Hurricane Hunters Switch to Winter Mode

Members of Air Force Reserve Command’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler AFB, Miss., known for their exploits in flying their WC-130J aircraft into hurricanes during warm weather, on Dec. 18—the start of the major storm that blanketed much of the East Coast in snow—flew their first mission of the winter storm season to collect weather data in support of the National Weather Service. The WC-130Js are flown at high altitudes and then the aircrew drop small canisters that collect weather data, which are transmitted to the NWS to enable weather forecasters to predict the course of the storms more accurately. Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, an aerial reconnaissance weather officer with the unit, said the increase in forecasting accuracy directly impacts emergency management capabilities by reducing the unnecessary dispatch of resources, such as trucks loaded with salt to spread on roads. (Keesler report by SrA. Kimberly Erickson)