National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Hunter aircraft to be stationed in Barbados

As Tropical Storm Danny is expected to become the Atlantic’s first hurricane by Thursday, the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft will land in Barbados on Thursday, in order to fly missions on Friday, and into next week to gather more data about the hurricane. Weather reports indicate that the hurricane is expected to approach the Eastern Caribbean by early Monday.

(FILE IMAGE: Courtesy - Robert J. Cijntje) The Hurricane Hunters are special aircraft used by the NOAA to conduct research to support its mission of predicting changes in earth's environment, and managing coastal and marine resources. The crews fly through hurricanes to help forecasters and scientists gather operational and research data.

(FILE IMAGE: Courtesy – Robert J. Cijntje) The Hurricane Hunters are special aircraft used by the NOAA to conduct research to support its mission of predicting changes in earth’s environment, and managing coastal and marine resources. The crews fly through hurricanes to help forecasters and scientists gather operational and research data.

They fly two types of aircraft, the Lockheed WP-3Orion, and the Gulfstream IV-SP, and are home-based at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

The WP-3s are designed to tolerate large amounts of damage since they are the aircraft that actually fly into the eye of hurricanes. They are also equipped to take atmospheric measurements. One of the most distinct parts of the WP-3 is the giant circular black belly radar. Meanwhile, the G-IV jet flies around the periphery of both tropical and winter storms, including hurricanes. It flies high, fast, and far, with a range of 4,000 nautical miles, and a cruising altitude of 45,000 feet. The G-IV jet paints a detailed picture of weather systems in the upper atmosphere surrounding developing hurricanes. This information is used to help predict the path of hurricanes.

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