Hurricane Hunters fly around Iselle to collect vital storm data

Planes are flying into and around Iselle to get the best picture of the storm.

On Wednesday afternoon, a crew from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration circled Iselle, dropping GPS-linked sensors.

They fed data back to the plane which was then sent to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and other forecasters.

“It gives us information while it’s falling to the ocean — temperature, dew point, wind direction, wind speed and pressure,” said NOAA flight meteorologist Paul Flaherty. “All this data we collect around the hurricane is going to be used to help make the forecast for the next 12, 24, 36 and up to 72 hours for the track.”

Iselle is proving to be a surprising system, even to veteran meteorologists.

“We did find it a little bit stronger today than we expected. Even the look of it, even from satellite was better today than it was yesterday — something we didn’t really expect,” Flaherty said.

Meteorologists are hoping dry air to the west of the system will weaken Iselle before it makes landfall.

“If we can get the really cool, dry air to get into the storm, it’ll cause evaporation. Evaporation’s a cooling effect, the air becomes cooler and a little bit heavier, starts to sink, works against the hurricane trying to strengthen,” Flaherty said.

Crews are planning to circle both Iselle and Julio Thursday.

KHON2’s Brent Remadna was on the plane Wednesday. Stay tuned for a first-hand report.

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