(FOX 13) - Fox News cameras were aboard a flight Wednesday with NOAA's Hurricane Hunters as they gathered new information to help forecast the massive storm.
Researchers onboard explained what their plane can do that satellites can't: They get very close and very precise readings on things like pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind direction.
NOAA's Florida-based Gulfstream jet airplane, affectionately known as Gonzo, took off very early Wednesday morning, flying to the hurricane, where they got a look from about 45,000 feet up.
Researchers dropped dozens of sensors out of the plane and into the storm. Those sensors have about a 15-minute fall through the storm, sending data back to the aircraft in real time.
"Once they're satisfied with the data, we put it on a format message we send off to the National Hurricane Center, and then it goes directly into the models to increase the accuracy there," explained NOAA crewmember Jeff Hartberger.
The plane's route allowed the crew to drop sensors at more than 30 points. That data was immediately plugged into the models to fine-tune the forecast track.
NOAA crews aren't the only ones flying into Hurricane Florence. The Air Force is also sending planes to analyze the massive storm.
They say it can be a bumpy ride, but it's the best way to gather the data they need for the forecast.