Hurricane hunters by the numbers

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 4:22 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hurricane Hunter aircraft provide vital data to help forecasters get information inside a raging storm. This helps predict where a hurricane might track and how strong it might end up. A record number of storms in 2020 put the Hurricane Hunters into overdrive.

Here’s a break down by the numbers.

  • Two. The number of entities in the United States with a mission to fly into tropical systems to gather data.

The Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Hunters flying out of Lakeland, Florida.

  • Ten. The number of specialized aircraft in the 53rd.
  • Four. The number of times those air craft were evacuated from the Mississippi Gulf Coast due to a storm threat.
  • 1950.9. The combined storm flight hours of both Hurricane Hunter teams.
  • 102. The number of NOAA Hurricane Hunter eyewall passes.
  • 200. The number of scheduled storm fixes for the National Huricane center in 2020.

The 53rd missed a few due to lightning or maintenance, but managed to complete 93 percent.

  • 1,772. The number of dropsondes, the weather instrument that records windspeed, temperature, air pressure and other vital data, released from NOAA Hurricane Hunters over 86 missions in 2020.

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