As Florida prepares for Hurricane Ian’s landfall, a cockpit video of a “Hurricane Hunter” plane flying under the attention of the storm is being shared online.
The video, posted to Twitter by NOAA engineer Nick Underwood, shows the plane’s crew gathering information about the strengthening hurricane while regularly maintaining it. The video comes as Ian has reached Category 3 and is set to become one of Florida’s worst hurricanes ever recorded.
Underwood’s video showed Kermit’s crew calmly flying the NOAA plane as it flew into the hurricane’s gray cloud wall on Tuesday morning. Underwood wrote in a tweet that crew pilots regularly saved the plane, flight engineers kept the plane at speed, and grey clouds completely wiped out the blue sky.
“When you fly into a hurricane, you have to fly out,” Underwood wrote in a tweet, which included the video, which had been retweeted more than 670 times and had more than 3,400 likes as of Tuesday night. “That means another hit through the eyewall.”
Underwood added entry details follow up tweetsIndicates that the aircraft is flying at 10,000 feet with a target airspeed of 210 knots as it gathers radar and information from a descent probe, a tool dropped from the aircraft that collects and transmits atmospheric data during descent.
“It’s not too bumpy right now, but there are some healthy bumps,” Underwood said, including the fact that he ate two rolls of fruit on the flight.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier Tuesday that 2.5 million residents had been evacuated and warned that the hurricane could trigger internal flooding and energy outages. President Joe Biden also declared a federal emergency, allowing Florida access to the help of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.
Florida Emergency Management Agency Director Kevin Guthrie urged residents in the evacuation zone to evacuate immediately.
“One day, the local public security officers will not be able to answer your name for help,” he said. “You may be left behind by your personal gadgets. Again, it may be time to evacuate.”
National Hurricane Central (NHC) go further As of 9 p.m., Ian’s Eye is located southwest of the Florida coast, and Key West Global Airport is monitoring winds of 50 mph and gusts of up to 63 mph, Twitter said.
In its 5 p.m. update, the NHC said a “life-threatening” storm surge is expected along Florida’s west coast, with the greatest threat from Naples to Sarasota.
“Destructive wind damage is expected near Ian’s core,” the NHC said in its replacement. “Residents should expedite all preparations.”
The company said it expects “hurricane” winds to hit contact areas in southwest Florida and the Midwest starting Wednesday, followed by heavy rains that would flood many of the state’s peninsulas in the ensuing days, which could easily lead to flooding.
Underwood tweeted that he was preparing another flight to launch an experimental drone in the middle of Ian to gather information. At the same time, he urged those who support Ian’s strategy to take it seriously.
“Make good choices for yourself and those around you,” he said. “Watch for evacuation orders.”
Information week NOAA has been contacted for comment.
Watch the Hurricane Hunter fly through the eyewall