As the 2023 hurricane season intensifies, hurricane hunters, equipped with advanced tools ranging from vintage airplanes to high-tech drones, are set to gather essential data from these formidable storms. These experts, from organizations such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the Air Force Reserve, undertake perilous missions that can span almost 3,500 miles in 11 hours.
- The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1, with hurricane hunters prepared to monitor and gather data on the storms using various aircraft and drones.
- Historical research has involved aircraft from NOAA and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, often termed as the Hurricane Hunters of the Air Force Reserve.
- The monitoring involves not only fully-developed hurricanes but also emerging storms, known as tropical waves or depressions.
- In 2022, NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft completed over 582 mission hours, passing through storm eyes 65 times, and deploying over 1,700 scientific tools.
- Data collection tools, like the Altius 600 drone and dropsondes, provide invaluable information about storm conditions, which is crucial for understanding storm intensification and path prediction.