Meet US hurricane chasers and learn how they operate

by Kelvin
Meet US hurricane chasers and learn how they operate

While many protect themselves from storms and guide others to do the same, there are those who go against them to collect data considered important, such as path, strength and time when they occur, helping weather forecast centers and governments in the effective planning of the coping with these phenomena. They are hurricane chasers, equipped with cutting-edge technological devices and planes prepared to face the extreme conditions of events.

Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and by the US Air Force Reserve Command, these vehicles can withstand flights for periods of 8 to 10 hours without interruption in strong winds (which can reach hundreds of kilometers per hour), lightning and lots of water.


in and out of the storm

One of the models of these planes is the Lockheed WP-3D Orion (P-3 Orion), in which onboard scientists use equipment capable of transmitting measurements of pressure, humidity, temperature, direction and wind speed, providing a detailed view of the storm and also of its intensity, providing researchers on the ground with indicators of sudden and potentially deadly occurrences. The two aircraft of this type used by NOAA were made to dive continuously in hurricanes.

Another is the Gulfstream IV-SP (G-IV Jet), designed to operate above and around these weather events. With an autonomy of 7,400 kilometers of flight and reaching 13,700 meters in height, it offers a faithful picture of what happens outside the storms, complementing with critical data any and all reports that can help prevent further damage to sites affected. Operating since 1997, it has experienced nearly every hurricane originating in the Atlantic Ocean since then.

Both the WP-3D Orion and the G-IV Jet are located at NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center, located in Florida, staffed by civil and military pilots and flight engineers, as well as “highly trained meteorologists and electrical engineers.” operate in adverse weather conditions.”