By Linh Bui

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJZ) — Hurricane season is less than a month away. 

WJZ’s Linh Bui traveled to Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., to talk to “hurricane hunters” who fly into the storms to gather crucial information. 

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They use a specially equipped NOAA aircraft. It plays a critical role in hurricane forecasting. 

The pilots described to Bui what it is like to fly into the storm and why their job is so important. 

“We want to make sure that everyone knows where the storm is going, how strong it’s going to be, and how to better prepare themselves if it does impact their area,” NOAA Pilot Danielle Varwig said.

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The last Atlantic hurricane season was the third most active on record, producing 21 named storms including Hurricane Ida—a storm that spawned an E-F 2 tornado in Annapolis, Maryland. 

“It can be scary, you can get tossed around a lot, and it gets pretty loud,” Air Force Pilot Nate Wordal. “There’s hail and the rain. But you really have to focus in and listen to your crew.”

Hurricane hunters are touring the country in person for the first time since the pandemic. Their next stop is New York. 

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Hurricane season begins on June 1.

Linh Bui