements of how strong the storm is, where it’s centered and that really forms the basis of our whole forecast process,” says Michael Brennan the Hurricane Specialist Unit Branch Chief.
“They (Hurricane Hunters) help make the models better the more data we get, the better the forecast,” says Ken Graham who is the National Hurricane Center Director.
Both NOAA and FEMA officials agree no good forecast is useful if people aren’t prepared.
“So now we need everyone to do their part. The forecast is getting better, getting better with the impacts and now we need people ready to receive these impacts and know what to do,” says Graham.
These Hurricane Hunters will be making four more stops this week ahead of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season which begins June 1st.