The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Hunters gave the world the opportunity to see the eye of Hurricane Irma.
NOAA used two of its nine aircraft to fly into Irma. Employees departed from NOAA’s new base at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on Saturday and flew to the storm in Barbados. One aircraft, a Lockheed WP-3D Orion nicknamed Kermit, flew into the storm five times. Another aircraft, a Gulfstream IV jet nicknamed Gonzo, made a similar trip on Tuesday.
The missions are used to collect storm data, which in turns allows weather forecasters make more accurate predictions.
Irma, which is currently a Category 5, wreaked havoc in the Caribbean that accounted for at least 10 deaths. The hurricane is expected to hit Florida on Sunday and continue north through parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.