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From dream to reality for NOAA’s hurricane hunter crew member

TAMPA (WFLA) – More invaluable data on Irma from NOAA’s hurricane hunter planes.

24-Hour News 8’s sister station WFLA’s Chip Osowski rode along with the crew on an early flight Saturday morning where their mission is now personal.

NOAA has two types of planes — the P-3 that flies at a lower altitude into the eye of the storm — and the Gulfstream 4 that flies at up to 45,000 — around and over the hurricane.

Both deploy dropsondes – a GPS device that measures wind speed and direction, air temperature and pressure and humidity.

Alan Goldstein has been in this line of work for 40 years next month.

“I don’t think that there’s any place here where you’re going to be able to say profoundly, oh, we’re in the middle of a hurricane.  There are going to be some places where they’re going to put the seat belt light on,” said Goldstein.

He says while there’s no denying Irma is a monster storm — she isn’t that unique.

“Alan, David, Hugo, Wilma, Gilbert, a lot of them have not smacked into land as often and as hard as this storm,” he said.

What makes this trip special for these guys — is this storm hits home — and not in a good way.

“I saw the track going pretty close to my house,” Goldstein said. “Kind of your worst nightmare all of a sudden.  It goes from dream to reality and it’s kind of scary, for sure.”HURRICANE IRMA COVERAGE –