MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The United States has been flying into storms since World War II in the 1940s. Each year they fly about one hundred missions and the flight can last as long as 8 to 10 hours.
Data is collected in these flights to gain important information regarding strength and movement that can help us plan and prepare.
The hurricane hunter fleet is composed of thirteen planes, 10 from the air force and three from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Most of the missions, the planes fly directly into the eye or center of circulation several times during the course of an 8 to 10 hour mission.
The data is collected in the lowest 10,000 feet of the atmosphere with remote censors and instruments that are referred to as a dropsonde. As the dropsondes fall down toward the ocean, they measure a variety of weather elements like temperature, pressure, wind, and humidity.
The data is recorded approximately every half second until reaching the ocean. The data collected from the dropsondes goes straight to the National Hurricane Center, where scientists analyze the data.
This data helps with warnings and help us know how strong storms are, size and structure, which helps with warnings and keeping us prepared.