HomeNewsArticle Display

Hurricane Hunters fly Tropical Storms Beryl, Chris

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Zieman, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron loadmaster and dropsonde operator, assists the aircrew with the engine startup prior to takeoff for a mission into Tropical Storm Chris July 8, 2018, to gather weather data for the National Hurricane Center for use in their forecasts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Zieman, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron loadmaster and dropsonde operator, assists the aircrew with the engine startup prior to takeoff for a mission into Tropical Storm Chris July 8, 2018, to gather weather data for the National Hurricane Center for use in their forecasts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- The Air Force Reserve’s Hurricane Hunters spent the weekend flying weather reconnaissance missions into Tropical Storm Chris off the North Carolina coastline and Tropical Storm Beryl in the Caribbean Sea to gather data for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron began flying missions out of Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, July 7, into then-Tropical Depression Three, which developed into TS Chris Sunday. That same day, three Hurricane Hunter aircraft departed for Curacao where they staged operations and began flying into TS Beryl July 8, which weakened into a tropical wave later that day.

The 53rd WRS, the only Department of Defense organization that flies weather reconnaissance, is expected to continue flying into TS Chris for the rest of the week, sending weather data by satellite communication to the NHC to improve their computer models that forecast movement and intensity, said Col. Robert J. Stanton, 403rd Wing vice commander and navigator who flew into TS Chris.

“We collect data such as pressure, wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity and temperature, as well as other information, and provide it to the NHC to assist them with their forecast and storm warnings and advisories,” said Maj. Ryan Rickert, 53rd WRS aerial reconnaissance weather officer.

Weather forecasters rely on satellites for information; however, oceans can be data sparse environments and satellites can’t provide information such as the interior sea level pressure of a hurricane or wind speed information, which is needed to predict hurricane development and movement, said Rickert.

According to NHC forecasts, TS Chris is expected to develop into a hurricane off the North Carolina coast July 9, and begin moving northeast July 10. The Hurricane Hunters flew one mission into TS Beryl, which weakened into a tropical storm from a hurricane July 7 and degenerated into a tropical wave July 8.

Providing information to the NHC has kept the squadron busy this week, and it’s not unusual for the Hurricane Hunters to fly multiple storms at the same time, said Stanton.

Their area of operation is large, extending from the middle of the Atlantic to just past the Hawaiian Islands, he said. And, through an interagency agreement, tropical weather reconnaissance is governed by the National Hurricane Operations Plan, which requires the squadron to support 24-hour a day continuous operations with the ability to fly up to three storms simultaneously and with a response time of 16 hours. Last year, the 10th busiest hurricane season on record, the squadron flew three hurricanes simultaneously which were Katia, Jose, and Irma.

Forecasters have projected this hurricane season to be an average one; however, whether it’s a busy or slow season, it only takes one storm with devastating impacts to a community to make it a bad one, so it’s important to be prepared, said Lt. Col. Jon Fox, 53rd WRS navigator, who flew into Katrina in 2005 and experienced the aftermath of a devastating storm.

“When in doubt, evacuate. Make sure you stay safe because hindsight is 20/20,” he said, adding the unit collects weather data for forecasts and advisories to assist the public with their hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans to ensure their safety.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
“Our dogs are definitely not pets; they are #MilitaryWorkingDogs – assets to the #USAF…The trust these teams have i… https://t.co/PVPq9Up5iN
#USAF optometry clinics keep #Airmen's eyes healthy so they can keep their sights set on the mission.… https://t.co/siyO4osHjr
First female chaplain from the #171ARW completes Leadership Development Institute training, develops the first… https://t.co/oFFpYZf9Mg
.@USAFReserve #Airmen @45thSpaceWing put their lives on temporary hold to respond to the aftermath of… https://t.co/m0yaqqUEaV
#ICYMI, @HAFB took a different approach to #cosplay at #FanX18 by teaming up with the Utah Engineers Council to pre… https://t.co/RChVGaP8rN
RT @USAFHealth: #TBT Flight Nurse Captain Shirley A. Armstrong hands a cup of fruit juice to a patient in a C-141 Starlifter during a medic…
Rapid global mobility is the mantra of the #816EAS and #ICYMI #Airmen continued to live it by shuttling cargo and l… https://t.co/5VI4R4wFQa
.@AETCommand officials announced the second iteration of Pilot Training Next https://t.co/qB5YwQSLip
RT @SecAFOfficial: The #AirForce We Need, begins with resilient and ready #Airmen. #ASC18 #CMSAF https://t.co/ogfN6Xtn2V https://t.co/kyCJ…
We're going #LIVE as #CMSAF Wright speaks at #ASC18. Watch on our Facebook page at 10:45 a.m. EDT:… https://t.co/LIc3O6CdiW
Our own @AstroHague will launch into #Space in less than a month! https://t.co/RaQsXp14NP
In order to support the NDS, the Air Force We Need will require a restructure of our expeditionary force structure.… https://t.co/O63bDWHAbC
RT @AF_Academy: The #CaptainMarvel trailer is finally here. Now, we're not saying we make superheroes but she's not wearing a @WestPoint_US
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: To ensure our 386 Operational Squadrons are trained, equipped and ready to fight, we will depend on the entire Air For…
RT @AFSpace: Honored to have @VP Pence & @SecAFOfficial visit the #AFSPC booth today on the #AFBday! They met some of our amazing AFSPC Air…
RT @Yankees: Tonight, we celebrated the @usairforce's 71st Birthday with: - Presentation of Colors by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard from J…
RT @SecAFOfficial: Preparing for the future with the Air Force We Need. #ViciousHarmony #ASC18 https://t.co/detSNKBxaj