Hurricane Sandy: Flying into the hurricane

(Photo: Kris Van Cleave)

One of the best ways for forecasters to track hurricanes is to fly through them. And this weekend one of our own got the chance to fly along with NOAA scientists. ABC7'S Kris Van Cleave was the only Washington reporter on that plane.

The NOAA Hurricane Hunter Kermit got an up close and personal view of Hurricane Sandy this weekend. The aircraft flew right into the center of the mammoth storm as it headed up the east coast towards Washington, D.C.

“It is big and you have hurricane force winds 100, 120 miles from the center,” said Commander Mark Nelson, who has flown into more than 20 hurricanes.
“It’s going to be a huge swath of the coastline and just inland that's going to be impacted with potentially hurricane force winds. That's really what stands out.”

ABC7’s Kris Van Cleave was with scientists this weekend as they flew through Sandy four times in eight hours. The mission allows the team to track the storm in ways that even satellites, radars and land observations can’t.

The Hurricane Hunter has a Doppler radar in its tail and is loaded with monitoring equipment. During this weekend’s mission, scientists launched a probe from the bottom of the aircraft to gather real time data. They were able to determine that Sandy was in fact growing and would likely cause widespread damage along the east coast.

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