KEESLER AFB, BILOXI (WLOX) - When the Hurricane Hunters are in the sky, you can assume that something serious is heading our way. Since this season is expected to be more active than usual, nothing is more serious right now than preparation.
"We need to get the word out to people so that they understand the information they're going to get from TV stations such as yourself, or from the National Hurricane Center. We're going to give that information as much credibility as we can by actually being out in the storm," said Lt. Col. Jeff Ragusa.
Over the next five days, the squadron will stop in five cities across four coastal states to make sure people are ready for this year's hurricane season. One of the places they will stop is Beaumont, TX, a city that was badly affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The airmen say these trips are some of the most important and meaningful in their line of work.
"Most of the people who fly with the Hurricane Hunters are from coastal communities themselves. So to us, this is where the rubber meets the road," explained Ragusa. "We're getting ready to start hurricane season. We're getting ready to start providing a bunch of information and we want to make sure that everyone is going to pay attention."
"I just think this is a special part of the Air Force reserve mission. There's a lot of us - some people are full-time but a lot of us are part-time - so we have civilian jobs and we come in and do this as needed when the weather arises. It's nice that a lot of us are part of or even live in some these communities that we are visiting this week, and get to give back in that way," said Maj. Nicole Mitchell.
About 15 crew members are on board, which is more than the standard number. Officials say it makes the trip easier to have more people giving tours of the plane and answering questions. The plane will be docked at airports in each city for public tours.