CBS46's Molly McCollum flew right into the eye of Hurricane Florence, not once but twice. The hurricane hunters are flying missions into Florence to collect vital data that helps improve forecast for those in the path of the storm.
The ride into the storm is not an easy one.
The roar of the plane and the wind was deafening and the turbulence at times stomach churning, but the view was once in a lifetime. As exhilarating as it is to see the eye of hurricane is, the pit in your stomach is not just from turbulence, but from knowing that this storm is on course to cause catastrophic damage. The eyewall is one of the most dangerous parts of a hurricane and we got and up close and personal view.
On her second trip into the eye, the aircraft measured wind speeds of 143 kts or upwards of 160mph, a sign Florence was strengthening once again. All while crew members were dropping instruments in the storm to measure strength, structure, and direction.
It took 10 grueling hours to fly in and out of Florence.
On the way back to Savannah from Florence our aircraft took an unexpected detour to check on a sailboat in the path of Florence. It turns out the sailboat no idea category 4 hurricane was headed their way.
The Air Force is already saving lives in more ways than one.
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