Known as the strongest hurricane to be recorded in the Western Hemisphere, Hurricane Patricia made landfall near Cuixmala, Mexico, on Friday with maximum sustained winds of 200 mph. To understand what is going on in the hurricane, a crew of 13 men, known as the “Hurricane Hunters,” recently completed a mission involving three flights into and out of the eye of Hurricane Patricia, all of which were caught on video.
Why would they do that you ask? The “Hurricane Hunters” are part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aircraft Operation Center, which provides airborne platforms that are essential to the gathering of environmental and geographic data for scientific research.
NOAA Lt. Cdr Patrick Didier, told local news that out of all his hours of flight time, his flight into Hurricane Patricia “was the most intense turbulence I’d ever encountered.” The storm made history because it rapidly intensified into a category 5 storm overnight.
The first 1:40 minutes of the flight sees them flying through the eyewall, and then you see them break out into the a relatively calm eye, followed by more severe jolts as they reenter the other side of the eye wall around the 3-minute mark. The turbulence recorded was unimaginable.
Despite the danger, Didier said that he had a lot of confidence in the flight crew and credits “teamwork” and their collective experience with the success of the mission. Patricia winds on Friday made her equal to that of an EF5 Tornado.
The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, aka the Hurricane Hunters, is part of the Air Force Reserve, and one of a kind. It is the only Department of Defense organization still flying into tropical storms and hurricanes since 1944.
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