Hurricane Hunters: Air Force aids in forecasting upcoming winter storm
Members of the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron are taking flight ahead of Saturday's storm to help gather information regarding the forecast.
The team, also known as the Hurricane Hunters, flies out ahead of the developing winter storm to monitor the atmosphere.
News 12 Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo spoke with Lt. Col. Mark Withee, the 53rd WRS navigator, about how the data the team collects helps paint a picture of the environment the storm will move into.
Withee says it helps determine if there's a potential for a storm to strengthen or weaken as it heads to the tri-state area.
"We're kind of just the piece that goes out there and helps fill in those critical areas that are not accessible otherwise via satellite," Withee said. "Or, you know, over land you can launch weather balloons and get this data. But out over the ocean, it's simply not available unless we're flying out through those regions and gathering the data."
Each flight can take nine to 10 hours to complete at an altitude around 30,000 feet. There is a mission currently underway through the evening.