Hurricane Hunter aircraft lands in Norfolk

Posted at 5:22 PM, May 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-05 17:22:47-04

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - An airplane that flies directly into the heart of hurricanes made a visit to Norfolk Tuesday.

The U.S. Air Force Reserves used the WC-130J to fly directly into the core of tropical storms to gather data that is used to forecast a storm's intensity and projected landfall.

"That critical information is key to the National Hurricane Center’s accurate forecast. Narrowing the forecasted cone and bringing that cone of uncertainty to a smaller size – say 100 miles instead of 150 miles – that saves many cities and thousands of people from evacuating," Major Ivan Deroche, a pilot for the plane, told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Tuesday.

The aircraft that visited Norfolk was one of 10 used by U.S. Air Force Reservists from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, located at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS.

Also visiting Norfolk on Tuesday was the NOAA G-IV, a part of the agency's fleet that flies at a high altitude around and ahead of a storm to gather data that goes into the hurricane forecast models.

The visit to Norfolk Friday was part of the 2015 NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour.