Hurricane hunter plane lands in New Orleans - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Hurricane hunter plane lands in New Orleans

It landed at Lakefront Airport with a roar. That power helps this plane fly into the heart of a hurricane.

"I'm going opposite to pretty much every instinct as a pilot that I've ever had typical pilots would fly away from the weather we fly into it," says Lt. Commander Chris Kerns, a NOAA pilot.

Hurricane hunter "Miss Piggy" and her crew are on a five-city tour along the Gulf Coast.

The plane collects vital information forecasters used to warn people in a hurricane path.

"This flying laboratory does both research and operational data collection they're trying to figure out how hurricanes tick, they're testing some instrumentation," says Dr. Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center. "This tail Doppler radar on the back of the plane is being utilized to bring data into the newest most advanced hurricane models that we've experimented with. But we also get the data from this plane in real time. that helps us assess the intensity and make those forecasts as accurate as they can be."

On the side of the plane are names of dozens of storms through the years. Miss Piggy flew in everyone of these including Katrina Rita and Gustav.

As the plane and her crew prepare for the season ahead, they're ready to relay information that could save lives.

"Having these aircraft in the storms and being able to measure the winds helps us to know what the conditions are whether they're favorable for strengthening and some of that information now goes into a computer models to help us make better forecasts," says Dan Brown, a senior forecaster with the National Hurricane Center.

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