ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Flying high above the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic waters, the NOAA hurricane hunters are on call 24/7 during hurricane season.
Members of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance fly into storms of interest by the National Hurricane Center.
They provide a critical role in getting observations for forecasters to accurately predict the intensity and track of storms.
They collect data using tools, such as dropsones that are released from the planes and dropped into the storm to measure temperature, pressure, and humidity.
The Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer on the plane estimates surface wind speeds by the amount of ocean spray kicked up by the storm's wind.
The data they collect is used for weather prediction models to better forecast the storm's strength and motion.
Without the hard work of the NOAA hurricane hunters, the tropical systems that develop far away from land would not be detected, which would leave not enough time to prepare.