Weather Blog: Expanding the Hurricane Hunters

(WRDW/WAGT) -- It’s been a busy hurricane season so far with multiple named storms making landfall in the United States and other countries.

Something that has made this season unique has been inconsistencies within model projections. Something that helps to improve weather models like the GFS and the European model is to obtain more data from the storms themselves. NOAA’s current arsenal of Hurricane Hunters does that, but there are some changes coming.

NOAA has awarded a $40.7 million contract to Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation for a new Gulfstream G550 high altitude jet. The plane will be built at Gulfstream’s factory which is located right in Savannah, Georgia! The plane will help support NOAA hurricane and tropical storm missions which will provide critical data that will be plugged into weather models. Once completed the new plane will supplement the existing Gulfstream IV-SP high altitude jet. The G550 is expected to join the fleet of hurricane hunters by 2022.

NOAA also awarded an $11.8 million contract to Textron Aviation for a new twin engine Beechcraft King Air 350 CER turboprop aircraft. The plane will be fitted with equipment, “that will measure water content of snow and soil- data that is used for flood, river level and water supply forecasts,” according to the NOAA press release. This plane can also be fitted to support NOAA missions for coastal mapping, aerial surveys, and emergency response missions. The plane is expected to be in service by the spring of 2021.

Once completed both planes will be stationed at the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Lakeland, FL. To read the full article issued by NOAA, click here.