Hurricane Hunters have been flying in and out of Hurricane Laura continuously for days, getting a close-up look as the hurricane has rapidly intensified.
In less than two days, Laura went from a tropical storm to a high-end Category 4. The storm is set to strike the Louisiana coast early Thursday morning.
There are two Air Force Reserve groups that fly into hurricanes to send back data to the National Hurricane Center.
In total, the Air Force Reserve utilizes 20 WC-130J aircraft that are equipped with palletized meteorological data-gathering instruments.
According to the Hurricane Hunters, “The navigator keeps track of the aircraft's position and movement and monitors radar to avoid tornadic activity. The flight meteorologist acts as flight director and observes and records meteorological data at flight level using a computer that encodes weather data every 30 seconds. The weather reconnaissance loadmaster collects and records vertical meteorological data using a parachute-borne sensor known as a dropsonde. It measures and encodes weather data down to the ocean surface.”
The following video was provided by the Hurricane Hunters: