LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Hurricane Hunters from NOAA and the Air Force have been very busy flying missions around, over, and -- most dramatically -- into Hurricane Irma.
The teams fly into tropical storms and hurricanes, dropping sensors and taking radar readings as they go. The result is a three-dimensional picture of the storm and its surrounding environment.
Hurricane Irma is still a few days away from Florida, but evacuations are already underway as the storm's projected path shifts with each new model run. Data gathered by the Hurricane Hunter flights are a key ingredient of those models.
A member of the NOAA Hurricane Hunters team shared a video from Tuesday's flight aboard the WP-3D aircraft, better known as 'Kermit.' The footage shows the rough ride the crew endured while punching into the Category 5 storm's eyewall -- then the calm and tranquility of the eye.
The Air Force's 53rd Weather Research Squadron out of Mississippi shared similarly remarkable photos showing the eerily glowing moon from inside the swirling storm's giant eye.
Both teams expect to continue making several flights a day as the storm approaches the U.S.