Intro: I have been asked several times if I have flown near or around hurricanes and the answer is yes. It is critical to be extremely respectful and diligent when it comes to the wrath of Mother Nature. She can inflict quite a wallop of a punch. With the amazing technology we now have for weather forecasting and predicting, we have a vast improvement in our ability to keep you safe and away from these systems!
Flying: Personally, I have found myself in between double hurricanes several times. Believe me, A LOT of pre-planning takes place. Forecasting of speeds and arrival areas come very much into play when decisions are made to fly anywhere near a hurricane. With satellite pictures, NOAA data gathering, specially equipped aircraft flying, prediction modeling, etc., we can conclude if there is a safe route to take around the hurricanes. Playing “beat the hurricane in” is not something we would normally. In rare instances, it is possible if there is at least several hours between us and the arrival of the outer bands.
How are hurricanes formed?: These systems construct around the Tropical Atlantic Ocean Basin from the West Coast of Africa to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The tropical areas are prime for hurricane development depending on the conditions and times of the year. Hurricanes begin as a tropical cyclones which are low pressure systems. They need warm water, lots of moisture, thunderstorm activity, and a rotational counterclockwise circulation of wind. Once the wind reaches 38mph or more, it is categorized from a tropical depression to a tropical storm. Above 73mph, it is classified as a hurricane.
Names: According to the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), anytime a cyclone escalates to a tropical storm, it is given a name. These titles have been chosen years ago by a committee that rotates lists of names every six years. If the hurricane was devastating and destructive, its name would have been retired.
More: If you are like me, not only an ‘avgeek’ but a ‘metgeek’ too (for meteorological conditions), visit www.noaa.gov with the link below. Search for the “Hurricane Basics Guide” for more specific details. For added information on all air travel topics including how to travel more safely through the skies, grab your copy of my book “Remove Before Flight”. Always abide by evacuation instructions. Please be well prepared for days of being without electricity, healthy water, and food if you are anywhere within these regions!
May you always have Blue Skies and Smooth Rides!