Hurricane season is over- so what does Hurricane Hunters do in the off season & why it’s important?

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 12:50 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -The United States Air Force Reserve 403rd Wing’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, more affectionately known as the Hurricane Hunters, is known the most for the dangerous missions they perform flying into tropical systems, storms and hurricanes, collecting important and life-saving data. Many of the tropical systems form and develop during hurricane season which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 every year. When that ends, what does the Hurricane Hunters do?

There name implies that they are only working during hurricane season but there is no off-season for the crew. Weather can be threatening year round and so the missions don’t end. The Hurricane Hunters remain prepared to fly and collect data from winter storms.

The winter missions are not quite done the same. With winter storms, the missions are done ahead of the storm and at an altitude of 30,000 feet due to the icy environment below. Just like with hurricanes dropsonde are used to collect data only it covers the entirety of the atmosphere the winter storm is likely impact.

Instead of sending the collected data to the National Hurricane Center, the information collected during a winter storm goes straight from the aircraft to the National Centers for Environmental Prediction which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The NCEP uses the data as a means to better predict the trajectory and severity of a storm and therefore to better inform and prepare those in its path. The Hurricane Hunter also fly missions in the Pacific Ocean to collect information on atmospheric rivers. The Hurricane Hunters always remain ready should conditions warrant.

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