Hurricane Hunter Planes NF at Airbase

Special Planes At NF Base To Track Hermine

Niagara Falls, NY -  While post tropical storm Hermine has been downgraded from its previous status as a hurricane, it is still producing strong winds and dangerous riptides as it now sits in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast. That's why special weather observation planes are now based at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station to help monitor the storm. 2 On Your Side spoke with their crew members earlier Monday. 

C-130  cargo planes are a common sight at the Niagara Falls airbase but these particular C-130 J weather planes are known as Hurricane Hunters. They are actually from an Air Force Reserve  unit in Mississippi and they've been brought to the Falls to track the storm system known as Hermine which is hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic.
 
One of the three assigned planes returned this afternoon from a nine hour mission. It's crew, including an air reconnaissance weather officer with a meteorology degree, was able to observe at five thousand feet the storm system which is now known as a post tropical storm. First Lt. Leesa Froelich is one of those Weather Officers. She talked about flying into the storm. "You'll see a lot of the winds on the surface, you'll see the turbulent waters that are below. And sometimes you will feel turbulence as you're going through it and sometimes it can be really calm."
 
They also use special devices known as dropsondes which are actually ejected from a tube in the plane into the storm clouds and linked via GPS to the National Center for Hurricanes. Froelich says, "That collects a bunch of information as it falls and it's doing winds, pressure, temperature. And all that information is ingested into the models and from there they actually determine where this storm is going to go a lot more accurately."
 
And flying out of the Falls, which handles C-130 planes, is a best bet for a smoother start and end to the mission which is going into all that stormy weather. Froelich points out, "You guys have great weather here. A multitude of reasons. Being one...it's far enough away from the actual storm...having good weather here and also the C-130 support." 
 
The three weather planes and their crews and support staff will be here at Niagara Falls at least through Thursday.  But that also depends on whether or not this storm breaks up before then or continues to linger off the East Coast .
 
 
 
 

 


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories