Behind the scenes with the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters

Hurricane - Tropics
More WFLA Tracking the Tropics

BILOXI, Miss. (WKRG) – While News 5 did not get to go on a Hurricane Hunters flight through Tropical Storm Nestor, Caroline Carithers got the behind the scenes tour of the aircraft and the inside scoop on the life of a Hurricane Hunter.

The goal of the Hurricane Hunters is to get data directly from the storm to the National Hurricane Center (mainly pressure and windspeed at flight level and surface). From there, the NHC releases it to the media and public.

News 5’s Caroline Carithers sat down with Major Toby Baker, an Aerial Reconnaissance Weather Officer. Major Baker started out as an active duty meteorologist in 2003 and moved to the reserves a couple of years later. He has been with the Hurricane Hunters for 11 years now and has flown into major storms such as Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Irma.

Today, the Hurricane Hunters flew into Tropical Storm Nestor. Major Baker explains, “We did what is called a low-level invest. So we are actually trying to find the circulation…if there is one or if there is not one.”

When asked the difference in flying in a tropical storm like “Nestor” and a category 5 hurricane like “Michael,” Major Baker says that it is actually more turbulent to fly in a developing system like Tropical Storm Nestor because of the unpredictability of tropical storms. He explains, “If you think of it like a top, it is still trying to put itself together. The winds can go horizontally and vertically and can cause more turbulence whereas a hurricane is like a large structure. It is more stable and has more predictability.”

For more information and a look inside the Hurricane Hunter aircraft, check out the video!

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