See Hurricane Irma from the inside
Hurricanes can affect millions of people on the ground, but only a handful of people see what the airborne "Hurricane Hunters" squadron sees — the eye of the storm from the inside.
The U.S. Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron — the so-called "Hurricane Hunters" — is part of the 403rd Wing division at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. This unique group routinely flies reconnaissance missions into tropical storms and hurricanes, to gather critical data that meteorologists and climate scientists use to predict storms and develop strategies for keeping people safe.
As Irma developed into one of the most powerful storms ever to form in the Atlantic, the Hurricane Hunters flew repeatedly into the very heart of the storm — here's a glimpse of what that was like.
View from the flight deck
The mighty Hercules
Ready for takeoff
Measuring wind speeds
Keeping Irma covered
Eye in the sky
Night and day
Into the storm
This moonlit view of Hurricane Irma was taken by the U.S. Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters on Sept. 5. On Sept. 8, the squadron flew missions into all three storms that were active in the Atlantic, collecting data on Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Katia to help the National Hurricane Center more accurately predict the storms' progress.