Weather Warriors Fly Into Hurricane Ike

One of the tools in the Hurricane Hunter's arsenal is the dropsonde. This cylindrical package is packed with instruments that gather data such as wind speed and direction, humidity, barometric pressure and other readings which it snds by radio back to the WC-130J aircraft. The dropsonde also notes its exact location through use of GPS after it is released from the aircraft. It floats to the surface of the sea on its own parachute. The data collected from the dropsonde gives forecasters at the National Hurricane Center a vertical profile of the storm. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. James B. Pritchett)

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