Mary Lee flies with Hurricane Hunters

By Mary Lee, Meteorologist, mlee@kprc.com
Published On: Aug 30 2012 04:16:44 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2012 05:49:24 PM CDT

Aug. 29, 2012: Mary Lee got the chance to fly into the eye of Hurricane Isaac. Check out what she saw and find out what that type of flight tells forecasters.

HOUSTON -

We are back with the Hurricane Hunters after an amazing experience.

Eleven hours in the air! We flew into the eye of Isaac several times. We were actually in the storm as it made landfall early Wednesday morning. It's something I will never forget.

As soon as we took off from Ellington Field, we immediately saw Hurricane Isaac's impressive rainbands over the Gulf. It's up to our experienced pilots to navigate through and into the eye of Isaac.

"It's an adrenaline rush when you fly into the eye," pilot Lt. Jordan Mentzer said. "You get those butterflies."

Mentzer, has flown four times into Isaac, but this time he can definitely tell Isaac is stronger and closer to land.

"Array of factors when you're dealing with a hurricane and a hurricane so close to land," said Mentzer.

With the help of radar, we flew right into Isaac's center, dropping GPS dropsonde instruments to measure the atmosphere. It's crucial information to improve forecasting track of Isaac 5 to 15 percent more accurate.

I must admit it's not as bumpy a flight as you might think. Of course, when we're flying into the eye wall, we definitely felt the turbulence. At one point, it felt like the plane suddenly dropped. I was actually standing up at the time and the next thing I knew I was on the ground! Needless to say, it was quite a ride!

In all, Hurricane Hunters flew 34 missions into Isaac, flying into the eye 95 times. On their last mission, the storm made landfall along the Louisiana coast. It was early in the morning, so unfortunately, we couldn't see anything since it was dark, but we definitely felt the plane moving and shaking around.

Lastly, I wanted to share the amazing pictures I took on the plane. Mother Nature gave us an impressive show with this incredible sunset. Even our pilots made sure to take pictures of it.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as we flew with the brave men and women of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Air Force Reserve. They truly risked their lives with every mission. Thanks to our Hurricane Hunters for their incredible service!

Gallery

Hurricane Hunters Plane17

Photos: Hurricane Hunters flight

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