BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Hurricane Hunters, based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, are flying into the Northeast blizzard that's taking aim on Boston. It's expected to impact 50 million Americans in the coming days.
Thousands of flights have already been canceled. United Airlines says it won't fly Tuesday in New York, Boston or Philadelphia.
Senior Meteorologist John Talbot with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance spoke to WLOX News just before the crew left Biloxi. He said whether it's a blizzard or a hurricane, the mission is the same: collecting data.
"A tropical system, we fly right through and we're low. A Winter system is a high altitude mission where we usually just drop dropsondes, and it's to collect the profile of the atmosphere. It helps the forecast," Talbot explained. "Snow is a very expensive event, like a hurricane, because they have to clean it up. So with these huge society impact snow storms, they need really good data. And that's what we do."
The mission will last about 9.5 hours as the Hurricane Hunters fly up to New England and back. The National Weather Service will receive the information as it's collected in real-time.