BILOXI, MS — Hurricane Hunters have to fly into the eye of Dorian to collect scientific data about the storm, and Channel 9 meteorologist Tony Sadiku was invited to head up with them on Monday.
"Ultimately, it's the impact we can make and knowing that the data we, hopefully, we collect is put to good use," said Maj. John Gharbi, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron navigator.
Sadiku, along with photographer Chris Johnson, took off from Mississippi just before noon and spent the day in the heart of the massive storm.
>> Watch that video at the top of this page to get an inside look at Dorian.
During Channel 9's voyage into the eye of Dorian, the hurricane was a raging Category 4.
"This is a very sturdy aircraft, but its still dangerous," said Gharbi.
Each time the hurricane hunters take flight, it's a data gathering mission for forecasters at the National Hurricane Center as they work to narrow the cone of uncertainty.
Breakdown of Hurricane Hunter roles:
Pilot: Flies plane into storm
Navigator: Makes sure it's safe to fly
Weather officer: Directs the pilot where to fly to gather measurements
Loadmaster: Loads the dropsonde and launches it into the hurricane. The dropsonde has a sensor that can send back real-time data on a storm's wind, pressure and location
Each time the plane enters the storm's eye wall, the stakes are high, but for the few who can call themselves Hurricane Hunters, they said there's nothing like it.
"I think ultimately it's the impact we can make. Knowing that the data we collect is put to good use to hopefully ultimately save lives first and foremost," said Gharbi.
Dorian, which came ashore on Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands, is tied for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record, along with a hurricane on Labor Day in 1935 that struck the Florida Keys and moved up along the Gulf Coast of Florida.
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