Hurricane Hunters fly into Ian as it approaches Florida
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Hurricane Ian is barreling toward the Suncoast on a collision course that will have devastating results.
The storm quickly became a Category 4 and approached Category 5 levels Wednesday morning. Tuesday, our own Bill Snyder flew out into the storm with a group that’s used to being in the center of this type of activity- the Hurricane Hunters.
The Hunters flew into the eye of the storm, gathering vital information that could save lives. The 10-hour flight reached all the way down to the western tip of Cuba.
“Reconning the storm with the Hurricane Hunters was a pretty wild ride,” Snyder said. “As soon as we got down to the storm, things started cranking up. Five eye wall penetrations. A lot of neat things to see, but also a lot of turbulence. But we got through it.”
The data collected during the flight is extremely valuable and helps the Hurricane Hunters keep tracks on the storm. However, Hurricane Hunters Weather Captain Davis White said the flight can be difficult due to the hurricane’s quickly-changing intensity.
“The first flight into a storm after it moves across land is always a little bit tricky,” Captain White said. “As these storms move over land, sometimes they get a little bit disorganized, sometimes they strengthen. In today’s case, as Hurricane Ian came off of the coast of Cuba, we saw it strengthen pretty rapidly as it got out over the warm water in the Gulf.”
The mission is all about saving lives, and the Hurricane Hunters hope the data they gathered helps convince people to evacuate before Ian crashes ashore.
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