It may be winter but there's no rest for the Hurricane Hunter squadrons and the men and women who pilot them. 


What You Need To Know

  • Hurricane Hunter aircraft are piloted by the Air Force Reserve

  • The first flight into the eye of a hurricane was in 1943

  • Hurricane Hunters help track storms over the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans

Hurricane Hunters are aircraft that fly into storms and take measurements like wind speed and atmospheric pressure. This data is inputed into weather models and helps to make forecasts for hurricanes and other storms more accurate.

Some of the aircraft only record weather information from sensors on board the plane, while other release dropwindsondes. 

Dropwindsondes are small packages that have weather sensors on board. They report atmospheric conditions as they fall to earth.

They are used mainly in sparsely populated areas. like the ocean. This information can play a big role in helping forecasters figure where a storm will go or how strong it could become. 

2020 was the most active hurricane season on record, and that meant a very busy season for the crews of the Hurricane Hunters. They had to navigate the complications of COVID-19 as well.

You might think that they were going to get a break now that winter is here, but that's not the case. Hurricane Hunters are also used to help track winter storms.

Just like with hurricanes, these planes fly into the storm and take measurements. 

The winter missions for the Hurricane Hunters happen in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Also, Hurricane Hunters are sent to the Pacific Ocean.

They often fly between Hawaii and the West Coast to investigate atmoshperic rivers. So it may be winter, but there's no rest for the tireless crews of the Hurricane Hunters.