Author: Mary Knapp

Have you heard of the “Hurricane Hunters”? On July 27th, 1943, on a whim, and flying a single engine AT6 training plane, Lieutenant Ralph O'Hair and Colonel Joe Duckworth were the first to fly into a hurricane. Since then the Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron has earned the nickname. Their primary mission is to conduct tropical storm reconnaissance. The area covered ranges from the mid Atlantic to the International Dateline in the Pacific. They are governed by the National Hurricane Operations Plan, which specifies that they will be available 24hrs a day, and capable of flying up to 3 storms, with a response time of just 16 hours! Winter isn’t necessarily a down period either. During the winter season they fly reconnaissance on winter storms with the goal to increase the accuracy of computer weather forecasts for nor’easters and pacific winter low pressure systems.

Figure 1. Hurricane Hunter Plane (NOAA)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library