Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Hurricane Hunters flying Major Hurricane Matthew -- Thank-you!!

Direct link to video

Obtained from at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2016
This information is current at the time noted above, see for the latest advisories for Matthew
Since I first wrote about Hurricane Hunters last year (NOAA and USAF 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron) I find myself thinking about all who pilot and crew Hurricane Hunters just as I always think about those who fly tankers and helicopters used to fight wildfires. Once I write about aircraft, I get involved. As both NOAA and the USAF 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron have been making daily or twice daily sorties into Hurricane Matthew (a category three hurricane as I write this), I want to pause and say "thank-you." Somehow saying thank-you seems wholly inadequate. You are flying hurricanes and penetrating the eyewall in order to provide data to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC in turn uses this data as the provide us with forecasts, discussions and advisories. All so that we can be as safe as we can, and to evacuate if need be.

Last Friday, September 30th, Matthew was a category five hurricane which means that his top winds were in excess of 156 miles per hour (according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). This meant the Hurricane Hunter flying reconnaissance last Friday was flying through winds in excess of 156 miles per hour as they were penetrating the eyewall. And they made a few penetrations. Not all Hurricanes are Cat 5, and Matthew is down to Cat 3 as I write this. Still . . .  Thank-you Hurricane Hunters for doing what you do to provide with the information so that we may evacuate if warranted. You fly Hurricanes to keep us safe. Thank-you.

For those of you who might want a safe arm chair view of what it is like to fly into the eyewall of a major Hurricane, see the article that I wrote on October 28, 2015 where I embedded some footage shot from one of the Hurricane Hunters who flew Hurricane Patricia last fall. She was a Category 5 Hurricane as she made landfall in Mexico.

You fly were no other airplanes can go. Thank-you.

Stay safe everyone. Please heed any evacuation advisories.

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