LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – On any given day, anywhere in the world, clouds could be building and waves may be picking up. When the sky grows dark somewhere, it sends a signal to the NOAA hurricane hunters to gear up, and head toward the gathering storm.
Hurricanes are the earth’s most troublesome weather systems, and it takes a special kind of person, with unique training and skills to volunteer for this dangerous and important mission.
Imagine the worst, most turbulent airplane ride of your life, only it lasts hour upon hour. That’s just a day at the office for NOAA hurricane hunters. Their mission is important. The data they gather and analyze can literally save lives, by informing people on the ground when to evacuate if necessary. It can also save money, because by correctly calculating, populations and governments are able to stay in place and miss the worst of a storm.
Many NOAA hurricane hunter crews are especially aware of the consequences faced in a major hurricane because they live in hurricane-prone areas like Florida.
“All of us that grew up here, we are keenly aware of the risks and the challenges associated with hurricanes,” explains Lt. Cmdr. Adam Abitbol, a P3 pilot.
“So there is no way I could say that it doesn’t have more of an impact for me. I love being part of the flight, the crew, the mission, the data collection, serving the community and at the end of the day, helping preserve life and property and that is what we are here to do.”