Little time, a lot to learn, NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters monitor Hurricane Michael from the sky

Polk County

NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters have been monitoring Hurricane Michael around the clock, but they’ve had a short amount of time with Hurricane Michael.

A crew of 18 Hurricane Hunters landed from their last mission into the storm before landfall, around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“Some are very rough, some are very tame. Michael was rough,” NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flight Director and Meteorologist Ian Sears said. 

It was their seventh flight into the storm since Monday, Sears flew into it twice. 

Sears said he feels for the people in harms way of the hurricane.

“Hurricane Michael is a doozy of a storm. It was rapidly intensifying during the time that we were out there. The pressure was falling, winds were increasing. Most hurricanes really are not that turbulent. This one we got bounced around quite a bit,” Sears said.

The crews spend up to ten hours on a mission, hoping to keep people in it’s path safe, and gain better insight for the next.

“It’s that data that we are collecting and we’re trying to understand how does a Hurricane Michael happen?” Sears said.

After the storm, crews will fly more missions to collect aerial images of the damage.

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