Switching to Winter Mode

Airmen and WC-130Js from Air Force Reserve Command’s 53rd Weather Reconaissance Squadron at Keesler AFB, Miss., are now operating out of JB Elmendorf, Alaska, collecting data on winter storms heading towards the US mainland from the Pacific Ocean. Known as the Hurricane Hunters for monitoring the powerful storms in the Gulf of Mexico and over the Atlantic Ocean during the warner weather months, these Reservists and their specially modified C-130s, now flying over the Pacific Ocean, are helping National Oceanographic and Atmoshperic Administration officials generate more acurate forecasting models on the winter storms. “That [information] can be crucial for residents living in harm’s way,” said Lt. Col. Roy Deatherage, aerial reconnaissance weather officer with the squadron. He added, “These forecasts provide people in the path of the storms with warnings that can save lives.” The Hurricane Hunters will fly the winter storm-watch missions through April 30. (Keesler release)