ATLANTIC OCEAN (WKRG) — Before Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in Florida, News 5 was aboard the flight that helped determine the storm’s westward movement towards Tampa.
According to the Hurricane Hunters of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, this was the first time a 360-degree camera was mounted in front of their windshield to provide a breathtaking view of the storm’s eye.
With the 360-degree perspective on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, viewers can move around their smartphone, tablet or virtual reality headset to see the pilots in the cockpit, all-the-way-around to Hurricane Irma through the windshield.
The video shows the dramatic moment of bursting through the eye-wall into the eye of the storm. The Hurricane Hunters navigate to find the storm’s true center, the area of lowest pressure that helps determine Irma’s forecast path.
The 360-degree video also goes back to the cabin of the plane, where weather officers are gathering the crucial data forecasters need to predict what the storm will do next.
News 5 flew with the Hurricane Hunters of the U.S. Air Force Reserve early Saturday morning, when Irma was a Category 5 storm off the coast of Cuba. It was this flight that downgraded Irma to a Category 3, and determined the storm was moving west towards Naples, Florida.