Hurricane Hunters are getting ready for their busy season

JACKSON, Miss. (WCBI) – When a storm approaches, most pilots try to climb above or fly around it, or simply stay grounded.

But there is a crew of flying meteorologists who take off in the storms and do their best to fly into them.

These Hurricane Hunters are getting ready for their busy season. WCBI caught up with them to find out why they do it.

When it comes to getting important information about tropical storms and hurricanes, the Hurricane Hunters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have found the hard way is also the best way.

“There is no storm too dangerous for us. We’ll fly anything from an open tropical wave to a Category 5 hurricane. No matter how large a storm is, no matter strong the winds are, we need to fly into that storm to collect the data so that the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have the most accurate and most updated information to forecast where that storm’s gonna go and how strong it’s gonna be when it gets there,” said Nick Underwood, Hurricane Hunter.

Meteorologists on the ground are able to use that information to enhance their understanding of a hurricane’s structure and behavior.

This ultimately can save lives by improving forecasts and warnings.

“We’ve got all the basic data so like wind speeds, relative humidity, temperature pressure. And our most important piece of equipment is the drop sonde, which is essentially like a weather balloon in reverse. We drop that in during the critical points of the hurricane to help us find max wind bands, the lowest minimum central pressure, which helps us determine the intensity and then the movement of the storm,” said Sarah Olsen, Flight Meteorologist.

The North Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1.

The Director of the National Hurricane Center, Mike Brennan said the next weeks are critical.

“This is the time to prepare for hurricane season. We are about a month away from the start. This is when you want to know what your risk is. That’s how your preparedness starts,” said Brennan.

Our weather team will be closely monitoring the storms that could have an impact on our area.

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