As Major Kendall Dunn flew a large cargo plane into 200 mile per hour winds, he questioned what he was doing with his life.
“There’s nothing we’ve done to this aircraft to make it hurricane proof other than put great crew members in it," Dunn said, a "Hurricane Hunter" in the U.S. Air Force.
SWFL is in the height of hurricane season . Storms are brewing in the Atlantic. And now, more than ever, it’s crucial to depend on the storm track predictions and forecasts to know if you’re safe.
As the Carolinas are hit by Hurricane Florence, we wanted to give you an inside look into hurricane tracking…literally.
The group is called the “Hurricane Hunters” and they do exactly that — get up close and personal with hurricanes. They are part of the U.S. Air Force and also known as the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. Pilots and weather officers fly directly into the storm to get crucial information that helps create the weather forecast models, such as Dunn who flew the large cargo plane in Hurricane Maria.
The data the Hurricane Hunters collect is up to 30 percent more accurate in forecasting the direction of a hurricane, which aids in preparation, saving lives. The Weather Reconnaissance Squadron traces its roots to the 1940s. The initial pilots were World War II pilots who had experience under pressure, flying into dangerous conditions.
The Hurricane Hunters have a new target: Hurricane Florence.
“So the forecast track that you see," Major Kimberly Spusta, an aerial weather officer with the team, said, "that cone it’s narrowed down significantly due to our data."
NOAA recently posted this video of some of the members who flew into Hurricane Florence before the storm hit the Carolinas:
— Hurricane Hunters (@53rdWRS) September 11, 2018
Learn more about the Hurricane Hunters on their website .