Recent Weather Is Keeping The Hurricane Hunters Busy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/23/02

Recent Weather Is Keeping The Hurricane Hunters Busy

When Isidore made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula it clipped the wings of the Hurricane Hunters , but only temporarily. The Air Force canceled Monday's flight when Isidore hit Mexico. Once a hurricane lands, the information collected isn't as valuable. There is also increased danger to the flight crew.

Isidore has been keeping the Hurricane Hunters very busy lately. So far, they've logged about 190 hours flying into the storm.

"The missions are very long, typically around 10 to 12 hours of fly time alone, not including the preparation time before the flight and then after the flight," said Hurricane Hunter Chad Gibson. "So it can be a very long day. And typically we'll get about 12 hours rest and then get right up and start doing it again as the same crew."

The Hurricane Hunters say working on board a plane for so long is not easy. The pilots rotate out, but not the weather officers or the navigators. They have to find the energy to keep going.

Isidore is getting much of the media attention right now, but it's not the only storm Hurricane Hunters are flying.

"Whenever we're stressed between two or three different locations it does to get to where it seems like all you're doing is flying or resting for the next flight," Hurricane Hunter Wes Ardt said.

The next flight may be just a few hours away. The Hurricane Hunters know they must be ready because the information they get in the air, can save lives on the ground. Monday was the first day since September 15th that the Hurricane Hunters have not flown into Isidore.

by Danielle Thomas

Click here to take a "cyberflight" with the Hurricane Hunters.

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