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MUST WATCH: Hurricane hunters fly into Irma - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

MUST WATCH: Hurricane hunters fly into Irma

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TUCSON - A jaw-dropping view of the Atlantic basin's strongest hurricane.

The 403rd wing of the United States Air Force Reserve pilots flew directly into the eye of category 5 Hurricane Irma yesterday. The video above shows what's called the "stadium effect", where the eye wall rises up over the ocean like a football stadium.

These recon flights are vital for meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center. Crews on these planes release instruments called "dropsondes", which measure winds, pressure, humidity and temperature as it falls into the hurricane.

Data collected from the dropsondes gives meteorologists an instant look at the atmospheric profile of a hurricane & whether the storm is strengthening (or weakening). Roughly 30 dropsondes are dropped in a typical flight, according to UCAR.

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