David Slonim

The aftermath of a hurricane wreaks havoc on communities, leaving broken families and destroyed property in its wake. It becomes vital to know as early as possible the strength and nature of an impending hurricane to best prepare for it. Most people choose to evacuate the path of a major storm. However, there is a group of Citizen Airmen, the ones called Hurricane Hunters who dare to fly into the eye of such storms.

The Hurricane Hunters are technically the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the 403rd Wing of the United States Air Force Reserve. This squadron is a force of about 150 personnel and 10 WC-130J aircraft that are based at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi and deployed from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 3-4 aircraft detachments. The men and women who make up this squadron are actually Air Force Reservists who give their time so that thousands of people’s lives can be saved and millions, if not billions of dollars’ worth of property can be properly safeguarded when a hurricane is bearing down on them. These Hunters provide around 95% of the actual weather data and readings for any given storm since 1944. Surprisingly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) only usually skirts around the storm with their smaller aircraft for some storm tracking and weather modeling purposes and occasionally flies into the storms for other data collection purposes.

On Oct 3, Air Force Reservist Lt. Colonel Keith Gibson and his team planned to pierce what… Sigue leyendo

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