As the summer season comes around, the climate in Florida changes from hot to humid. However, that’s not surprising. Neither is the extreme weather the Sunshine State receives from the massive rain storms that, often times, turn into tropical storms off the east coast.
With the purpose of tropical storm and hurricane reconnaissance, the Hurricane Hunters, also known as the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (53rd WRS), operate out of the 403rd Reserve Wing at Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Though they are technically under the Department of Defense, their purpose falls under the direction of the Department of Commerce.
I went down to the airport for the afternoon with a couple of friends, and once we arrived, we immediately saw the two aircraft on display. Members of NOAA and the United States Air Force (USAF) were in attendance to show off their aircraft, which mainly fly into category 3 hurricanes or higher at 10,000 feet.
Their role is to serve as the primary response team for hurricane and tropical storm analysis. The Hurricane Hunters seek out each storm’s magnitude, and send all information back to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Proceeding under direction of the National Hurricane Operations Plan, the squadron flies in the interest of public safety.