Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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'Hurricane Hunters' touchdown in Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE - Ahead of this year's hurricane season, people got the chance to meet those tracking the storms. It’s part of the NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour.

Two massive aircrafts flew into the Baton Rouge Metro Airport, for one day. One was the U.S. Army Reserve WC-130J 'Hurricane Hunter.'

“When a storm has been formed, we'll fly in approximately 10,000 ft. We start out 105 miles out from the northeast quadrant and drive into the center,” said Lt. Edward Garcia, a U.S. Air Force Reserve pilot. “We're looking for the lowest pressure. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.”

The other plane parked was a NOAA Gulfstream-IV.

“We fly 45,000 ft. over the storm and around the outside so we can measure the steering currents and get a better idea of where that storm is going to go,” said Lt. Dave Cowan, a NOAA Core pilot.

Both aircrafts drop pallets outside for measuring.

“It takes pressure, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and then it will send it back up to the aircraft,” explained Garcia.

The public was able to tour the planes Wednesday afternoon, creating huge lines.

“This is really awesome,” said James Fountain. “I really like planes in general, I want to be in the Air Force.”

“There’s a huge part in getting ready every year, and really understanding what a hurricane can do to our state, and how we can protect against some of that,” added James’ dad, Charles, on why he chose to bring his family out. “Protection includes knowledge and research that goes into modeling, and that’s what they're doing here.”

While exciting, some also found the event comforting.

“[With them working] you at least know where it’s going, how big it’s going to be, so this is awesome,” said Jeanette Henderson.

The hurricane awareness tour will head to Alabama Thursday and end in Florida on Friday.


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