Hurricane Hunters to fly low-level investigation mission today

By Senior Airman Heather Heiney 403rd Wing Public Affairs


The Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters will fly an investigative mission out of St. Croix today into Invest 99-L in the Western Atlantic Ocean. 

During the mission the WC-130J crew members will fly the aircraft between 500 and 1500 feet above the surface of the ocean to collect data that will help the National Hurricane Center determine whether Invest 99-L has the potential to develop into a tropical system. If the system does develop, there will be follow on flights every six hours to monitor the progress of the tropical system.

The Hurricane Hunters were tasked for these missions because the National Hurricane Center determined that a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms located a few hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands is associated with a tropical wave. Environmental conditions are somewhat conducive for development of this system during the next couple of days while it moves west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph near the northern Leeward Island and the Greater Antilles, according the NHC.

"These missions are important because the more information and data the National Hurricane Center is able to analyze, the more accurate their forecasts can be resulting in saved resources, money and lives," said 1st Lt. Leesa Froelich, 53rd WRS aerial reconnaissance weather officer. 

To keep up with the Hurricane Hunters mission, check out the plan of the day, follow missions on Google Earth or visit the National Hurricane Center. For more Hurricane Hunters and 403rd Wing updates follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.