LISTEN LIVE

Hurricane hunters

Flying into the eye of Hurricane Dorian.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Most Floridians are breathing easier now that Hurricane Dorian has moved away from the state and up the coast. But the work is not done for NOAA's Hurricane Hunters in Lakeland.

Lt. Kevin Doremus (l) and Lt. Commander Patrick Didier aboard a P-3 Orion, one of NOAA's Hurricane Hunters.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

It’s been an all hands on deck situation for Hurricane Hunter crews since Dorian became a threat in the Caribbean.

These air crews fly into the storm to gather data they can share instantly with the National Hurricane Center and other weather experts.

Shortly before noon on October 10, Lt. Col. Sean Cross and Maj. Dave Gentile, pilots with the U.S. Air Force Reserve, turned the nose of their WC-130J “Hurricane Hunter” toward the core of Hurricane Michael as it bore down on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

After more than two decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunter planes have a new home. Construction crews are scrambling to get it ready for this week's start of hurricane season.

Legislation by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is moving from the Senate to the U.S.House. It requires backup jets to be available to gather hurricane atmospheric information.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA's fleet of Hurricane Hunter aircraft  is leaving Tampa, but is staying in the Bay area. A 10-year lease was awarded to the City of Lakeland to house the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aircraft Operations Center at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport starting in the spring of 2017. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=bBa9bVYKLP0

It’s not enough to just say you’ll be ready. National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb says you need a plan. And it’s easy.

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The hurricane planes known affectionately as “Miss Piggy” and “Kermit” are getting new Rolls-Royce engines, new wings and better radar.

Every hurricane season for nearly four decades, the two technologically packed planes have flown into storms at speeds of up to 300 mph, collecting research and forecasting data to transmit back to the mainland.

Mary Shedden / WUSF 89.7 News

Most of us ponder evacuating when a hurricane approaches.

But at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base, Jim McFadden sends an "Orion P-3" propeller plane and its crew straight into a storm's path.  The Chief of Programs and Projects for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aircraft Operations Center, McFadden is a veteran of more than 500 such flights.

At a recent hurricane awareness event at Tampa International Airport, he showed WUSF’s Mary Shedden and members of the public around the aircraft nicknamed "Miss Piggy."

Courtesy US Air Force

The Global Hawk drone is known for raining fire in war zones far from the United States. But now, NASA is using the planes to check out hurricanes, as reported in Florida Today.