Most people — normal, not insane people — will do everything in their power to avoid ending up inside a hurricane. For the brave scientists forecasting hurricanes, things are far less simple, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “Hurricane Hunter” crew, it means flying straight into the most dangerous storms on the planet. A new video released by NOAA shows what it’s like inside Hurricane Irma, which is currently headed for a collision course with the United States, and suffice it to say that things are pretty wild.
Packed with scientific instruments, the plane takes the hurricane head-on. On the video, all you can really hear is the dull whine of the engines, but outside the plane’s window you can see just how intense the storm is. The group’s Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft have four turboprop engines that give them the muscle to push through incredibly powerful winds, while external radar married with sensors for air pressure, temperature, and humidity help paint a picture of the storm to aid in forecasting efforts.
NOAA’s hurricane research teams have a remarkable track record of safety, having lost just one plane in a crash dating back to 1955, but that doesn’t make the job any less dangerous. Looking out a plane window and seeing a hurricane raging around you must be quite the adrenaline rush.
Hurricane Irma is currently expected to strike the Bahamas before making landfall in the United States near Miami. The state is already in full preparation mode and will hopefully be able to avoid a situation like the one Hurricane Harvey produced in Texas just days ago.