FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - It truly is all hands on deck as Hurricane Florence is being tracked before making landfall. An Oshkosh man who happens to be an Air Force Reservist is part of one team that actually flew into the eye of the storm on Wednesday.
View from the hurricane hunter plane (screenshot from video provided)
Chris Hibben is a Technical Sergeant with the 4th Combat Camera Squadron based out of Charleston, SC. Early Wednesday morning, he boarded a C-130 with a Hurricane Hunter crew for a mission. His goal, to capture stills and video of the eye of Hurricane Florence.
According to Hibben, "It was about a two-and-a-half hour flight out to Florence, and once we got there the sun was coming up. We could see the clouds, it was actually very pretty to see. Knowing how dangerous it was, it was definitely something to wonder how is the flight actually going to go."
It didn't take long, according to Hibben, to realize how powerful florence is. He says, "Being a pilot, I was watching the GPS and the airplane was going this way (straight) on the screen, but in reality it was doing about a 45 degree path into the hurricane. It got bumpy, normally closer to the eye wall -- that's where more of the major part of the storm is -- and then when we got into the eye it was very calm."
Video he captured showed the large sea swells below the eye of the storm, estimated to be as high as houses.
While a team of scientists launched sensor pods into the storm and tracked Florence's data, the images Hibben captured will also be examined as scientists continue to track Florence.
"Weather researchers take some of the pictures. They study the cloud formation. They can see how big the eye wall was, how clean it was in between. There's a lot of information I'm sure they can gather from those photos," says Hibben.
And it's all data and images that will help to track Florence, where she will hit, and the impact she can have.