ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — It was a bumpy, but important flight.
Naval Academy midshipmen are helping improve the accuracy of hurricane forecasts by flying into the eye of the storm.
They flew into the eye of Hurricane Florence to collect data that will help better forecast hurricanes like this one.
“There was definitely some turbulence. More than you’d get on a commercial flight, for sure,” said Jacob Drogowski, a midshipman on the flight.
Drogowski just returned from going where no commercial airliner ever would.
“It was awesome,” Drogowski said.
He and three other United States Naval Academy midshipmen are helping improve the accuracy in forecasting hurricanes by taking their temperatures.
“You see a profile start to form. As soon as it hits the water, it’ll record all the temperatures,” said Grace Rovira, another midshipman.
They fly in, they drop down buoys that collect data to help track the path and intensity of what’s to come.
But it means going into the eye of Florence.
“When you’re in the eye and you look out the window, it literally looks like you’re standing in the middle of a football stadium,” Rovira said. “And, you know how you can see the stands around you? You can see the eyewall around you like that.
A new perspective for Rovira, who grew up in Puerto Rico. She’s watched some storms dodge the island, and some leave paths of destruction.
“You look up and you could see the eye of the hurricane, but I never thought I’d be actually up there flying through the clouds,” Rovira said.
Now she’s collecting data to measure these monster storms, and sending life-saving warnings back to the ground.
The National Hurricane Center used their data to help forecast Florence.