LAKELAND, Fla. — As you walk through the hanger at NOAA's Hurricane Hunter facility in Lakeland, you can immediately tell the planes they use are different.
“Kermit is one of our WPD3 Orions," explained Jonathan Shannon.
“This black area right over my shoulder is the nose radar measures the convection or the turbulence that they’re going to face.”
There is also a multimodal radar on this plane that looks from flight level all the way to the surface of the ocean. The crew will also drop devices into the hurricane to help collect even more data.
“This is a dropsonde which is a little bigger than a Pringles can. It’s packed with science. It will measure temperature, pressure, and humidity. The GPS device inside will give us wind speed and direction.
Hurricane Hunter Adam Hough said it isn't always a smooth ride to get that data.
“It’s like being in a washer machine on a roller coaster," said Hough.
He added there is a lesson to learn from every storm and every flight. That's something he experienced during Hurricane Sam.
"We hit a big bump and everything went flying. I didn't even realize how much stuff I had with me. You can’t take things lightly and make sure you follow the procedure."
Shannon explained the crew trains all year to not only stay safe but to continue to collect that life-saving information from inside the storm.