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Hurricane hunter aircraft on display in Beaumont

BEAUMONT, Texas – With the upcoming hurricane season less than 30 days away, we took an opportunity in Beaumont to check out the folks on the front line bringing critical information to keep you and your family safe this hurricane season. 

Flying into a potential life-threatening storm may not seem like the best idea but for the brave men and women who track the hurricanes, it’s just another day at work. 

Nick Underwood, an aeronautics engineer with NOAA, describes his workday in a rather odd workplace: “This is my office, we have our dropsonde, (an expendable weather device for Atmospheric Research), we have two operators here, so we have two receivers and two computers, we’ll link up a single sonde to both just in case one signal goes down, we have a back up.” 

Analysis of the storm comes through a big C130, but also samples the atmosphere around in and above the storm, which happens in the Gulf Stream 

“The operator over here will flip the two switches, one to arm the system, and one to launch the system. And fire away” is a description of how the system works once in flight by Nick. 

New national hurricane center director can Graham details how this advances in satellites and will help this year‘s forecast.

“I think the new satellite, the GOES  are going to not only show us the hurricane, which is where we focus, it’s the winds, the patterns that we see ... well away from that hurricane so I think with the GOES we’re seeing some steering currents and intrusions of dry air that hurt the development of a hurricane,” Graham said. 

It remains critically important that the data the first responders brings in from the planes is the first step to help forecasters keep you and your family safe, according the Meteorologist Justin Stapleton.

The Hurricane Hunter planes will be on tour for the rest of this week along the Gulf Coast as part of NOAA’s Hurricane Preparedness Week 


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